Taste Test Thursday: Packaged Stuffing

We dug our forks into heaps of store-bought stuffing. Here's what happened.

We’re trying a variety of store-bought Thanksgiving sides every week this month in honor of the impending holiday. We kicked things off last Thursday with cranberry sauce. Out of all the gelatinous mounds of crimson berries tasted, Pacific Whole Berry came out on top.

This week we dug our forks into heaps of packaged stuffing. Sure, nothing beats a homemade oyster dressing but sometimes even the most calculated from-scratch plans can go awry. So who makes the best packaged stuffing according to D Magazine staffers? Let’s find out.

 

The stuffing:
A. Mrs. Cubbison’s Herb Seasoned Cube Stuffing
B. Stove Top Turkey Stuffing
C. Arrowhead Mills Savory Herb Stuffing
D. Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing
E. 365 Organic Vegan Stuffing
F. Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing

 

Tasting notes:
Mrs. Cubbison’s Herb Seasoned Cube Stuffing

  • Has the appearance of soggy croutons. Also has the taste of soggy croutons.
  • This is just soggy bread. Was this brand even trying?
  • Too dry and bread-y.
  • A coworker makes a rude comment about how this appears to be nothing more than “croutons.” He’s thumbing the scale a bit and I can’t let that happen … great, he’s right.
  • This looks like soggy croutons and has the consistency of wet bread. Is that rosemary? Meh.
  • Bland.
  • This is worse than eating the box it came in.

Stove Top Turkey Stuffing

  • I like the flecks of tiny onions and the gooey texture seems right, if that’s your style.
  • Great blend of spices. Nice chunky, chewy texture.
  • Gummy texture. Too heavy on the dried herb mix.
  • Celery plays a prominent role here and I’m thrilled because it forced that awful memory of salad accessories left by A out of my mind.
  • Like the texture, can actually taste the herbs and celery.
  • Nice.
  • Some herbs, not the worst stuffing ever.

Arrowhead Mills Savory Herb Stuffing

  • A little flaky. Very floral, not in the good way.
  • Too much rosemary. Makes it taste medicinal.
  • Doesn’t hold together at all, but has good flavor.
  • Dry and crumbly. Not exactly a stellar combination. Stuffing is a tough game. It descends from grandma’s lofty perch of traditionalism to grocery cafeteria pretty quickly here.
  • Synthetic rosemary. Crumbly texture. Dry. Trash can.
  • Pieces too small, seasoning too strong.
  • Overwhelmingly herb-y, but leaves a tangy aftertaste. Neither of these are good things. Also, looks like Rice Krispies.

Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing

  • Very yellow in color. Good texture, not too much taste.
  • Salty. Good flavor, though.
  • Too wet. I feel like Goldilocks.
  • This splits into broader structural plates. What it lacks in flavor it makes up for in architecture and physics.
  • This is the first I can take more than two bites of. It’s kind of mushy, actually.
  • Apples and oranges because it’s cornbread, but this is really good. If I’d never eaten homemade stuffing before, I’d consider buying this.
  • Tastes like a stick of butter.

365 Organic Vegan Stuffing

  • Quite bland.
  • Texture is too soggy. Bland flavor.
  • Not bad. Good flavor and texture.
  • Packing peanuts, basically.
  • I haven’t been perplexed by these taste tests yet, but this has me stuck. There was talk of MSG, and while I was originally startled by that discussion, I’m sort of pining for umami at the moment. At least I know what to call that.
  • The soggy crouton strikes back.
  • Bland. Is there any seasoning in it?

Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing

  • Strange white color, very artificial taste. If someone served this at dinner and it was already on my plate, I’d probably try to create a distraction or possible “accidentally” break the dish.
  • Tastes wheat-y. Bet this is some heath-nut whole grain variety.
  • This looks like a science experiment. It’s that piece of food that has been forgotten in the back of your fridge last spring and grew a mold colony that’s managed to build a local economy and infrastructure similar to that of Celina. And then it just tastes like bread. Screw this stuffing.
  • Too chewy. These all taste the same.
  • No.
  • Like a balled-up, gummy piece of terrible bread.
  • Tastes like mashed up wheat bread.

 

Tally up:

Mrs. Cubbison’s Herb Seasoned Cube Stuffing: 0
Stove Top Turkey Stuffing: 4
Arrowhead Mills Savory Herb Stuffing: 0
Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing: 3
365 Organic Vegan Stuffing: 0
Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing: 0

 

The winner is:

Stove Top Turkey Stuffing won this week’s blind taste test, and their cornbread variety is a close second. They were the only two stuffings that had microwave directions as well as stove top ones. So I microwaved them. Maybe that had something to do with the results? Do you agree with the outcome? Who makes your favorite stuffing? Do you even like stuffing? Let us know in the comments below.

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