Sausage Stuffing (Turkey Dressing)

How to make a bread and sausage stuffing for Thanksgiving, either for baking inside a holiday turkey or baking separately in the oven any time of year. This is my grandmother's and my mother's recipe for sausage stuffing and now it's mine too. It's good stuff! Best of all, it couldn't be simpler to make!

Sausage Stuffing (Turkey Dressing) ♥, my grandmother's recipe, just sausage, good bread, herbs and an egg-milk binding. Stuff a turkey with it or just bake in the oven.

Real Food, Fresh & Seasonal, Perfect for Thanksgiving. Make It Ahead of Time or At the Last Minute. Budget Friendly. How to Feed a Crowd. Potluck & Party Friendly.

Following Family Tradition

Does every family have its tried-and-true traditional stuffing recipe? Mine does.

This was my grandmother’s stuffing recipe and my mother’s too. It’s my sister’s stuffing recipe and yes, mine too.

I just did the math: this means we’ve been using this stuffing recipe for 90 years. Ninety years, that’s a lot of tradition!

In Nana’s day, roast turkey was traditional for Canadian Thanksgiving in October and again at Christmas. Turkey was a special treat because whole birds were only available during the cold months.

Story goes, one year the family was finishing Christmas dinner when there was a knock at the door. My grandfather had forgotten inviting another family for dinner! Nana managed to put together a suitable repast and the family ate twice that day.

Me, I make the stuffing the day before; it’s the starting bell for the sprint of Thanksgiving cooking. Some years, then, I tuck the stuffing into the turkey for roasting, other years I turn it into a baking dish and bake it in the oven.

Either way: delicious.

What Goes Into Sausage Stuffing?

Ingredients for Sausage Stuffing (Turkey Dressing) ♥
  • Pork Sausage – Look for uncooked ground pork sausage in the meat section at the grocery, usually in fat cylinders wrapped in plastic.
  • Good Bread – Use bread that tastes good and has some density. It shouldn't be too fresh, in fact, my recipe includes two ways to dry out bread that's actually too fresh for stuffing.
  • Onion & Celery – Onion and celery are called the "aromatics," be sure to let them sauté well, just until golden. They also break up the bread-y, sausage-y texture of Sausage Stuffing.
  • Egg & Milk – Egg and milk bind the sausage and bread together, it's what turns bread and cooked sausage into "stuffing".
  • Seasonings – Poultry seasoning is traditional and gives stuffing that distinctive "Thanksgiving" flavor, look for it with the spice blends, especially around Thanksgiving. If you have some at home, give it a sniff, it might not be used so often so might have been sitting in the spice rack for a long while and have lost its oomph. You can mix your own poultry seasoning with a blend of sage, thyme, rosemary and marjoram. Salt and pepper are important, be generous!
Sausage Stuffing (Turkey Dressing) ♥, ready for the oven.

Turkey "Stuffing" vs "Turkey Dressing"

Oh, my! Such arguments over semantics.

THE SHORT VERSION Stuffing and dressing are 100% the exact same thing, 100%. They're just cooked with different methods, stuffing "stuffed" inside the turkey to cook while the turkey roasts and dressing baked in a casserole dish in the oven. It's like to-MAY-to and to-MAH-to, the Thanksgiving version.

  • TURKEY STUFFING When you take my recipe below and stuff it inside a turkey to cook while the turkey roasts, well, that's "stuffing".
  • TURKEY DRESSING But when you take the exact same recipe and stuff it into a casserole dish to bake in the oven, well, that's "dressing".

There are good food-safety reasons to make dressing instead of stuffing but the truth is, of course, that good home cooks have been safely serving turkey stuffing for decades, maybe centuries, a long while anyway.

I prefer the casserole dish and the oven because it's just one less thing to worry about and heaven knows, there are lots of details to worry about at Thanksgiving.

So I guess I'm really making "Sausage Dressing"? Arrgh!

Who cares?! It's just good stuff and it goes fast on the Thanksgiving buffet.

Sausage Stuffing (Turkey Dressing) ♥, my grandmother's recipe, just sausage, good bread, herbs and an egg-milk binding. Stuff a turkey with it or just bake in the oven.


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Can be made ahead & reheated
Makes 6 cups

Plan ahead, the bread should be dried before making the stuffing, either air-dried in a cold oven or heat-dried in a low oven.
  • 1 pound (450g) pork sausage or ground pork
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 8 ounces (225g) hearty bread (see TIPS), torn into pieces
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (see TIPS)
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

In a large skillet (or two, if needed) cook the sausage, adding the onion and celery as they’re prepped. When the meat is fully cooked and the vegetables soft, stir in the bread, stirring to coat with fat.

Separately, whisk together the remaining ingredients, then gently pour it over the sausage-bread mixture, letting it soak in. Let the stuffing cook for a few minutes, just until the egg mixture sets; stirring every so often when the outside edges begin to brown.

To serve immediately, transfer to a serving dish, serve and savor.

To serve later as a casserole, transfer to an oven-safe baking dish, let cool, cover and refrigerate. Heat oven to 350F/180C and warm clear through, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

ALANNA's TIPS Good stuffing starts with good bread. Choose a loaf with heft and flavor. A hearty whole wheat works, so does a heavy white bread, so does rye bread. The bread doesn't have to be homemade but if it is, Our Daily Bread: My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe would be a great choice. Corn bread would be excellent. Avoid anything that’s light and fluffy or thick with preservatives which inhibits drying. Slightly dry bread is better than bread that's just fresh. However, there is a way to "dry" bread that's too fresh for making stuffing. First, tear the bread into bite-size pieces, don't use a knife, the irregular pieces gives the stuffing better texture. Then, spread the bread pieces evenly on a baking sheet or two. After that, either (1) air-dry the bread pieces by putting them into a cold oven for a day or two or (2) heat-dry by baking in an oven at 200F/ for 15 minutes or so. Poultry seasoning is a commercial blend of herbs and if you don’t have any, just use a blend of sage, thyme, rosemary and marjoram. It's just one of several DIY Spice Blends & Homemade Seasonings I mix to order and mix to taste.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup: 167 Calories; 7g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 41mg Cholesterol; 158mg Sodium; 14g Carb; 1g Fiber; 3g Sugar; 10g Protein WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 4 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 5 & Freestyle 5 & myWW green 5 & blue 5 & purple 5

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. MMMM - that looks really good!

  2. That does look great! My aunt made regular and sausage stuffing one year and the sausage won hands down. Yum!

  3. Just try sharing that dressing in the South -- it's practically heresy to make it without using cornbread. I always warn people that it won't seem like "real" dressing to them. FYI Alanna: Even Ron still uses Nana's recipe!

  4. I think I remember that stuffing ... very much like the one I kind of 'made up'. Your mother (or Nana) must be where the memory comes from. I love putting sausage in the stuffing. Yum!!!

  5. I love sausage stuffing. I learned to make it from my mother. It was always the best part of Thanksgiving for me along with the mashed potatoes and gravy. This year I've finally changed my recipe so it's gluten and dairy free. Your photo looks a lot like my mom's stuffing. It's great to share these recipes over the generations. I love the stories of how they started if they are known. Some can be entertaining. Thank you for sharing this recipe.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna