Calories in Stuffing

Learn to Make Healthy Stuffing for Thanksgiving

White decorative bowl of stuffing on a striped tablecloth
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For many people, Thanksgiving dinner wouldn't be complete without generous portions of stuffing. Though there are many varieties of this quintessential Thanksgiving side dish, most stuffing recipes have two things in common: they're high-carb and calorie-laden. These qualities make it a potential pitfall for those trying to maintain a healthy diet.

Thankfully, with some knowledge and very little preparation, you can still enjoy this tasty dish without sacrificing your health goals.

Nutrition Facts

There's no shortage of stuffing types to choose from. Whether you use boxed stuffing or decide to go the homemade route is your choice. Comparing things like calories, fat, and carbohydrate content across brands can help you make this decision.

Homemade Stuffing

Bread Stuffing

This nutrition information, for a one-cup (170g) serving of home-prepared bread stuffing made with eggs, is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

  • Calories: 326
  • Fat: 20g
  • Sodium: 800mg
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 6g

Cornbread Stuffing

This nutrition information, for one-cup (140g) serving of home-prepared cornbread stuffing, is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 358
  • Fat: 18g
  • Sodium: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 44g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 6g

Boxed Stuffing

Curious to see how boxed stuffings stack up to the homemade versions? Here are the nutrition facts for a few popular store-bought stuffing brands. Note that these amounts are for the dry mix. Cooking them with butter or pan drippings and broth will add calories, fat, and sodium.

Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing

The nutrition information for 1/2 cup serving is provided by the manufacturer.

  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 410mg
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Fiber: less than 1g
  • Sugars: 2g
  • Protein: 2g

Stove Top Chicken Stuffing Mix

The nutrition information for 1/2 cup serving is provided by the manufacturer.

  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 390mg
  • Carbohydrates: 21g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 2g
  • Protein: 3g

Is Stuffing Healthy?

Stuffing isn't the worst food on the Thanksgiving table, but it's not the healthiest food either. Stuffing provides carbohydrates for energy, and if you choose whole grain bread as a primary ingredient, you're likely to boost your fiber intake. Some cooks also include apple or other fruits that will not only increase your fiber intake, but also provide healthy vitamins and minerals.

You might also want to keep an eye on the fat and sodium content of your stuffing. If you buy boxed stuffing, the fat content on the label usually doesn't look too bad. But what actually ends up on our plate is quite different. Your portion of stuffing and gravy can provide upwards of a half day's worth of fat. If you make stuffing at home with butter or with pan drippings (fat and juice leftover in the pan after cooking the turkey), those ingredients also boost your saturated fat intake.

Lastly, stuffing is usually high in sodium. Unfortunately, salt is what makes stuffing taste good most of the time.

There are only about 120–140 calories in one serving of conventional stuffing. Of course, stuffing calories can vary significantly based on the preparation method. Also, your calorie intake could be more or less depending on your portion size.

Tips for Making Healthier Stuffing

If you decide to make your own stuffing, the calorie count and fat content will depend entirely on the recipe you use. Many traditional recipes call for turkey drippings and other high-fat ingredients like sausage and butter.

Below are a few healthy Thanksgiving tips that can make even the most traditional stuffing recipe a little bit healthier.

  • Use whole grains. Substitute whole wheat or multi-grain bread for white bread crumbs.
  • Don't skimp on the vegetables. Adding more vegetables, such as onions, carrots, and celery, will not only add flavor, but also lower the calorie, fat, and sodium content per serving.
  • Ditch some of the salt. Keep sodium under control by using unsalted butter and low- or reduced-sodium broth.

Remember that how much you eat is just as important as what you eat. If you want to bring down the calorie count, be sure to check your portion sizes. Try sticking to 1/2 cup (about the size of an ice cream scoop). You'll be able to indulge without overindulging.

Simple Stuffing Recipe

If you're looking for a healthy stuffing recipe to make at home, try this one that uses less fat and healthier ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup celery with leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds of bread, torn into 1-inch cubes (about 15 cups)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the chicken broth, butter, and spices. In a large bowl, stir together the bread cubes, milk, onion, and celery. Add the chicken broth mixture and toss gently to coat. If the stuffing is too dry, add more broth.

Spoon the stuffing into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake uncovered until the top is golden brown, about 20–40 minutes.

More Healthy Stuffing Recipes

If you choose to eat a vegetarian diet, check out this Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe. Lastly, there are options for gluten-free eaters, as well.

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3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Díaz-Zavala RG, Castro-Cantú MF, Valencia ME, Álvarez-Hernández G, Haby MM, Esparza-Romero J. Effect of the holiday season on weight gain: A narrative review. J Obes. 2017;2017:2085136. doi:10.1155/2017/2085136

  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Stuffing. Updated July 14, 2017.

  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Cornbread stuffing. Updated July 14, 2017.