This easy Sausage Stuffing recipe is the ultimate holiday side, but you don't have to wait for Thanksgiving to enjoy the hearty homestyle dish. With help from store-bought stuffing mix, you can whip up a flavorful and moist stuffing that's loaded with sausage, apples, onion, celery, cranberries and plenty of herbs -- in about 20 minutes! The savory herb and apple sausage stuffing is a perfect companion for roasted turkey or chicken (and you can make it ahead of time).
Apple Sausage Stuffing Recipe
As soon as the temperatures drop and we're treated to that first glimpse of cooler fall air, I instantly add stuffing back into our mealtime rotation. Whether it's in the form of Chicken and Stuffing Casserole on a busy weeknight, Southern Cornbread Stuffing with a roasted turkey breast for a cozy Sunday supper, or a full Thanksgiving feast, stuffing is one of those delicious, satisfying dishes that should be fully enjoyed all season long!
What is the difference between dressing and stuffing?
While they might have the same ingredients, the difference between stuffing and dressing is in the cooking method. Stuffing is baked in the cavity of a turkey or chicken, while dressing is cooked in its own separate pan.
I prefer to bake my stuffing in a casserole dish (which technically makes this a dressing), rather than stuffing it inside a turkey. When you stuff a turkey, it takes the turkey longer to cook through. The stuffing must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F for food safety concerns, which can often result in dry breast meat as the turkey has to stay in the oven longer. Cooking the turkey and stuffing separately ensures that they both reach a safe temperature without either component overcooking.
What kind of sausage goes in stuffing?
There's some flexibility here, so use the sausage that you prefer. You'll need a total of about 1 lb. of sausage without casings. I typically use a sweet Italian sausage, but spicy Italian sausage also works well, as does hot or mild country sausage or bulk breakfast sausage. Try a sage sausage (such as Jimmy Dean brand) for a nice complement to the turkey.
Do you put egg in stuffing?
Eggs are an optional ingredient in stuffing. The egg acts as a binder, holding the mixture together in clumps so that it's less crumbly. This recipe does not include an egg; however, you can certainly add 1-2 large eggs if you prefer.
How to Make Turkey Stuffing with Sausage
This particular Sausage and Apple Stuffing is the best combination of sweet and savory fall flavors -- from the apples and cranberries to the savory herbs, onion, celery, and sausage! While you could certainly dry out your own bread cubes to use in a made-from-scratch recipe, I prefer a high-quality shortcut in the form of Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing mix. You can substitute with other brands (such as Stove Top stuffing) or other flavors (such as Cornbread stuffing) in the same recipe -- just use enough to equal about 12 ounces (or 6 cups). If using unseasoned bread cubes, you'll want to add extra salt, pepper, and herbs to give the dish that flavor that's already included in the package of stuffing mix.
Ingredients for Easy Sausage Stuffing
- Chicken broth
- Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoning Stuffing (or other prepared stuffing mix)
- Dried cranberries
- Fresh parsley
Step 1: Brown Sausage
Cook the sausage in a large Dutch oven until no longer pink, then drain off the fat.
Step 2: Add Butter, Celery, Onion and Apple
Sauté the celery, onion and apple in the butter until tender.
Step 3: Stir in Broth
Add 2 cups of chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat.
Step 4: Add Stuffing Mix, Cranberries and Parsley
Gently fold the stuffing mix, cranberries and parsley into the hot broth until completely coated. If the mixture looks too dry, gradually stir in the remaining ½ cup of broth to reach your desired consistency.
Step 5: Bake
Transfer the stuffing to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 30 minutes, or until heated through.
To Make Ahead
When serving a big Thanksgiving feast, it's convenient to prepare as many dishes as possible in advance. This sausage stuffing can be made the night before or a day ahead of time. Assemble as directed, but do not bake the stuffing. Cover and refrigerate the dish for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, bring the dish to room temperature on the counter for at least 30 minutes. Then bake (covered) for at least 30 minutes (or longer if the dish is still chilled when you pop it in the oven). You can remove the cover during the final 10-15 minutes to achieve a crispy top.
How to Freeze Sausage Stuffing
Yes, you can freeze sausage meat stuffing before or after baking. If you’d like to prepare your stuffing far in advance, you can assemble the stuffing as directed, cover tightly with foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. The day before Thanksgiving, allow the stuffing to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, bake the stuffing according to the recipe instructions.
Leftover baked sausage stuffing will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat the stuffing, add a little bit of extra broth to prevent it from drying out. Then cover and warm in a 350 degree F oven until heated through (about 20 minutes).
Tips for the Best Sausage Stuffing Recipe Ever
- I prefer the Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing mix, but you can substitute with 6 cups of your favorite stuffing brand and flavor. Stove Top stuffing with sausage is another good option.
- Cornbread Sausage Stuffing: use a package of cornbread stuffing mix in this recipe.
- If you like a crunchy addition to the stuffing, try adding about ¾ cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.
- Add sliced fresh mushrooms to the skillet with the onion and celery.
- To keep the stuffing nice and moist, cover the dish with foil while it's in the oven. If you like a crunchier crust on the top of your stuffing, you can remove the foil cover during the final 10-15 minutes.
- Use sweet or spicy Italian sausage or your favorite bulk pork sausage in this recipe.
- Instead of baking the stuffing in a casserole dish, you can stuff it inside the cavity of your turkey. If adding it to the turkey, allow the sausage stuffing to cool completely and then stuff it in the turkey right before the turkey goes into the oven. This will help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. It's also important to roast the turkey until the stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F to avoid food-borne illness.
More Delicious Thanksgiving Sides
- Sweet Potato Biscuits
- Easy Green Bean Casserole
- Cranberry Sauce
- Apple and Butternut Squash Casserole
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
- Jiffy Corn Casserole
- 16 ounces Italian sausage or bulk pork sausage, casings removed
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- 2 – 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- 1 (12 ounce) bag Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing (about 6 cups)
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside.
- Brown the sausage in a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium-high heat; drain off fat. Add butter, celery, onion and apple to the pot with the sausage; cook until tender.
- Stir in 2 cups of broth; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Gently stir in the stuffing mix, cranberries and parsley to combine. If the stuffing looks a little bit too dry, gradually add the remaining ½ cup of broth until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.
- Transfer to prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until heated through. If you prefer a crunchier stuffing, remove the foil cover during the final 10-15 minutes of baking.