This homemade sausage cornbread stuffing is perfect for the holidays. This easy stuffing recipe is made with savory chicken apple sausage, fresh apples and homemade, leftover or store bought cornbread.
This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been updated for content.
Traditional stuffing by definition is typically served "stuffed" inside of turkey for Thanksgiving dinner or for the holiday season. Dressing on the other hand is usually a side dish that is served alongside turkey to "dress" up the meal. I grew up calling it stuffing, but we actually served it on the side.
This tasty cornbread dressing recipe has a unique twist with chicken apple sausage and fresh apple. It goes perfectly on your Thanksgiving table alongside roast turkey, orange cranberry sauce and cheesy au gratin potatoes.
PRO TIP: If you decide to use this recipe as a "stuffing" for your Thanksgiving menu, then make sure to check out this article for stuffing your turkey to make sure it's done safely.
🍎 Ingredient notes
- Cornbread - Store-bought cornbread, leftover cornbread or your favorite homemade cornbread recipe can be used. You will need about 4 cups of crumbled cornbread which is an 8x8 pan or 1 box of jiffy corn muffin mix. My favorite cornbread recipe is this honey skillet cornbread from Sally's Baking Addiction. It's a little bit sweeter cornbread which pairs excellent with the savory flavors in this recipe.
- Bread - I like mixing in a few slices of regular bread with the cornbread for additional flavor as well as texture. White bread, french bread or even sourdough bread can be used.
- Sausage - Chicken apple sausage pairs perfectly with the other fall components in this dish. Cooked chorizo, spicy or sweet Italian sausage or even bacon could also be used as alternatives.
📋 Substitutions and variations
- Vegetarian - The sausage in this dish can be omitted or replaced with your favorite plant based meat substitute to make this dish vegetarian.
- Extra Flavor - Add ½ cup of dried cranberries and ½ cup of chopped pecans to this dish for extra flavor and texture.
🔪 Step by step instructions
First, crumble the cornbread and break up the white bread into smaller pieces and then place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake cornbread crumbles with the white bread pieces for about 8-10 minutes until they are lightly browned.
Next, melt butter in a medium or large skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Cook the celery, onions, carrots and apples with the salt and pepper for about 5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
Add the diced sausage along with the fresh herbs to the vegetable mixture and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the sausage is browned. Toss the crispy cornbread mixture gently with the sausage mixture in a greased baking pan or casserole dish to combine.
Pour the chicken broth over the stuffing and use a spoon or your hands to press down the bread so it's all completely moistened by the broth. Bake the cornbread stuffing in a preheated oven for about an hour until it's golden brown and the middle has a semi firm texture.
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in the Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.
⭐ Expert tips
- Stuffing works best with the bread used is either stale and/or toasted. It will best absorb the liquid this way and as well as provide the best texture for the stuffing. Either leave the cornbread and bread pieces out to dry out overnight, toast them in the oven, or do both!
- Make sure to press down the bread after you add the stock so that all of the bread is moistened. This will make sure there are are no dry spots in the finished stuffing.
- To ensure the stuffing is cooked through, gently press down in the middle to make sure it's not squishy and look for an even golden brown color around the edges and on the top.
⏲️ Make ahead instructions
This sausage cornbread stuffing recipe can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time. Follow the instructions all the way to right before baking time. Wrap the baking dish tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator.
Remove the stuffing from the refrigerator about 30-60 minutes before cooking time to allow time to come to room temperature. Remove the plastic wrap and follow the instructions for baking.
🥡 Storage suggestions
This sausage cornbread stuffing will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days and in the freezer for 1-2 months. Leftovers can be thawed in the refrigerator and then reheated in the oven or in the microwave.
🦃 More Thanksgiving recipes
If you loved this cornbread sausage stuffing recipe, try these other Thanksgiving recipes, that I know you will love too!
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread Pudding
- White Cheddar Mac and Cheese
- Cranberry Orange Sauce
Easy Cornbread Sausage Stuffing
- 1 8x8 pan homemade, store bought or leftover cornbread
- 4 pieces stale white bread
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup diced onion approximately 1 small onion
- 1 cup diced carrots approximately 2-3 carrots
- 1 cup diced celery approximately 2-3 stalks
- 1 cup diced apple approximately 1 small apple
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 12 ounces chicken apple sausage diced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary approximately 1 sprig
- 1 Tablespoon fresh sage approximately 1-2 sprigs
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth
- Grease a 9x13 baking dish or 3 quart casserole dish with butter or baking spray.
- Crumble the cornbread and break the slices of bread into small pieces and lay on the prepared sheet pan in an even layer. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until browned.
- In a medium sized skillet on the stovetop, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the onions, celery, carrots and apples to the pan and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add in the sausage and fresh herbs and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the sausage is browned.
- Combine the toasted bread and sausage vegetable mixture in the prepared baking dish. Using a spoon or hands, gently toss to combine.
- Pour the chicken broth over the stuffing and use a spoon to press the mixture down so that all of the bread absorbs the liquid.
- Bake the stuffing in the preheated oven for 1 hour until golden brown on top and semi firm in the middle.
- Approximately 4 cups of crumbled cornbread is needed, which is an 8x8 pan of store-bought or homemade corn bread. This is also equal to 1 box of jiffy corn muffin mix.
- Regular sliced bread, french bread or even sourdough bread can be used for the sliced white bread in this recipe.
- Stuffing works best with the bread used is either stale and/or toasted. It will best absorb the liquid this way and provide the best texture for the stuffing. Either leave the cornbread and bread out to dry out overnight, toast them in the oven, or do both!
- Make sure to press down the bread into the liquid to make sure all of the bread is moistened. This will make sure there are are no dry spots in the finished stuffing.
- To ensure the stuffing is cooked through, gently press down in the middle to make sure it's not too squishy and look for an even golden brown color around the edges and on the top.
Substitutions and Variations
- Sausage - Cooked chorizo, Italian sausage or even bacon could also be used.
- Vegetarian - Omit the sausage or replace with a plant based meat substitute and replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
- Extra Flavor - Add ½ cup of dried cranberries and ½ cup of chopped pecans.