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Whether you call it dressing or stuffing, there’s no doubt about it: You can’t have a Thanksgiving feast without the ubiquitous bready, crispy, herb-packed side dish. Mixed with gravy or piled high all on its own, Thanksgiving stuffing is arguably our favorite part of the whole meal (but don’t tell the other dishes). But first, we’ve got to talk about the elephant in the room: Is it dressing or stuffing? Is there even a difference between the two?

Stuffing vs. Dressing: What’s the difference?

FYI, “stuffing” and “dressing” are basically the same thing, but you might hear it differently based on where you’re celebrating. In the Midwest and South, it’s more commonly referred to as dressing (yep, even if it’s stuffed inside the turkey), but West Coasters and New Englanders probably know the dish as stuffing. According to the dictionary, stuffing is defined as “a mixture used to stuff another food, traditionally poultry, before cooking,” while dressing is cooked in a separate pan (and not inside the turkey cavity). For the sake of deliciousness, we use the term interchangeably.

The best part about stuffing (er, dressing): There are about a million and one ways to make it your own. Don’t believe us? Take these 40 Thanksgiving dressing and stuffing recipes as proof.

RELATED: Sheet-Pan Stuffing Is Our New Favorite Way to Hack Thanksgiving

1. Mushroom and Sausage Sourdough Stuffing

This is not the bagged stuff (heh), that’s for sure. Shallots and mushrooms replace the usual onions and celery to make this the classiest stuffing recipe ever.

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2. Julia Turshen’s Sheet Pan Stuffing with Sausage and Spinach

Hello, genius Thanksgiving hack. Cooking the dish on a baking sheet instead of in a casserole dish means the crispy-to-soft ratio is one to one. (Yes, please.)

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3. Eggs Baked with Stuffing

Surely you made enough stuffing for leftovers? Repurpose it the next morning in these cute Thanksgiving egg cups.

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4. Baked Cauliflower with Pomegranate Seeds and Thyme

Nope, it’s not your mother’s traditional stuffing. It’s better, because it’s gluten-free and made with one of our go-to veggies.

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5. Stuffing Muffins

Cooked in a turkey? Not this year, friends. We’re baking our stuffing in individually portioned muffin tins, because why not?

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6. Thanksgiving-in-Your-Mouth Paleo Stuffing

You’re trying out the Paleo diet? No problem. This recipe is gluten- and grain-free (and Whole30-approved, if that’s a concern).

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7. Herby Mushroom Croissant Stuffing

Imagine your guests’ faces when you bring this stunner to the table. It’s made of croissants.

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RELATED: 21 Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas That Aren’t Pumpkin Pie

8. Creole Cornbread Stuffing

Cornbread is a popular base for Southern-style dressing. This one is packed with corn, poblanos, cayenne and all the smoky spices.

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9. Wild Rice and Vegan Stuffing with Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple

Whether or not they’re vegan, everyone at the table will swoon for this roasty, rice-based stuffing. The pomegranate arils add a touch of bright flavor at the finish.

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10. Parmesan and Leek Sourdough Stuffing

We’ll take any chance we can to sneak Parmesan into a meal, even on Thanksgiving. With their subtle flavor, the leeks are a welcome swap for onions.

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11. Butternut Squash, Andouille and Herb Stuffing

The addition of Gruyère means you get crispy edges and a gooey center, just how we like it. This is like the fuzzy sweater of stuffing recipes.

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12. Wild Mushroom Stuffing

Salty, earthy, herby—this hits all the right notes.

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13. Forbidden Rice Stuffing with Wild Mushrooms and Delicata Squash

Sure, it’s gluten-free, but that’s not why we love this alternative stuffing. We just can’t get enough of the gorgeous color and rich, savory flavor. (And don’t get us started on the squash.)

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14. Cornbread, Sausage and Collard Green Stuffing

We never thought to put dark leafy greens in our stuffing, but we certainly wish we had. Don’t skip the toasted pecans, either.

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15. Butternut Squash and Wild Mushroom Stuffing

For those who think stuffing is wet, mushy filler for the rest of the feast, think again. This recipe will change your mind for good.

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16. Apple and Fennel Stuffing

Sweet apples plus licoricey fennel are a match made in Turkey Day heaven. File this one under “crowd-pleaser.”

