Table of Contents
  1. This is a great alternative to traditional stuffing.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. More Thanksgiving side dishes you'll love.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Apple & Sausage Cornbread Stuffing Recipe

A combination of apple, cornbread, and sausage come together to create the perfect alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. If you’re tired of the usual recipe, this is a great way to switch things up and find a new favorite. This dish should be on your Thanksgiving table this holiday!

This is a great alternative to traditional stuffing.

Cornbread stuffing was not normal for my family. Growing up, we always had grandma’s dressing. And being from Iowa, cornbread was not a part of the Thanksgiving table. But why not? This recipe is a simple take on cornbread stuffing.

The key is starting with homemade cornbread. Use good-quality cornmeal for a sweet corn flavor. Once baked, cut and dry the cornbread as you would any other bread.

The stuffing starts with onion and celery, herbs, and butter. Sausage is mixed into the ingredients, and a few diced apples round everything out for a sweet, tart crunch.

This is a great way to change up your stuffing or add a new variation to the Thanksgiving day spread.

White marble surface with oval baking dish filled with cornbread stuffing with metal spoon holding a scoop of the stuffing before putting on a plate.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Cornbread is best when made at home. Homemade will have more flavor and texture. Dry out the cornbread in the oven instead of leaving it on the counter to dry. Drying bread at room temperature dries out the bread’s exterior but does not reach the middle as the oven does.
  • Sage and thyme are the traditional herbs to use in stuffing. They take on a different flavor when used with cornbread, which makes them seem like a new variation while leaving a hint of familiarity.
  • Sausage is an easy way to add flavor. Choose a mildly flavored sausage without too many ingredients that could fight with the herbs in this recipe. Personally, I choose a mild turkey sausage.
  • Apple has some sweetness that plays well with the additional sweetness that’s inherent in the corn in the cornbread. Choose an apple that will hold texture during baking, like a Honeycrisp.
  • Eggs are a way to bind the ingredients just enough so the stuffing holds together but still has an iconic cornbread texture.
White marble surface filled with all of the ingredients needed to make cornbread stuffing including dried cornbread, apples, celery, onion, sausage, eggs, herbs, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Prepare the cornbread. In a 9×13 baking dish, prepare one recipe of cornbread. Once baked, slice it into small 1-inch square cubes, place the cubes on a baking sheet, and dry in the oven at 275°F until crisp, which will take about 1 hour.
  1. Prepare the onion and celery mixture. Chop the onion and celery into a rough dice. In a large skillet with the butter, add the chopped onion and celery. While cooking, sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Let the mixture sauté. Chiffonade the fresh sage and add it to the mixture in the skillet along with the sprigs of fresh thyme.
  1. Add some seasonings and the sausage. Once the onion and celery have softened, add in the chopped garlic and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir those into the mixture and allow it to cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. To the skillet, add the ground sausage. Break up the sausage into smaller pieces and allow it to cook fully. Once browned, remove the skillet from the heat, remove the springs of thyme, and set it aside.
  1. Mix everything together. While the mixture is cooling, slice up the apples, remove the core, and chop into approximately ½-inch pieces. In a small bowl, beat the eggs. In a large bowl, add the dried cornbread cubes, sausage mixture, apples, beaten eggs, and stock. Mix everything together to fully incorporate and coat it with the eggs.
  1. Bake the stuffing. To a buttered baking dish, pour in the cornbread stuffing mixture. Smooth out the contents until they are in a roughly even layer. Then place in a preheated 350°F oven and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • Rather than letting the cornbread dry at room temperature, dry it in the oven. This way, the bread will dry out the entire way through rather than simply getting dry on the exterior with a soft interior.
  • Adding the garlic at the end of the onions and celery cooking will prevent it from burning or getting too bitter. When garlic cooks for too long, it can easily burn, so strategically timing when it is added makes for a more successful recipe.
  • When mixing together the cornbread, other ingredients, and the stock, mix until the amount of liquid at the bottom of the mixing bowl is at a minimum. If necessary, allow the mixture to rest while the cornbread soaks up some of the remaining liquid.
Hand holding a scoop of cornbread stuffing above the rest of the dish filled with rest of the stuffing all on marble surface.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Can dried sage and thyme be used in this recipe instead of the fresh variety? If so, what amounts should be used?

