To All Those Saying Celiacs Must Go Without on Thanksgiving…I Say "Stuff It"

gluten free Thanksgiving stuffing

That’s right…it’s time for my first recipe post EVER.

We celebrated our first Thanksgiving yesterday. Why yesterday? Long story short: Mrs. Dude is Jewish and I’m Catholic so the tradition has always been we spend Thanksgiving with her family and Christmas with mine. But alas, this is the first time in 15 years that my Mom is living close to us. So we are celebrating Thanksgiving with her this year. But since Hanukkah is kicking off this week, we thought we’d kill two birds with one stone (three if you count the turkey) and celebrate both holidays with Mrs. Dude’s family yesterday and then do another Thanksgiving with my family Thursday. Got it? Phew!

I’m not a big turkey guy…never really have been. But I do love the tradition of cooking the bird all day long. I love the process, I love the way the house smells as the turkey is roasting. It may be my favorite holiday because it’s simply based around family. It’s not about gift-giving. It’s not about religion. It’s an important day simply to be thankful for what you’ve got (unless of course you’re a turkey…then it’s probably not your favorite holiday.)

Though I may not love turkey, I have always been absolutely crazy about stuffing. Growing up, my parents made it simple. Not tons of ingredients…bread, butter, onions, celery, broth, etc. I’d have it for days and days.

When I got the dreaded celiac diagnoses six years ago, our first post-CD Thanksgiving was two months later. The best stuffing is when you stuff the bird. And the Dudettes loved my stuffing also. I wanted them to continue to enjoy the stuffing I’ve always made. But I can’t put normal stuffing in the bird. What to do? I had a parental dilemma.

So I tried using my standard recipe with gluten-free bread. To say it sucked wouldn’t be fair to the word “suck”. It was god-awful.

And so for the next 4 years, I went stuffing-free and we purchased ready-made stuffing from the store for the Dudettes. A pale replacement to be sure and it seemed our glorious stuffing days were OVER.

Until yesterday. I thought I’d give it one more shot.

I found a wonderful website that listed 99 Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes. It included everything from cocktails to desserts (which frankly, I’d be fine with just those two things.)

Included in it was a number of stuffing recipes. But because I’m a simple guy with simple tastes, I went with the most simple recipe, gave it my own personal touch, and then stuffed the heck out of the bird with it. I wasn’t expecting any miracles but I was hopeful.

I’m happy to say…It. Was. Amazing.

So now, after babbling for more than 400 words, I’d like to present it to you.

And the next time a celiac complains that their life sucks because they can’t enjoy a true Thanksgiving dinner, just tell em to stuff it and send them this recipe.

Gluten-Free Stuffing


– 3 tablespoons butter

– 2 large yellow onions, chopped

– McCormick’s sage
– McCormick’s celery salt
– A loaf of gluten-free bread
 (I could make a joke here about how the recipe called for “stale” gluten-free bread and I bought it fresh off the shelf and it would pass just fine a stale bread…but I won’t.)
– 1 large brown, organic, cage-free egg

– 1/4 cup half and half

– 1/4 cup chicken stock
– 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and stir occasionally until golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add sage and celery salt and stir for about 30 seconds. Remove skillet from the heat.

Break up gluten-free bread and put in a large bowl. Whisk together egg, half and half and chicken stock, then pour over bread mixture. Season with pepper.

Pour onion/sage/celery salt mixture into the bread mix and mash it all together with your hands until the everything is moist.

Stuff the stuffing into the turkey. When the turkey is done…so is your stuffing.


gluten free stuffing recipe

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29 thoughts on “To All Those Saying Celiacs Must Go Without on Thanksgiving…I Say "Stuff It"”

  1. It looks yummy!
    Gee, kiddo, if I had known you went “stuffing-less” all this time, I would have given you a recipe a long time ago. Sorry! Glad you found one that works! 🙂

    Another good one is Stephanie O’Dea’s crock pot stuffing for those folks who have t travel for thanksgiving and want to bring theirs to the party.
    I recently wrote to her and thanked her for all her great ideas, including
    the stuffing recipe which is almost the same as the one I made for 30 years until I couldn’t anymore. (And she graciously replied). 🙂 We have a lot of awesome gluten free bloggers who share their talents, don’t you think? me too!

    For anyone who is newly diagnosed, I tell you all—you CAN survive Thanksgiving. Here are some simple tips I shared recently. Hope it helps in some way! Happy Thanksgiving to all.
    Life is good.

    1. I made the crockpot stuffing for my friendsgiving this past Saturday and it was a great success! Thank you Irish for pointing me in the right direction!

  2. Good Morning! I’ve been following all discussions diligently for weeks now but haven’t weighed in (just didn’t have a thing to add) but “stuffing” gets me excited!!! What does that say about a person?
    Anyways, I too am just not a turkey fan BUT stuffing, now we’re talkin’! Dude, your recipes looks excellent. I was brought up eating a really simple homemade stuffing too. I just haven’t had the heart to make a stuffing with gf bread but I trust your judgement on this.
    Irish!! I just checked out the slowcooker recipe (must pause and wipe the tears away). I LOVE my slowcooker and can picture it full of dressing! Who needs a turkey!!! Yup, visions of stuffing dance through my head…sugarplums be damned.

