Make Thanksgiving dinner extra special with the addition of this homemade sausage stuffing. Golden brown on top with a softer custard-like center, this easy sausage stuffing recipe combines the flavor of sweet Italian sausage, fresh herbs and apples into a masterpiece side dish worthy of your holiday dinner table.
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Best Thanksgiving Stuffing
Made in a single skillet, baking dish or casserole dish, stale bread is transformed into the best sausage stuffing recipe ever! Similar to savory bread pudding this recipe; like any classic stuffing recipe, benefits from the use of day-old bread or dried bread cubes which are better at soaking up the flavor of the cooked sausage, chicken broth, the buttery celery and onion mixture, seasonings.
What is Sausage Stuffing Made of?
For a complete list of ingredients and their quantities, check the recipe card below.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Bread: Read all about how to choose the best bread for stuffing below. Good options are white bread and French bread.
- Sausage: Bulk sausage or sausage links with the casings removed can be used to make the stuffing mix. As for the kind of sausage to use, this recipe calls for pork sausage (spicy or mild Italian sausage) but chicken sausage and turkey sausage can be used.
- Broth: I prefer using chicken stock homemade if available, or turkey broth.
- Butter: I usually use unsalted butter but you can use salted butter if that’s what you have handy.
- Apple: Any type of apple can be used. I usually buy apples to make apple pie and get extras for stuffing. Granny Smith, honeycrisp, pink lady, gala and fuji all work.
- Herbs: I use fresh herbs. You can use any herb that you like although we are keeping with the roast turkey flavor by using fresh sage, rosemary and parsley.
How to Choose the Best Bread for Stuffing
- This recipe can be made with different kinds of bread such as white bread, French bread, white sandwich bread, soft Italian bread, etc.
- Crusty and chewy artisanal breads which tend to have big holes in their crumb don’t absorb the flavor and moisture of the other stuffing ingredients as well as the common small-holed sandwich bread sold at any grocery store.
- If you love a custard-like stuffing, it’s best to choose breads made with white flour instead of whole grain bread which texture is coarser.
How to Make Sausage Stuffing?
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease a baking dish with cooking spray (or melted butter).
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon until cooked through. Using a slotted spoon transfer sausage to a very large bowl, leaving some of the drippings in the skillet. Place the bread in the same bowl, on top of the crumble sausage.
- In the same skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and apples and cook, stirring occasionally until soften, about 6-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and poultry seasoning and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.
- Add the sautéed vegetables to the bowl with the sausage and the bread. Toss gently.
- Pour the chicken broth, egg, rosemary, sage and parsley, salt and pepper. Mix until the bread is moistened and soft.
- Transfer stuffing to the prepared baking dish. Bake stuffing uncovered, for about an hour or until golden brown. If it starts browning too much on top, cover it with a piece of of aluminum foil.
Tips for Stuffing Success
- You can buy unseasoned stuffing cubes or a loaf of any kind of bread you’d like to use and cut it up by yourself.
- Using stale bread is good. Using dried bread is better. See how to dry up bread below.
- If you purchase seasoned bread to make this sausage stuffing recipe, you will need to reduce the amount of salt and seasoning listed on the recipe card to prevent the stuffing from becoming too salty or overpowering.
- Egg is used as a binder just like broth. Eggs helps giving the stuffing a custard-like texture and richness.
- Keep in mind that the bread you choose will contribute to the overall flavor of the dish. If you choose a bread with a pronounced flavor like sourdough, your stuffing will have a sourdough taste. Same with breads like rye.
- If you think the top of the stuffing is browning too quickly, tent the baking dish with aluminum foil.
Stale Bread vs Dry Bread
Stale vs dry bread. This is always up for debate among foodies. Although both work, drying the bread in a 275º F oven results in bread that soaks up flavor much better. You can read about it on this article by Serious Eats.
