Unexpected Stuffing Recipes to Shake Up Thanksgiving Dinner
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Unexpected Stuffing Recipes to Shake Up Thanksgiving Dinner

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Unexpected Stuffing Recipes to Shake Up Thanksgiving Dinner
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Strut Your Stuffing

Just about everyone loves holidays traditions, but let's be honest — making the same recipes for Thanksgiving every year can get old, for the cook and for those who simply shove the cook's efforts into their faces before passing out on the couch. Surprise your family and guests, challenge your culinary skills, and shake up your Thanksgiving menu this year by trying one of these 16 stuffing recipes that are a little bit less ritual and a little bit more rock 'n' roll. (For off-beat desserts, check out 30 Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren't Pies.)

Whiskey Sausage Apple Stuffing
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Whiskey Sausage Apple Stuffing

With some sweet (apples, raisins, cinnamon), spicy (cayenne), savory (sausage), and, well, whiskey flavors coming together in this dish in all the right ways, we're guessing there won't be any leftovers.

Recipe: Country Living

Spicy Chorizo Sage Cornbread Stuffing
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Spicy Chorizo Sage Cornbread Stuffing

Chorizo, cornbread, a few veggies and an abundance of herbs — as the recipe developer says, this dish "takes dressing from ho hum to woo hoo."

Recipe: Boulder Locavore

Paleo Butternut Sausage Stuffing
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Paleo Butternut Sausage Stuffing

There are specialty diets galore these days, and, of course, loads of stuffing recipes on the internet to serve each and every one of those folks. For the paleos, here's a recipe that doesn't include grains, gluten, or dairy — and looks gorgeous in the process of leaving all that out.

Recipe: Paleo Running Momma

Related: 50 Healthy Thanksgiving Dishes for Special Diets

Triple Herb Pumpernickel and Sourdough Stuffing
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Triple Herb Pumpernickel and Sourdough Stuffing

The dark, dense, sweetly bitter pumpernickel is not a bread that gets much love here in the U.S., which is why we love this recipe, even if it does have to share the spotlight with that bread showoff sourdough (kidding … it's SO good). Cooking Light notes that if you can't find pumpernickel, you can sub in seeded rye.

Recipe: Cooking Light

Macadamia and Ginger Stuffing
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Macadamia and Ginger Stuffing

For a hint of sweet with your savory, there's this recipe that combines sweet Hawaiian bread, ginger, and orange peel with sausage, shallots, and green onions. Water chestnuts and macadamia nuts provide texture.

Recipe: Epicurious

Pizza-Flavored Thanksgiving Stuffing
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Pizza-Flavored Thanksgiving Stuffing

If "pizza night" is a beloved regular dinner in your household, surprise your pie-loving peeps with this recipe. It employs garlic knots, Italian sausage, oregano, and Parmesan cheese that result in iconic Italian flavors.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Related: From Plain Cheese to Peking Duck: 25 Yummy Pizza Recipes

Buffalo Cheddar Beer Bread Stuffing
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Buffalo Cheddar Beer Bread Stuffing

With beer, bacon, buffalo sauce, and both cheddar and blue cheeses in this recipe, it's definitely packs a punch of flavor that's plenty different from the traditional bird dressing.

Recipe: Half Baked Harvest

Spoon Bread with Guanciale
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Spoon Bread with Guanciale

Guanciale, an Italian cured pork jowl cut of meat, is what gives this easy, gluten-free recipe its biggest punch of flavor. If you can't find this cut of meat in your area, substitute thick-cut, unsmoked bacon.

Recipe: Williams Sonoma

Oyster dressing
Oyster dressing by CityMama --Stefania Pomponi Butler (CC BY-ND)

Northwest Oyster & Bacon Stuffing

Live close enough to the sea to get fresh oysters? This recipe lets you pair them with the usual stuffing suspects — fresh herbs, celery, shallots, etc. — plus bacon for a dish that has a bit more texture, depth, and flavor courtesy of the oysters' briny, umami profile.

Recipe: Coastal Living

Stuffing Bundt Cake
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Stuffing Bundt Cake

While the flavors in this stuffing recipe are traditional, the presentation is not. And let's be honest — stuffing is full of carby goodness, but when it comes out of the oven, it's anything but pretty in its typical lumpy beige appearance. This recipe changes all that, especially if you add a few fresh green herbs around the base.

Recipe: The Chic Site

Sticky-Rice Dressing
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Ed Koch Stuffing
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Ed Koch Stuffing

Named after the former three-term New York mayor, this recipe combines pieces of "everything" bagel with capers, cream cheese, and smoked salmon for a stuffing dish that your guests truly will not expect.

Recipe: Cooking Channel

Roy Rogers Stuffing
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Roy Rogers Stuffing

Jalapeño, sour cream, cheddar, bacon, salsa, and green onions served up with potato bread give this stuffing recipe the flavors of a baked potato. It gets a dose of welcoming crunch with a cupful of crumbled potato chips sprinkled over the top before baking.

Recipe: Cooking Channel

Naan and Cashew Stuffing
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Naan and Cashew Stuffing

In addition to the rather unconventional method of using naan bread in place of bread cubes, this easy-to-prepare recipe also employs cilantro, mint, and fresh lime juice for a decidedly Asian-fusion culinary profile.

Recipe: Rachael Ray Magazine

Soft Pretzel and Bacon Stuffing with Mustard and Beer
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Soft Pretzel and Bacon Stuffing with Mustard and Beer

Baseball season is over, but you can still satisfy those ballpark cravings — with some smoky bacon thrown in, because why not? — with this recipe that looks as easy as it does yummy.

Recipe: Jones Dairy Farm

Sweet Stuffing
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Sweet Stuffing

Savory not your jam? Try this recipe, which coalesces some typical herby stuffing flavors with cranberries, raisin bread, orange juice, and brown sugar in a sweeter dish that reviewers rave about.

Recipe: Allrecipes