Spinach Stuffing Balls are an easy make-ahead side dish for your holiday dinner feast. Warm them up while the turkey is being carved then serve them with gravy and mashed potatoes.
Make ahead side dishes are an absolute lifesaver for any holiday meal. Use the search feature on the blog (type in Thanksgiving) and you’ll find several options.
Our favourites are these Stuffing Balls and Braised German Red Cabbage. Of course, a generous bowl of Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes is an absolute must-have on any holiday table.
Spinach Stuffing Balls
I classify these Spinach Stuffing balls as a ‘throwback recipe’ or Vintage recipe because they have been a part of my holiday dinner table for decades. They are a little different than the usual sausage ball because they contain spinach instead of sausage.
Our family LOVES stuffing. They always request this side in addition to the stuffing that is already in the turkey. The worst thing ever is to run out of stuffing at a turkey dinner!
These savoury stuffing balls are loaded with classic stuffing flavours that everyone loves, such as sage and poultry seasoning. They have a perfect crusty outer layer and a tender, moist interior.
However they differ from classic stuffing because they contain grated Parmesan, eggs, and chopped spinach.
- bread cubes
- Parmesan Cheese
- Poultry Seasoning
- Salt and Pepper
While I generally promote and encourage from-scratch cooking, I make an exception for this recipe. Yes, I use packaged stovetop stuffing mix!
You can crumble and dry out your own bread cubes or white bread crumbs but the stuffing mix has the perfect size of very small bread cubes. If you can find them somewhere else, feel free to use them.
Note that the stuffing mix has its own seasoning mixed in so you won’t need to add any salt to the mixture. I also highly recommend using unsalted butter for the very same reason.
It used to be that the seasoning would come in a separate package alongside the bread cubes. I would just toss it and season it myself. Now, the cubes are already seasoned so you may not even need to use salt, pepper, or poultry seasoning.
Parmesan Cheese. So worth it to get the real deal and use a fine grater for best results. Again, if you only have the packaged stuff, use that in the recipe.
Frozen Chopped Spinach
Frozen Chopped Spinach is a lifesaver! I keep a package in the freezer at all times and it is perfect for adding to this recipe and others. Frozen kale will work in a pinch. If you want to make these more like traditional stuffing, you can add onion and celery in place of the spinach.
You can use fresh spinach in this recipe but you’ll need a lot of it and it will need to be sautéed first. Frozen spinach is already tightly packed, you just need to thaw it. I usually thaw it in the microwave for a minute or two.
For this recipe, you will need to remove all the water from the spinach. Start by draining as much as you can, then place the spinach on top of three sheets of paper towel. Package it up, and squeeze the water out with your hands over the sink.
By the time all the water is out of the spinach, it will look like about half of what you started with and it will be very tightly packed. Break up the spinach before you add it to the mixture so can be evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
How to Make Spinach Stuffing Balls
If you can make a meatball, you can make these stuffing balls! To start, preheat the oven to 350 F.
Next, crack the eggs into a large bowl. Beat the eggs with a whisk for a minute or two then add the stuffing mix, drained spinach, grated cheese, and melted butter. You may or may not need to season with salt and pepper as the stuffing mix is quite salty.
Use your hands to form the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls. Feel free to moisten your hands with some water to prevent the mixture from sticking.
Place a baking rack on top of a sheet pan or line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the balls on the baking rack and bake for 12-15 minutes or just until they are slightly golden brown in colour. Remove from heat and serve or allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
Make Ahead and Reheat this Side Dish
As mentioned, this is the perfect side dish to make ahead of holiday meals. After baking the Spinach Balls allow them to cool to room temperature. Then, place them all in a freezer bag or air tight container. Refrigerate for 4-5 days or freeze until needed.
To reheat from frozen, allow to thaw overnight in the fridge. Then, reheat them in a covered casserole dish at 350 F (for about 10 minutes) as the turkey is being carved.
Delicious Stuffing Ball Variations
Spinach and Parmesan Cheese are delicious in these stuffing balls but there are many ways to change the flavour combination.
Go Greek! Try adding feta cheese, oregano, garlic and lemon zest to the stuffing mixture for a taste of the Mediterranean.
How about Italian…Pecorino with sun dried tomatoes and basil would be absolutely delicious.
Go Swiss! Smoked gouda and mushrooms maybe? Remember to sauté the mushrooms first so they don’t release moisture into the stuffing ball.
Or…go old school by adding a bit of sausage meat, some shredded cheddar and parsley.
The possibilities are endless. What flavour combinations can you think of?
Helpful Items for this Recipe
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Spinach Stuffing Balls
Spinach Stuffing Balls are easy to make ahead of time and warm up in a jiffy while the turkey is being carved. It's one of our family's favourite holiday side dishes.
- 6 eggs, lightly beaten
- 6 oz. pkg. stuffing mix* or 2 cups very tiny dried bread cubes
- 1/2 cup butter (use unsalted if using a stuffing mix), melted
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 2 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- In a bowl, combine eggs, stuffing mix, butter, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
- Add spinach; mix well.
- Shape mixture into 1-1/2-in. balls.
- Arrange each ball on a baking rack over a baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Can be frozen ahead of the big meal. Just thaw and re-heat as you carve the turkey.
* You could use regular dried bread cubes here, but do use small cubes and not crumbs or torn dried bread. I think it works better for the texture and appeal. If you are using plain bread crumbs and not the stuffing mix, add regular spices as you would in your stuffing mix (Sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper).
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 255Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 181mgSodium: 560mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.
These sound great! Bought all ingredients to double the recipe (16 balls) – my question is whether I’d need to adjust cooking times?
Hi Kirsten. No, as long as you are making the balls the same size as per the recipe they should take the same time.
I love these. My Mother In Law has made them for years, one of my favorites. Her recipe is the same except she adds 1 large grated onion.
That’s a great idea…grating it would make it fine enough to cook through.
These were a huge hit with my family at Thanksgiving dinner. One suggestion is something that I tried was make turkey gravy to dip them in. Delish.
That’s exactly how we eat them! Thanks for giving them a try Libby.
Can you substitute the frozen spinach for fresh spinach?
Sure you can! I do it all the time. Just make sure it’s thawed and all the water is squeezed out of it first. 1/2-2/3 cup packed squeezed dry spinach should be good.
Do you use like a stove top stuffing mix?
yes! I have made it from scratch but I really like the size of the bread in the stuffing mix for this recipe.
Are we supposed to cook the stuffing mix first or mix it totally dry and hard?
Hi Jessica, you mix it all together uncooked. It gets softened by the butter. As you mix, it should come together. If not, sprinkle a bit of water into the mixture.
Thank you so much!
Do you bake them, cool them, then freeze them? Or freeze them before you cook them?
Yes, I bake them then cool and freeze. Take them out to thaw when you start roasting your turkey.
Oh those pre-google recipe days, hey? I am still digging out recipe cards I got from my mother-in-law etc… and posting them. I love these, Bernice! They’re so fun and different, but you get the healthy spinach as a bonus!
Haha, we did what we had to do, right?! These really are a family fave, they are requested every holiday!
This is such a great idea and they look really good! Very creative!
Thank you Melanie, they’re a family fave!
These really look good! My husband was a vegetarian for years, so I got very creative making meatballs like these, meatloaf, and burgers, all with veggies and lots of beans! They were really good!
thank you mimi! they are great and just need a little tweaking to make them healthier 🙂 It’s on ‘the list’.
These look great,,, I’ve never heard of them,,, pretty too!
Thank you Darie. I like that you can make them ahead of time and they re heat really easy. I put them back in the oven while hubby was carving the turkey and they were perfect when he was finished.