Our family favorite for Thanksgiving, this sausage stuffing is easy to prepare and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Big pieces of sausage nestled with toasted bread cubes, zingy broccoli rabe, garlic and parmesan cheese - all packed into one casserole dish, for an incredible Italian sausage stuffing!
How To Make the Best Sausage Stuffing
Stuffing is one of the most eagerly anticipated Thanksgiving dishes so why not exceed expectations?
Truth be told, when I set out to develop this recipe, I ignored all presumptions about what is ordinarily in sausage stuffing. I already had an idea in my mind that I was pretty sure would work out well - to pull all my favorite Italian ingredients from this outstanding Italian pasta recipe and repurpose them to make a fantastic Italian sausage stuffing.
- Country bread or Italian bread
- Sweet Italian sausages (or use a mix of hot and sweet)
- Olive oil
- Broccoli rabe
- Red onions
- Chicken broth
- Balsamic vinegar
- Parmesan cheese
- Hungarian hot paprika
- Salt & pepper
- Cut the bread into cubes and bake it in the oven for 20 minutes, until dry
- Blanch the broccoli rabe in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain and cut into bite-sized pieces
- Remove sausages from their casings and brown the meat with the garlic and hot paprika, then add the broccoli rabe, cook for a minute longer and transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl
- Sauté the onions and celery in butter until tender and starting to brown. Add a splash of vinegar and cook some more, scraping up all the browned bits from the pan. Then transfer the mixture to the bowl with the sausage meat.
- Add bread cubes, eggs, broth and parmesan to the bowl, mix well, transfer to a casserole pan and bake until hot and golden brown.
You will end up with a rich, savory, spicy, garlicky, moist, crispy edged, highly-addictive Italian sausage stuffing that will make you question why you don't make stuffing all year long.
This sausage stuffing became an instant family favorite and a set-in-stone addition to our Thanksgiving menu - it's the absolute best!
Here are the answers to questions you might have about this recipe.
Most stuffings, including this one, can be assembled in the baking dish up to a day ahead of time and can go directly from the fridge to the oven.
Or you can prepare the bread, broccoli rabe, sausages and aromatics, and refrigerate the mixture for up to 2 days in advance, stored in a plastic container or zip-lock baggie. Mix with eggs, broth and cheese before baking.
Not really, at least not with respect to ingredients. The term "stuffing" refers to a mixture of ingredients cooked inside the turkey (or other food) while "dressing" is cooked in a baking dish. But the two terms have become interchangeable and many people, myself included, call this savory bread and sausage mixture that we serve at Thanksgiving "stuffing" - whether it's cooked inside the bird or out.
I have a strong preference for baking this sausage stuffing in a pan (dressing) rather than in the turkey. While stuffing cooked inside a turkey soaks up all the delicious juices of the bird, it doesn't get crisp. Stuffing develops more flavor when baked in a pan where the top can get crusty and brown. If you like turkey juices, you can always drizzle some over the finished stuffing or, once it's on your plate, top it with gravy.
Other Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes
- Olive Oil and Rroasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes (dairy-free)
- Chili roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry Maple Citrus Glaze
- Curried Butternut Squash Soup
- My Favorite Holiday Salad
- Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries Apricots and Pecans
While we're talking about Thanksgiving, I want all of you who visit Panning The Globe to know how thankful I am for your engagement on this site. I love what I do here on the blog but it would mean nothing without an appreciative audience of cooks and food enthusiasts to connect with. Thank you!
Here's the Italian Sausage Stuffing recipe. If you make this, please come back and leave a star rating and a comment to let me know how it turned out. Happy Thanksgiving!Print
Italian Sausage Stuffing
- Total Time: 1 hour 40 mins
- Yield: 12-14 1x
A favorite for Thanksgiving, this Italian sausage stuffing with broccoli rabe, parmesan cheese, hot paprika and garlic is incredible!
- 1 (1 pound) round loaf of home-style country bread or Italian bread, crusts sliced off, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 ⅓ pounds sweet Italian sausage (4 5-ounce sausages), casings removed
- 6 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced (3 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika (not smoked)
- 1 large (1 pound) bunch broccoli rabe: Cut off the thick stem. Reserve the leaves, the buds, and about 2 inches of the tender stem beneath the bud.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 small red onions or two large, peeled, halved and sliced into thin wedges (4 ½ cups sliced onion)
- 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- ½ cup turkey or chicken broth
- ½ cup good quality parmesan cheese, finely grated (I recommend Parmigiana Reggiano)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 10 x 15-inch casserole pan (use olive oil to make this dairy free)
- Spread bread cubes out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, to dry it out. Set bread aside and turn the oven temp up to 425ºF.
- Drop the broccoli rabe into a pot of boiling water and leave it for 30 seconds. It will turn bright green and reduce in bulk. Pour into a colander to drain out the hot water and run cold water over it until it's cool. Spread it out on a cutting board and slice into bite sized pieces.
- Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the sausages for 3-4 minutes, stirring and breaking into small bite-sized pieces, using the end of a metal spatula, until the meat loses all its pink color and starts to brown. Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic and hot paprika. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer. Add the broccoli rabe, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring, for another minute. Transfer the whole mixture to a large bowl.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet. Cook onions and celery over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes, until tender and starting to brown. Add vinegar and cook, stirring for another minute, scraping up the browned bits in the pan. Transfer onions to the bowl with the sausage.
- Add bread, eggs, broth, and cheese to the bowl and toss to thoroughly combine. Pour stuffing mixture into prepared baking dish. (If you plan to stuff your turkey, set aside about 5 cups of stuffing and let it cool completely before you stuff your bird. Pour the rest into your prepared baking dish.) Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil and cook for 10-15 minutes longer, until the top is nicely browned. Serve warm.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour 10 mins
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: sausage stuffing with broccoli rabe garlic and parmesan cheese
This post originally appeared on Panning The Globe on November 19, 2016. It has been refreshed and republished on November 14, 2022 with a few new photos, added nutritional information, added FAQ, clearer instructions in the recipe, added make-ahead instructions, and a new shortened recipe title (the old title was "Italian Sausage Stuffing with Broccoli Rabe and Parmesan."
This is hands down the best sausage stuffing ever! incredibly delicious and easy to prepare. I've been meaning to leave a comment since last Thanksgiving and time got away from me but as I was planning my menu for this Thanksgiving, I was reminded that I want let you know how much my family and i love this stuffing. My kids are already asking me if I'm making it again this TG and the answer is a big yes! Thank you for this wonderful recipe.
Hi Jenna - Thanks so much for this wonderful note and 5 star rating. It makes me so happy to hear that you all loved the stuffing so much last Thanksgiving and that your kids are excited to have it again. Wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving!
can i make this with gluten free bread? or something to substitute for bread
Hi Bonnie, Yes you can make this with gluten-free bread. Be sure to toast the bread well before adding it in. Wishing you a great Thanksgiving!
And I also really like the food like it .. thank you very much ..
if I look at the food that .. I felt I wanted to try it .. looks very tasty food ..
Our family lives for Thanksgiving sausage stuffing and we enjoy trying a new one every year. We loved this stuffing - added a bit more sausage (and a mix of hot and sweet) - was fantastic!! Thanks for sharing.
If putting sausage in stuffing is wrong, I don't want to be right.
Allie R. Taylor
Lisa - this looks heavenly. Such a gorgeous stuffing. The rabe is so bright and fresh and the sausage must make it so flavorful. Forget the turkey. I'll take two helping of this please!