This homemade cornbread and sausage stuffing recipe is full of flavor and is perfect for any holiday meal. This southern sausage stuffing is so simple and easy to make yet is loaded with plenty of flavor and sure to be a hit for meals.
Can we all just agree that stuffing is one of the stars of the holiday dinner show? There's something so comforting about this hearty dish that makes it irresistible to deny.
I've been a fan of stuffing for as long as I can remember and I've eaten it several different ways. I've found that I prefer my stuffing to have meat, like in this sausage stuffing recipe, but you easily make this recipe meat-free if you prefer.
Just when you thought that your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal couldn't get any better, along comes this simple stuffing recipe. It might taste like it took all day, but you'll know the truth!
This isn't like your traditional stuffing recipe, though. This cornbread sausage stuffing recipe is baked outside of the turkey in a separate baking dish, which is what makes it unique. It goes perfectly with our oven roasted turkey and all your favorite sides!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Versatile Recipe. You can easily modify the recipe by adding or substituting different sausages, vegetables, herbs, and seasonings to suit your personal preferences.
- Classic Holiday Dish. This dish is the perfect comfort food with rich and savory flavors. It's a great addition to your holiday table.
- Guaranteed Crowd Pleaser. Your family and friends are going to love it when you take it to potlucks or other gatherings.
- Makes Great Leftovers. This stuffing recipe is actually really good as leftovers the next day. I've even been known to eat it cold, straight from the container because I enjoy the flavor so much.
Here's a look at the basic ingredients you need to make this sausage cornbread stuffing as well as our easy cornbread recipe for stuffing.
Ingredients to Make Sausage Stuffing
- Cornbread: Use our homemade cornbread recipe. The other option is to make your favorite cornbread recipe or use store-bought cornbread.
- Chicken Stock: Adds moisture to your stuffing. Use vegetable broth or turkey stock as desired.
- Half and Half: Helps to add moisture but it also adds richer flavors to the stuffing.
- Eggs: These are important to stuffing as they help to hold everything together.
- Unsalted butter: Works best so you don't end up with a salty dish if your broth or stock contains salt.
- Pork Sausage: Adds a rich, meaty taste to your dish. However, if you don't want to add in the meat if that's your preference.
- Onions and Celery: Adds layers of flavor and some texture to the stuffing.
- Fresh Thyme, Fresh Sage, and Garlic Cloves: These add amazing aroma and a warmth to your stuffing.
Dry Cornbread Ingredients
This cornbread recipe is pretty basic. Here's what you need:
- Unsalted butter: The fat used to make the cornbread. You can also use a neutral oil if you prefer.
- Eggs: Adds color, flavor, and moisture.
- Buttermilk and Milk: This combination works perfectly to moisten the flour and cornmeal.
- Flour and Yellow cornmeal: This combination creates a great texture for the cornbread. Stone-ground fine textured cornmeal works best for a tender, not crunchy cornbread.
- Leavening: Baking powder and baking soda provides lift to the cornbread.
- Sugar and salt: For flavor.
See the recipe card below for the exact quantities of each ingredient.
Substitutions and Variations
When it comes to making a flavorful cornbread sausage stuffing, there are numerous variations you can try to suit your taste buds.
- Spicy: Add a bit of chili pepper flakes, diced jalapeno pepper, our jalapeno powder, smoked jalapeno powder, or chipotle powder to the stuffing mixture for a bit of heat.
- More Flavors: Add some diced apple, dried cranberries, or pecans to your cornbread stuffing mixture.
- More Vegetables: Sauté some bell peppers, carrots or mushrooms with your onions and celery, if desired.
- More Meaty: Saute the diced giblets (heart, gizzard, and liver) from your turkey and add them to the stuffing.
How to Make Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing
Let's get started making this tasty stuffing! First, we're going to make our homemade cornbread. If you're using another cornbread option skip down a bit to the next step.
- Mix together cornbread stuffing batter and pour into a baking dish to cook.
- Bake until it's cooked and lightly golden brown on the edges.
PRO TIP: You can bake your cornbread a day or two ahead of time and store until you're ready to make your stuffing.
- Cut the cornbread into cubes and heat in the oven to dry it out or you can let it sit on the counter overnight to dry out.
- Place the dry cornbread in a large bowl. Stir in the mixed stock, half-and-half, and eggs. Toss carefully to coat so cornbread doesn't break into smaller pieces.
- Cook the sausage in butter until no longer pink. Remove the sausage with slotted spoon and place it in a bowl until needed.
- Add half of the onions and celery to the skillet and cook until tender. Transfer it to a bowl with the sausage.
- Cook the remaining onions and celery in more butter in the same skillet. Add the thyme, sage, and garlic. Then season with salt and pepper.
- Combine the cornbread with the sausage mixture and stir softly until blended together. Use caution to avoid breaking up the cornbread into even smaller pieces.
- Cover the bowl of the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
- Transfer the sausage stuffing mixture to a buttered baking dish. Press gently with a spatula to fit the stuffing into your dish.
- Bake the cornbread and sausage stuffing until a beautiful golden brown color.
⭐️ Hint: If you are using this cornbread recipe for your stuffing, you will use about three-quarters of the recipe—the rest is for nibbling. For best flavor and texture, dry the cornbread, add a little half-and-half, and let it soak for at least an hour. Don't forget to add on your favorite toppings such as butter or honey to what you're eating as well!
Refrigerator: Transfer the leftover cornbread sausage stuffing to an airtight container, resealable plastic bags, or wrap it in plastic wrap or tin foil. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to three months.
Reheat: To reheat, place the stuffing in a baking dish, cover with foil, and warm in a 350°F oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. You can also reheat individual servings in the microwave.
