If you’ve ever been unsure of how to make turkey stuffing from scratch then you’re in for a treat! This delicious dressing is perfect for your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey and features sausage, cranberries and apples for a moist and flavorful addition to your holiday dinner.
Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, there’s no doubting that this is the true star of the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
Growing up in Ireland, we regularly stuffed our Sunday chicken during the year as well as our Christmas turkey. It was a basic traditional homemade stuffing recipe using fine breadcrumbs, onion, parsley and butter. That’s it!
And while I still love my mom’s delicious stuffing, this version that I’ve been making for the past few years really takes the flavor up several notches.
With the addition of chunky cubed bread, Italian sausage, dried cranberries, fresh apples, celery, traditional stuffing herbs (sage, thyme & rosemary) and stock, it’s a moist and flavorful side that elevates turkey.
This is an easy turkey stuffing that can be made the day before. Assemble all the ingredients, omitting the stock which should be added right before baking. This will leave more time on the big day to cook other things, like my one-pan turkey breast and root veggies.
Feel free to switch up the type of sausage meat you use in this stuffing recipe, too. While we love the spicy Italian sausage, a regular Italian sausage or chicken apple sausage works equally well.
Another variation is to use cornbread instead of the crusty white bread that I like to use. I’ve found that it takes a bit longer to bake but the flavor is really good, too!
The recipe can easily be scaled for more or less people. The version I’m including will feed about 6 – 8 adults
Do you cook stuffing before putting it in the turkey?
Stuffing that has been placed inside a turkey can be dangerous to eat if it has not reached a temperature of 165 degrees. If you want to stuff your turkey for flavor, consider making a separate batch to eat. If you insist on eating the stuffing from inside the turkey, you might want to consider removing it from the bird after it has cooked and baking it separately for an additional 15 – 20 minutes to ensure it reaches the correct temperature.
What can you stuff a turkey with besides stuffing?
You can stuff a turkey with a few onions and a bouquet garni of parsley, thyme and sage to add flavor similar to that of stuffing.
Can I freeze this recipe?
Yes! Freeze the mixture minus the stock and butter. Add those final two ingredients in once the mixture has defrosted and bake as usual.
Alternatively, make the recipe, bake it, then freeze. When you’re ready to eat it, bake from frozen at 350 degrees until all the moisture has been absorbed and the bread begins to crisp on the edges.
- 1 large loaf of crusty bread
- 1 lb hot Italian sausage
- 1 large onion
- ¾ cup chopped celery
- 3 teaspoon fresh sage
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves stripped off the sprig
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 Granny Smith apple – cored, peeled and diced
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley – minced
- 1 ½ – 2 cups chicken stock note: you might need more or less depending on your bread
- ¼ cup melted butter
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Cube bread. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the bread is crispy.
- In a skillet, cook sausage and onion on a medium high heat.
- While the sausage mixture is cooking, chop up your celery and herbs.
- Add the aromatics to the sausage mixture and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Diced apples and mince parsley.
- In a large bowl, add the sausage mixture. Add in the apples, parsley and cranberries, bread and melted butter.
- To this mixture, add the stock, starting with 1 cup. Mix it together and see how it looks. You want to bread to absorb as much liquid as possible and it will be very moist – but there shouldn't be any liquid left in the bowl.
- Spread in an even layer on an 9 x 13 baking sheet. If you are making a double batch, you will need two baking sheets.
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every 15 minutes to ensure the stock is absorbed.