How Much Stuffing You Need for a Large Group

Stuffing is an essential part of a traditional holiday feast or a large group meal. It can be served as a main dish or a side dish, and its popularity lies in its versatility and delicious taste.


As a general guideline, it’s recommended to plan for 1/2 to 3/4 cup of stuffing per person for a side dish serving, and 1 to 1 1/2 cups for a main dish serving. However, this serving size can vary based on the age, appetite, and dietary restrictions of group members.

But determining the right amount of stuffing to prepare for a large group can be a challenge, especially if you’re catering to a diverse group of people with varying appetites. In this article, we’ll explore the factors that you need to consider when calculating how much stuffing you need for a large group. By taking into account the size of the group, the type of meal, the appetite of group members, and recipe variations, you’ll be able to ensure that there’s enough stuffing for everyone to enjoy.

Why do we need stuffing?

Stuffing serves several purposes in various culinary and crafting contexts. Here are some reasons why stuffing is commonly used:

  1. Culinary Purposes:
    • Enhanced Flavor: Stuffing is often seasoned with herbs, spices, vegetables, and other ingredients that add flavor to the dish. It infuses the stuffing with these flavors, which can then be transferred to the surrounding ingredients, such as poultry, vegetables, or other meats.
    • Moisture and Texture: Stuffing helps retain moisture in the dish, preventing it from drying out during cooking. It also adds a desirable texture, providing a contrast to the main ingredients.
    • Accompaniment: Stuffing can be a delicious side dish that complements and enhances the flavors of the main course. It is often served alongside roasted poultry, such as turkey or chicken, during festive meals or special occasions.
  2. Crafting and Sewing Purposes:
    • Shape and Structure: In crafting and sewing projects, stuffing is used to give shape and structure to soft toys, pillows, cushions, and other fabric items. It fills out the space inside the item, providing it with a plump and three-dimensional appearance.
    • Comfort and Softness: Stuffing adds a layer of comfort and softness to fabric items, making them more enjoyable to touch, hug, or rest against.
    • Design and Aesthetics: The choice of stuffing material can influence the final look and feel of a fabric item. Different types of stuffing can create various effects, from a firm and sculpted look to a plush and cuddly appearance.

Overall, stuffing serves practical and aesthetic purposes, whether it’s enhancing the taste and texture of a dish or providing shape and comfort to fabric creations. It adds depth, flavor, and visual appeal, contributing to the overall enjoyment and satisfaction of the culinary or crafting experience.

How to Measure Stuffing for a Large Group

Measuring stuffing for a large group requires careful planning to ensure that everyone gets enough to eat. Here are the steps to measure stuffing for a large group:

Determine the size of the group: The number of people you’re serving will determine the amount of stuffing you need to prepare.

Decide on the serving size: Decide whether you want to serve the stuffing as a main dish or a side dish. A serving size of 1/2 to 3/4 cup per person is a good starting point for a side dish, while 1 to 1 1/2 cups per person is a good starting point for a main dish.

Account for special dietary restrictions: If some group members have special dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free or vegetarian, consider making a separate batch of stuffing to accommodate their needs.

Multiply the serving size by the number of people: Multiply the serving size per person by the number of people to determine the total amount of stuffing you need to prepare.

Plan for leftovers: It’s always best to prepare a little extra stuffing to account for second helpings or leftovers.

By following these steps, you can accurately measure the amount of stuffing you need for a large group and ensure that everyone gets enough to eat.

How Much Stuffing for a Large Group

When planning to serve stuffing at your Thanksgiving dinner, it’s recommended to estimate each person’s serving to be 1/2 cup.

To determine the exact amount of stuffing required, use the chart provided below. The chart shows the number of cups of stuffing needed and the corresponding number of boxes required, with the boxes rounded up for convenience. If you need a specific amount, simply measure out the desired cups and keep the extra stuffing in the boxes for future use.

When to Make More Stuffing?

You may need to make more stuffing in the following situations:

  1. Larger group size: If you have a larger group than initially anticipated, you may need to make additional stuffing to ensure everyone is adequately served. Adjust the quantities based on the number of extra guests.
  2. Generous servings: If you know that your group enjoys larger portions or if you want to ensure there are ample leftovers, it’s a good idea to make more stuffing than the standard portion sizes. This allows for second servings and ensures everyone’s preferences are met.
  3. Stuffing as the main dish: If you’re planning to serve stuffing as the main course, rather than as a side dish, you will likely need to make a larger quantity to ensure there’s enough to satisfy everyone’s appetite.
  4. Stuffing lovers: If you know that your group particularly enjoys stuffing and it’s a favorite dish, it’s better to err on the side of making more to avoid running out.
  5. Dietary restrictions: If you have guests with dietary restrictions or food allergies who cannot consume certain ingredients in the stuffing, you might need to prepare alternative stuffing options to accommodate their needs.

Remember, it’s always better to have a little extra stuffing than to run out during the meal. Leftover stuffing can also be enjoyed later or used in other recipes, so having more is often a good idea.

When to Make Less Stuffing?

You may need to make less stuffing in the following situations:

  1. Smaller group size: If your group is smaller than anticipated, you can make less stuffing to avoid excessive leftovers. Adjust the quantities based on the number of guests to ensure everyone is served appropriately.
  2. Dietary preferences: If you know that some of your guests do not prefer or consume stuffing, you can reduce the amount prepared accordingly. Consider their preferences and plan accordingly to avoid wastage.
  3. Other main dishes: If you have multiple main dishes or a variety of side dishes that are expected to be filling, you can decrease the amount of stuffing to avoid an excessive amount of food overall. Adjust the quantities based on the expected consumption patterns.
  4. Limited storage capacity: If you have limited space to store leftovers or anticipate that there won’t be much leftover consumption, you can make less stuffing to prevent unnecessary waste.
  5. Time constraints: If you are short on time or have a busy schedule, making less stuffing can help streamline your cooking process and allow you to focus on other dishes.

