Sausage Stuffing Recipe (2024)

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By Natasha

Nov 20, 2021, Updated Nov 12, 2023

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This sausage stuffing recipe is filled with Italian sausage, apple, fresh herbs, and it has a lovely soft inside and crisp outside. Perfect for your Thanksgiving table!

Want a holiday breakfast idea for your family? Try this Simple Breakfast Casserole.

Sausage Stuffing Recipe (2)

Why you’ll love it

Technically this is a sausage dressing since it’s cooked outside the Roast Turkey, but I will forever refer to it as stuffing. Whatever you call it, you’re gonna want to smother it with delicious Homemade Gravy. This rich sausage stuffing is a family favorite that will be the star of your holiday meal.

It’s easy to make stuffing with this step-by-step guide, so don’t be intimidated! And oh man, the leftovers… if there are any, you could honestly eat it as a meal in itself since it’s so hearty, buttery, and filling. It’s the first thing we run out of in my home at Thanksgiving. Ok, maybe the Baked Mac and Cheese disappears a little bit faster. 😉

What you’ll need for it

  • Bread – a loaf of your favorite day-old bread works for this recipe
  • Italian sausage – I use Johnsonville mild Italian sausages and take them out of their casings. You can use already ground sausage meat. Hot Italian sausage or even a different variety will work too!
  • Butter – for sautéing the onions and apple mixture and adding richness
  • Onion, celery, and apple – this crunchy mixture packs a punch. Choose a variety of apple you enjoy. I picked Honeycrisp.
  • Fresh herbs – fresh parsley, sage, thyme, and rosemary are a fragrant mix that infuse so much savory herb flavor into this stuffing
  • Chicken broth – for moisture and adding in even more flavor
  • Eggs – they bind the stuffing and are VERY important to getting the right texture. I would not leave them out!

What kind of bread?

I used a pre-sliced loaf of brioche-style bread, but pretty much any kind of bread will work fine. Just be sure you like the taste of it! A loaf that’s 1 pound or a little over will work. You can use store-bought dried bread cubes, but in my opinion the flavor isn’t quite as good.

How to make sausage stuffing

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

Sausage Stuffing Recipe (3)

Cut your bread into cubes (or tear it). Either do this a few days ahead of time and let it dry out, or you can use day-old bread and bake it in the oven until it’s dried out, or use the pre-bagged dried bread cubes that some grocery stores will sell around the holidays. Add the bread to a large bowl.Cook the sausage in a skillet.

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Transfer the sausage to the bowl with the bread, and drain the fat from the skillet. In the same skillet, sauté the onions, celery, and apples in the butter, and then add the chopped herbs.

Sausage Stuffing Recipe (5)

Transfer the skillet mixture to the bowl. Stir the salt, pepper, and half the broth into the stuffing, adding gradually, and toss.

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To another bowl, whisk the eggs and the other half of the broth, then add it into the stuffing and toss. Transfer the stuffing to a 9×13 casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes, covered, and then remove the foil and continue baking for another 45 minutes.

Helpful tips

  • In general, I highly recommend cooking bread stuffing outside your turkey. It gives it a chance to get tasty browned bits on top, and a stuffed turkey will often end up overcooked since you need to ensure stuffing that’s cooked inside reaches 165F for food safety reasons.
  • Recipe difficulty level: Making stuffing isn’t complicated, but you do want to ensure you’ve got the bread ready to go and also leave yourself some time for chopping/prep.
  • It is best to add the broth in gradually so you don’t soak one section of bread while leaving another dry. The broth is added in two parts in this recipe so that it does get more of a chance to soak in, making this whole process a bit easier!
Sausage Stuffing Recipe (7)

How to make stuffing ahead of time

  • You can make it one day ahead of time by doing all the steps except for the final part of the baking process (the browning in step 11). The day before you want to serve it, you would complete the first 45 minutes of baking (step 10), uncover it, and let it cool. Then cover it again and refrigerate overnight.
  • Uncover it and bake until it’s hot and browned on top. You may need more than the 45 minutes suggested since it’s coming out of a cold fridge, so I’d keep an eye on it, check it after 45 minutes or so, and go up to an hour if needed.