Yes, you can use dry or fresh herbs. When using dry, simply reduce the amount by half. In this recipe, that means ¾ tbsp sage and 1 tsp thyme.

Can this recipe be made vegetarian?

Yes. The sausage can be left out, and the chicken stock can be substituted with vegetable stock for a vegetarian option.

What is the best type of apple to use for this recipe?

I like a sweet apple that holds texture during baking and does not become apple sauce. Choose a Honeycrisp, Cosmic Crisp, or Gala variety.

How long does this recipe last in the refrigerator once prepared? Is there a way to freeze this ahead of Thanksgiving?

As leftovers, this will last up to 10 days in the refrigerator. To prepare ahead instead of freezing, the stuffing can be assembled the day before. Store in the refrigerator and then bake before serving.

White oval baking dish filled with cornbread stuffing with a scoop taken out showing the cornbread interior with sausage and apple as well.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More Thanksgiving side dishes

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your dessert table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they too can make, enjoy, and love!

White oval baking dish sitting on marble surface after being removed from the oven showing brown crispy top with a scoop missing with interior showing cornbread, apple, and sausage.

Apple & Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

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A combination of apple, cornbread, and sausage come together to create the perfect alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. If you’re tired of the usual recipe, this is a great way to switch things up and find a new favorite. This dish should be on your Thanksgiving table this holiday!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 18 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 38 mins
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe cornbread (made in 9×13 baking dish)
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 ribs celery diced
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 ½ tbsp minced fresh sage
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 lb ground mild sausage
  • 2 apples diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 2 ¾ cups chicken stock

Instructions
 

  • Bake one recipe for cornbread in a 9×13 baking dish. Once baked, allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes. Then cut the cornbread into 1-inch cubes and spread it evenly on two large baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in a 275°F oven until the cornbread is toasted and dry, 1 hour. Once dry, remove the cornbread from the oven to cool.
    1 recipe cornbread (made in 9×13 baking dish)
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13 baking dish and set it aside.
  • In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the onion, celery, salt, and black pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are softened but not turning brown, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the sage, thyme leaves, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add the sausage and break it into small bite-size pieces. Continue to sauté until the sausage is browned and cooked, 6-8 minutes. Once the sausage is cooked, remove the mixture from the heat.
    1 medium onion, 4 ribs celery, 8 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 1 ½ tbsp minced fresh sage, 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, 3 cloves garlic, ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional), 1 lb ground mild sausage
  • In a large bowl, combine the prepared dry cornbread pieces, sausage mixture, and any residual butter in the skillet. Add the beaten eggs, apples, and stock. Stir to combine. The cornbread will crumble slightly. Pour the stuffing into the prepared baking dish and bake at 350°F until the center of the stuffing is puffed and slightly golden, 55-60 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven. Let cool slightly before serving.
    2 large eggs, 2 ¾ cups chicken stock, 2 apples

Notes

  • Rather than letting the cornbread dry at room temperature, dry it in the oven. This way, the bread will dry out the entire way through rather than simply getting dry on the exterior with a soft interior.
  • Adding the garlic at the end of the onions and celery cooking will prevent it from burning or getting too bitter. When garlic cooks for too long, it can easily burn, so strategically timing when it is added makes for a more successful recipe.
  • When mixing together the cornbread, other ingredients, and the stock, mix until the amount of liquid at the bottom of the mixing bowl is at a minimum. If necessary, allow the mixture to rest while the cornbread soaks up some of the remaining liquid.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 425kcal
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Difficulty Easy
Method Baking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Kaleb – thank you for sharing your recipes! This looks delicious and I’m planning to make it for Thanksgiving. Do you think fresh cranberries in lieu of some/all of the apples would be too tart?

    1. Hi Denese! You could try it out, but I would be hesitant to add fresh cranberries as they may be too tart. Plus, they could turn slightly bitter when baked without sugar (since this recipe has no sugar). Instead, I would add in dried cranberries as the tartness won’t be as sharp.