This classic sausage and apple stuffing is a holiday table must! In fact, it’s so good, you’ll want to make it year round. Fresh herbs and vegetables and freshly dried bread give it incredible homemade flavor.
When it comes to holiday meals, you can get pretty creative, but a couple of things are non-negotiable in my opinion. One is perfect mashed potatoes of course, and another is some sort of pie (crunchy caramel apple pie maybe? Yes.).
The third thing is a classic stuffing full of everyone’s favorite fall flavors. Tender, juicy apple pieces, savory sausage, and lots of fresh herbs. A good stuffing is easy to make and can really be a standout dish.
Here’s how to make it special.
Keys to the best homemade sausage and apple stuffing
- Bake it outside the turkey. Yes, technically speaking, this is a dressing not a stuffing since it’s baked outside the turkey. While you COULD use this to stuff a turkey, I find it’s best for both the turkey and stuffing if they stay apart. 1) The stuffing keeps its texture instead of getting mushy and 2) the turkey cooks more quickly and evenly.
- Fresh herbs. Fresh herbs make all the difference here. I use a mix of parsley, sage and thyme because they go wonderfully with turkey and everything else.
- Fresh bread. This may be the most important part! For real homemade flavor, buy a loaf of fresh bread, cut it into cubes and let them air dry for a day or two before using. This simple step makes for a much better stuffing than store bought bread cubes.
And here’s the step-by-step!
How to make classic sausage and apple stuffing
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish or pan.
- Cut a 1 lb loaf of bread into 1/2 inch cubes. I used a rustic French loaf, but you can use most any bread you like. The important thing is to let the bread cubes air dry and get stale on a baking sheet or in a bowl for one or two days. Alternatively you can let them toast lightly in a 275 F oven for 20 minutes or so. Then put the dried bread cubes in a large bowl.
- Dice the onion, celery, and apple. Finely chop the sage, thyme, and parsley.
4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large frying pan. Add the sausage, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until browned and no longer pink.
5. Add the cooked sausage to the bowl with the bread cubes, leaving the drippings in the pan.
6. Return the pan to the heat and melt an additional 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion, celery, apple, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
7. Pour the chicken broth into the pan and bring to a boil.
8. Add the contents of the pan to the bowl with the bread and sausage. Add the chopped fresh herbs, 2 beaten eggs, and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper.
9. Gently combine with a spoon until fully moistened.
10. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle evenly over the top.
11. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking an additional 25-30 minutes until golden.
If you want to make this fresh alongside your turkey, I would recommend starting the recipe in the last hour of roasting, so it will be done around the time the turkey is done resting.
Otherwise, if you prefer to make it ahead, it reheats very well! Just take the stuffing out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature on the counter. Cover with foil and transfer to a 350 F oven for 30 minutes.
You can put it in the oven as you take out the turkey and reheat it while the turkey is resting.
Sausage and Apple Stuffing
- 1 lb loaf of white bread cut into 3/4 inch cubes, and dried* (about 12 cups of bread cubes)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 lb fresh pork sausage casings removed
- 2 crisp apples such as Honeycrisp, granny smith, or Sweetango, peeled cored and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 celery ribs chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage finely chopped
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan. Place the stale bread cubes in a large bowl.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until no longer pink, 5 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked sausage to the bowl with the bread cubes, leaving the sausage drippings in the pan.
- Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan. Once melted, add the onions, apples, celery and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the broth to the pan and bring to a boil.
- Pour the broth and vegetables over the bread cubes, add the chopped herbs, another 1/2 teaspoon of salt, pepper, and eggs, and toss gently to combine and moisten.
- Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave or stovetop and drizzle evenly over the top.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake an additional 25-30 minutes until golden.
Hi! I’m Ann and I blog at Our Happy Mess. I’m all about fast, fresh, and family-friendly recipes. I believe cooking from scratch can not only be doable but FUN, no matter how busy life gets!
You can find more of my recipes at Our Happy Mess.