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Sausage and Pecan Stuffing

Sausage and Pecan Stuffing

The Italians can be thanked for sausage in stuffing, and this recipe adds extra flavor with a nutty taste from the toasted pecans.


  • 1 batch Classic Cornbread Stuffing Recipe*
  • 1 Pound sausage
  • 1 Cup toasted pecans


Prepare the Classic Cornbread Stuffing and set aside before baking.

In a medium sauté pan, brown the sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a spoon as you go. Add the cooked sausage and toasted pecans to the stuffing and stir well. Bake in the oven according to the stuffing's directions.

Nutritional Facts


Calories Per Serving229

Folate equivalent (total)16µg4%

Sausage Dressing with Apple and Pecan

I first made this dressing last Christmas, then again this Thanksgiving and I may even make it again this Christmas, though I'm actually still trying to settle between having a bread or rice dressing, since I'm going with a prime rib roast this year.

Yes, I'm moving away from the traditional turkey and dressing dinner for Christmas this year and going the route of a very expensive hunk of prime rib roast beef with au jus, that I have already warned The Cajun will not be cooked "well done." If he absolutely has to have it cooked more than medium rare, I'm pointing him directly to the microwave! Since a hunk of beef like this is not typically on my financial radar and I'm not solidly comfortable that I won't ruin it, I am planning to do the Cajun ham too. That way if I manage to ruin the roast, at least we'll still have some ham to fall back on.

This is a nice variation of the standard cornbread dressing of cornbread and bread, but dressed up just a bit with sausage, tart apples and pecans, just for something a little bit different. Whether you're planning on making a beef or poultry entree this Christmas, I think this would be a nice one to add to the table. It'd be an excellent stuffing if you're doing a roulade too. Just put any excess dressing in a small baking dish to serve on the side.

Apple, sausage and pecan dressing with a drizzle of turkey gravy.

Recipe: Sausage Dressing with Apple and Pecan

  • 1 skillet of cornbread , baked, dried and crumbled (about 6 cups)
  • 6 cups of cubed, bread (about 10 slices) , toasted
  • 1 pound of hot breakfast sausage (like Jimmy Dean) or spicy Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of chopped sweet or yellow onion
  • 2 stalks (ribs) of celery (about a cup), chopped
  • 2 tart apples , peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt , or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper , or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage , or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
  • 1 (10-1/2 ounce) can of turkey gravy
  • 3/4 cup of chopped pecans
  • 2 large eggs , beaten
  • 4 to 6 cups of turkey or chicken broth or stock , more or less

Prepare the cornbread and allow it to dry out. Toast the cubed bread in 400 degree F oven for about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Increase heat to 450 degrees F. Butter a 4 quart baking dish or 9 x 13 inch pan set aside.

While the bread is toasting, saute the sausage in a large skillet until brown remove and set aside. Melt the butter in the pan drippings over medium heat and saute the onion and celery until it begins to lightly brown. Add the apple, cook and stir for about 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat, return the sausage to the pan and season with the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, sage, thyme and poultry seasoning. Taste, adjust seasonings and set aside to cool.

Crumble the cornbread into a large bowl. Add the bread and toss. Add the sausage mixture, scraping out all of the butter stir. Add the gravy and pecans gently toss. Add the raw eggs and 2 cups of the broth, stir in and adjust broth to desired consistency. Lightly spoon into the casserole dish, but do not pack, and bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through and top is lightly browned.

Cook's Notes: Add in one large hard boiled egg, chopped, if you like. I used 1/2 loaf of white bread (10 slices) cubed, but you can substitute any leftover breads, rolls or biscuits you may have and make up any difference with crushed saltine crackers. How much broth or stock you'll need will be dependent on how dry your breads are. For a more fluffy stuffing, use less stock. If you prefer a wetter stuffing, add additional stock as needed to reach desired consistency, taking care not to get too soupy. I used 5 cups. In place of the sage, I used a teaspoon of Bell's seasoning. Prepare the cornbread a day ahead if possible so that it is very dry.

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Took this recipe from a Southern Living Magazine years ago, sans vinegar. It by far is my favorite stuffing recipe and every year my guests agree.

This was an absolute hit last Thanksgiving. I used store-bought cornbread and left out the optional pecans due to a nut allergy, but otherwise followed the recipe. I'm looking forward to making this again.

