The best parts of Thanksgiving are all the classic side dishes! Serve this homemade healthier apple sausage stuffing and feel free to indulge in family-favorite comfort food.
Apple Sausage Stuffing for Thanksgiving
Thick chunks of cooked apples among the savory sausage crumbles, all baked in a chewy bread stuffing. This is the ultimate holiday side dish. And when you make this recipe, the herbs and spices waft through the air.
Your entire house will smell amazing when you make it.
Stuffing is stereotypically a Thanksgiving side dish. And since the apple harvest season is the end of October, this is the perfect way to cook up some ripe apples, making it a quintessential fall recipe.
The entire recipe is in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post. Here’s what you need to have on hand before you start cooking.
- Cubed sandwich bread – both white and wheat
- Chicken sausage
- Olive oil
- Gala apples
- Chicken Broth
- Dried Cranberries
Kitchen Tools Used
This is what I used to make my stuffing.
- Large mixing bowl
- 9×13 Casserole Dish
What Type of Apples Are Best For Stuffing?
This is supposed to be a savory dish with a hint of sweetness. If you use granny smith, it will taste too tart. And if you use Fuji or Red Delicious apples, the sweetness will overpower the spices.
I used gala apples for my stuffing recipe. It has the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
What Type of Sausage Is Best?
To keep the fat content lower, I used chicken sausage. You can also use pork sausage too. I just prefer the taste of chicken sausage in general, but you can use either. This chicken sausage is the one that comes from the tube and is near the other meats. It should easily be able to crumble when you cook it (not the links!). You can ask your butcher if you aren’t sure.
Best Bread for Homemade Stuffing
I used a combination of white and wheat sandwich bread. You don’t have to use any special type of bread. The rest of the ingredients will overpower the bread, it plays more of a supporting role.
However, if you want a little extra texture in your stuffing, crumble up some french bread. Lots of people love putting French bread in their stuffing recipes.
Should you make stuffing inside the turkey?
I prefer to bake this as a stand-alone side in the oven, outside of the turkey. It is actually easier to bake it in a separate dish, believe it or not.
Stuffing the turkey with bread and spices will slow down the cooking time. I prefer to save time, not take longer.
If you want to put the stuffing in the turkey, let the turkey cook a bit before putting it inside.
How Long to Cook Apple Sausage Stuffing
There are four main ways you can cook this recipe. Here are the cooking times for each cooking method.
- Outside the Turkey : Cook for 50-55 minutes
- Inside the Turkey: Cook for about 1-2 hours
- In the Slow Cooker: Cook on high for 30 minutes, then on low for 3-4 hours
More Stuffing Ideas
This is my favorite recipe, but there are still ways you can personalize it for your family. Here are some ways you can change it up.
- Mix in chopped walnuts
- Sprinkle in some raisin
- Add some dried parsley
How to Make Apple Sausage Stuffing Ahead of Time
I love finding ways to save myself time in the kitchen. This recipe can be made ahead of time. Then, all you have to do is heat it up in the oven before dinner.
To make the stuffing ahead of time, just follow these steps:
- Cook the sausage completely in a skillet, then transfer to a bowl.
- Saute the rest of the veggies with the spices in the skillet.
- Put the sauteed veggies, apples, bread crumbs, and sausage in a large bowl and mix them up together.
- Put this mixture in your 9×13 baking dish.
- Keep this in the refrigerator for up to two days before or in the freezer for up to two weeks.
- When you’re ready to cook, bring the dish to room temperature and then bake in the oven.
A Healthier Apple Sausage Stuffing Side Dish
There are lots of ways this stuffing recipe is actually quite good for you. Just look at these stats:
- Lower in fat – It has less fat than traditional stuffing recipes
- High in vitamin C
- High in protein
More Health Thanksgiving Side Dishes
While you are making your menu, add these to the list. You will love how fresh and full of flavor they are.
- 10 heaping cups cubed sandwich bread, I use half white and half whole wheat.
- 1lb chicken sausage, in a tube near the meat or behind the butcher counter. One that can be crumbled into pieces like ground meat.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium apples, peeled and diced. I used Gala
- 2 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cut your bread into 1 inch pieces and place on baking sheet.
- Toast bread pieces for 10-15 minutes, or until slightly brown and crispy. Leave the oven on.
- Once cooled, pour bread into large bowl.
- Brown chicken sausage in a skillet until cooked through and then transfer sausage/drippings to bowl with bread.
- Using the same skillet, heat olive oil. Then saute celery and onions for 5 minutes.
- Add in garlic and apple chunks and saute for an addition 3-5 minutes or until apples are soft.
- Pour apple mixture on top of bread and sausage mixture.
- Add your sage, thyme, salt and pepper on top of bread mixture.
- In another bowl, whisk together your eggs and chicken stock.
- Pour egg mixture on top of bread mixture and begin to stir.
- Mix it up until every piece is evenly coated. You don’t want your bread to be soggy, but you want it to have moisture. If it feels too dry and you need to add more stock, now would be the time.
- Pour into greased 9×13 pan and bake uncovered for 50-55 minutes or until nice and golden brown.
- Sprinkle dried cranberries on top after baking if desired.
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