How to reheat leftover stuffing

  • Bring it to room temperature by letting it sit on the counter for 30 min or so. Transfer it to a baking dish if it isn’t still in its original baking dish. If it seems dry, add a splash of broth. Cover it with foil and pop it in the over at 350F for about 30 minutes, then continue baking it uncovered for about 15 minutes.
  • You can also reheat it on the stove, but you’ll need to watch it more carefully. Try adding it to a skillet, and you may need to add some more broth and butter.

More Thanksgiving side dishes

  • Easy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Jiffy Corn Casserole
  • Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
  • Thanksgiving Salad
Sausage Stuffing Recipe (8)

If you made this homemade stuffing recipe, please leave a star rating and review in the comments below!

Sausage Stuffing Recipe (9)

5 from 15 votes

Sausage Stuffing

By Natasha Bull

This sausage stuffing recipe is filled with Italian sausage, apple, fresh herbs, and it has a lovely soft inside and crisp outside. Perfect for your Thanksgiving table!

Prep: 20 minutes mins

Cook: 1 hour hr 30 minutes mins

Total: 1 hour hr 50 minutes mins

Servings: 8

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound day old bread cut/torn into pieces to make 10 cups (see note)
  • 1 pound Italian sausage crumbled
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1.5 sticks)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 sticks celery chopped
  • 1 medium apple (I used Honeycrisp) chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped finely
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh sage chopped finely
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped finely
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth divided
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  • Prep the bread: Either cut the bread into cubes or tear it into pieces (about 1" or so). You can do this a few days ahead of time and spread it out on a baking sheet, put it somewhere out of the way, and let it dry out naturally, or I'll explain next how to bake it if you're doing this with day-old bread. For the oven method, preheat your oven to 250F and bake the bread for about an hour (toss once or twice). You want to dry it out vs. it becoming really crunchy and browned like croutons. Let the bread cool.

  • Add the bread to a large bowl.

  • Heat oven to 350F (position the rack in the middle).

  • Crumble the sausage into a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until well browned (about 8 minutes). Add the sausage to the bowl with the bread in it, then drain the fat from the skillet (but leave the browned bits in for extra flavor).

  • To the skillet, add the butter (let it melt), then add in the onion, celery, and apple. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until it's nicely softened and just starting to brown.

  • Stir the herbs into the skillet mixture, then add it to the bowl with the sausage and bread.

  • Add the salt and pepper to the bowl. You will also be adding half the broth during this step (1 1/4 cups). Add the broth gradually and toss it once you pour in some broth so you don't end up soaking only one section of the bread (so it gets evenly moistened vs. soggy in one place). It can take a little while for the broth to soak in since the bread is quite dry. Don't let a puddle of broth collect at the bottom of the bowl… slow and steady is good.

  • To another bowl, add the egg and remaining 1 1/4 cups broth. Whisk together, then add it gradually it to the stuffing as you did in the previous step.

  • Transfer the stuffing to a greased 9×13 baking dish. Spread it out in an even layer.

  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

  • Take the foil off and bake for another 45 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.

  • Let the stuffing rest for 5 minutes or so prior to serving.

Notes

  • You can use pretty much any kind of bread for this recipe… use one that you like the taste of. I used a brioche style loaf of bread that was already sliced. It weighed just over a pound. Anything around the 1 lb. mark should work. You can use the dried bread cubes that some grocery stores sell around the holidays as a shortcut if you wish. You don’t have to be spot on 10 cups of bread, but try getting as close as you can.
  • Either use ground sausage meat or take the sausage meat out of the casings. I used Johnsonville mild Italian. Hot will work too.
  • You can make this stuffing one day ahead of time by doing all the steps except for the final part of baking (the browning step 11) the day before serving it. The day before you plan on serving it, you would complete the first 45 minutes of baking (step 10), uncover it, and let it cool. Then cover it again and refrigerate overnight. Uncover it and bake until it’s hot and browned on top (you may need more than the 45 minutes suggested since it’s coming out of a cold fridge, so I’d keep an eye on it, check it after 45 minutes or so, and go up to an hour if needed).
  • This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit.

