This sausage stuffing recipe is perfect for the holidays! It's hearty and full of sausage, apple, sage, and onion flavors. Plus some dried cranberries for that extra burst of flavor (but you can totally leave them out if you wish). You can even make it ahead of time and freeze it to have on hand for those busy mornings before the holidays.
This bread stuffing will be a hit at your next holiday dinner and is the perfect Christmas and Thanksgiving side dish. We love this stuffing with air fryer chicken! By the way, don't forget to bake some soft dinner rolls and apple pie for your family.
- What is sausage stuffing?
- What kind of bread is used for stuffing?
- How to dry white bread for stuffing
- What kind of sausage should you use?
- Should you use eggs in stuffing?
- How to keep it moist
- Make-ahead and freezing instructions
- How long do leftovers last in the fridge?
- Reheating instructions
- Substitutions and variations
- Photo tutorial
- The perfect holiday dessert
What is sausage stuffing?
It's a classic dish that has been around for centuries. The sausage and apples add a nice twist to the traditional bread stuffing recipe. It's typically served alongside turkey, chicken, or other poultry at Thanksgiving dinner. It can also be used as a side for Christmas dinner.
Some refer to this version as sausage dressing because it is cooked in a casserole dish rather than stuffed in poultry. However, many use the term stuffing to refer to both.
What kind of bread is used for stuffing?
Bread stuffing is a great way to use up leftover loaves. It's best to use stale or dried-out bread so that the stuffing doesn't end up soggy. You can buy or bake bread specifically for sausage stuffing, such as White Sourdough Sandwich, Sourdough Bread, White Bread, or you can use whatever type of bread loaf that's around the house already (French, Italian, Farmhouse, Country). Simply use the type of white bread you like best.
How to dry white bread for stuffing
You can cut or tear the bread into ½ inch (1.3cm) pieces and let them sit on the counter for 3-4 days to dry out. However, it's not always possible to work this far in advance, and you will have to use fresh bread. But don't worry! You can toast fresh-baked bread in the oven until dried out.
The instructions for toasting the bread can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post. No matter the method, you'll want bread cubes that aren't soft but dried out for the best possible sausage bread stuffing.
What kind of sausage should you use?
You can use any type of sausage meat, regardless of the animal and whether it is spicy or not. I like this recipe best with spicy pork sausages such as andouille, Italian, and Cumberland (UK) for that extra flavor. If your family likes mild sausage meat, go for this one.
This dish is also wonderful with turkey and chicken sausage if that's your preference. Depending on the sausage you are using, you may need to adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
Should you use eggs in stuffing?
Eggs serve as a binding agent and ensure that the whole thing sticks together and does not dry out when baked in the oven. It also makes it easier to work with, so you can shape it nicely before serving it on your holiday dinner plate. This recipe uses two large eggs to keep the stuffing extra moist, soft, and fluffy.
However, you can use only one large egg and replace the second with ¼ cup (60ml) of chicken broth. Replacing both eggs with chicken broth makes the texture of the dressing suffer, and I don't recommend it.
How to keep it moist
- The key to moist and soft bread stuffing is to let it soak before you bake it. I prefer an overnight chill in the refrigerator to allow it to soak up all the moisture from the chicken broth, eggs, and buttery onion mixture. However, if you're in a hurry, this recipe also works with just 1 hour of chill time.
- It is also important to bake the stuffing covered most of the baking time so that it does not lose all of its moisture during baking. Uncover it for the last 15 minutes so that it browns nicely on top.
Make-ahead and freezing instructions
This is the perfect make-ahead stuffing and can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before baking. Alternatively, freeze it in the casserole dish for up to 3 months. Then bake it covered without thawing for 1 hour, remove the aluminum foil, and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
How long do leftovers last in the fridge?
You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Make sure to cover it with foil so it doesn't lose moisture and taste.
So that the dressing doesn't dry out while reheating, cover it with aluminum foil and bake at 320°F (160°C) for 20-30 minutes.
Substitutions and variations
- The apples can be left out if you don't like the sweetness. As for the apple choice, you can use any tart or sweet apples to your liking. I prefer tart apples like Granny Smith or Honeycrisp. By the way, if you have tons of apples and don't know what to do with them, how about trying one of 15 different apple cake recipes?
- The cranberries are completely optional, but you would be surprised how much flavor they add to the dressing. It goes perfectly with spicy pork sausage.
- If you are on a vegetarian diet, you can skip the sausage altogether without a replacement. The stuffing is full of delicious onion and sage flavors, so it is tasty either way.
- I prefer sage and thyme as my go-to herbs, but you can also add 2 tablespoons of parsley or 1 tablespoon of thyme.
- If you prefer a sweeter bread filling, you can also use Sourdough Brioche or Challah Bread.
In a large skillet, cook the sausages for 5-6 minutes until the pink is gone.
Remove the sausage from the pan and transfer it to a plate. Keep the fat from the sausage in the pan. Add the butter to the skillet, and melt. Then add the onions, celery, and apples and cook until soft and the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, sage, and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Then remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper. While whisking, gradually add the chicken broth and continue whisking until it's well mixed.
In a large bowl, toss the bread, sausages, onion mixture (including all of the butter), and cranberries. Pour the egg mixture over it and stir well until the bread is evenly moist. Then transfer the stuffing to a baking dish, spread evenly, and gently press it into the pan. Cover with aluminum foil, chill in the fridge, and bake.
The perfect holiday dessert
To end a perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, you need a delicious dessert that your whole family will enjoy. These are some of my favorite desserts to finish a festive holiday dinner.
The Perfect Sausage Stuffing for Thanksgiving and Christmas
- 16 oz white bread
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb pork sausage meat
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups diced onions
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced apples
- 2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Cut the bread in ½ inch (1.3cm) cubes and either let it sit uncovered on the counter for 3-4 days until it's dried out and no longer soft or toast it in the oven at 230°F (110°C) for 30-60 minutes (depending on how fresh the bread is). If you toast it in the oven, stir halfway through. Then remove from the oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes.
- Spray a 9x13 inch (23x33cm) baking pan with oil or non-stick spray and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the sausage meat. Crumble and stir as it cooks. Allow it to cook for 5-6 minutes until the pink is gone. Remove the sausage from the pan and transfer it to a plate. Keep the fat from the sausage in the pan.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the butter to the skillet, and melt. Then add the onions, celery, and apples and cook for about 5 minutes until soft and the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, sage, and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Then remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper. While whisking, gradually add the chicken broth and continue whisking until it's well mixed. Set aside.
- In another large bowl, toss the bread, sausages, onion mixture (including all of the butter), and cranberries. Pour the egg mixture over it and stir well until the bread is evenly moist.
- Transfer the stuffing to the prepared pan, spread evenly, and gently press it into the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and bake the stuffing covered for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil, turn up the heat to 400°F (204°C), and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the tops are nicely browned.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Then serve with your favorite dishes and enjoy.
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