Thanksgiving isn’t complete without Overnight Sausage and Sage Stuffing. Butter-crisped bread, tender vegetables, sausage, and sage make this the holiday dish that everyone will be reaching for.
There are few things more nostalgic than the smell of stuffing cooking in the oven, and everyone has their favorite. Frank’s favorite will always be Stuffing Balls, but I’m a classic stuffing girl all the way. No matter what style you prefer, having stuffing on the Thanksgiving table is an absolute must.
WHAT YOU’LL LOVE ABOUT OVERNIGHT STUFFING
What makes this recipe special is that it is assembled ahead and left to sit in the fridge overnight. This gives the bread cubes time to absorb the liquids, resulting in the perfect texture - bread that holds its shape but has a custardy texture in the center and a golden crunch on top.
The other benefit of leaving your stuffing overnight (besides simplifying your Thanksgiving morning of course) is that it gives the flavors time to develop. The entire dish is infused with the flavor of the buttery veggies, savory herbs, and savory mild sausage.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STUFFING AND DRESSING?
These days, when it comes to Thanksgiving recipes, stuffing and dressing are used interchangeably. Technically, stuffing is what’s stuffed inside the turkey, and dressing is cooked outside the bird in a separate dish. Oftentimes, what we call this deliciously bready and aromatic Thanksgiving side dish comes down to where you live - in other words, it’s a regional thing.
Speaking of regional things, if you haven’t taken the dialect quiz from the New York Times, you must! It linked me with the suburban TOWN where I grew up based on my response to 25 language / dialect questions.
HOW TO STORE & REHEAT LEFTOVER STUFFING
Store leftover stuffing in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. If you plan on keeping the stuffing longer, freeze in an airtight container for up to a month.
The quickest way to reheat leftover Thanksgiving stuffing is by placing it in the microwave for about 2 minutes. If the stuffing has dried out, add a little stock or water and cover loosely with a paper towel as it heats.
If you have a little extra time, the best way to reheat your stuffing is in slices in a pan on the stovetop, treating it a bit like a grilled cheese sandwich. Simply add a little butter to the pan, sear on medium heat on both sides until the stuffing is warmed through and crispy.
- Bread - Any kind of bread will work with this recipe: white, wheat, sandwich bread, or French loaf. A dryer variety of bread, or one that is a day or two old will work best because dry bread will better absorb the butter, stock, and juices from the sautéed veggies.
- Celery / Onions / Leeks / Granny Smith Apple - This familiar blend of fall vegetables and green apple provides the backbone for this classic Thanksgiving stuffing recipe. Don’t let the leeks intimidate you; cleaning and cutting leeks is easier than it appears. Here is a quick tutorial on how to clean and slice leeks.
- Mild Italian Sausage - The slightly sweet and savory flavor of mild Italian sausage in Thanksgiving stuffing gives this recipe just a little something extra.
- Sage / Parsley - Sage and parsley are the dynamic-aromatic duo in all the best stuffing recipes.
- Chicken / Turkey Stock - I recommend using low-sodium stock, which allows you to adjust the salt level to your liking.
- Eggs - the special ingredient that binds your stuffing together, and helps give baked stuffing that moist bounce we all love, is egg!
- Make it vegetarian - Omit the mild Italian sausage, and use vegetable stock instead of chicken or turkey stock. You could also try using a “sausage” meat alternative in place of the Italian sausage.
- Change the sausage - Chicken sausage, chicken apple sausage, spicy Italian - there are so many options out there.
- Try different herbs - Infuse your stuffing with herbs like rosemary, oregano, or thyme.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
- The Simplest Way to Roast a Turkey
- Turkey Gravy with White Wine and Sage
- Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
- Homemade Green Bean Casserole with Bacon
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 6-inch Global Knife
- Cutting Board
- 9x13 Emile Henri Baker
- Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
- Anchor 3-Piece Glass Mixing Bowls
Overnight Sausage and Sage Stuffing
- 9 x 13 Baking Dish
- Mixing Bowls
- 8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1 cup Chopped Celery
- 1 cup diced Yellow Onion
- 2 Leeks, split in half, cleaned and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup chopped Fresh Sage
- ¼ cup chopped Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
- 8 ounces Mild Italian Sausage
- 2 large Eggs
- 3 cups Low-Sodium Turkey or Chicken Stock
- 12 cups cubed Bread (see note)
- Spray a 9x13 baking dish (or any 3 quart casserole dish) with nonstick cooking spray.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter and when butter is melted, add celery, onion, leeks, apple, sage, parsley, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until celery and onion are soft, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add sausage and cook, breaking it apart, until cooked all the way through, 8 to 10 minutes more.
- Transfer sausage and vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Let cool slightly.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and ½ teaspoon salt until smooth. Slowly add in stock while whisking so that everything is evenly combined.
- Pour stock mixture over sausage and vegetables. Add bread cubes on top.
- Gently fold everything together until most of the stock mixture has been absorbed by the bread cubes (this may take a few minutes of stirring / folding).
- Transfer stuffing to prepared baking dish. Cover tightly with foil.
- Refrigerate overnight (or for about 8 hours).
- When ready to bake, let stuffing come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C.
- Bake stuffing, covered, for 40 minutes.
- Remove foil and continue baking until stuffing is golden brown on top, about 30 minutes more.
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