This Rustic Apple Sausage Stuffing is a classic Thanksgiving side dish that strikes the perfect balance between sweet, savory, and salty. It’s filled with gluten free bread, pork sausage, and fresh apples for plenty of fall-flavored goodness!
Do you find that your family can be hard to please around the holidays? There are always so many taste buds and dietary needs to account for! Thankfully, all you need are a few tricks up your sleeves and a small list of delicious recipes to help you please as many mouths as possible.
This gluten, egg, and dairy free Rustic Apple Sausage Stuffing is packed with classic fall flavors and spices that everyone at Thanksgiving is sure to love! Plus, the recipe can be easily tweaked to be made vegetarian or vegan. It’s a must-have Thanksgiving side dish to serve next to Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, Pull Apart Dinner Rolls, and Roasted Squash.
The best part is that this bread stuffing recipe is made with simple and seasonal ingredients and only takes 10 minutes to prepare. It turns out moist, golden brown, and succulent every single time.
Which apples are best in apple stuffing?
Anytime you’re planning on cooking apples, I recommend choosing a variety that is tart and crisp as opposed to soft and sweet. My favorite apples to use in this stuffing are Granny Smith, pink lady, Honeycrisp, fuji, or gala.
Gluten free bread stuffing ingredients
- Gluten free bread – Use your favorite loaf of gluten free bread. Let it sit out for at least 1 day or toast it on the day of. You can also make this recipe with French bread or any regular bread you like if you don’t need the stuffing to be gluten free.
- Pork sausage – Turkey, beef, or vegan sausage would also work nicely.
- Onion and fennel – Warm and sweet fennel seeds pair well with the sharper flavors of cooked onion.
- Apples – Granny Smith, pink lady, Honeycrisp, fuji, or gala apples will all work nicely and hold their shape well.
- Fresh sage – A classic fall seasoning that always makes every bite of stuffing so much more comforting.
- Cranberries – Fresh cranberries are best but you’re welcome to use frozen cranberries if that’s what you have at home. Dried cranberries also work in a pinch!
- Chicken broth – To help moisten your bread while adding tons of flavor. Veggie broth, beef broth, or bone broth would also work.
How to make rustic apple and sausage stuffing
This homey and savory gluten free stuffing only takes 10 minutes to prep and will fill your home with tantalizing fall aromas as it slowly bakes. All you need to get started is a large skillet, a baking dish, and of course a hot oven.
Step 1: Break the gluten free bread up into cubes. Lay them on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until lightly golden brown.
Step 2: Heat some olive oil in a large skillet. Add the pork sausage (without the casings) and cook until it’s brown all over. Next, add the onion, fennel, salt, pepper, and sage and cook for a few more minutes. Finish by stirring in the apples and cranberries.
Step 3: Transfer the toasted bread cubes into a large baking dish. Add the sausage mixture and fold to combine. Pour the chicken broth all over top, then the walnuts/pecans.
Step 4: Cover the stuffing in the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 10 to 20 minutes of baking. You’ll know the stuffing is done when it smells amazing and the bread is golden brown.
This rustic Thanksgiving side dish doesn’t have to be limited to one meal a year! Enjoy it alongside any of your favorite cold-weather entrees such as slow cooked oven roasted beef brisket, ground turkey butternut squash skillet, or lemon butter chicken thighs.
This apple sausage stuffing recipe can easily be tweaked to match a variety of flavor preferences or dietary needs. Use these ideas as a jumping-off point and really make this stuffing your own:
- Vegan or vegetarian stuffing – Swap the pork sausage for a plant-based alternative and use veggie broth instead of chicken broth. Alternatively, make my Apple Sage Stuffing to ensure there’s a vegetarian option at dinner.
- Get creative with the garnishes. I like to switch things up by topping this stuffing with nuts, green onions, additional fresh sage, turkey gravy, or cranberry sauce.
- Love a good sweet and savory combo? Try adding additional fruit to your stuffing, like pomegranate seeds, figs, or pears.
Frequently asked questions
Can you stuff apple sausage stuffing into turkey?
While I wouldn’t stuff the apple stuffing into a Thanksgiving turkey, it isn’t totally impossible. Just be sure to loosely pack the stuffing into the bird and make sure the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165°F before serving. Alternatively, you can get the same visual effect by stuffing your fully cooked sage and apple stuffing into the cavity of the cooked bird right before serving.
What is the best sausage for stuffing?
Since you’re adding so much fresh sage, fennel, onion, salt, and pepper to your stuffing, all you really need is a couple of plain pork sausages. I recommend removing the sausages from their casings before crumbling and cooking.
Can it be made ahead of time?
Yes! You can make the browned sausage mixture, toast your bread, and assemble everything into a baking dish ahead of time. Instead of baking the stuffing in the oven, cover the dish with tinfoil and leave it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Just bake it as normal before dinner and then enjoy!
How do you store apple stuffing?
Any leftover apple stuffing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Is it freezer-friendly?
As long as your stuffing is sealed in an airtight container or ziplock bag, you can keep this Thanksgiving side dish in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Looking for more healthy holiday side dishes?
- Kale Pomegranate Salad
- Maple Glazed Green Beans
- Instant Pot Mushroom Wild Rice Soup
- Apple Cranberry Frisée Salad
- Garlic Parmesan Butternut Squash
Rustic Apple Sausage Stuffing
- 1 loaf gluten-free bread
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/3 cup fennel, chopped
- 8 oz pork sausage (casing removed)
- 1 apple, diced
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
- fresh sage,
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 24 oz chicken broth
- Cut up the loaf of bread into cubes and bake at 290F degrees for about 30 minutes to toast it up.
- Meanwhile heat oil in a large skillet. Add sausage and cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes. Then add in onion and fennel, season with salt, pepper and sage and sauté for an additional 3-5 minutes. Finally stir in apples and cranberries and toss to combine.
- Transfer toasted bread to a large baking dish. Top with sausage apple skillet and fold to combine. Pour in chicken broth and top with walnuts or pecans.
- Bake at 350F degrees for 30-40 minutes, the first 20 minutes should be covered in foil. Then continue to bake uncovered until bread is nice and toasted.