    Happy Thanksgiving to All!

    1. SUE!

      Stuffing gets me excited too. (not sure what it says about us) haha!
      I never used a slow-cooker in my life until some of the gang on
      yelled at me to join the brave new world. I am an old-school cook and baker, but I have to say….these thingers come in handy!

      That website has other stuffing recipes, too, but I am like GD–I like my stuffing simple, with sage and apples. She has generously shared many G F recipes on there.

      I believe her book just went on sale.
      (always happy to plug a fellow celiac’s book)

      Enjoy the stuffing. 😉

  3. the other half cat

    This will be my first gluten free Thanksgiving. Well, technically, last year was gluten free too but that’s only because I was too sick to eat a-n-y-thing all holiday season.

    So I’m very excited to try your stuffing, Dude! My original plan was to head to a family gathering and go stuffing-less. 🙁 But, due to a sick toddler, we have a last minute change of plans and decided to stay home so I’m just now planning my menu. We are having our bird smoked by a local BBQ joint. So I can’t stuff my bird. I think I will do mine as a dressing and perhaps drizzle it with some of that duck fat I’ve had in reserve. Mmmmmmm…….

    Any particular brand of GF bread you recommend? They do vary widely.

      1. I think Schaar’s makes the best stuffing because it is dense. I use the whole grain. This looks good but I have to have some sage sausage in my stuffing too!

  4. This post makes me think about the idea I’ve had for a gluten-free holiday cookbook that would duplicate many of the old holiday favorites for the gluten-impaired – not just stuffing but also pfeffernusse, springerle, hamentaschen, rugelach, panettone, zabaglione, the special cardamom cake for St. Lucia’s Day from the Scandinavian countries… maybe someday when I get this (*$%^&# dissertation done…

  5. Congratulations on your first recipe post! Watch out or I might start asking you to guest post GF recipes on my blog…

    This sounds yummy, and I agree the Schar bread is a good one for bread crumbs.

    Gobble Gobble!

  6. That is similar to my family’s traditional stuffing except ours has pork sausage. I SO miss eating the stuffing that comes out of the bird but alas, one person out of the 25 at our Thanksgiving table does not get to change the ingredients when the rest of the family wants tradition. Now we only stuff one of the two birds, and I eat the one that was not stuffed to be safe.

    So this weekend I made my own 100% gluten free Thanksgiving meal that I shared with friends. I made our traditional stuffing, but instead of regular white bread I made a pan of cornbread. The cornbread took less than 30 minutes from mixing to baking to tearing it up to go into the stuffing.

    Maybe I’m biased, but I think it is actually better with cornbread.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. If you are in the south, it’s always cornbread and never put in the bird! Same basic seasoning, but just different texture. If anyone is interested in making cornbread dressing (oh yeah, it goes by a different name too) details for the cornbread are below. I’m making the cornbread, my mom is making the actual dressing with it so I don’t have measurements for the seasoning, but it would be pretty similar to other recipes already mentioned. Anyway, here’s the cornbread:

      3/4 cup of Sam’s Mill (or other) gluten free cornmeal
      1 tablespoon baking powder
      1 teaspoon salt
      1 tablespoon canola oil
      2 eggs
      1 cup of milk (adjust as necessary until mix is moist but not too runny)

      Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place 8 inch cast iron skillet in oven while preheating. Mix ingredients together until a thick batter forms. Pour 1 tablespoon canola oil into skillet making sure the bottom is covered. Pour batter into skillet then bake for 10-12 minutes.

      Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  7. Adrianne Gentleman

    Ok it looks great, but please tell this Kiwi girl what on earth is “half and half”, I’ve never heard of any food with such a strange name. 🙂

    1. Greetings and kia ora!

      Not sure what it’s called in Aotearoa, Adrianne, but here in the US, half and half is a dairy product that is between 11-18% dairy fat. So it’s halfway between whole milk and light cream, which starts at around 20% milkfat. It can’t be whipped like cream (not enough fat to stabilize) but it is used in sauces a lot – as well as coffee and tea. Hope that helps.

  8. Also. For those lazy nights, canned butter beans mashed up with Tuscan seasoning makes surprisingly good stuffing. I use it in chickens and my non-GF friends love it and can’t tell 🙂

  9. I’m preparing for my first gluten free thanksgiving, though thankfully my family isn’t too crazy about. I’m planning to make a vegetable and rice dish to stuff the turkey with and maybe get some store bought stuffing for everyone else if they decide they want it. I’m more worried about how my first gluten free green bean casserole will go. It’s my favorite holiday dish and I’m definately not doing without, so I’ve found some good recipes.

    Honestly I’m not worried at all about a gluten free thanksgiving. Since going gluten free I’ve had a great time learning how to cook good food with fresh safe ingredients and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

  10. Thank you, thank you both Gluten Dude and Irish Heart. We are in charge of stuffing this year and cannot wait to try out the recipes you have both shared. Happy GF Thanksgiving to all!!

  11. Phew! This recipe is still here! This is the first Thanksgiving since my husband’s diagnosis 3 years ago that I’m attempting stuffing. I saw this last year and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find it again! Thank you again, Gluten Dude!

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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