How to Make Tasty, Low-Calorie Turkey Stuffing (2024)

For many people, Thanksgiving dinner wouldn't be complete without generous portions of stuffing. Enjoying holiday dinners is part of a healthy lifestyle, since food is meant to be satisfying and celebrated. If you are concerned about stuffing calories, however, there are ways to make a less energy-dense version.

Stuffing is not strictly a healthy food, because it is typically high in calories, fat, sodium, and refined carbohydrates. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it, All foods can fit into a healthy diet in moderation.

Stuffing 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 nutrition facts such as calories, fat, and carbohydrate content across recipes and brands can help you make this decision.

Homemade 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

Homemade 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 only. 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 a 1/2 cup serving is provided by the manufacturer.

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

Stove Top Chicken Stuffing Mix

Understanding Portion Sizes

Is Stuffing Healthy?

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 recipes also include apples or other fruits or vegetables that provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

However, stuffing can be high in fat. If you buy boxed stuffing, the fat content on the label usually doesn't look too high. But what actually ends up on the plate is quite different, thanks to added butter, oil, pan drippings, and gravy. A portion of stuffing and gravy can provide upwards of a half day's worth of fat.

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

There are only about 120 to 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.

How Much Sodium Do You Need?

Make Stuffing More Nutritious

If you decide to make your own stuffing, the calorie count and fat content will depend entirely on your recipe. Many traditional recipes call for turkey drippings and other high-fat ingredients like sausage and butter. But you can make some modifications to lower calories and boost nutrients.

  • Use whole grains. Substitute whole wheat or multi-grain bread for white bread.
  • Don't skimp on the vegetables. Adding more vegetables, such as onions, carrots, and celery, will add flavor and 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, check your portion sizes. Try sticking to 1/2 cup (about the size of an ice cream scoop).

How to Eat Healthy on Thanksgiving

Simple Stuffing Recipe

This stuffing recipe is a hearty, balanced version of your favorite stuffing. Familiar herbs impart the classic stuffing flavor, but you'll also find more texture and nutrients from added veggies and whole-grain bread.

Choose bread that is slightly stale or dry it out on the counter for a couple of hours prior to using. You can use any type of bread you like or a mixture. Pumpernickel, sourdough, and hearty seed breads all work well.


  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (or mild-tasting oil, such as canola)
  • 2 tbsp mild-tasting oil such as canola
  • 2.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable stock)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery with leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 12 oz. whole-grain bread, torn into 1-inch cubes


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Layer bread cubes on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway. Remove bread into a bowl and reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and cook garlic, onions, celery, and carrots until tender-soft. Add herbs, salt, and pepper. Combine and mix with bread cubes in the bowl.
  3. Combine the chicken broth, butter, eggs, and spices. Pour over the bread cubes mixture gently to coat.
  4. Spoon the stuffing into a greased, 2-quart baking dish and bake uncovered until the top is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

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. Stuffing. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central.

  3. Cornbread stuffing. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central.

How to Make Tasty, Low-Calorie Turkey Stuffing (1)

By Malia Frey, M.A., ACE-CHC, CPT
Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.

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