This is truly the Best Ever Italian Sausage Stuffing recipe. It is my mom’s decades old recipe that has been on our table every Thanksgiving. The stuffing includes sausage, onion, celery and fresh herbs. We love the crunchy top and the soft and buttery middle.
A truly delicious and really easy stuffing to make for the holidays! A tried and true family favorite stuffing recipe! I was always that one kid that would sneak a small portion right out of the turkey when it came out of the oven (and I still do!).
Now I always make sure mom makes extra so we will for sure have stuffing leftovers! As I am writing this there is a casserole in the oven and it smells like home and brings back so many happy Thanksgiving feast memories. I can’t wait to dig in! This is the recipe my mom taught my dad to make. It then became our Sicilian Stuffing recipe and he added his magical touches every holiday.
Originally posted November 21, 2019 and updated November 24, 2020. I couldn’t wait to share this delicious recipe with all of you! Thanksgiving will be different this year (no party with over 20 Italians!), but mom will be making this stuffing. I wanted to share it again with all of you.
I am obsessed with my mom’s stuffing recipe. So our my kids! This is a recipe my mom was taught to make from her Italian family and friends when I was a baby. It is the one recipe she makes for certain each and every Thanksgiving.
Best Ever Italian Sausage Stuffing
I know that there are SO many recipes out there in the food blogging world…especially for stuffing!But trust me when I say this is the the Best Ever Italian Sausage Stuffing recipe and it’s worth trying it out! It’s mom’s recipe. If you know my mom, she is quite the chef, and her comfort food recipes are always tried and true!
This is the stuffing recipe that goes perfect with your tender turkey and gravy, luscious Instant Pot mashed potatoes and all the side dishes. Don’t forget the no-knead dinner rolls (fluffy every time and so easy to make!).
You don’t even need to add salt to the recipe. The sausage and the broth are salty enough. Unless you like a little salt like some of my friends and family. So be sure to check the salt. But we added just a small bit of salt to the onions and celery when they’re cooking up.
An Italian Thanksgiving Menu
This is another recipe in our Italian Inspired Thanksgiving Menu series. It was time to share delicious Italian Thanksgiving recipes to inspire you! Don’t miss our Pancetta Cornbread and also our Roasted Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Lasagna. Italian Cranberry Sauce is too delicious to miss! Our Roasted Balsamic and Honey Brussels Sprouts will make you a Brussels sprouts fan! A fabulous Italian inspired dessert is our Amaretti Almond Pumpkin Pie...it’s so good!!
This is the recipe that I grew up on. I could also call this a Sicilian Sausage Stuffing. This was the stuffing recipe my Sicilian father learned to make from mom! I miss watching the two of them cooking together on Thanksgiving. Dad always contributed something very Sicilian. A Thanksgiving family favorite recipe that we hope will become your family favorite recipe!
Warning: This is a long post with lots of photos and text!
What goes in Stuffing?
It has sausage that has casings removed and is pan fried. You can use chicken, beef, pork or turkey sausages. We love mild sausage (we used pork)and it still had a slight hint of spice. If you like spicy, feel free to use use any spicy sausage. You could even sub it with a vegan sausage. This is what we put in our best ever Italian Sausage stuffing recipe:
- Bread — white, whole wheat or grain bread are fine to use. For this recipe I used a multi-grain baguette.
- Broth- we used vegetable broth. We also have used chicken broth. IF you happen to have any homemade broth around, the flavor will be even more incredible. But whatever broth you prefer, it will still be delicious!
- Herbs — I use fresh parsley, rosemary and sage. Thyme is also an option (my mom is not crazy about thyme in the stuffing, but I think it would be fine!). Use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand and you like.
What is the best sausage to use for stuffing?
I like to use mild Italian sausage for this stuffing. You can use turkey or pork based sausage, I typically use turkey because it cooks up with less grease.
The steps are very easy:
- PREP the bread cubes (you could use Italian, French, Cornbread, even a multigrain boule or baguette and even cornbread)
- LIGHTLY COOK-lightly brown the sausage
- SAUTE veggies and herbs in oil and butter.
- ADD in broth.
- COMBINE everything together in a large bowl.
- BAKE until golden brown.
The most important step to get the stuffing together is dry bread. I prefer having my own dry bread. You could also use the stuffing bread cubes that you can find at any grocery store this time of year. I used a nice baguette (it was lightly multi-grain)and cut into 1-inch cubes. You could also tear the bread into small pieces. I toasted them in the oven for about 7 minutes.
If you happen to have an day old baguette (or boule or any white bread around), cut it into cubes and you could leave it on the baking tray overnight. The next day when ready to make the stuffing, you could dry it in the oven for a few minutes.
To get the best stuffing with those irresistible crispy golden edges, it’s best to use dry bread. I like to toast up my day old bread in the oven. When you are toasting the bread it should be to the point where it’s just beginning to brown. You don’t want brown, hard chunks of bread.
Once your bread is ready, gather up all the rest of the ingredients. I used just about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt when I cooked the onion and celery. The sausage is very salty and so is the vegetable broth, so it really didn’t need more salt. But some people like extra salt, so taste it and add more to your liking. My mom adds no salt at all the stuffing recipe.