Can you make sausage cornbread stuffing ahead of time?
Yes! You can make it the day before but I recommend increasing both the chicken stock and half-and-half by a quarter cup each. Refrigerate the unbaked stuffing 12 to 24 hours wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight until ready to bake.
Transfer it to a baking dish and let the stuffing stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes so that it loses its chill. Then bake it in the oven as directed.
You can also freeze unbaked stuffing for up to a month. Thaw the stuffing overnight in the refrigerator, transfer it to a baking dish, and proceed with baking when you’re ready to serve.
What to Serve with Stuffing
When you prepare cornbread sausage stuffing, it is important to consider how to serve it and what to serve it with.
- Serve this cornbread sausage stuffing alongside a beautifully roasted turkey, air fryer turkey legs, or slow cooker turkey breast.
- This homemade cornbread dressing can be topped with a homemade gravy or even a bit of cranberry sauce as well.
- All the other traditional holiday side dishes taste so good with this recipe, too. Green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and more!
- Serve the stuffing with a crisp, colorful salad or lovely fruit salad.
Here are my top tips for making sure your cornbread sausage stuffing cooks up great!
- Choose a cornbread mix with a slightly sweet and dense texture to complement the savory sausage if you decide not to use our dry cornbread recipe.
- Make sure to dry your cornbread cubes overnight or toast them lightly in an oven before combining with other ingredients if you're not using our dry cornbread recipe. This prevents soggy stuffing.
- Cook your onions and tender until tender.
- Control the amount of liquid you add by starting with less chicken broth and increasing gradually until you reach your desired level of moisture. A dry stuffing can ruin your dish but too much liquid can make it mushy.
- Make sure to thoroughly grease your baking dish to prevent the stuffing from sticking and create a nice golden crust on the edges.
You don't want to use cornbread that is super moist but you don't have to let it set out on the counter for days, either. Luckily the consistency of this cornbread is pretty much perfect for making stuffing. It's a bit drier than other cornbreads, making it ready to use easily.
You're going to have to eyeball it. One of the biggest clues to know that the stuffing is done cooking is to make certain that there isn't any liquid just sitting on top of it after it's done baking in the oven. If the top is dry and looks a bit golden, that's a good indicator that it's done and ready to be pulled.
It's generally recommended to cook the stuffing separately from the bird, as this ensures even cooking and reduces the risk of foodborne illness. Baking the stuffing in a separate dish also gives the dish a crispier texture.
A fresh pork sausage without casing works well in cornbread sausage stuffing. You can try various flavors such as mild Italian, spicy Italian, honey garlic or your favorite. You can buy bulk sausage or remove the sausage from its casing, if needed, and crumble it into a skillet. Cook it over medium heat until browned, stirring occasionally to break it up into small pieces.
Drying out cornbread for stuffing helps to prevent the final dish from becoming soggy. You can let the cornbread sit out uncovered, overnight on a counter which dries it out. Alternatively, cut the cornbread into cubes and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 250°F (120°C) for 30-45 minutes, or until the bread feels dry and crispy. Be sure to let the cornbread cool completely before using it in your stuffing recipe.
More Stuffing Recipes
Do you like stuffing? Here some recipes you may also like to try.
Ready to get cooking? Remember that you can print this recipe if you would like.
Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
- 2 9 x 9 inch cake pans or a 10 x 15 inch pan or equivalent
- 12 cups cornbread broken into 1-inch pieces include crumbs, use the recipe included or another cornbread option.
- 3 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2 large eggs beaten lightly
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 stick, plus extra for baking dish
- 1 ½ pounds bulk pork sausage broken into 1-inch pieces
- 4 medium onions chopped fine (about 4 cups)
- 5 ribs celery chopped fine (about 2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
Prepare the Stuffing
- Place dry cornbread in your largest bowl. Whisk together broth or stock, half and half and eggs in medium bowl. Pour over top of cornbread and toss carefully until coated and cornbread doesn't crumble into smaller pieces. Set aside.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed, 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and make sure pan is coated. Once foaming stops, add sausage and stir until cooked and no longer pink. Around 6 or 7 minutes. Transfer cooked sausage to bowl using a slotted spoon.
- Add approximately half of the onions and celery to the remaining fat inside your skillet. Cook, until tender, over medium heat, around 5 minutes. Transfer onions and celery to bowl with sausage.
- Return your empty skillet to heat and add remaining 6 tablespoons of butter. Once foaming stops, add the rest of your celery and onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, thyme, sage and garlic and remove from heat after 30 seconds.
- Add everything to your big bowl with cornbread inside. Once added, carefully stir until blended.
- Your goal is to not break up the pieces of cornbread any more than already done. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour if not ideally 3 hours to meld flavors together.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prepare two 9 x 9 inch cake pans or the equivalent with butter. Maybe a 10 x 15 inch pan. Place stuffing inside dish or pans as well as all of the liquid inside the bowl. Every last drop. Press stuffing down with spatula to make it fit inside your baking pan or dish.
- Bake until beautiful golden brown, somewhere between 35 and 40 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy every bite.
Dry Cornbread Recipe
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a 13 x 9 inch cake pan with butter and set aside.
- In a good sized mixing bowl whisk eggs, then add buttermilk and milk.
- In another bowl whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt until blended.
- Push your dry ingredients up the sides of the bowl to make a deep hole. Pour egg mixture inside hole and stir with a whisk until just combined.
- Stir in butter until incorporated.
- Pour batter into your prepared pan.
- Bake until top is golden brown and edges have pulled away from sides of pan, somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes.
- Place pan on wire rack and allow to cool for about an hour.
This post was originally published November 2020. It has been updated with new content and images.