This herbed sausage, cranberry, and apple stuffing is my family’s Thanksgiving favorite. It tastes best prepared ahead, so save yourself time on the big day!
- 10 cups cubed whole grain day-old bread (or your favorite bread)
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup roughly chopped mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (or leaves from about 3 stalks fresh thyme)
- 1 teaspoon dried sage (or about 2 Tbsp chopped fresh)
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley (or about 2–3 Tbsp chopped fresh)
- 1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage
- 2 cups diced apples (about 2 medium)
- 2 and 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- optional: fresh herbs to garnish
- Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Spread bread cubes out on two large baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes until browned and crisp. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Place butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, salt, and pepper. Sauté for about 4 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add mushrooms, thyme, sage, and parsley. Continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Squeeze the sausage meat out of the casings into the skillet. Break up with spoon, then add the apples. Cook for about 4 minutes, until sausage meat is just about cooked through.
- Remove from heat and stir the sausage/apple mixture in with the toasted bread. Pour the broth on top, then the cranberries. Give everything a stir.
- If using to stuff a turkey, allow to cool completely before stuffing. If baking the stuffing separately like I did in these photos, heat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a casserole dish (I use an 11×7-inch– use a similar size) or spray with nonstick spray. Spoon stuffing into the dish, then bake for 40-45 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp on top. Garnish with fresh herbs before serving, if desired. Serve warm. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: If you make this stuffing ahead of time, be prepared for maximum flavor! The stuffing is actually BEST made ahead and here’s how to do it. The bread loses a lot of texture if you make the stuffing completely ahead of time. Instead, prepare the recipe through step 2. Store the cooked veggies/apples/sausage in the refrigerator overnight and store the crisp bread cubes at room temperature. Continue with step 3 the next morning. For long storage, freeze the baked stuffing up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, allow to come to room temperature, then reheat it in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 20-25 minutes, or until warmed through, before serving.
Keywords: thanksgiving stuffing, sausage apple stuffing