Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing with Sausage Recipe (2024)

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Old-fashioned Bread Stuffing with Sausage, just like my dad's ~ almost. Easy, made from scratch bread stuffing with sausage, cooked outside the turkey in a casserole. The best side on the holiday table!

Holidays and food always conjure up memories of my dad. He was such a great cook, I'd say old world through and through, he rarely used a written recipe. But as my dad got older, he was always watching PBS cooking shows and then the new Food Network, and he subscribed to manycooking magazines. He was always clipping recipes and jotting something down he saw on a cooking show, just continually experimenting in the kitchen.

But the holidays, at least Thanksgiving, he didn't mess around with "new" stuff, at least not very often. And his stuffing was always good old-fashioned bread stuffing.

First thing on Thanksgiving morning, I awoke to the best smell coming out of the kitchen. No, not the turkey in the oven, the stuffing my dad was making on the stove. He always stuffed the bird, no big pans of dressing on the side, although there usually was a small casserole of some stuffing that didn't fit in the bird.

No recipe, just his skillet of celery, onion, carrots, butter and dried herbs. In my eyes, dad's stuffing was the best, and any variation ~ like the year he put oysters in it! ~ was always a bit disappointing. Stick with the original, dad. And the best part? The crispy browned pieces poking out of the bird when he pulled it out of the oven.

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing with Sausage Recipe (3)

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing with Sausage Recipe (4)

Several years ago, I went from hosting an occasional Thanksgiving to having Thanksgiving at our house every year now. I wanted to make stuffing like my dad, and searched for and read many versions ~lotsof recipes out there ~ before I settled ona recipe that sounded just like my dad's with a little extra something to make it my own.

A traditional bread stuffing with sausage. And technically, this would be considered dressing as I do it on the side, in a big casserole. But that sounds weird, it will always be stuffing to me.

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing with Sausage Recipe (5)

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing with Sausage Recipe (6)

A few things I'm sure of ~ my dad did not make his own bread cubes, he did not use fresh herbs and he most definitely did not put sausage in his stuffing. But as I make this version, it smells just like his and the sausage is a great addition, much better than oysters. My dad did make turkey stock, a lot of turkey stock, to moisten the stuffing and for the gravy.

Shout out to my dad here ~ he made the best gravy, hands down, the best. He was known for his gravies and I have not been able to master that, yet. I'm coming close, but my gravy is never as good as my dad's. No recipe, just my memories of watching him make it so many times.

I, too, make turkey stock each Thanksgiving for the stuffing and gravy. For this stuffing, you can use chicken stock or broth, preferably homemade. I didn't have enough on hand in my freezer when I made this yesterday for this post, so I used store-bought chicken stock and it was just fine. Just for the record, turkey stock is the best though.

We all have our traditions and dishes for the holidays. My favorite side is this old-fashioned herb bread and sausage stuffing, inspired by my dad. My girls really like it, too. Each year now, they ask me "Is this the stuffing you make with the sausage"? Yes, it is ~ and it always will be. Miss you Papa ~ you would like it, too. Happy Thanksgiving!Kelly🍴🐦

Here are a few more of our favorite holiday side dishes:

  • Best Brussels Sproutsare so easy caramelized on the stovetop with honey and Dijon mustard.
  • Cheesy Potatoeshash brown casserole, my kids' favorite no matter what holiday it is!
  • Corn Souffléeasy corn casserole with boxed corn muffin mix.
  • Glazed Carrots with honey and brown sugar, super easy on the stovetop.
  • Spinach Rockefelleris a creamy spinach side dish of my grandmother's.

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UPDATED:originally published four years ago in 2016, spruced things up a bit with new photos and a video in October, 2020, with no changes to original recipe.

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing with Sausage Recipe (9)

Traditional bread stuffing with sausage, just like my dad's ~ almost. A favorite and must have on my Thanksgiving table.

4.93 from 28 votes

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Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 1 hour hour

Cook Time: 1 hour hour

Total Time: 2 hours hours

Servings: 12 servings

Calories: 420kcal

Author: Kelly Wildenhaus


  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), more for baking dish
  • 2 lbs good quality white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 20 cups)
  • 4 ribs celery, plus some leafy tops, finely diced (1½ cups)
  • 2 carrots, finely diced (1 cup)
  • 1 sweet onion, finely diced (2½ cups)
  • 1 lb bulk pork breakfast sausage
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 cups homemade turkey stock, or chicken broth or stock
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350º. Spread bread cubes on two large baking sheets and toast for 30 minutes, stirring and rotating pans, until lightly browned and crisp. Transfer to very large bowl when done.

  • Meanwhile, in large skillet, melt 1 stick of butter. Pour half the melted butter in a bowl and reserve for later, to brush the top of the stuffing. To the pan with remaining melted butter, add celery, carrots and onion, a sprinkle of salt, and cook and stir over medium-high heat until softened and starting to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer vegetables to bowl. Add sausage to skillet in chunks, and cook, breaking it up with wooden spoon, until cooked through and lightly browned, about 6 minutes.

  • Return vegetable mixture to the skillet and add the sage and thyme, a little salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of stock, cook and stir up any browned bits, until stock is reduced and cooked down by half, about 5 minutes.

  • Transfer sausage mixture to bowl with the toasted bread cubes. Add remaining 2 to 2½ cups of stock and toss well until bread cubes are evenly moistened. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spread stuffing into large, buttered baking dish (about 3½ quart size) and brush with the reserved melted butter.