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17. Easiest Slow-Cooker Stuffing

Slow-cooker stuffing? Genius. You’ll free up your oven for the more important things (like turkey…and pie).

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18. Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Cornbread Stuffing

Hidden inside all that (gluten-free) cornbread is a festive mix of butternut squash and all the seasonal herbs. Translation: We’ll be having seconds.

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19. Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage, Fennel and Pear

The hot Italian sausage is unexpected, but with fennel and sweet pear, it works. (Psst: This makes just enough for leftovers.)

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20. Gluten-Free Stuffing Salad with Warm Onion Dressing

Want to serve stuffing but keep it on the healthy side? This salad has all the familiar components (crusty bread, onion, herbs), plus lettuce and a warm onion dressing.

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21. Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing

The homemade gluten-free bread is key, but you can also make this with store-bought. Want a dairy-free version? Use olive or coconut oil instead of butter. (Thanks, Monique Volz.)

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22. Wild Mushroom Stuffing with Fennel and Leeks

A combination of both fresh and dried mushrooms lends this classic recipe extra depth of flavor. There’s also white wine in there—just saying.

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23. Easy Gluten-Free Stuffing for Thanksgiving

If you don’t tell anyone this is gluten-free, they won’t even notice the difference.

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24. Cranberry and Walnut Stuffing

If cranberry sauce and stuffing had a (delicious) baby, this would be it.

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25. Slow-Cooker Pear and Sausage Stuffing

Once again, the slow cooker saves the day. Toss everything together the night before, then reap the rewards the next day.

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26. 5-Ingredient, 15-Minute Instant Pot Mushroom and Onion Stuffing

Honestly, you had us at five ingredients. The 15-minute cooking time is just an added benefit.

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27. Farro, Butternut Squash, Sausage and Dried Cherry Stuffing

The farro adds a welcome nuttiness to this traditional stuffing. Don’t skip the dried cherries: They’re just tart enough to keep everyone coming back for seconds.

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28. Gluten-Free Apple and Sausage Stuffing with Sage

There are four types of fresh herbs in this recipe. Overkill? We think not.

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29. Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing

We think it’s worth the extra effort to make homemade cheesy cornbread for this spicy beauty. It’s Thanksgiving, after all. Go big or go home.

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30. Quinoa ‘Stuffing’ (Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pistachios)

Does it count as stuffing if there’s no bread in sight? Sure does, especially for this surprisingly healthy version that comes together in about 45 minutes, start to finish.

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31. Make-Ahead Sage Apple Stuffing

Do all the prep work the day before Thanksgiving and you’ll have one less thing to worry about when you’re inevitably stuck between a Turkey and a hard place.

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32. Cauliflower Cranberry Sage Stuffing

Vegans in the house? They’ll love this plant-based take on traditional stuffing, thanks to rosemary, thyme, sage and lots of cauliflower.

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33. Best Paleo Stuffing

What makes it the best, you ask? It could be that it’s so customizable, or that it can be made in one skillet. But it’s probably because it tastes exactly like the real thing (and is surprisingly really healthy).

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34. Roasted Autumn Vegetable Stuffing

’Tis the season for Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and apples. Why not pack them all into one seasonal dish?

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35. Vegan Cornbread Stuffing

You won’t be able to tell that there’s no butter involved in this 100-percent plant-based stuffing. A smidge of maple syrup adds that je ne sais quoi element that will elicit oohs and ahhs.

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36. Classic Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing

Sometimes you just shouldn’t mess with a classic (and Thanksgiving is as good a time as any).

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37. Buffalo Cheddar Beer Bread Stuffing

And for all other times, make this crazy non-traditional, buffalo-spiked bowl of deliciousness. (You’re welcome.)

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38. Simple Vegan Cornbread Sage Stuffing

Gena Hamshaw’s vegan version of cornbread stuffing is so easy. Make the cornbread two days in advance so it dries out and absorbs all the yummy juices.

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39. Rosemary Olive Savory Bread Pudding

Is it savory bread pudding? Or is it Thanksgiving stuffing? Who cares? It’s incredible.

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40. Slow-Cooker Sausage Stuffing

No browning or sautéeing required, plus only one dish to clean. This might be the easiest stuffing recipe ever.

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Watch: Spicy Sausage, Fennel and Pancetta Stuffing Recipe With GE Cafe

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