Homemade Sausage Stuffing is the very best Thanksgiving sausage dressing recipe you can make! Made with fresh bread and tons of flavor, it won't disappoint. It even tastes better when made the day before Thanksgiving, so do the prep work ahead of time!
Why this recipe works:
I really should have called this recipe Sausage Dressing because that's what it is: a dressing side dish. I do not stuff my turkey with anything other than aromatics. Ever.
- Delicious flavor: If you've never made dressing from a real loaf of bread and have only used a stuffing mix (which are basically croutons), you're in for a real treat. Fresh bread soaks up all the flavor from the sausage, broth, vegetables, and butter. Plus, who can deny how delicious homemade sausage is?
- Amazing texture: This sausage stuffing is crispy on the top and bottom and soft in the middle. A little bit of each. Plus, if you like one more than the other, simply change the size of your pan for desired crispiness.
- Make it ahead of time: I've been making my dressing and most of my other Thanksgiving sides the day before. Not only does that leave you with a clean kitchen on Thanksgiving day, but it gives the food even more time to develop flavor!
Exact quantities are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- Breakfast sausage: You can save some time and buy it from the meat counter at the grocery store, or you can follow my personal recipe and make it from scratch.
- Bread: My preference is to use an Italian rosemary round loaf. Trader Joe's sells a great one. It's nice and chewy on the outside.
- Onions, celery, fresh herbs like parsley rosemary, thyme, and sage
- Chicken stock: Use store bought or homemade broth
- Egg: Helps bind everything together
How to make sausage stuffing:
Detailed instructions are in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- Cut bread: Slice bread and then cut into cubes.
- Cook sausage: Mix sausage ingredients and cook until brown and crumbly.
- Sauté vegetables: Cook the onion and celery in the butter with the herbs on the stove. Add the chicken stock.
- Combine: Mix the egg with the parsley. Combine that with the cubed bread, cooked sausage, and the broth mixture.
- Bake: Spread the mixture into a greased baking dish and top with more butter. Bake with a cover and then remove the cover to allow it to crisp up.
Make ahead directions:
I always prepare this recipe the day before. Stuffing, or dressing rather, always tastes best when it has a day to sit and really absorb all the flavors before it gets cooked.
To prepare ahead of time, follow directions up to the point where the stuffing goes into the oven. Instead, cover and refrigerate. When ready to bake, simply extend covered cooking time by about 15 minutes to account for it being cold from the refrigerator. That's it!
Crispy or mushy stuffing?
That is the true question.
If you're feeding a split crowd, the crispy fans can eat the top and the mushy fans can eat the center.
But, if your entire crew likes stuffing one way or another, you can simply control the mushiness or crispness simply by the size and type of pan.
If you like it crispy, use a large pan, use extra butter when greasing the sides, and cast iron will give a better outer crunch than glass or ceramic. Likewise, use a smaller deeper dish if you like it mushy.
If you’ve made this or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out. I love hearing from my readers!
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 tablespoon sage (dried or minced fresh)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground )
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes ( or more if you like heat)
- ¼ teaspoon marjoram ( fresh if you have it)
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- ½ cup unsalted butter ( plus 2 tablespoons, divided)
- 2 cups yellow onion (diced (1 large onion))
- 2 cups celery (diced (about 8 small stalks))
- 4 tablespoons fresh minced herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme)
- 3 cups chicken stock (or turkey if you have it)
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- ¼ cup parsley (minced)
- 16 ounces bread (1 loaf, look for a rosemary round, cut into 1-inch cubes)
To Make the Sausage:
- In medium sized bowl, thoroughly combine all sausage ingredients. Its easiest if you use your hands to mix.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Cook until brown and crumbly, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
To Make the Stuffing:
- Melt ½ cup (1 stick) butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, celery, and minced herbs (not the parsley). Stir to coat in the melted butter and then saute until they start to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add broth to skillet and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside. Allow to cool enough that mixture is cool to the touch.
- Meanwhile, beat egg with ¼ cup chopped parsley in a large bowl; add cubed bread and toss to coat. Pour the cooked sausage and cooled broth mixture over the bread and toss.
- Transfer to a buttered baking dish and dot with remaining two tablespoons of butter.
- Cover and bake 30 minutes at 375°F. Uncover and bake until golden; about 30 more minutes.
- If you like crispy sausage stuffing, cook in a larger baking dish. If you like it mushy, you can use a smaller deep baking dish.
- Although I call this stuffing, it is baked and served as a dressing. I don't actually stuff my turkey.
This recipe was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated with helpful information as well as recipe tips. Don't worry - the recipe hasn't changed!