Delicious apple and sage sausage stuffing with cranberries and fresh rosemary is perfect for your holiday dinner! Easy to make. Gluten + Dairy free options.
Crusty bread, sweet apples, tart cranberries, and fresh herbs make for one delightful stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving. This is based on my grandmother’s classic, just jazzed up a bit. This stuffing is savory and sweet, soft and crispy, and basically everything a Thanksgiving classic should be!
Free from: Wheat (optional), dairy (optional), casein, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, corn, sesame, mustard, lupin, sulfites, and more
Every holiday table needs a few good recipes like this apple sausage stuffing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and fluffy dinner rolls. This stuffing recipe has a good balance of fresh produce, soft bread, crunchy apples, and lots and lots of sage.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Delicious, full of flavor, and a fun twist on a Thanksgiving classic!
- Apples provide a crunchy texture and perfect balance between the sweet apple and pork sausage
- Full of sage and other warming herbs
- Easy to make with simple ingredients
Apple Sausage Stuffing Ingredients
- Apples: Apples add the perfect sweet and crunchy touch to this classic side dish. I recommend Fuji, Honeycrisp, or Gala for a sweeter addition and a Granny Smith apple for a more tart.
- Sausage: One pound of sausage makes this stuffing. I typically use pork sausage but sweet italian sausage would also work. If pork is too high of histamine for you, chicken or turkey sausage are also great. Just don’t use breakfast sausage! That has totally different spices.
- Bread: While you can use a pre-made bread cubes for stuffing, I really recommend that you purchase a loaf and toast it in the oven yourself before baking the stuffing. The flavor, texture, and overall appearance will be miles better.
- Veggies: Sweet onion and celery sauteed in a bit of butter to bring out their flavors.
- Egg: The egg acts as a bit of moisture as well as helping to bind the stuffing together.
- Cranberries: I love the pop of color that dried or fresh cranberries bring to the stuffing.
- Stock or broth: Use a good chicken stock (chicken broth) for the best flavor. Beef stock, turkey stock, or vegetable broth will also work.
- Herbs: Rubbed sage, rosemary (fresh or dried), thyme, and salt are all you need.
If you are avoiding gluten, you can make this gluten free! Use your favorite gluten free bread and toast it up the same way as you do with the wheat bread. You can add an extra egg and a bit more chicken stock to help combat the sometimes dry nature of gluten free bread.
Need to make this dairy free? You can! Use your favorite dairy free butter in place of the butter in this recipe. No other adjustments needed.
How to Prepare Bread Crumbs
I love to use bakery bread that has been dried out for a day or so. I don’t like to use stale bread, though traditional homemade stuffing usually recommends that.
Roughly tear the bread slices into about 1 inch pieces. Place them on an ungreased baking tray. Don’t be afraid to pile them up but try to get as even a layer as possible.
Bake at 300F for about 25 minutes or until the bread pieces are golden brown and toasted. Remove from the oven and let them cool before mixing into the stuffing.
You can totally do this a few days ahead of making the stuffing.
For the full recipe instructions, complete with ingredient measurements, please see the recipe card below.
Start by chopping all your onion, celery, and apples. Pop the apples in a water bath with a splash of lemon juice to keep them from browning.
In a large flat bottomed pan, or a heavy large skillet, sauté the onion, celery, and butter (or olive oil or stock) until soft and fragrant. This should take about 10 minutes or so over medium heat. Place the cooked onion mix into a heat safe large bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, now cook the sausage. Season with salt and black pepper.
Remove the cooked sausage from the pan and place it into the large mixing bowl with the onion mix. Add the chopped apples, cranberries, seasonings, bread, and stock. Mix until the stuffing is well distributed.
Transfer the stuffing mixture to an ungreased casserole dish and spread out into an even layer.
Bake at 350 covered loosley with aluminum foil for about 30 minutes. Then remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. This gives it that crispy top. Serve and enjoy!
The technical difference is that stuffing is traditionally made by stuffing it inside the cavity of a Thanksgiving turkey. Dressing is made on the side, outside of the bird.
However, the names are used interchangeably and essentially mean the same delicious side dish.
Any bakery style bread is my personal favorite. A French or Italian loaf works great. If you can eat dairy and eggs, a brioche bread would taste amazing in this.
Other breads are simple white bread, sourdough bread, or even challah bread.
And you can use your favorite gluten free bread if you need to make this gluten free! Follow the same instructions.
Yes! Use your favorite gluten free bread in the same way that you would use wheat bread. Follow the same instructions and you’ll have a perfect gluten free apple sage sausage stuffing.
I love to use sweet and crisp apples for this. My favorites are Fuji, Honeycrisp, or Gala apples. Granny smith apples would also work and provide more of a tang. Just make sure that you use fresh apples for this recipe.
Yes. My family typically assembles the stuffing the day before Thanksgiving, making it all the way through placing it in the baking dish. Then, cover and place it in the fridge overnight.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven and bake as directed. The cooking time may require an additional 10 minutes to bake when making it after chilling.
I don’t recommend making it so far in advance you need to freeze this recipe.
- Toast your bread in the oven so that it doesn’t get soggy in the oven. And if you make them a day or two in advance, they will be even crunchier and make a much better stuffing.
- While fresh herbs provide the max flavor, dried herbs work just as well. Just double any herb for the dried herb amount.
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How to Store
Store the leftover stuffing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
To reheat, either place a portion in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, or, reheat the entire tray in the oven at 350F for about 15 minutes or until warmed through.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
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- mixing bowls
- mixing spoons
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- cutting board
- Large pan
- Casserole dish
- 1 lbs sausage
- 1 egg
- 2-3 apples chopped
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 cup cranberries dried
- 4-5 cups bread toasted and in pieces
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and pepper
- Prepare the bread crumbs. Roughly chop or tear bread into 1-inch pieces and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until golden brown and toasted. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Store in a container until ready to use. Can be made a few days in advance of making the stuffing.
- Chop the veggies. Prepare your vegetables by dicing the onion and celery. Chop the apples and place into a water bath with a spoonful of lemon juice to keep them from browning.
- Sauté the onion mix. In a skillet on the stove over medium heat, saute the onions and celery in either olive oil, butter, or stock. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the salt and herbs. Mix well for 30 seconds and then transfer them to a large heat safe mixing bowl.
- Cook the sausage. In the same skillet, brown the sausage.
- Mix. When the sausage is fully cooked, add it to the bowl with the onion mix. Now add the apples (making sure to drain off the water), cranberries, egg, and breadcrumbs. Mix this together well. Finally, add in the stock, making sure to mix it well.
- Bake. Transfer the sausage mix to a baking dish and bake covered for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy.
- Allergy Variations
- If you are avoiding gluten, you can make this gluten free! Use your favorite gluten free bread and toast it up the same way as you do with the wheat bread. You can add an extra egg and a bit more chicken stock to help combat the sometimes dry nature of gluten free bread.
- Need to make this dairy free? You can! Use your favorite dairy free butter in place of the butter in this recipe. No other adjustments needed.
- How to Store
- Store the leftover stuffing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
- To reheat, either place a portion in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, or, reheat the entire tray in the oven at 350F for about 15 minutes or until warmed through.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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