  • Bake in center of oven until heated through and nicely browned, about 1 hour, rotating casserole halfway through. Let stuffing rest 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

A few things I’m sure of ~ my dad did not make his own bread cubes, he did not use fresh herbs and he most definitely did not put sausage in his stuffing. But as I make this version, it smells just like his and the sausage is a great addition, much better than oysters. My dad did make turkey stock, a lot of turkey stock, to moisten the stuffing and for the gravy.


Calories: 420kcal Carbohydrates: 42g Protein: 15g Fat: 21g Saturated Fat: 9g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Monounsaturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 49mg Sodium: 705mg Potassium: 339mg Fiber: 3g Sugar: 6g Vitamin A: 2081IU Vitamin C: 4mg Calcium: 189mg Iron: 3mg

Did you make this recipe? Please comment, rate it and share! And mention me on Instagram @thehungrybluebird or tag #thehungrybluebird so I can see!

*Adapted fromFood & Wine,2011, and inspired by my dad

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing with Sausage Recipe (2024)


How much water do you put in sausage before stuffing? ›

Add at least 1 oz. of water per pound of meat to aid in the stuffing process.

What is sausage stuffing made of? ›

A mixture of sage, sausage, onion, garlic, and celery lends this stuffing classic flavor.

What does adding egg to stuffing do? ›

Eggs: Two lightly beaten eggs help hold the dressing together and add moisture.

What is the best bread to dry for stuffing? ›

#1: White Sandwich Bread

Flavor: We were very happy with the flavor—the white bread acts as a sort of blank, neutral palate with a very mild sweetness that allows the richness of the broth, the sage-iness of the sausage, and the vegetables to really shine through.

How wet should stuffing be before baking? ›

The stuffing should be moist but not wet. If there is a puddle of broth at the bottom of the bowl, you've added too much. Add more bread to soak up the excess moisture. If the mix is still dry and crumbly, add more liquid and toss gently until it starts to clump together.

Why does the casing of sausage keep breaking when stuffing? ›

A common mistake is to pack the meat mixture too tightly into the casing. Remember to leave enough room to twist the sausage into smaller links and to allow for expansion, which most often occurs during cooking.

Can you prepare uncooked stuffing ahead of time and refrigerate? ›

If you don't plan on stuffing the bird, but preparing the dressing as a side dish, you can prepare uncooked stuffing ahead of time as long as you freeze the stuffing immediately after mixing the wet and dry ingredients. USDA recommends that you never refrigerate uncooked stuffing.

Is it OK to make stuffing a day ahead of time? ›

The short answer to whether you can making stuffing ahead of time is yes.

Is stuffing better with or without eggs? ›

It's a matter of preference, but adding a beaten egg to your stuffing mixture acts as a binder and keeps the bread moist.

What makes stuffing unhealthy? ›

Stuffing is not strictly a healthy food, because it is typically high in calories, fat, sodium, and refined carbohydrates. 1 But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it, All foods can fit into a healthy diet in moderation.

What can you use as a binder instead of eggs in stuffing? ›

16 egg substitutes
  1. Mashed banana. Mashed banana can act as a binding agent when baking or making pancake batter. ...
  2. Applesauce. Applesauce can also act as a binding agent. ...
  3. Fruit puree. Fruit puree will help bind a recipe in a similar way to applesauce. ...
  4. Avocado. ...
  5. Gelatin. ...
  6. Xanthan gum. ...
  7. Vegetable oil and baking powder. ...
  8. Margarine.
Mar 30, 2021

Is it better to make stuffing with fresh or stale bread? ›

The bread is one of the most important ingredients in the stuffing. This is the base; it's what gives the stuffing structure, and it plays a big role in determining the texture. While you can use almost any bread — cornbread, bagels, or even frozen waffles — to make stuffing, it needs to be dried or “staled” first.

Why shouldn't you use stale bread for stuffing? ›

"If you're using stale bread and adding liquid, there will be nowhere for the liquid to go," says Seixas. "It's like when you're trying to cram more people into a fully booked flight. There's no space for extra moisture to fill." As a result, your stuffing will have a soggy texture.

Is white or brown bread better for stuffing? ›

You can use any kind; store-bought white bread works well and would probably be my #1 suggestion for stuffing. You could also try using cut up dinner rolls, sourdough bread (actually this would be my personal first pick), challah, or anything else you want to experiment with.

How much water do you need to cook sausage? ›

Fill skillet with enough water to reach a quarter of the way up sides of sausages. Simmer, covered, until sausages are cooked through and water evaporates, 10 to 15 minutes. (If sausages have cooked through but water has not evaporated, uncover, and continue to cook until water evaporates.)

How much water do you put in stuffing mix? ›

Empty the sachet into a bowl, adding 425ml of boiling water, mixing well. Add a large knob of butter if desired. 3. Leave to stand for 5 minutes then place the stuffing into either an ovenproof dish or alternatively form into stuffing balls on a greased baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until piping hot.

How much water do you add when making summer sausage? ›

Add entire seasoning and cure packets to 2/3 cup water. Use 1 tablespoon seasoning + 1-3/4 teaspoons of cure per pound of meat. Mix it with approximately 2 tblspns of water.

Should I add water to sausage? ›

When making sausage it is important that you add water to the mixture. Adding water will... Help the seasonings (and cure) blend with the meat much better. Make mixing much easier.

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