Remove it from the casing and begin to break it into smaller chunks. You could use a wooden spoon or a fork. If you like a little heat, feel free to use a spicy sausage. Whatever sausage type you choose, you’ll want to remove it from the casings or buy bulk sausage.
Remember, you aren’t fully cooking it, as that would make the sausage too dry. It will continue cooking in the oven with the stuffing.
While the sausage is browning, in another skillet, cook up onions and celery in olive oil and butter. And in a small sauce pan, heat up the broth.
Add the sausage, onion mixture, and fresh herbs to the bread cubes. Combine it all together with a cup of the broth. Add in the whisked egg. Add a bit more broth at a time to make sure it’s wet enough.
Spoon it all into your baking dish.
PIN for later!
Seriously…dive right in! It almost makes you forget the turkey!
Tips for Best Ever Italian Sausage Stuffing Recipe
- You can use unseasoned stuffing cubes (use regular or even gluten-free to make a gluten-free stuffing). The other option (and the one we do) is use your own stuffing cubes by cutting your favorite variety of bread into pieces and leaving it out overnight to get stale. You could even use cornbread to make this stuffing…we use Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread Stuffing.
- Mom says to save some time, you could prep sausage stuffing even 8 hours in advance. Keep it covered and stored in the fridge until it’s time to bake it (or when free space opened in the oven!).
- Mom’s tip: make sure you have enough broth, or you will just have dried croutons…and you don’t want a dried crouton stuffing.
- You could skip the egg, but mom says it helps to give it a nice and rosy color and a little glaze that’s very attractive (good for Instagram photos of your Thanksgiving meal!)
- If the top of the stuffing starts to brown too quickly in the oven, you can cover the dish with foil until the stuffing is completely cooked through.
What do you do with stuffing leftovers?
So leftover stuffing happens to be my personal favorite! I have been known to eat it even cold right from the fridge. It makes an amazing layer in a leftover turkey sandwich! You could also heat it up with any of the other leftovers for Thanksgiving dinner part 2 like we do! Refrigerate any leftover stuffing for up to 3 days.
Can you freeze stuffing?
Yes! Place the stuffing (cooled down)in an airtight container. Freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw out before reheating. Add a bit of broth so it won’t be too dry. Heat it up at 350F for about 25-30 minutes covered with foil paper.
Add the stuffing to a 2qt. baking dish; then cook at 350° for 40 minutes until it’s heated through and golden brown on top. This recipe for Italian Sausage Stuffing makes 6 cups (or twelve 1/2 cup servings) and it is fantastic. Stuffing could even be prepped the night before and kept in the fridge until the big day! As soon as you have room in the oven, bake it up!
We hope you love this classic sausage stuffing all through the holidays and any time during the year as a delicious side dish. Enjoy our family recipe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Some other Thanksgiving recipes:
- Cranberry Glazed Turkey Tenderloin
- No-Knead Dinner Rolls
- Sweet Corn Spoonbread
- Cranberry, Almond and Tangerine Relish
Best Ever Italian Sausage Stuffing
- 16 ounces bread cut into 1-inch pieces day old bread if possible
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin oil
- 1 pound mild pork sausage or sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed (you could use turkey, chicken, or vegan sausage)
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow
- 1 cup chopped celery from 3 stalks
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary no stems
- 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped sage
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 egg lightly whisked
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the cubed bread on a baking sheet. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until dried and toasted. They should be golden brown. Transfer the bread cubes to a very large bowl.
- Add 2 cups of broth (I used vegetable) to a large sauce pan. Heat on medium-low.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the sausages over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a fork while cooking. I didn’t find ground sausage so I bought sausage in the casing and removed it from casing before browning it. Use ground sausage if you found it.
- In another skillet, add the other part of oil and butter (I used vegan butter sticks to keep it dairy-free)in medium heat.
- When it is heated up, add the onions, celery, parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme. Add just a dash of salt and pepper, if you like. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
- Add the browned sausage, toasted bread to a large bowl. Next, add in the onion mixture.
- Add in one cup of the broth. With a large spoon, gently stir the ingredients together. Add in the whisked egg. Gradually add the remaining broth 1/4 cup at a time until the stuffing is wet. With each addition, gently stir and pat the stuffing ingredients together. Take care not to over mix it, you’re just combining it all together. The goal is to have it wet, but not soaked and drippy. You may need the whole 2nd cup of broth and you may need less. You may even need a little bit more than a full 2 cups of broth.
- When the broth is soaked in and combined, spoon the stuffing into a 2qt. baking dish (or 9x12-inch baking dish); then cook for 30-40 minutes, or until it's heated through and golden brown on top. Check it at about 25 minutes and if it seems to be browning too much, cover with foil paper. I baked mine a full 40 minutes. Every oven is different. You may even need to bake it a few minutes longer to get that nice golden brown and have the inside fully heated through.
- Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with additional parsley, then serve.
Freezer-Friendly Instructions: Stuffing can be frozen, after baking and it's cooled down, tightly covered, for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Cover with foil and place in oven at 325°F oven until hot. Make the stuffing ahead and refrigerate it until you're ready to bake, 8 hours to two days in advance.