Sausage Cornbread Stuffing
Oct 17, 2023, Updated Oct 30, 2023
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This sausage cornbread stuffing is a savory blend of crumbled cornbread, seasoned sausage, and aromatic vegetables and herbs. This Southern-inspired dish adds rich flavor and texture to holiday feasts and complements roasted meats perfectly.
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Southern Sausage Cornbread Stuffing
Sausage cornbread stuffing is a culinary delight that melds the comforting taste of homemade cornbread with the savory zest of sausage. Rooted in Southern culinary tradition, this dish is a delightful medley of flavors and textures, with the cornbread providing a slightly sweet and crumbly base, and the sausage infusing it with a robust and meaty essence. Fragrant herbs like sage and thyme, combined with aromatic vegetables like onions and celery, further enhance its depth of flavor.
Often served as a centerpiece side dish during the Thanksgiving feast, sausage cornbread stuffing complements roasted meats, especially turkey, exquisitely. While it is synonymous with holiday meals, many families and chefs love it so much that they make variations of it throughout the year. Whether it’s baked inside a bird or prepared as a standalone casserole, the warm, hearty, and comforting nature of this stuffing makes it a cherished favorite in countless homes.
How to make Cornbread Stuffing
First you will need to assemble the following ingredients:
- Olive oil (2 tbsp) – Olive oil boasts a smooth, fruity profile with notes of grassiness, pepper, and a hint of bitterness.
- Onion (1) – Onions offer a pungent, slightly sweet taste that becomes mellow and caramelized when cooked.
- Celery (3) – Celery imparts a crisp, earthy flavor with a hint of peppery freshness
- Garlic (2 tbsp) – Garlic delivers a robust, pungent taste that mellows into a sweet richness when roasted or sautéed.
- Dry white wine (2 tbsp) – Dry white wine presents a crisp, acidic profile with subtle fruit notes and a clean finish, I use it to deglaze the pan here but you can omit it if you prefer.
- Salt (1 tsp) – salt helps draw the flavor out from the other ingredients.
- Pepper (¼ tsp) – pepper adds a nice fresh heat to the stuffing.
- Spicy breakfast sausage (1 lb) – Spicy breakfast sausage combines savory meatiness with a fiery kick, often punctuated by hints of sage and other warming spices. You can use regular sausage if you prefer.
- Pecans (¾ cup) – Pecans have a buttery, rich flavor with a slightly sweet and nutty finish, its best to toast them ahead of time.
- Sage (3 tbsp) – Sage exudes a fragrant, earthy aroma with pine-like undertones and a slightly peppery aftertaste.
- Rosemary (2 tsp) – Rosemary boasts a piney, woody flavor with a touch of mint and camphor.
- Honey (1 tsp) – Honey offers a sweet, floral taste that varies based on its floral source, often with hints of fruitiness or spiciness.
- Stale cornbread (10 cups) – Cornbread presents a mildly sweet, grainy profile with a comforting, moist crumb. I like to make my Honey Butter Cornbread ahead of time for this recipe, cut it up and let it sit out overnight.
- Cranberries (2 cups) – Cranberries deliver a tart punch, often complemented by their natural sweetness when ripened or cooked.
- Chicken stock (3 – 4 cups) – Chicken stock provides a savory, umami-rich base with undertones of simmered vegetables and herbs. You may not need all 3-4 cups depending on how stale the cornbread is but its best to have it all on hand.
Use this Method to make the Stuffing:
- Soak. Add the cranberries to a bowl, pour hot water over them let sit for 5 minutes until they have softened then drain and set aside.
- Cook veggies. Heat the oil in a hot skillet, add the onion and celery and cook 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more. Season with salt and pepper then add the sausage and cook until browned.
- Add Nuts. Add the pecans, sage, rosemary, and honey to the skillet, cook another minute till herbs are fragrant, remove skillet from the heat.
- Combine. In a large bowl mix the cornbread, cranberries, and the cooked sausage and vegetable mixture. Add the chicken stock until the cornbread is moist, I massage it with my hands to combine. You won’t necessarily need to add all the chicken stock depending on how stale your cornbread is.
- Bake. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish and spread the mixture in the dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes until hot and crusty on top. Enjoy warm.
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Cornbread Stuffing
Use Day-Old Cornbread: Slightly stale cornbread absorbs the flavors better without becoming overly mushy. If you don’t have time to let it sit overnight, you can cube the cornbread and toast it in a low oven until it dries out a bit.
Choose Quality Sausage: Opt for high-quality, flavorful sausage. Depending on your preference, you can use mild or spicy sausage. Removing the casings and breaking the sausage into crumbles ensures even distribution throughout the stuffing.
Sauté Vegetables: Don’t rush the sautéing of your onions, celery, and other veggies. Cooking them until they’re soft and translucent will give your stuffing a deeper flavor.
Season Generously: Stuffing can be bland if not seasoned well. Make sure to taste and adjust the salt, pepper, and other seasonings. Fresh herbs, such as sage, thyme, and parsley, can elevate the flavors immensely.
Broth is Key: Use a rich, flavorful broth to moisten the stuffing. Depending on your preference, you can use chicken, turkey, or vegetable broth. The amount of liquid needed can vary, so add gradually until the desired consistency is achieved.
