This Cornbread Stuffing (aka Dressing) Recipe with Turkey Sausage and Sage is crispy along the outside, and is flavorful with fresh herbs, spices, and aromatics. No soggy, boring stuffing here!
Cornbread stuffing is hands-down my absolute favorite kind of stuffing. Of course it's the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but stuffing pairs well with just about any kind of meat you could possibly want to serve it with!
Or top it with a fried egg and serve it with a big salad and call it a meal, no meat required. (This is one of my favorite things to make with stuffing leftovers!)
For me, any add-ins to cornbread stuffing (like sausage, veggies, apples, chestnuts, and other stuffing classics) are just gravy, so to speak.
What is the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?
The difference between stuffing and dressing is the cooking method.
Stuffing is traditionally stuffed into the body cavity of a turkey or chicken and cooked. Alternatively, dressing is typically cooked in a separate dish in the oven.
Technically, because this Cornbread Stuffing isn't stuffed into a turkey or chicken, it's dressing, not stuffing! However, up north where I'm from we call it stuffing.
The Best Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage Recipe
This dressing recipe uses homemade Cornbread Muffins as the base, but you could also use store-bought muffins. Using cornbread muffins lends great flavor and helps keep the stuffing moist.
I wanted to add sausage to this dressing, but I have a hard time finding a good non-pork sausage in my area. Instead, I used ground turkey plus a few classic sausage seasonings, such as maple, sage, thyme, nutmeg, and fennel, to mimic the flavor of sausage.
Pro Tip: Feel free to omit the ground turkey, maple, nutmeg, and fennel and use one pound of your favorite bulk sausage instead. I would still add the fresh sage and thyme though!
Fresh herbs really brighten up the flavor here, and that isn't something you get out of a box of stuffing mix! If you're not used to making homemade stuffing, after you realize how its flavor blows boxed stuffing out of the water, I think you'll be hooked.
- Butter - to add richness and saute the onion and celery
- Onion - makes a delicious savory base flavor
- Celery - a classic component of stuffing and dressing; its flavor blends and doesn't stand out
- Ground turkey - you can use your favorite bulk sausage instead (see the Note in the recipe card below)
- Garlic - savory and aromatic
- Maple syrup - for a touch of smoky sweetness
- Worcestershire sauce - adds depth and complexity
- Fresh sage and thyme - fresh herbs set this recipe apart from boxed stuffing
- Nutmeg - this helps create a sausage flavor profile
- Salt and black pepper - to season our dish
- Fennel seeds - similar to nutmeg, lends a classic sausage flavor to this dish
- Cornbread muffins - instead of bread cubes, cornbread muffins take this stuffing to the next level in terms of flavor and texture
- Eggs - these act as a binder in this recipe
- Chicken stock - to moisten our stuffing and add flavor
What Do You Eat with Cornbread Stuffing?
I know the "holiday only" reputation that stuffing has, but don’t wait for next Thanksgiving or Christmas to make this delicious side dish!
Eat this Cornbread Dressing with any of the following:
- Roast chicken or turkey
- Baked chicken breasts
- Top it with a fried egg and eat it as a "hash"
- Stuff it into bell peppers, top it with cheese, and bake
More Delicious Holiday Side Dish Recipes to Try
- No Knead Bread
- Butternut Squash Puree with Fontina Cheese, Fresh Thyme, and Brown Butter
- Garlic Butter Mashed Cauliflower
- Creamed Onions
- Garlic Roasted Mushrooms
- Instant Pot Green Bean Casserole
- Winter Salad Recipe with Kale and Pomegranate
Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage Recipe
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 large ribs celery diced
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 6 Cornbread Muffins store-bought or homemade
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Preheat oven to 425F; grease an 8- by 8-inch casserole dish with ½ tablespoon butter.
- Heat 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until veggies are softened but not browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add the turkey and cook until browned, about 5 minutes, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon.
- Add the garlic, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, sage, thyme, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and fennel seed, and cook 3 minutes more, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat and cool slightly.
- Crumble the muffins into a large bowl. Stir in the turkey mixture and then the eggs. Stir in the chicken stock a little at a time, and then spread the stuffing into the prepared dish. Dot the top with the remaining ½ tablespoon butter.
- Bake until the top and sides are light golden, about 30 minutes.
- Bulk Sausage Instead of Ground Turkey: Feel free to omit the ground turkey, maple, nutmeg, and fennel and use one pound of your favorite bulk sausage instead. I would still add the fresh sage and thyme though!
- Storage: Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Reheating: This stuffing reheats well! To do so, put it in an oven-safe dish, cover the top with foil, and bake in a 375F oven until warm, about 20 minutes.
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on December 17, 2011. I updated it with more information on November 22, 2022.