Thanksgiving Cornbread Sausage Stuffing (Dressing) with dried cranberries, apples and pecans is destined to become your new go-to recipe!! The wonderfully savory, buttery herb infused stuffing is moist, flavorful, easy and absolutely addicting!
Thanksgiving stuffing is as synonymous with Thanksgiving as turkey. Pile it high and hope you are the first one back in line for seconds before it disappears. And this Cornbread Sausage Stuffing will disappear.
While I understand that stuffing (or dressing if you don’t put it in the bird, so this is technically dressing), is a uniquely personal thing, I really hope you will fall in love with this Cornbread Sausage Stuffing with Cranberries and Pecans because I am SO IN LOVE with it! I was craving these cornbread stuffing leftovers for Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. When I wasn’t hungry at all. Seriously, the best stuffing I have ever tried.
There are a few elements that that make this Cornbread Sausage Stuffing AH-mazing.
First, the cornbread. Cornbread adds a wonderfully savory character to the stuffing with an added dimension of buttery cornbread flavor without tasting too much like cornbread. That is in part because we also mix the cornbread with white bread. I like to use an Italian loaf. We also add a sleeve of Ritz crackers for a layer of buttery, salty, crumbly flavor/texture. All three of these starches are delicious alone and exponentially better together as the base of our stuffing.
The second important element to stuffing is drying out the bread. You want your bread to be as dry as possible so it will soak up more seasonings/juices/broth and become saturated with yum while still holding its shape and not becoming soggy. I make my cornbread the day before my stuffing and leave it on the counter to dry it out and I also use day old Italian bread. In addition, you are going to toast your cornbread and white bread in the oven until they resemble croutons to ensure they are dry as possible. Toasting the chopped bread also adds yet another dimension of flavor.
Third, the sausage. Because everything is better with sausage AND fat equals flaVOR! And also because we are not stuffing our bird, the sausage adds the moistness and fat that the bird drippings traditionally add to create a moist, rich stuffing. I use sage flavored sausage by Jimmy Dean but if you can’t find it or don’t like the taste of sage, feel free to use plain and add in the amount of dried sage you prefer.
Fourth, the goodies. Some people are purists when it comes to their stuffing which is completely fine, but I like to add what makes it taste better! My mom always added sausage to her stuffing along with celery and Granny Smith apples – so, so good. In addition, I’ve also added toasted pecans and dried cranberries to this Cornbread Sausage Stuffing, and while it might sound like a lot of goodies, they come together in one harmonious bite that is addictingly delicious! The tartness of the apples is complimented by the sweetness of the dried cranberries and the pecans add the needed bit of texture.
Fifth, the seasonings. The sage flavored stuffing as well as the cornbread and Ritz crackers provide a delectable base for our Cornbread Sausage Stuffing. To further amp up the flavor to make this one of the best stuffings ever, we infuse our sautéed onions with garlic, chicken bouillon, and sprinklings of dried parsley, basil, oregano, and thyme. So much rounded, dimensional savory goodness!
Sixth, the texture. This is probably where the biggest discrepancy between stuffing connoisseurs lies. Some people like their stuffing light and airy, others like it firm and solid and I like it somewhere in between so its light and moist, seasoned buttery bread without being soggy at all. I use two eggs to bind the stuffing a little together – just enough so its not falling apart and crumbling all over but not too many so it doesn’t stick together in one solid homogeneous piece. If you like a more moist, dense stuffing, feel free to use more chicken broth/eggs. And if you like a drier stuffing, simply bake the stuffing longer. Either way, you are going to want to remove the foil at the end of baking to create a wonderfully golden, slightly crispy top that is arguably one of the best parts of any stuffing.
And that’s what makes this Cornbread Sausage Stuffing (Dressing) with Cranberries and Pecans one of the best recipes around! I hope you make it, love it, crave it and it becomes a new family favorite for generations to come! xo
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