This was a total disaster, Followed the exact recipe and added pecans. I was not able to serve. The vinegar left the dish tasting very sour. Very expensive to make since it went straight in the trash.

Love the recipe. I do agree with another review that skipped the additional stock and eggs at the end. I have made so many versions of cornbread stuffing over the years and think the last step would dilute both texture and flavor. Love the fresh herbs but only added 3/4 of total amount recommended

I have been making cornbread dressing all my life, and I don't know why you would buy link sausage and then go to the trouble of removing the casings. I buy a pound of JD sage sausage (the kind you usually make patties out of), and throw it in a pan and break it up as it cooks. I also hand-crumble my (homemade) cornbread -- don't want the big chunks. You can also add green or red pepper, or mushrooms. Also if you don't dry out your cornbread in the oven, you can eliminate one of the cups of chicken broth (one can, no waste).

I have made a similar dressing for a few years and added items to get it to where it has become a house favorite. I would add chopped chestnuts for flavor and texture and fresh cranberries for color, flavor and texture. Here in New England we are very partial to cranberries.

Let me start off by saying that I'm a huge fan of cornbread dressing and I love to cook- so this recipe seemed right up my ally. Boy was I ever wrong! I carefully followed the recipe and did everything from baking my own Cornbread to drying it out in the oven. I also toasted the Pecans in the oven with some butter on 350 degrees for 5 mins- since the recipe called for it. What emerged from the oven was a dry (yes I had it covered in foil) gritty dressing that took me hours of preparing. I am going to try to salvage this dressing since I am bringing it to Thanksgiving dinner tonight. The flavor was good but I felt that this was a huge waste of my time. I won't be making this again.

This is by far, the best stuffing recipe I have ever made. My guests all raved. Very favorful and I will definitely make it again. I made no changes but did use dried rosemary, sage and thyme, paying close attention to the conversion amounts for fresh vs dried. It does have a lot of steps but I thought it was well worth the effort.

Every year I've been trying new dressing recipes and this is truly the very, very best. I'm surprised we had any dressing left when we were ready to serve it. With that being said, I would make the dressing according to the recipe (two boxes of Jiffy mix)but use dried spices if you don't have the fresh and forget the rosemary. After you have mixed it and before you add the 2 eggs. Leave it alone. You are done. At this stage everyone went on and on about the dressing. I put the 2 eggs in and cooked it according to directions. Results so much less. The taste was flatten. Next year I'm going to make it without the eggs. May consider warming it and if so put a little chicken broth in for moisture. If I don't warm the dressing, I'll just put the gravy on it. Outstanding.

I also omitted the pecans and used a little extra herbs with very good results. I made my own cornbread a few days before, let it sit out to dry, then toasted. One thing I will do differently next time. I will cut the cornbread into smaller cubes. I will definitely use this recipe again.

This was just OK. The herb combination is good, but I cannot say this dressing was all that great. I think if I were to make it again, I would not use the Jiffy mix.

For years I have searched for the perfect stuffing and have finally found it. I followed the recipe exactly (used the pecans). I love that you can make it a day ahead, which I did, and it still turned out great. My daughter said it tasted like lobster (I guess b/c it's so buttery!). Definitely a keeper.

I loved the sweet-savory flavors of this recipe. I made 1 box of Krusteaz honey corn bread the day before and let it sit on the counter. The next morning, I torn the cornbread into large chuncks. When I was ready to make the dressing, I toasted the cornbread as directed. I omitted the pecans but increased the fresh herbs to 1-1/2 TBS each. I also omitted the eggs. The result was a very flavorful, moist dressing. Will definitely repeat this one.

Took a good amount of time to prepare this stuffing, with many separate steps, and outcome was just so-so. Directions are a bit confusing regarding baking day ahead vs. day of eating. Some of our Thanksgiving guests loved it, but I thought it didn't have much flavor.


  • One 7-inch round loaf of whole-grain bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 teaspoon chopped sage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 egg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toast the bread cubes for about 15 minutes, tossing halfway through, until lightly golden and dry. Transfer the bread to a large bowl. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool then coarsely chop the pecans.

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery and sausage and cook over moderate heat, breaking up the sausage with the back of a spoon, until the sausage is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the sage and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape the sausage into the bowl with the bread.

Add the chopped pecans and apple to the bowl with the bread. In a medium bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the egg. Pour over the bread mixture and add 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Toss until the bread soaks up the liquid. Scrape into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake the stuffing for about 30 minutes, until it is hot throughout. Remove the foil and bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the top is lightly golden. Serve hot or warm.

