First, let’s get semantics out of the way. What’s the difference between Thanksgiving stuffing and dressing? Technically speaking, the first is cooked inside the turkey cavity (sorry), whereas the second is cooked separately in a pan. Most cooks use the terms interchangeably, though.

Whatever you call it, we can all agree that no Thanksgiving meal is complete without this highly loveable side dish. Unlike store-bought mixes, which are often loaded with unidentified poultry seasoning, homemade stuffing recipes allow you to tailor the amount of salt and spice to your taste. Plus, they’re extremely easy to make from scratch. Most classic stuffing recipes rely almost entirely on pantry staples, like day-old bread, onions, celery, and fresh sage—oh, and lots of butter. Our Simple Is Best Stuffing has dominated reader reviews since 2012, making it a tried-and-true choice for your Thanksgiving dinner. But if you feel like branching out, there are many types of stuffing out there: try a spicy stuffing with chorizo and chiles, an Italian riff with toasted pine nuts and dried fruit, or a gluten-free version with crispy wild rice. And, of course, we’ve got lots of make-ahead options to free up oven space on the big day. All there’s left to do is cook that bird.

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