Nutrition

Calories: 544kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 130mg, Sodium: 1453mg, Potassium: 435mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 787IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 127mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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40 Comments

  1. Can you cut this recipe in half will it still be all right? and what about using plain ground sausage instead of Italian sausage can you do that?

    Reply

    1. Hi! I think you should be ok cutting it in half and doing it on 8×8. I think plain ground sausage should be fine. Let me know how it goes! 🙂

      Reply

  2. Sausage Stuffing Recipe (11)
    Made this for thanksgiving and it was so delicious! Thank you.

    Reply

    1. I’m thrilled to hear that, Marc!! 😀 Thank you!

      Reply

  3. Sausage Stuffing Recipe (12)
    I take pride in making my sausage dressing but like it stuffed in the bird, but this was close to the one I male. I will never make the old one again. But his was far superior to anything I’ve ever made. Wonderful and received many compliments.

    Reply

    1. That’s so nice to hear, Melinda!! 😀 Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know!

      Reply

    2. Sausage Stuffing Recipe (13)
      My Mother Melinda Marsh made a comment already and I came to do the same because I am making it a week after Thanksgiving because there were no leftovers 😆 I hope mine comes out just as good because this was the best I’ve ever had! I don’t usually like fruit in my stuffing but the flavors complimented eachother beautifully!

      Reply

      1. Aww I love that!! 😀 Thank you, Katie!

        Reply

  4. Could I cook this directly in the turkey?

    Reply

    1. Hi! We talk about this in the “Helpful tips” section of the blog post.

      Reply

  5. Sausage Stuffing Recipe (14)
    Absolutely the best stuffing! Even people that don’t care for stuffing enjoyed it!

    Reply

    1. Thank you so much!!! 😀 Happy Thanksgiving!

      Reply

  6. I think it has something to do with the refresh rate and ads? It did that to me quite a bit over the course of an hour.

    Reply

    1. I will keep an eye on it – thank you for letting me know. I did some testing yesterday and I will keep seeing if I can replicate it and if there’s anything I can do to tweak settings somehow.

      Reply

  7. Guessed when to add apple. Oven temp should be made more clear at the beginning, found it in reheating instructions for making day ahead.

    Reply

    1. Hi! I’m not sure what you’re reading, but in says in step 1 what temperature to preheat the oven to. And in step 5 it says when to add the apple.

      Reply

  8. The only complaint I have is your website. Awful! Every time I leave to work on this, I come back and it’s gone back to the top. Would love to check out your other recipes but this is frustrating.
    Cant wait to try thestuffing once it’s cooked!

    Reply

    1. Hi! I’ve never had that happen before. Are you on your phone or desktop? I hope you enjoy the stuffing!

      Reply

Sausage Stuffing Recipe (2024)

FAQs

How much water do you put in sausage before stuffing? ›

Add at least 1 oz. of water per pound of meat to aid in the stuffing process. This aid in mixing the meat with the seasoning and will ease the stress put on the gears of your meat mixer and sausage stuffer. Try experimenting with liquids other than water when mixing your next batch of sausage.

What is sausage stuffing made of? ›

Sausage Stuffing Ingredients

Butter: Cook the vegetables in a mix of butter and sausage drippings. Vegetables: You'll need finely diced celery and a chopped onion. Bread: The white bread cubes should ideally be slightly stale. If your bread seems too soft, lightly toast it in the oven.

What does adding egg to stuffing do? ›

Eggs: Two lightly beaten eggs help hold the dressing together and add moisture.