Dietary considerations when making stuffing

Holiday gatherings can be difficult when you choose a restricted diet. My goal is always to create enough great recipes for our own family that we don’t mind missing out on the dishes others make.

At one point, we weren’t eating a lot of nuts, dried fruit or onions in our house. We had FODMAP issues, AIP recommendations (no nuts), and candida to keep at bay (no dried fruit!). We’re better now and can eat these foods, but this recipe is for almost everyone — with food sensitivities in mind.

For Keto and Low Carb, it is easy to leave out the dried fruit. This recipe has 6 grams net carbs for a big serving. If you eat lots of other dishes for your holiday meal, you can enjoy a smaller portion for only 3 grams net carbs.

For Low-FODMAP, omit the cauliflower and onions. Add extras of the other ingredients if you want, to make up for it.

Your health is unique. This stuffing recipe is a canvas on which to add or subtract your favorites, keeping in mind your unique food choices.

  • 2 1/2 pounds (1.25kg) high-quality sandwich bread or soft Italian or French bread (about 2 loaves), cut into 3/4-inch dice (about 5 quarts)
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick 4 ounces 115g)
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680g) sage sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 12 ounces 350g)
  • 4 large ribs celery, finely chopped (about 12 ounces 350g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated on a Microplane grater
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh sage leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried sage leaves)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed (see note)
  • 1 quart low-sodium homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken or turkey stock (4 cups 1L), divided
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley leaves, divided

Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions. Preheat oven to 275°F (135°C). Spread bread evenly over 2 rimmed baking sheets. Stagger trays on oven racks and bake until completely dried, about 50 minutes total, rotating trays and stirring bread cubes several times during baking. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Increase oven heat to 350°F (180°C).

In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat until foaming subsides (do not allow butter to brown), about 2 minutes. Add sausage and mash with a stiff whisk or potato masher to break up into fine pieces (largest pieces should be no bigger than 1/4 inch). Cook, stirring frequently, until only a few bits of pink remain, about 8 minutes. Add onion, celery, garlic, and sage and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add half of chicken stock.

Whisk remaining chicken stock, eggs, and 3 tablespoons parsley in a medium bowl until homogeneous. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, slowly pour egg mixture into sausage mixture. Add bread cubes and fold gently until evenly mixed.

Use part of stuffing to stuff turkey, if desired (see note). To cook remaining stuffing, transfer to a buttered 9- by 13-inch rectangular baking dish (or 10- by 14-inch oval dish), cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake until an instant-read thermometer reads 150°F (66°C) when inserted into center of dish, about 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until golden brown and crisp on top, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, sprinkle with remaining parsley, and serve.

Mom’s Sausage, Apple and Pecan Stuffing

Everyone has a dish that defines their Thanksgiving table. This one dish can bring back memories of holidays past, and carry on family traditions for future generations.

I happen to be very blessed and come from a family of amazing cooks. I’ve never had a bad meal for any holiday or special occasion.

That said, I do have my favorites, and my mom’s stuffing is one of them. It’s a little taste of home.

Every person has a different interpretation on what stuffing is to them. There are hundreds of interpretations and schools of thought when it comes to what is, and should be, in stuffing.

Each ingredient has a role in stuffing. The apples provide a sweetness. The pecans, a crunch and earthiness. The sausage, a chew and spiciness. The herbs, a warmth and freshness.

The Rice-a-Roni… wait, Rice-a-Roni? In stuffing? Why yes. It adds a whole new texture that melds perfectly with the cornbread dressing.

Now, I’m normally a raw ingredient, homemade everything advocate…But sometimes I have to forgo my snobby food morals and side with tradition.

Yes, my mom uses boxed stuffing and Rice-a-Roni. And yes, it is delicious and wonderful, and satisfies all of my Thanksgiving (or any time of year) cravings.

I don’t, and won’t, question it. It’s perfect just the way it is.

Mom’s Sausage, Apple and Pecan Stuffing

1 box chicken flavored Rice-a-Roni
1 box Stove Top cornbread dressing
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 ribs celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound chicken Italian sausage, casings removed
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1 apple (any variety), peeled, cored and diced into 1 inch chunks
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare Stove Top cornbread dressing per package directions, using chicken stock instead of water. Set aside. Prepare Rice-a-Roni as per package directions. Set aside.

