This Italian Sausage Cornbread Stuffing Recipe is flavorful, easy to prepare and perfect for Thanksgiving!
Can you believe it’s almost time for Thanksgiving? This year is flying by at warp speed. Every year goes by a little bit faster, and the big 4-0 is now just around the corner.
It’s been a tumultuous year in countless ways, but I have a lot to be thankful for right now. A happy, healthy husband and family (and cat… too many close calls!), a niece or nephew on the way, a cozy little home, and amazing friends. Enough schmaltz, let’s get to business. Stuffing business. Or is it… dressing business?
Stuffing vs. Dressing
Recently, I learned that I had possibly been using the term “stuffing” wrong my entire life, as I started seeing recipes for Thanksgiving dressing with corresponding photos of stuffing. It was a bit mortifying. When I hear dressing, I think of salads. I was very confused.
It was explained to me that stuffing is the mixture baked into the turkey, while dressing is basically the same recipe but baked in a casserole dish. Eh? So my entire immediate and extended family had it wrong?
Thankfully, no. While I’m sure there are some who would love to debate me on this, it seems that the terminology is a regional difference. Southern Living even has a map of which states search the most for dressing vs. stuffing! Phew.
Italian Sausage Cornbread Stuffing Notes
- You can take a shortcut with the cornbread, since it’s being dried out and mixed with other ingredients. You can certainly bake some from scratch, but feel free to use a mix, or buy some pre-baked. Regardless of whether it’s homemade or store-bought, I recommend using a cornbread that you’re familiar with and like, since it will still be a dominant flavor. A friend recently served me Trader Joe’s cornbread (from a mix) alongside chili, and I had no idea it wasn’t homemade until she told me.
- If you want to lighten up the recipe a bit, swap out regular Italian sausage for pre-cooked chicken or turkey Italian Sausage.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
- Pumpkin Slab Pie (perfect for feeding a large crowd!)
- Baked Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (the BEST Thanksgiving side dish)
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake (need I say more?)
- Pecan Pie French Toast Casserole (brunch for the out-of-town guests!)
- Beer and Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes (from The Beeroness)
Italian Sausage Cornbread Stuffing
- 6 cups cornbread (your favorite recipe, cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces pre-cooked mild Italian sausage, sliced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced (approximately 2 cups)
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon sage leaves, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium
- 1 cup half-and-half (or 1/2 cup whole milk + 1/2 cup cream)
- 1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Distribute the diced cornbread evenly on a baking sheet and dry out in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the sausage. Cook for several minutes, allowing the pieces to caramelize. Once they are nicely browned, move them to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Drain some but not all of the fat from the pan and then add the diced onion and celery with a pinch of salt. The liquid from the vegetables should help loosen up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan; stir those in with the vegetables. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the onions are slightly caramelized. Add the garlic, thyme and sage and cook for another minute before removing from the heat. Stir in the salt and pepper.
- Whisk together the chicken stock, half and half and egg. Pour the mixture over the cornbread. Add the sausage as well as the vegetable mixture and fold the ingredients together. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the ingredients to chill in the refrigerator for one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9x9 inch baking dish and distribute the stuffing ingredients evenly. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
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