Is it OK to make stuffing a day ahead of time? ›

No matter where you fall, getting a head start on what can be prepared before the big day is essential. One question that always crops up: Can you make stuffing ahead of time? The short answer to whether you can making stuffing ahead of time is yes.

What liquid is best for cooking sausage? ›

You can use regular tap water to boil your sausages, but this can render the meat a bit flavourless. To add a bit more flavour, try boiling the sausages in chicken or vegetable stock or even water mixed with wine.

Can you prepare uncooked stuffing ahead of time and refrigerate? ›

If you don't plan on stuffing the bird, but preparing the dressing as a side dish, you can prepare uncooked stuffing ahead of time as long as you freeze the stuffing immediately after mixing the wet and dry ingredients. USDA recommends that you never refrigerate uncooked stuffing.

Why does the casing of sausage keep breaking when stuffing? ›

A common mistake is to pack the meat mixture too tightly into the casing. Remember to leave enough room to twist the sausage into smaller links and to allow for expansion, which most often occurs during cooking.

What kind of bread do you use for stuffing? ›

Breads such as sour dough, French bread or Italian loaves are for the best bread for stuffing. Their soft-but-sturdy interiors are the perfect texture for stuffing. The pieces retain their shape without crumbling.

Is stuffing better with or without eggs? ›

It's a matter of preference, but adding a beaten egg to your stuffing mixture acts as a binder and keeps the bread moist.

What makes stuffing unhealthy? ›

Stuffing is not strictly a healthy food, because it is typically high in calories, fat, sodium, and refined carbohydrates. 1 But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it, All foods can fit into a healthy diet in moderation.

What can you use as a binder instead of eggs in stuffing? ›

16 egg substitutes
  1. Mashed banana. Mashed banana can act as a binding agent when baking or making pancake batter. ...
  2. Applesauce. Applesauce can also act as a binding agent. ...
  3. Fruit puree. Fruit puree will help bind a recipe in a similar way to applesauce. ...
  4. Avocado. ...
  5. Gelatin. ...
  6. Xanthan gum. ...
  7. Vegetable oil and baking powder. ...
  8. Margarine.
Mar 30, 2021

Can you use week old bread for stuffing? ›

In fact, using stale bread and fresh bread will both leave you with equal amounts of mush. The longstanding tip to use old, stale bread for the perfect stuffing is actually a myth. Letting bread go stale doesn't actually dry it out. After sitting out on your counter, bread goes through the process of retrogradation.

Why can't you refrigerate uncooked stuffing? ›

Because stuffing is an excellent medium for bacterial growth, it's important to handle it safely and cook it to a safe minimum internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer. Here are some common ques- tions consumers ask. Stuffing should not be prepared ahead.

Can I freeze stuffing? ›

Like we said, you can also freeze stuffing after it's baked. This option is better for freezing leftovers rather than prepping ahead. If you happened to make too much stuffing, you can portion the leftovers into food storage containers and pop in the freezer to enjoy during the days to come.

How much water do you need to cook sausage? ›

Fill skillet with enough water to reach a quarter of the way up sides of sausages. Simmer, covered, until sausages are cooked through and water evaporates, 10 to 15 minutes. (If sausages have cooked through but water has not evaporated, uncover, and continue to cook until water evaporates.)

How much water do you put in stuffing mix? ›

Empty the sachet into a bowl, adding 425ml of boiling water, mixing well. Add a large knob of butter if desired. 3. Leave to stand for 5 minutes then place the stuffing into either an ovenproof dish or alternatively form into stuffing balls on a greased baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until piping hot.

How much water do you add when making summer sausage? ›

Add entire seasoning and cure packets to 2/3 cup water. Use 1 tablespoon seasoning + 1-3/4 teaspoons of cure per pound of meat. Mix it with approximately 2 tblspns of water.

Should I add water to sausage? ›

When making sausage it is important that you add water to the mixture. Adding water will... Help the seasonings (and cure) blend with the meat much better. Make mixing much easier.

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