Cranberry sausage stuffing casserole is a favorite Thanksgiving side dish of mine. This savory dressing recipe is loaded with pork sausage, fresh herbs, plus fresh cranberries and apples. Whether it’s baked into casserole form or stuffed inside of a holiday turkey, this is the best stuffing recipe I have ever made. And definitely the most delicious stuffing I’ve ever eaten!
Do you call it stuffing or dressing?
Seriously, I want to know, so please leave a comment for me below this post!
Technically, the terminology depends on how the dish is prepared. If it’s baked in a bird = stuffing. Baked in a dish = dressing. But for as long as I have been eating this Thanksgiving side dish, my name for it is my favorite cranberry sausage stuffing. I tack the word “casserole” onto the end of the title in my feeble attempt to please everyone. Being a people pleaser is acceptable, isn’t it? 😉
Haha, no Becca, you cannot make everyone happy… get to your point, please.
Well, my point is, this homemade dressing or stuffing is the best! Or, maybe I should say the best I’ve ever eaten.
Why this Cranberry Sausage Stuffing recipe works:
This holiday dressing recipe is my favorite for a couple of reasons.
- First of all, it’s not a pile of mush; you can actually see and taste the individual ingredients that are in it.
When Brian and I were at Costco last weekend, they were giving out samples of a popular brand of boxed stuffing mix. I know there are people who love boxed stuffing, but I am definitely not a fan. It tastes too salty and the bread cubes are so tiny that when you add liquid to them, they form one giant lump of stuffing.
This sausage stuffing recipe is a 180 degree flip of boxed stuffing. Moist and flavorful, but not mushy.
- The other reason I love this stuffing recipe is because of the fresh cranberries in it.
I use dried cranberries in things like my cranberry oatmeal breakfast cookies, but the tartness isn’t as noticeable in dried cranberries as it is in fresh cranberries. Plus, Wisconsin (where I live) is one of the country’s largest producers of fresh cranberries, so I consume a lot of them.
How do you fix mushy stuffing?
Keeping crust on the bread prevents it from soaking up too much moisture. That being said, to make stuffing more moist, either:
- remove the crust from the bread
- add more chicken stock when you make the stuffing recipe
- cut the bread into smaller pieces
How wet should my stuffing be?
The nice thing about stuffing is that you can make it any consistency you want. The bread is dry to begin with, so it can take a while for liquids to soak in. To prevent stuffing from being mushy, I recommend adding the liquid a little at a time, stopping when it reaches your desired consistency.
In addition to the cranberry sausage stuffing, here are some other tasty ways to use fresh cranberries:
- Bakery Style Cranberry Streusel Oatmeal Muffins – Make these for breakfast on Christmas morning – they are SO good!
- Cranberry Blood Orange Sugar-Free Spritzer Recipe – I usually make a pitcher of this for anyone who doesn’t drink alcohol.
- For a cranberry-inspired holiday cocktail, try Cathy’s cranberry spiced martini recipe. Or get really bubbly with Lisa’s cranberry-orange prosecco cocktail.
- Cranberry Caramel Puff Pastry Dessert Squares – Non traditional but uber delicious Thanksgiving dessert recipe, and easy to make!
- I do love pumpkin pie, but I’m awful at fluting pie crust. My friend Kirsten has mastered pie baking – her pies are stunning! Here’s her best pumpkin pie recipe. Look how GORGEOUS this is!
Can I make stuffing with dried cranberries?
If you don’t care for fresh cranberries, you can definitely use dried cranberries in the stuffing, or leave them out completely. I won’t cry… too much. 😉
How long do you cook sausage stuffing in the oven?
For cranberry sausage stuffing in a casserole dish, cook at 350F for 25 minutes or so.
If you are stuffing a bird with sausage stuffing, cooking time is based on how long your turkey needs to cook.
For more Thanksgiving recipes and tips for planning a perfect Thanksgiving dinner. check out my delicious Thanksgiving menu plan post!
I hope you enjoy the cranberry sausage stuffing recipe!
Favorite Cranberry Sausage Stuffing or Dressing
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 pound ground sausage, (pork, turkey, or chicken)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 6 cups dried bread cubes, or stuffing cubes
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1/8 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage, or 1/8 teaspoon dried
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1/8 teaspoon dried
- 1/3 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups chicken bone broth, or chicken stock
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1 medium Granny Smith apple, cored and diced small (I leave the skin on, but you don’t have to)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 convection)
- Place cranberries in a medium saucepan with enough water to just barely cover them, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook just until skins pop. Drain, and cool.
- Meanwhile, place sausage, apples, onion, and celery in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until sausage is browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic during last minute of cooking to avoid burning. Drain and cool.
- In a medium baking dish, mix cranberries, sausage mixture with apples, and, bread cubes. Season with parsley, oregano, sage, thyme, celery seed, ground ginger, salt, and pepper.
- Stir in chicken broth until desired consistency is achieved. You may not need the entire 2 cups.
- Bake 25 minutes, or until surface is crisp and lightly browned. Check after 15 minutes and add more stock or broth if needed.