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Gluten-Free Sage Dressing (Updated)

Thanksgiving, Gluten-Free, Sage Dressing, Recipe

This recipe was originally published in 2009, but I’ve updated it with new photos and substitution recommendations for accommodating additional allergens.

This recipe for Sage dressing hails from my Grandma in Austin, Minnesota (hi Gram!).   It is without a doubt one of my favorite Schmidt family recipes and I have such fond memories of making this dressing as a kid every Thanksgiving with my dad.  Traditionally, we always stuffed the bird (which apparently, is not a very safe method of cooking it)…but it always came out delightfully moist and we never got sick.  For the extra dressing that wouldn’t fit inside the turkey cavity, we would bake that up in a casserole dish in the oven.  Equally as good, just a tad drier than the dressing cooked up the turkey’s behind….easily fixed with an extra ladle of gravy. 😉

For the past few years I have been hosting my own Thanksgiving and inviting all my friends who like to taste test for me.  The more people I invited however, the smaller my lone oven became.  Inspired by my friend Stephanie O’Dea and her Year of Slow Cooking Blog, I thought…why not?  So last year, I made EVERYTHING except the turkey in separate slowcookers and it worked like a charm!  I prepped all the sides the day before; and put each one in a separate slowcooker.  The nighttime temperature here was cold enough that I could leave the crocks on the patio overnight to help save on fridge space (a cooler works great too).  For the first time in a very long while, I was able to sit down, watch football and hang out with my friends instead of slaving away in the kitchen.

Oh yeah, I even won a contest for this dressing recipe over at The Savvy Celiac! 😀

Gluten-Free Sage Dressing

Gluten-Free Sage Dressing


  • 2 Loaves of Ener-G Light Tapioca Loaf, dried out (this bread is free of: gluten, wheat, casein, dairy, egg, soy, nut, and appears to be corn-free as well, please be sure to double check with the manufacturer)
  • 2 cups diced Celery
  • 1 1/2 cups diced Onion
  • 1/2 cup Butter (for dairy-free: use either coconut oil, Earth Balance, Ghee or you can make your own dairy, corn and soy-free butter)
  • 2 Tbs. Rubbed Sage (more or less, to taste)
  • 1 quart Gluten-Free Chicken Broth or Stock (I use Kitchen Basics, which is free of: gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and corn).


  1. Dry out bread (I do this by laying the bread on a cookie sheet and placing in a 250° F. oven for about an hour or so, flipping and rotating the bread every 15 minutes. The bread is ready when it’s hard but not burned).
  2. Break up bread into small pieces.
  3. Saute celery and onion in butter until tender.
  4. Add rubbed sage to the celery, onion and butter mixture, stir to incorporate.
  5. Add sauteed vegetables and sage to bread pieces; mix well.
  6. Turn into a well greased 2 qt. baking dish or slowcooker.
  7. Add some chicken broth to slightly moisten…this has always been an “eyeball it” thing for me so I do not have an exact measurement for you. When I bake the dressing in the oven, I add about a cup of chicken broth since it is a dry method of cooking (you can always add more broth if needed). When we used to “stuff the bird,” we would not use any broth because the turkey juices drip into the dressing. For the slowcooker method, you need to add the moisture so you don’t break your slowcooker. For 2 loaves of Ener-G bread, I start with about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken or turkey broth and add more as needed (I live in a dry climate, so I usually end up using close to 3 cups of stock in the slowcooker).
  8. Dot with butter (or dairy-free margarine).
  9. Bake at 350 degrees, covered, for 45 minutes OR if using a slowcooker, set to low for 4 – 6 hours, stirring occasionally and adding additional chicken or turkey broth as needed. Depending on how much bread you use, it may need to cook a little longer. Once the dressing is ready, switch over to the warm setting until serving time.

Thanksgiving, Gluten-Free, Sage Dressing, RecipeThanksgiving, Gluten-Free, Sage Dressing, Recipe



What do you serve at your Thanksgiving table, dressing or stuffing?


  1. Love your site! Have you made your sage dressing with other breads as well? Do you feel that the Ener-G Tapioca is especially good for this? Your recipe is virtually identical to the "Stuffing" my mom used to make, crock pot and all, except for the GF factor. I made it last year with different kinds of GF bread, some homemade, some Udi's, etc. I wasn't happy with the texture, it got mushy. Does the Tapioca bread solve this?

    • Hi Mimi!

