To me the best Thanksgiving bread stuffing is both soft and crispy, has a base of onions and celery, is full of plenty of sausage and sage, and doesn’t skimp on the butter. This sausage bread stuffing delivers on all these in just the right balance, which makes it my favorite stuffing and one I make year after year.
Just look at that stuffing! It’s all brown and crispy on top and soft and tasty underneath with lots of sage and sausage flavor all the way through. Though I love to play with flavor combinations and try new twists on recipes, sometimes the classic version is the best.
Which doesn’t mean I never make a different stuffing, but I do always come back to this one.
While it’s hard to pick a favorite Thanksgiving food since there are so many yummy dishes we pull out for the Thanksgiving table, stuffing is right up there for me. I love it the day of and I love it in leftovers the next day as well. I even love it so much that around October I start to get a craving and there is nothing for it but I have to make a small ‘Thanksgiving’ dinner including my sausage bread stuffing just for us.
While I admit that I sometimes want to try new recipes at Thanksgiving, one thing which is very comforting about the holiday is that it’s full of traditional foods and recipes you can count on. And this stuffing is definitely a recipe you can count on!
This year when I made the stuffing I also made a really great brussels sprout salad to go with it. Yum! They worked together really well and would be a great dinner combo for Thanksgiving or any other special fall meal. You’ll see that on the site on Friday.
Rules for making the best stuffing
There are a few rules for making the best stuffing:
- Make your own croutons!
Yes, you can buy one of those packs of premade croutons full of salt, rather stale, and dusted with indifferent herbs. (I know, let me tell you how I really feel about bagged croutons! 🙂 ) However, making your own is easy – cube bread and dry in oven, gives you complete control over the flavors and freshness, and well, you want to make the best stuffing, yes? Yes, you do or you wouldn’t be here!
- Don’t skimp on the butter.
Skimp on the butter the rest of the time, but not today. There is a reason stuffing cooked in the bird is so yummy and it’s not because it’s low fat. It’s because of all those turkey drippings so you need butter to make a rich, golden brown stuffing everyone will love.
- Fresh sage is worth it.
If you want Thanksgiving in every bite, fresh sage is what you need. In fact, if you can get some fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, and fresh parsley, go for it! The bright flavors of the herbs are going to perk up that stuffing like you won’t believe. But at least get the fresh sage.
How to Make Sausage Bread Stuffing
To make sausage bread stuffing, start by making fresh croutons from a loaf of sturdy white bread. Then saute up your vegetables and sausage. Toss everything together with plenty of fresh herbs, butter, and stock and bake until cooked through and golden brown.
- Make fresh croutons from a dense white bread.
- Saute celery and onions along with Italian sausage.
- Toss croutons and sausage mixture with butter, eggs, and sage.
- Add stock and mix until the stuffing comes together.
- Bake in a casserole dish until hot and golden brown.
Start by getting some good and dense white bread with a soft crust. You may be able to find English toasting bread or stuffing bread in the store. Either works great! Then dice up the bread and toast it in a low oven until the the bread is dried out to your liking.
Then saute up the sausage until browned and cooked through. Reduce the heat and saute up the onion and celery until soft.
Add the butter and get it melted, then pour it all over the bread cubes in a big bowl. Toss it all and the bread well coated with butter. Now stir in the eggs and sage.
Begin pouring the chicken stock (or maybe some turkey stock you’ve made – that would be wonderful!) into the bowl. Add it a little at a time until you are happy with the consistency of the stuffing. I like it to come together and soft some of the bread cubes but not turn them all into mush.
Transfer the stuffing to a casserole dish, top with more butter, and bake until golden brown.
With this stuffing recipe along with the Sunny Yellow Squash and Potato Gratin and Chicken Parmesan Casserole I made recently, I think I’m well into a comfort food territory. I just want all the baked dishes right now!
Looking for (some of) my greatest hits? There are plenty more amazing recipes in my Thanksgiving category, but these are some of the most popular.
- Easy Flaky Pie Crust (#2 recipe on the whole site by page visits!)
- Grilled Tuscan Turkey
- Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Pecan Blue Cheese and Apple Salad
- Classic Potato Gratin
- Rosemary No-Knead Bread
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 1 lb dense white sandwich bread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (about 12 cups)
- 1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
- 2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- kosher salt
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
- 8 tbsp (1 stick, 4 oz) unsalted butter, divided: 6T in the stuffing, 2T on top
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped
- 2 cups chicken stock, low sodium or unsalted
- Preheat oven to 200F. Grease a large casserole dish.
- Spread out the bread onto two baking sheets. Dry them in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on how dry you like your bread cubes. Put the bread in a large bowl and toss with the poultry seasoning.
- Increase the oven heat to 400F.
Saute the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low; add the onions and the celery to the skillet and sprinkle them with a bit of kosher salt. Saute until they are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes more.
Add 6 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet, reserving 2 tbsp for topping. Once the butter is melted, pour the mixture over the bread and give it a stir.
- Add the eggs and sage to the bread mixture and mix well.
- Begin adding the chicken stock, starting with 1 cup and mixing that in. Then add another 1/2 cup and mix that in. At this point add the stock by the tablespoon until you reach a consistency where the stuffing holds together while most the bread still maintains its cubed structure. Basically, you want some of the bread to dissolve and mix in with the sausage while the rest is a bit softened but still in cubes.
- Pour the stuffing into the prepared casserole dish, dot with reserved butter, and cover tightly. Bake for 40 minutes with the cover on. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the bread stuffing from the oven and let it sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.