Add olive oil medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add onions and celery and saute until just softened. Add Italian sausage and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned.

Stir in thyme, sage, parsley and rosemary. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, carefully stir together cooked Rice-a-Roni, cooked cornbread dressing, Italian sausage mixture, diced apples and pecans.

Spray a 9″ by 13″ casserole dish with cooking spray.

Spoon in stuffing mixture. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, until top the top is golden brown.

Notes about this recipe

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Sensational Stuffing and Dressing Recipes for Thanksgiving

When Americans gather on Thanksgiving, it's not just food we're eating and thanks we're giving many of us are also enjoying a taste of tradition. As it turns out, we are creatures of habit, and one of the most beloved dishes on the Thanksgiving table is the reliable side dish known as dressing&mdashor stuffing.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is? The origin of the two terms might seem pretty obvious: Stuffing is baked inside the bird and scooped onto our plates, while dressing is baked in a separate dish, right? In fact, whether you're baking it in or out of the turkey, the dish is almost always called dressing down South. And if you're in the Northeastern United States or parts of the Midwest, you're likely to hear it called stuffing, and that's true no matter how it's baked. Of course, over time many families move and recipes go with them, but the terms seem to be rooted in those regions.

Essentially, these are two words for the same thing: a savory mixture of bread, crackers, or grains tossed with vegetables and seasoned with herbs before being moistened and baked. Everything else depends on your preferences&mdashand what region you're from. Additions to the dish, such as sausages, ham or bacon are popular nationwide, and mushrooms and root vegetables are, too. Oysters, fresh or smoked, and occasionally mussels, mixed with crackers, are served up and down the Eastern seaboard. Cracker stuffings and dressings were common in Colonial times. Nuts and fruit have always had a place in dressings and stuffings: Hazelnuts (known as filberts in the Northwest), and walnuts are delicious, and pecans are a real classic when paired with the crumbled cornbread that is essential to most Southern and Southwestern dressing recipes. Dried fruits and fresh, seasonal fruits such as apples and pears, add their tender texture and an element of sweetness.

So, choose from one of these satisfying recipes for your Thanksgiving table and say it your way: Whether you call it dressing or stuffing, everyone will agree it's a delicious slide.

Sausage, Apricot and Pecan Stuffing

My go-to recipe for stuffing comes from Cooks Illustrated — it takes some time, but it’s straight-forward and delicious. My only complaint is that the original version makes too much stuffing, especially if you’re not planning to stuff the turkey. And let’s face it: Cooking the stuffing on the side just gives you more exciting options for the turkey itself (e.g., spatchcocking, deep frying, etc.).

So here, I’ve scaled the recipe back a bit to make it more manageable, and modified it for baking in a casserole dish. It’s suitable for a 13࡯ baking pan or 3-quart casserole.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated’s Bread Stuffing with Sausage, Pecans and Dried Apricots (The New Best Recipe, America’s Test Kitchen 2004).


1 loaf french bread (1 pound)
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 lb sweet Italian sausage
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
heaping 1/4 tsp each dried sage, thyme and marjoram
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
heaping 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
2/3 cup dried apricots, sliced in thin strips (about 1/4 lb)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Divide the bread into thirds save 1/3 for another use, and cut the rest into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. The bread should end up dried but not browned. Once it has cooled slightly, cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.

Turn the oven up to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans out on the sheet pan and toast in the oven until fragrant, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage (casings removed, if there are any), breaking it up into bite-size pieces, until browned and no pink remains. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

Remove excess grease from the pan, then add the butter. Saute the onions and celery until soft and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the sage, thyme, marjoram and pepper and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage and stir.

Stir the parsley, apricots, pecans and salt into the sausage mixture, then top with the bread cubes. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the broth and eggs, then pour over the bread cubes.

Fold the bread cubes into the sausage mixture until thoroughly mixed. Spread the stuffing out into a buttered baking dish, tamping it down gently with a spoon or spatula to fill the dish evenly. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate overnight if desired. Let it sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.)

Dot the surface of the stuffing with small bits of butter. Cover with a piece of buttered aluminum foil and bake until hot throughout, about 25-30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake about 15 minutes more, until the top is golden brown.

Pictured: Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition A-3-B Casserole, Pyrex Town and Country 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Town and Country 443 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 2 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Measuring Cup, Glasbake French Casserole