Bake to Perfection: If you’re baking the stuffing outside of the bird (which is recommended for even cooking), make sure to cover it with foil initially to prevent it from drying out. For a crispy top, remove the foil towards the end of baking.
Safe Stuffing: If you choose to stuff your bird, ensure that the stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure food safety.
Customize: While traditional ingredients are always a hit, don’t be afraid to experiment. Add-ins like diced apples, nuts, dried cranberries, or other fresh herbs can give your stuffing a unique twist.
Prep Ahead: You can prepare the sausage and vegetable mixture a day in advance and refrigerate it. On the day of, simply mix it with your cornbread and bake.
Leftovers Shine: Stuffing often tastes better the next day as flavors meld. Reheat in an oven or skillet to maintain its texture. It also makes a great sandwich filling!
Yes! You can prepare the stuffing a day in advance and refrigerate it. On the day of serving, let it come to room temperature and then bake.
Any good-quality pork sausage works well. You can choose between mild or spicy based on your preference. Some people also like using Italian or Andouille sausage for added flavor.
Absolutely. While homemade cornbread often has a richer flavor, store-bought cornbread can save time and still yield delicious results.
The stuffing mixture should be moist but not soggy. If the cornbread is still dry after the initial addition, you can add more broth gradually until the desired consistency is achieved.
Yes! Simply omit the sausage or use a vegetarian sausage substitute. Ensure your broth is vegetable-based as well.
Store any leftover stuffing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. It can also be frozen for longer storage.
For best results, reheat in an oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through. This maintains the texture better than microwaving.
Certainly! Popular add-ins include diced apples, cranberries, nuts, or other herbs. Feel free to customize the stuffing to your tastes.
Baking outside the bird ensures even cooking and a crispy top. However, if you prefer to stuff your bird, ensure the stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safety.
If your stuffing is too dry, add more broth or melted butter gradually until desired moistness. If it’s too wet, allow it to bake uncovered for a longer period or add more cornbread to absorb the excess moisture.
What to Serve With Sausage Cornbread Stuffing
- Roasted Turkey or Chicken: The classic pairing, especially during Thanksgiving or Christmas feasts.
- Pork Roasts or Tenderloin: The flavors of pork complement the sausage in the stuffing beautifully. Our baked garlic pork tenderloin is great alongside!
- Beef Roast: Especially if prepared with herbs that harmonize with the stuffing.
- Ham: A sweet-glazed ham contrasts nicely with the savory stuffing.
Other Side Dishes:
- Cranberry Sauce: The tangy sweetness of cranberry sauce is a delightful counterpoint to the richness of the stuffing.
- Mashed Potatoes: Creamy potatoes with gravy are a staple alongside stuffing.
- Green Bean Almondine or Casserole: Adds a fresh, green component to the plate.
- Brussels Sprouts: Especially if roasted with some bacon or balsamic glaze.
- Roasted Root Vegetables: Carrots, parsnips, and beets, for example.
- Gravy: A must-have for many, whether it’s turkey, chicken, or mushroom gravy.
- Rolls or Biscuits: For those who can’t get enough of the bread goodness.
- Waldorf Salad: The crunchy apples, celery, and walnuts with a creamy dressing provide a nice contrast.
- Simple Green Salad: With a light vinaigrette, this can help balance the meal’s richness.
- Roasted Beet Salad: With some goat cheese and a balsamic reduction.
- Red Wine: A medium-bodied wine like Pinot Noir or a Zinfandel can complement the flavors well.
- White Wine: Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc for those who prefer white.
- Beer: A brown ale or a hearty stout can pair wonderfully.
- Cider: Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions offer a sweet and tangy accompaniment.
- Cranberry Punch or Mocktails: These can echo the festive nature of the meal.
Desserts (for after the meal):
- Pumpkin or Pecan Pie: Classic choices for a reason.
- Apple Crisp or Cobbler: The warm, spiced apples contrast the savory stuffing beautifully.
- Sweet Potato Pie: Another southern favorite that would harmonize with the cornbread stuffing.
Try these other favorite Thanksgiving side dishes:
Sausage Cornbread Stuffing Recipe
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- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 celery ribs, diced
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp dry white wine
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 lb spicy breakfast sausage
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
- 3 tbsp fresh sage, minced
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 tsp honey
- 10 cups cornbread, stale (cut into 1 inch cubes) I use my Honey Butter Cornbread
- 2 cups dried cranberries
- 3 - 4 cups of chicken stock
- Soak cranberries in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat a large skillet on medium heat until oil is shimmering, add onion and celery and cook for 5-7 minutes until softened. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook 2-3 more minutes. Add the white wine to the skillet and let it cook off for a moment.
- Add the salt, pepper, and breakfast sausage to the skillet and cook until the sausage has browned. Add the pecans, sage, rosemary, and honey, cook for another minute then remove skillet from heat.
- In a large bowl mix the cornbread, cranberries, and cooked sausage/veggie mixture. Add the chicken stock until the cornbread bread is very moist and wet, massage it with your hands to combine. You won't necessarily need all the chicken stock depending how stale your cornbread is. Taste the mixture to check the seasoning and adjust to your taste.
- Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and spread the mixture in the dish.
- Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until hot all the way through and crusty on top.
Nutrition InformationYield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 256Total Fat 42gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 29gCholesterol 144mgSodium 2463mgCarbohydrates 143gFiber 3gSugar 31gProtein 33g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.