Planning your holiday meal doesn’t need to be complicated or overwhelming and choosing side dishes that are easy and effortless means more time for spending with loved ones. Or focusing on the fabulous easy pecan pie you’re making for dessert!
This sausage stuffing recipe is all that and more. It’s delicious, comes together quickly and easily, and leaves everyone wanting more. It’s made with juicy Italian sausage, lightly toasted bread, fresh sage and, onions, garlic, and loads of flavor and texture.
I think we can all agree at this point, that when serving a Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey dinner, sometimes it’s the sides that are the showstoppers! I’ve tried a lot of different stuffing recipes over the years, and this recipe for sausage stuffing is right up there, along with my classic buttery herb stuffing, as one of my favorites. It’s quite flexible in terms of ingredients, with the option of adding in your own personal flare. I love it the way it is, but by all means, you do you.
If you like a little heat, use hot Italian sausage instead of mild. If you like a little extra seasoning, poultry seasoning is an optional add-in. Need some more mushrooms in your life? Stuffing recipes are neat like that. It’s a bunch of ingredients that come together in harmony, but still, there’s always room to get creative.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- So much flavor. Toasted white bread, seasoned Italian sausage, plenty of aromatics cooked in melted butter, fresh sage, and crispy celery give way to this delicious side dish.
- Very easy. This is a no-fuss dish that takes just 20 minutes of prep time and the oven does the rest.
- Make ahead. You can assemble the dressing and bake just before serving.
- Customizable. There’s room to adjust ingredients to your preferences. Try it one way for Thanksgiving and then switch it up a bit for Christmas!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Bread: I use white bread for this recipe and because it’s toasted, it’s ok if it’s day-old bread. Regular sandwich bread, French or Italian bread are great choices for soaking up the flavors without turning to mush.
- Sausage: Mild Italian sausage comes with its own seasoning but if you like a little heat in yours, swap it for hot Italian sausage. Just make sure you know your audience!
- Aromatics: Is there anything better than onions and garlic that gets cooked down in butter? No, I didn’t think so!
- Celery: Adds a very nice, crispy bite to this sausage stuffing and balances out the heavier ingredients.
- Herbs: Fresh parsley and sage add a wonderful vibrant herbed flavor pairing that brings the entire dish up a notch.
- Salt & pepper: A bit of this traditional pairing just to bring out all of the flavors of the other ingredients and to round out the dish nicely.
- Stock: Chicken or vegetable stock or broth is used to add moisture (and even more flavor) to the stuffing.
- Eggs: Used as a binder to hold the stuffing together cohesively which makes for easier spooning and serving later on!
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How to Make this Sausage Stuffing
- Toast the bread. Lightly toast the bread in the oven at 210°F (100°C) for 90 minutes, flipping it every 30 minutes. If you’re doing some of the prep work ahead of time, you can toast the bread a few days ahead.
- Cook the sausage. While the oven is preheating to 350°F (180°C), melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook the sausage meat until lit is no longer pink, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
- Saute. Add the rest of the butter to melt, then add the onion and celery and saute until tender (not brown). Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, then remove the skillet from the heat.
- Combine. Transfer contents of the skillet to a large mixing bowl and combine with toasted bread, herbs, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
- Add stock. Using a spatula or your hands, incorporate 1 cup of stock into the bowl and mix together, making sure the bread is nicely coated to be able to absorb a bit of the liquid.
- Combine the eggs. In a small bowl, add the remaining stock and eggs and mix them together. Gradually pour it into the bread mixture continuing to make sure the bread is soaked but not soggy.
- Bake. Transfer the entire mixture to a 9×13 baking dish, and bake covered for 35-45 minutes.
If you have an instant-read thermometer, this is a great time to bring it out for accuracy. The center of the stuffing should read 160°F. Uncover and bake until golden and crispy.
- Garnish. Before serving, sprinkle some additional chopped parsley and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
- Stale or day-old bread works best, but not all the way necessary since you’re toasting it anyway. It’s just added assurance that your bread won’t get soggy from the liquid.
- Toast the bread days ahead if need be. Once it’s toasted it’ll act like a crouton and won’t go bad for quite some time.
- Make-ahead by assembling the dish earlier on in the day and covering it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it.
- Bake covered so that it doesn’t brown too quickly, otherwise, it’ll become too crispy too soon.
- Look for Italian sausage without the casings, it usually comes in a bulk package. If you can’t, just buy regular sausage and remove the casings before adding the sausage to the skillet.
Variations & Add-ins
- For a sweet and tart note, add in some chopped apple along with the celery. They both have a delicious crispy texture and complementary flavors.
- Dried cranberries or raisins would be a hit if apples aren’t your jam.
- Toss in some chopped almonds or pecans for a nutty crunch.
- Medium or spicy sausage for a kick might be nice. If you make two, you could do one of each.
- Add in some chopped mushroom for an earthy savory addition with a different textural component.
- Think about swapping the white bread for a sourdough, or even a sweet or savory cornbread.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use any type of sausage you like! Turkey, chicken, or even little breakfast sausages (the patties or the links).
You can! Go ahead and use your favorite gluten-free bread, and just pay attention to the fillers in whatever sausage you choose to use. Pick up a pack of certified gluten-free and you should be good to go!
This is where adding mushrooms come in handy! You can, of course, just omit the sausage altogether and keep the remaining recipe as is, however, there is something nice about replacing it with something just as hearty. Mushrooms do the trick!
What to Serve With Sausage Stuffing
If this is your first time planning a Thanksgiving dinner for your friends and family, rest assured, I’ve got you covered! The ultimate guide to Thanksgiving turkey is a great place to start if a turkey is on your menu!
Need an appetizer? These adorable handheld cranberry brie bites are always a hit!
Now that you’re menu is all set, from my family to yours, Bon Appetit! Don’t forget to pin this recipe so other people can enjoy this jazzed-up version of stuffing too!
- 1 pound firm white sandwich bread French, or Italian bread cut into ½-¾ inch cubes, about 10 cups
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound ground mild Italian sausage
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth Might need to add ½ cup more depending on how wet the bread will become once the broth is added
- 2 eggs beaten
- 13 x 9 inch baking pan
- To lightly toast the bread, place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 210°F/100°C for 90 minutes, flipping every 30 minutes. This can be done a few days ahead.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- In a medium skillet, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the sausage meat until It’s done and no longer pink (about 5-7 minutes). Break it up with a wooden spoon as you cook it.
- Add the rest of the butter, melt it and saute the onion and celery until tender (not brown). Add the garlic, and cook for a minute or until it’s fragrant then remove from heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the toasted bread with the sausage mixture, and chopped herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Add a cup of stock, and mix everything with a spatula or your hands.
- Combine beaten eggs with the remaining stock or broth, and add it gradually to the bread. Keep mixing and make sure that the bread is soaked all the way through but not mushy.
- Transfer to a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, cover with foil, and bake for 35-45 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 160°F/71°C in the center of the stuffing. Uncover and brown the top for 10 minutes or until it's golden and crispy.
- Garnish with additional chopped parsley and serve.
- If you’re doing some of the prep work ahead of time, you can toast the bread a few days ahead.
- You can make the stuffing one day ahead, bake it uncovered without browning the top, let it cool down, and place it in the refrigerator. On the next day, take it out of the fridge and let it hang out for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Then bake it for 30 minutes or until it’s warmed through.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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