Here is a Cranberry Sausage Stuffing recipe that is a delicious healthier version of the classic side dish perfect for your Thanksgiving Table or Holiday Meal. It can be made ahead to keep the big day a little bit more stress-free.

baking dish of cranberry sausage stuffing

I originally shared this recipe on November 19, 2011. I have updated the images and some of the text today.

Why We Love This Recipe

This Thanksgiving side dish is made healthier by using whole wheat bread and only 1/4 cup of heart-healthy extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter. The addition of toasted pecans, sausage, fresh herbs and dried cranberries add amazing flavor and texture making it an extra special holiday season staple.

The Sausage Cranberry Stuffing can be made ahead, so the next day all you have to do is pull it out of the fridge and pop it in the oven. This recipe is an absolute favorite and it makes delicious leftovers.

Ingredients for Cranberry Sausage Stuffing

  • Whole-wheat bread cubes: This is a better choice because it has more fiber than white bread.
  • Pecans: Toasting the nuts intensifies their nutty flavor and makes them crunchier, which adds amazing flavor to this delicious stuffing.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: This is the least processed form of olive oil, so it retains its natural antioxidants and nutrients.
  • Celery: Adds a nice crunchy texture and is a key ingredient for stuffing.
  • Shallots: Onion’s demure cousin with a subtle sweet flavor.
  • Sausage: Italian sausage, breakfast pork sausage or fully-cooked chicken breakfast sausage can be used.
  • Dried Cranberries: Add great color, a pop of sweetness and a delicious chewy texture.
  • Parsley: Chopped parsley adds a bright and fresh note.
  • Sage: The savory earthiness of fresh sage is a must have stuffing flavor.
  • Seasonings: Salt, black pepper and dried thyme complement the other ingredients perfectly.
  • Eggs: Used to bind it all together and add lightness to the bread.
  • Stock: Unsalted turkey or chicken stock can be used. Ensures moist stuffing. Store-bought broth totally works, but home-made stock will take this turkey stuffing with sausage to the next level. Make sure and check out the recipe notes.
Side photo of a baking dish with Cranberry Sausage Stuffing

How To Make Cranberry Stuffing

Step 1: Dry out the bread and toast the nuts.

Spread bread cubes in a single layer a large baking sheet. Spread pecans out on another baking sheet. Bake both until the nuts are fragrant and lightly browned and the bread is dry and toasted.

Step 2: Sauté the veggies.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add celery and shallots, and cook, stirring often until the celery is softened and the shallots are starting to brown. Stir in sausage, cranberries, ¼ cup parsley, sage, salt and pepper and remove from heat. Chop pecans and stir in.

Step 3: Add the liquids, combine ingredients and prepare to bake.

Coat a 9 by 13-inch (or similar sized) baking dish with cooking spray. Whisk eggs and stock in a large bowl. Stir in bread cubes and celery mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. If making ahead, place the foil covered baking dish in the refrigerator.

Step 4: Bake until set up and steaming.

Transfer to the oven and bake until the center of the dish is set up and the stuffing is steaming hot. Remove foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown and the stuffing is piping hot all the way through.

Expert Tips and FAQs For This Recipe

Why does the bread need to be dried out?

Taking a few extra minutes to toast the cubed bread will ensure that your stuffing has that awesome moist texture inside and gets those awesome crispy bits on the top. The bread will absorb more stock and become more flavorful. It has just the right balance of crispy and moist.

Can this recipe be made ahead?

Yes! Prepare it all the way through the part where you cover it in foil in step 3. Then refrigerate the stuffing overnight. Continue with step 4, but add another 5 to 10 minutes of baking before you remove the foil. (Make sure it is steaming hot before you remove the foil.)

Should you put egg in stuffing?

Absolutely! It is the glue that holds all the ingredients together and the moisture adds a fluffy (less dense) texture.

Can make ahead sausage stuffing be frozen?

It can be frozen. Just wrap it well in plastic wrap and then foil. Label and date it and it will hold for up to 3 months.

a table with autumn leaves and a casserole dish of stuffing

More Stuffing Recipes To Consider For Your Thanksgiving

This Cornbread Stuffing with Apples and Pecans has a vegetarian and gluten-free version.

Gluten-Free Walnut and Kale Quinoa Stuffing has all the traditional flavors with celery, sage and dried cranberries, but there is no bread or gluten and it is egg-free.

And all of my Thanksgiving recipes can be found here!

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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This Cranberry Sausage Stuffing recipe is a delicious and healthy make ahead classic side dish perfect for your Thanksgiving and Holiday table! | Healthy Seasonal Recipes | Katie Webster #Thanksgivingrecipe #sidedish #stuffingrecipe

Cranberry Sausage Stuffing

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Cranberry Sausage Stuffing (dressing) is a classic Thanksgiving side dish with toasted pecans, sage and celery. Here’s how to make ahead the day before.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of whole-wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed and cubed (about 8 cups)
  • ½ cup pecans
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 stalks of celery with leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 8-ounces cooked crumbled italian or breakfast sausage or fully-cooked chicken breakfast sausage, diced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt (see ingredient note*)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken or turkey stock (see ingredient note*)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread bread cubes out on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Spread pecans out on another baking sheet. Bake both until the nuts are fragrant and lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes and the bread is dry and toasted, about 20 minutes and.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add celery and shallots, and cook, stirring often until the celery is softened and the shallots are starting to brown, 6 to 9 minutes. Stir in sausage, cranberries, ¼ cup parsley, sage, salt and pepper and remove from heat. Chop pecans and stir in.
  3. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch (or similar sized) baking dish with cooking spray. Whisk eggs and stock in a large bowl. Stir in bread cubes and celery mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and cover with foil.
  4. Transfer to the oven and bake until the center of the dish is set up and the stuffing is steaming hot, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the top is browned and the stuffing is piping hot all the way through, about 10 minutes longer. Garnish with parsley if desired.

Notes

To Make Ahead: Can be prepared through step 3, refrigerate up to 1 day ahead. Before removing foil, bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the stuffing is steaming hot.

Ingredient note*: Here is how to make homemade stock.  If you don’t have time to do that, you can substitute full sodium store-bought broth. If you do, decrease the kosher salt to ½ teaspoon total.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 3/4 cup each
  • Calories: 208
  • Sugar: 5.6 g
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Fiber: 2.7 g
  • Protein: 7.5 g