This easy to make homemade stuffing recipe is deliciously savory with a hint of sweetness from the apples. With a crispy top and a tender and fluffy center, this dressing recipe is not only one of our favorite thanksgiving stuffing recipes but also a great side dish to serve during the fall.
How To Dry Bread for Stuffing
Set the oven temperature to 275ºF. Spread the bread cubes evenly over one or two baking sheets. Place bread in the oven and bake until completely dried, about 40 minutes, Rotate the baking sheets and stir up the bread a few times through the baking time. Remove from oven and cool.
Stuffing vs Dressing
I always thought that it was obvious, stuffing and dressing are both the same thing except the stuffing is “stuffed” in the bird and the dressing is just baked and served from a baking dish or casserole. Although that is true, I also learned that the name you use depends a lot of what area you come from.
According to google, Southern states search for “dressing recipe” while other states usually search for “stuffing recipe”. However you want to call it, it is delicious and one of my favorite holiday side dishes.
On that note, I never put stuffing inside my Thanksgiving turkey. My grandmother never did so I got used to cooking it separate.
Can I Use Gluten-Free Bread?
Although I have not tested this recipe with gluten-free bread, I am sure the recipe will work just fine. Make sure you dry the bread before making the dish. You may need to adjust the amount of broth needed.
Storing, Freezing and Reheating Stuffing
Store left over stuffing in an airtight container or a resealable bag in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
Cool the stuffing completely. Wrap the baking dish with a layer of aluminum foil and a double layer of plastic wrap to prevent it from freezer burn. Freeze for 2 months. You can also freeze leftovers wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a freezer-safe bag. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Don’t heat it up from frozen.
For best results, drizzle the stuffing with broth before reheating. Reheat stuffing in a preheated 350ºF oven, covered, until warm through. Smaller portions can be warm up in the microwave.
Take a Look at These Other Thanksgiving Recipes
- Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Butter
- Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy
- Apple Pie Bars
- Chocolate Pecan Pie
- Best Vegan Gravy
- Roasted Chicken with Herb Butter
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
This post was first published in 2018 but has been updated with new photographs and better information for our readers.
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Sausage and Herb Stuffing
- 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage or regular sweet Italian sausage casings removed
- 8 cups of bread cubes from a loaf of bread cut into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes stale or dried out (about 1-pound loaf)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1-stick
- 1 large onion diced (brown or yellow preferably)
- 3 celery stalks diced
- 2 medium apples peeled, cored and diced
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or more if needed (two cups and three quarters)
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped sage
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- Salt about 1/2 teaspoon
- Ground black pepper about 1/2 teaspoon
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease a baking dish with cooking spray (or with melted butter).
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until cooked through. Transfer it to a large bowl, leaving some of the drippings in the skillet.
- Place the bread cubes in the same large bowl (on top of the browned sausage).
- In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and apples and cook, stirring occasionally until soften, about 6-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and poultry seasoning and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.
- Add the sautéed vegetables to the bowl with the sausage and the bread cubes. Toss gently. Pour the chicken broth, egg, rosemary, sage and parsley, salt and pepper. Mix until the bread is moistened and soft.
- Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, uncovered or until golden brown. If it starts browning too much on top, cover it with a piece of foil.
- Type of Bread: This recipe can be made with different types of bread such as white bread, French bread, white sandwich bread, soft Italian bread, etc. It’s best to use stale or dried up bread.
- Plan Ahead: If you plan ahead, cut the bread into cubes and let them dry, at room temperature overnight, on a sheet pan loosely tented with foil.
- How to Dry Bread: You can also dry the bread in the oven. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F and spread the bread cubes onto a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes.
- Unseasoned Please: Store bought unseasoned bread cubes for stuffing can be used as well.
- Small bites: Break up the sausage into very small pieces (no larger than 1/4-inch pieces)
- To Peel or Not to Peel: My preference is to peel the apples; however, you don’t have to.
You may need additional broth, depending on the type of bread used.
Take a Look at these Other Apple Recipes:
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