Sausage Stuffing is a savory and surprising twist on the traditional side dish that is so popular on Thanksgiving tables. This version is loaded with chopped apples and dried cranberries for a burst of sweet and tart flavor that really complements the savory herbs and Italian sausage.

What's your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner? Really good stuffing is always in the running for most of my family, but we also love this Fresh Green Bean Casserole, Cranberry Jello Salad, Lion House Dinner Rolls, and of course, a juicy Roast Turkey with Butter Herb Rub!

A serving spoon in a casserole dish with stuffing.

Last year I shared my favorite Southern Cornbread Dressing recipe, which always elicits groans of pleasure from hungry dinner guests. But this year I wanted to switch things up with offer something spicy and savory and different. This homemade sausage stuffing totally fit the bill!

My husband would be perfectly content with a box of classic stovetop stuffing, which is what he grew up with. It's so fascinating to me how different families approach their holiday foods. Some have a set menu and collection of recipes that they never deviate from.

Stuffing with apples, cranberries, and Italian sausage.

Personally, I always like to try one or two new dishes mixed in with our classic favorites. If you feel stuck in a rut with your stuffing game, this version is guaranteed to get you out of it!

It's so delicious that you won't want to just serve it at Thanksgiving! We love it as a side dish with pork tenderloin, roast chicken or fish, or all sorts of other mains.

Homemade sausage stuffing on a plate.


  • Italian sausage: We prefer mild or sweet Italian sausage and I like to look for the packages where the sausage is not already in casings, just to make my life easier.
  • Crusty, day-old bread: The quality of your bread will make a big difference in your stuffing. I love making this with a loaf of my no-knead artisan bread (you can leave out the roasted garlic and rosemary if you want) or store-bought Italian or artisan loaves. You could use unseasoned bread cubes (Pepperidge Farms are my favorite) in a pinch.
  • Granny Smith apple: A chopped up apple adds a surprising and delightful sweetness that balances the other flavors.
  • Dried cranberries: We love the chewy tart bursts of flavor of dried cranberries in this dish!
  • Chicken broth: You can use homemade chicken broth, store-bought, or even Better-Than-Bouillion Chicken Paste mixed with hot water.
  • Egg: This is for binding and texture.
  • Celery: Chopped celery really gives a classic stuffing flavor to this recipe.
  • Onion: One whole yellow or sweet onion adds so much savory flavor to the stuffing.
  • Fresh herbs: I love using fresh parsley and rosemary in my stuffing, although you could substitute with dried herbs if fresh is not available.
  • Salt & pepper: Because nobody wants bland stuffing.
Stuffing ingredients in a large bowl.

How to Make Sausage Stuffing

  1. Crumble and cook the sausage in a large pan until browned and no longer pink inside. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and saute the onions, celery, and apples until they soften. Add the garlic during the last 30 seconds or so.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cubed bread, cooked sausage, onions, celery, garlic, and apples, dried cranberries, herbs, and salt and pepper.
  4. Beat the eggs and add the eggs and chicken broth to the stuffing mixture. Gently toss until everything is thoroughly moistened. The bread will absorb the liquid and should be very moist but not soggy.
  5. Transfer to a large 9x13-inch baking dish and bake for 50-60 minutes. The stuffing should be golden brown on top, cooked through, but still moist in the middle.

Make-Ahead and Storage Instructions

This stuffing can be made a few days in advance and kept in the fridge, then reheated under foil for 15 to 20 minutes in a 350 degree F oven until hot all the way through.

Or you could always cook the sausage, onions, celery, and apples a day or two in advance, and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge so you aren't storing the whole pan of stuffing in there. Then just combine them with the other ingredients and bake it fresh on the day you plan to serve the stuffing.

Italian sausage stuffing in a baking dish.

Can I use a different type of sausage?

Absolutely! We prefer mild or sweet Italian sausage, but if you like it spicy, then by all means use the spicy version. Or you could use breakfast sausage for a different but also delicious flavor profile.

A close image of sausage stuffing.

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Sausage Stuffing

5 from 1 vote
Amy Nash
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Sausage Stuffing is a savory and surprising twist on the traditional side dish that is so popular on Thanksgiving tables. This version is loaded with chopped apples and dried cranberries for a burst of sweet and tart flavor that really complements the savory herbs and Italian sausage.


  • 8 cups day-old bread cut into ½- to 1-inch cubes, either homemade or unseasoned store-bought bread cubes
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage casings removed
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • 1 medium onion diced (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • 3 celery stalks diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples unpeeled, cored, and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley freshly chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ¾ cups chicken broth
  • 2 eggs


  • If using bread that isn't already stale, preheat oven to 300 degrees F and spread the bread cubes onto a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes to help dry them out. If you have time to plan ahead, you can cut the bread into cubes a day in advance and let them dry out so they are stale, which will help them absorb the liquid better.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Break up and brown the sausage in a large skillet, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in the same pan. Add the onions, celery, and apples. Saute for about 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic during the last 30 seconds.
  • Combine the bread cubes in a large bowl with the cooked sausage, onions, celery, apples, garlic, dried cranberries, parsley, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
  • Beat the eggs in small bowl, then add them to the bread mixture along with the chicken broth, gently tossing everything together to evenly moisten the stuffing mixture.
  • Transfer the stuffing to the prepared pan, then bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and hot all the way through. If it starts browning too much on top, cover with a piece of foil.


Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 893mg | Potassium: 280mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 2mg
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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. That is one killer looking stuffing! The bread even has shape and texture! Mom's didn't. Don't tell her I said that. LOL

  2. The flavor of this stuffing is so savory and delicious. This definitely will be a go-to comfort food year round! The bottom of mine did come out soggy though, and I'm not sure why!
    The November Fall Challenge is fun!