Remember, it’s important to gauge your guests’ preferences, dietary restrictions, and the overall menu to determine the appropriate amount of stuffing to make. Adjusting the quantity accordingly can help minimize food waste and ensure a well-balanced meal.

How to Make Stuffing?

Stuffing 1

To make stuffing, you can follow these general steps:


  • 8 cups (about 1.8 liters) of stale bread, cubed
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) of unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of dried herbs (such as sage, thyme, or rosemary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper (adjust to taste)
  • 2-3 cups (about 475-710 milliliters) of chicken or vegetable broth
  • Optional: additional ingredients like cooked sausage, chopped apples, dried cranberries, or nuts for added flavor and texture.


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Spread the bread cubes evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes until they are toasted and dry. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet or saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion, celery, and minced garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are softened and translucent, usually around 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the dried herbs, salt, and pepper to the skillet, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring to combine the flavors.
  5. If you’re adding any optional ingredients like cooked sausage, chopped apples, dried cranberries, or nuts, now is the time to mix them into the skillet and cook briefly to incorporate the flavors.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the toasted bread cubes and the vegetable mixture from the skillet. Toss them together until the bread cubes are coated with the seasonings and ingredients.
  7. Gradually pour the chicken or vegetable broth over the mixture while gently stirring. Start with 2 cups and add more as needed until the stuffing reaches your desired level of moisture. The bread should be moistened but not soggy.
  8. Transfer the stuffing mixture to a baking dish or stuff it into a turkey if you prefer. If using a baking dish, cover it with aluminum foil.
  9. Bake the stuffing in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until it’s heated through and the top is golden brown. If you prefer a crispier top, you can remove the foil during the last 10 minutes of baking.
  10. Once done, remove the stuffing from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

Note: The above instructions provide a basic method for making stuffing. Feel free to customize the recipe by adding your favorite ingredients, adjusting the seasonings, or following specific family traditions.

What can I use instead of stuffing for crocheting?

If you are looking for alternatives to traditional stuffing for crocheting, there are a few options you can consider:

  1. Polyester Fiberfill: Polyester fiberfill is a commonly used alternative to traditional stuffing. It is soft, lightweight, and provides a good amount of cushioning. It is widely available at craft stores and can be used as a stuffing material for various crochet projects.
  2. Scrap Yarn: Another option is to use scrap yarn as stuffing. You can gather small bits and pieces of leftover yarn and stuff them into your crochet projects. This method not only makes use of your yarn scraps but also adds a bit of weight and texture to the finished item.
  3. Fabric Scraps: Cut-up fabric scraps can also be used as an alternative stuffing material. You can collect fabric remnants or old clothes, cut them into small pieces, and use them to stuff your crochet projects. This option is particularly eco-friendly as it helps reduce waste.
  4. Cotton or Bamboo Fiber: Natural fibers like cotton or bamboo can be used as stuffing material. These fibers are hypoallergenic and have a soft and breathable quality. You can find cotton or bamboo stuffing specifically designed for crafts or use cotton balls or unspun bamboo fiber.
  5. Foam or Foam Inserts: For certain crochet projects that require more structure, you can consider using foam or foam inserts. These can be cut to the desired shape and size to fit inside your crochet item. Foam provides a firm stuffing option and is commonly used for amigurumi or projects that require a specific shape.

When choosing an alternative stuffing material, consider the desired texture, weight, and washability of your crochet project. Some materials may compress more than others or may not be suitable for projects that require frequent washing. Experiment with different options to find the stuffing material that works best for your specific crochet project.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use fresh bread instead of stale bread for stuffing?

Fresh bread can be used for stuffing, but it may result in a softer texture. Stale bread is preferred as it absorbs the flavors and moisture better, resulting in a firmer and more flavorful stuffing.

Can I make stuffing ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the stuffing ahead of time. After combining all the ingredients, cover and refrigerate it. When ready to bake, remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature before baking as directed.

Can I stuff a turkey with this stuffing recipe?

Yes, you can use this stuffing to stuff a turkey. Ensure that the stuffing is cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) when testing the turkey’s doneness.

Can I make stuffing without butter?

Yes, you can substitute butter with olive oil or vegetable oil for a dairy-free version. The flavor may vary slightly, but it will still be delicious.

How can I make the stuffing gluten-free?

To make gluten-free stuffing, use gluten-free bread cubes or substitute with gluten-free grains like quinoa or rice. Also, ensure that all other ingredients, such as broth and optional additions, are gluten-free.

Can I freeze leftover stuffing?

Yes, leftover stuffing can be frozen for later use. Let it cool completely, portion it into airtight containers or freezer bags, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating.

Can I adjust the seasoning and herbs in the stuffing?

Absolutely! Feel free to adjust the seasoning and herbs according to your taste preferences. You can experiment with different combinations of herbs and spices to create a unique flavor profile.

Can I make vegetarian or vegan stuffing?

Yes, you can make vegetarian or vegan stuffing by using vegetable broth and replacing butter with plant-based alternatives like vegan butter or olive oil. Be sure to choose ingredients that align with your dietary preferences.

Can I add other ingredients to the stuffing?

Yes, you can customize the stuffing by adding ingredients like cooked sausage, chopped apples, dried cranberries, nuts, or any other ingredients that complement your taste. Be creative and experiment with different flavors.

Can I reheat leftover stuffing?

Leftover stuffing can be reheated in the oven or microwave. If using the oven, cover it with foil and bake at 350°F (175°C) until heated through. In the microwave, heat it in short intervals, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly heated.