      Yes, I have made this with other gluten-free breads, including Udi's and Canyon Bakehouse and I agree with you, the texture was not the least bit appealing, mushy and grainy. The Ener-G Light Tapioca Loaf does not break down the same way that the other gluten-free breads do (at least not in my recipe). I tell everyone that Ener-G's "bubble" bread was made for stuffing (I nicknamed it bubble bread due to it's bubble wrap packaging). I would never eat it as an un-toasted sandwich, but in gluten-free stuffing, it reigns! 😀


      • Thanks, Heidi! Can't wait to try it again. Last year was my first GF Thanksgiving, and now I'm sure this one will be even better! Hopefully, the pie crusts wil be better, too. 🙂

  2. For gluten free pie crusts (if you don't have problems with other foods)-try the ones at Whole Foods. They are fabulous and I know there are a lot of people out there that really want to make their own but I've tried quite a few recipes and thought I had it with barley and then found that, while I'm officially just allergic to wheat, the barley doesn't work for me and it's definitely not gluten free.

  3. I just made this yesterday and used probably 4 cups of chicken broth for the oven. I used 2 loaves as suggested and thought I had too much bread to go with the measurements. I did forget to dot with butter and the top of the stuffing was still hard and browned after being cooked. The bottom part was fine. My son loved it and is looking forward to having it on TG day.

    I did not add onion as we need to be onion free, but I did put apple in it.

  4. I showed the picture of your stuffing to my hubby and said "Now that's how you eat stuffing!" With a bunch of gravy on top. I am going to give this a go. Last Thanksgiving was my first gluten-free Thanksgiving and it was the most boring I'd ever had, but it was also the best I had ever felt. My Aunt forgot and put a packet of gravy mix in with the pan drippings, so I had no gravy. And I thought she was making gf stuffing, she thought I was. So no stuffing. Lesson learned! Looking forward to this year!

  5. This reminds me of gravy, not dressing! Call it gravy! I love that it can be made allergy friendly. Looking at the pic, I'm reminded of those hot turkey sandwiches I used to eat in diners… yum… so comforting. 🙂

  6. Krista Anderson says

    How do I make the gravy I see poured on top of the dressing? It looks delicious! I was just looking for a fun appetizer idea so plan to try this out tomorrow… Thank you. 🙂

  7. I made some GF cornbread stuffing last week, but am thinking of making GF bread stuffing. I was wondering if GF bread would hold up in a stuffing recipe, so I appreciate your notes about using Ener-G Light Tapioca bread. I've never bought it because it looks so hard and unappealing (I like Canyon Bakehouses' San Juan 7-grain), but makes sense that it would hold up better in a stuffing recipe.

  8. This looks great! Should I cover it when I bake it in the oven though?

    Couldn't find the Ener-G bread, but am trying it with Food for Life Rice bread. Looking forward to seeing how it comes out!


    • Hi Meredith!

      Yes, you want to cover the dish while baking (thank you for bringing that up, I updated the post). If at the end of the 45 minute baking period, the dressing isn't toasted to your liking, just remove the cover and place back in the over for 5 – 10 minutes.

      Please let me know how you like it!

      Happy Thanksgiving,

      • It was good! I got lots of compliments and my husband especially loved it….next time I will break the bread up into smaller pieces though. It was the first time I made stuffing, so I didn't know to make them small enough!

  9. Thanks so much for putting all these wonderful recipes out!! We just gave up wheat 2 months ago and our normal Thanksgiving plans fell through (the normal plans are at a GF house too) so I am now stuck with doing my first GF Thanksgiving! Eek! Anyway, I got the Ener-G Tapioca loaf. Do I need to toast it first or just let the slices dry out before using. I got a little confused from the "you have to toast it before eating it" thing and the drying out. I know you are probably super busy so thanks in advance!! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  10. I made this stuffing a few weeks ago, and stuffed a chicken to see if it would be a good recipe for thanksgiving. It tasted wonderful! I used Udi's white bread, and the texture was lovely.

    Unfortunately, I didn't get the same result today, and today is Thanksgivng! The difference? I used different bread. I did one loaf of Udi's and one loaf of Good Life Millet bread. The millet bread, though well toasted, turned into a crumbly mess once i added a little broth. There's nothing I can do now, I just stuffed my turkey and am hoping for the best. If I could do it over again, I would only use Udi's, but in know it has eggs, so it isn't suitable for everyone.

  11. Looks good! We're dressing people. Bob likes his wetter (I call it gummy) than I do so I put half of the recipe in the pan first for me. I fluff it up with a fork once I get it in the pan. I like mine nice and crispy. Then I add a little extra broth to his, pour it into the other side of the pan and then mash his side down. I also don't use sage. Bob is allergic so I use other herbs.