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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.

close-up of a spoonful of sausage stuffing in a casserole dish

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.

preparing bread and frying sausage in a skillet for sausage stuffing

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.

transferring sausage to a bowl and sauteing apples, onion, and celery for sausage stuffing

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.

transferring ingredients for sausage stuffing to glass mixing bowl

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

whisking egg in a glass bowl and adding to casserole dish with sausage stuffing

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!
close-up of gravy being poured over stuffing on a plate with mashed potatoes in the background

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.
sausage stuffing in a casserole dish

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

close-up of a spoonful of sausage stuffing in a casserole dish
5 from 15 votes

Sausage Stuffing

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
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 8

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.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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40 Comments

  1. Katie says:

    What about adding garlic?

    1. Natasha says:

      Sure! 🙂

  2. Lori Kirkpatrick says:

    Can I make this 2 days ahead?? Like now.

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! I can only suggest what’s in the “make ahead tips” section of the blog post.

  3. Maria says:

    Very similar to my stuffing (my mom’s recipe) but we add mushrooms (no apple) to the celery onion and garlic step and about 1/2-3/4 cup of grated pecorino Romano to the mix and replace 1/2 the broth with white wine. I’m going to add apple this year! Thanks!

    1. Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says:

      You’re welcome! Happy Thanksgiving, Maria.

  4. Becky Sullivan says:

    Is it okay if I don’t have all fresh herbs?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! I’ve only tested as written so I can’t say for sure, but I think it could work.

  5. Tiffany says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! It’s a family hit! Will use every year.

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m thrilled you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for your 5-star review, Tiffany!

  6. Jennifer says:

    5 stars
    This was delicious!!! My entire family loved it! Followed the recipe exact and it came out perfect! Definitely will be making again!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy to hear that, Jennifer!! Thank you for taking the time to write me a review on this (and other) recipes! XO

  7. Martha says:

    5 stars
    Best stuffing (technically dressing 😉) EVER!! My family went crazy for it!! We were standing around picking off the remains like vultures. My husband said “should have made 2 batches”, crazy delicious. Tip for next time (note to self) – besides making two batches, make it the day prior, as it does take a while in the oven with the two 45 min bakes. She gives you directions for doing just that, you do the 2nd bake the next day. Thanks for the recipe!!!

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you so much, Martha!! I’m thrilled it was a hit! Appreciate you taking the time to write me a review. 😀

  8. Felicia says:

    5 stars
    Thanksgiving hit! Thank you!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so glad to hear it!! Thanks so much for your review! Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Will it taste fine without the sausage and apple?

    1. Natasha says:

      It’s a sausage stuffing… so omitting one of the primary ingredients might not work out so well. You could probably skip the apple, but since I’ve only tested it as written, your guess is as good as mine. To be safe, I’d either do a test run with your planned changes before Thanksgiving or perhaps just Google a tested recipe that’s closer to what you’re looking for.

  10. Cherie says:

    5 stars
    I made this sausage stuffing for Thanksgiving this year. It was absolutely delicious. I am not normally a bread stuffing person… my mother used to make a hamburger meat dressing with saltine crackers which is also delicious. However, I decided to try something different this year. This is the best bread stuffing I have ever had. I used a fresh french loaf of bread from the grocery store and mild Italian sausage. The combination of the fresh herbs with the sausage is delightful – the addition of the egg holds it together perfectly. This is the only dish that I made for Thanksgiving that had zero leftovers. Lesson learned…make two next year. This will be a go to dish for me every Thanksgiving……it was so good I may need to make it as an entree for a regular non holiday dinner. Do yourself a favor….stop looking for other sausage stuffing recipes…and stick with this one. You and your guest will clean the casserole dish and will be yearning for more.

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed it so much, Cherie!! Really appreciate you writing me a review, and I’m so happy my recipe could be a part of your Thanksgiving celebration. 🙂 XO

      1. Michelle Boyle says:

        Going to try and make it this year. I’m going to double the recipe. Any tips? Does it still come out good baking the first half the day before?

        1. Natasha says:

          Hi Michelle! I haven’t ever tried doubling it. It may need extra cooking time if you’re using a deeper/larger pan, but I’d keep an eye on it. Yes, this recipe works well to make ahead of time.