Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing

Mr. Marquis’s Marvelous Stuffing

Look no further for Thanksgiving than this Sausage Stuffing Recipe. It's packed with flavorful herbs, aromatics, and fruits and is baked until crispy on top.

If I peeled back the veil of this humble food blog, you would see that during the Thanksgiving season, there is one recipe that bubbles to the top even though it was first posted 12 (A DOZEN!) years ago. It’s this Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing recipe. And with good reason, because it truly is the best stuffing recipe I’ve made.

This recipe is always on my Thanksgiving table each year and I probably get more texts and direct messages with photos of it than any other recipe on Macheesmo. It’s a good one and a keeper. 

The ironic thing is that this recipe isn’t even MY recipe! Good credit must be given to the original creator, of course. Let’s dive in and learn how to make this truly special recipe. 

The History of Marquis’s Marvelous Stuffing

Twelve years ago, before kids, before houses, before marriage, I was having Thanksgiving in DC with some friends. One of these friends, Mr. Marquis, called me up before the event and proclaimed that he had perfected stuffing. I was skeptical, but this friend was a very good cook and an engineer so if someone could perfect stuffing, I figured it might as well be him.

He brought me this recipe. I took one bite and knew that my Thanksgiving table would never not include it. 

I now make this stuffing every year for Thanksgiving and sometimes in February for my birthday. It is that good. It has everything I look for in a stuffing: Nice bread, awesome meatiness, tons of spices, and some fruit and other good stuff. Oh. And lots of butter.

Over the years, I’ve tried small variations on this recipe, but never really like it as much as the original. So, I’ll give some IDEAS for substitutions in this post, but unless you have a very good reason to modify it, I wouldn’t. 

Can you use this sausage stuffing to stuff a turkey?

Ironically, one thing I have never done with this stuffing is actually stuffed it inside anything (say, a turkey). It is always just so beautiful in the pan that I prefer to make it this way. In theory, I guess you could stuff a turkey with it, but I think it would lose some of its best features (texture).

Also, I’m a big fan of NEVER stuffing turkeys because it tends to lead to an overcooked turkey. If you do stuff it, just make sure you use a thermometer to ensure the turkey and stuffing reach a safe 170˚F in the very center, which, spoiler alert, will mean a pretty dry and overcooked turkey. 

Toasting the bread for this stuffing

The first thing for this amazing stuffing is the bread. The original recipe uses a mix of whole wheat and white bread. Cut up your bread cubes and spread them out on two sheet pans. It’s a lot of bread so you’ll need two to make sure the bread cubes are in an even layer. Toast them in a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes. You want these cubes pretty toasty. Keep an eye on them though – burnt bread stuffing is not what we are making.

I recommend stirring the bread halfway through just to make sure they are toasting evenly.

Cooking the sausage and onions

While your bread toasts, take your pork sausage and onion and start it up in a large skillet over medium heat. I like to use a spicy Italian sausage for my version. At house macheesmo, you can tell it’s Thanksgiving season when the smell of sausage and onions is coming from the kitchen.

Cooking the sausage and onions

While that is simmering away, chop up your aromatics listed above and get them ready. You can do this in advance if you want, but I like to multi-task. 

Then add your celery, sage, thyme, and rosemary to your sausage mixture and cook for just 3 minutes to combine. This will smell really good.

Sausage and aromatics cooking.

Finishing the best sausage stuffing

Ready to mix together the sausage stuffing ingredients.

Now get the biggest bowl you have. You might have to do this in two batches if you make the full recipe. Keep in mind that my version in the photos here is halved. Anyway, put your bread in a bowl.

Then add that amazing sausage mixture that has been simmering away.

Then add your apples, dried cranberries, and parsley.

Finally, add your stock and melted butter. The bread should be very moist, but you don’t want any liquid left. All of the liquid should be absorbed. If you add too much, don’t worry about it, just add another 15 minutes or so to the cooking time. Spread it out in a 9 by 13 baking dish. If you have a really large casserole dish, you might be able to fit it all in one dish.

Ready to bake sausage stuffing.

NOTE: If you are making a full batch of this stuff, you will want two or need to make it in two batches.

Bake this at 350 degrees, cover for 30 minutes, and then uncover for 30 minutes. Stir this stuffing every 15 minutes. As I said, if after an hour the bread is still too moist, just cook for another 15.

Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing in the oven.

Serve the stuffing with any and all Thanksgiving dishes. It’s great with mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and goes well with any kind of gravy. 

Substitution Ideas

Like I’ve said, I don’t really recommend substitutions for this recipe. It’s wonderful as-is and unless you have a particular reason to substitute something, I would make it as written.

For starters, the most flexible substitution in this recipe is probably the bread. While the recipe uses a mix of whole wheat and white bread, I’ve made it with a few different breads including potato bread or sourdough bread. It all turns out just fine.

If you aren’t a sausage eater, it’s tough to substitute, but you could sautee two pounds of mushrooms in olive oil and start with that as a base for the stuffing. Kind of a different beast, but also good if you are trying for a vegetarian version.

I’m usually fine substituting dried herbs for fresh herbs, but for Thanksgiving, I really try to use fresh herbs for this recipe. If you just can’t find them, then you can use dried herbs. Just divide the amounts by about three. So a tablespoon of fresh thyme becomes a teaspoon of dried thyme. 

Sausage Stuffing

Leftover Stuffing Ideas

If you make the full version of this recipe, which serves 15-16 people, you will almost certainly have leftovers, which isn’t a bad thing! Leftover stuffing is wonderful. It actually freezes really well if you wanted to stick some of it in the freezer for a few months. In an airtight container, it keeps fine in the fridge for a week or so. 

Stuffing is great on a sandwich actually. Toast your bread well and add stuffing, turkey, and a little gravy and cranberry sauce. Perfect leftover turkey sandwich! 

Another idea I’ve tried before is to stick leftover stuffing in a waffle iron! Make sure to oil the waffle iron well but the finished waffle is wonderfully crispy and is great with an egg on top!

Sausage Stuffing

Try this recipe!

So that’s it. While I would love it if you passed this post on to others, I also understand if you want to horde it so you can forever impress your friends, family, and lover(s) with it. And if you are Mr. Marquis, then I humbly thank you for your creation.

Marquis’s Marvelous Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing Recipe

Marquis's Marvelous Stuffing

Serves:
Serves 15
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing
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Look no further for Thanksgiving than this Sausage Stuffing Recipe. It’s packed with flavorful herbs, aromatics, and fruits and is baked until crispy on top.

Ingredients

1/4 loaf cubed whole wheat bread
1 loaf cubed white bread

Sausage Mixture:

2 pounds ground spicy pork sausage
1 large chopped onion

Aromatics:

1.5 cups chopped celery
5 Teaspoons fresh sage
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 Teaspoon Fresh thyme

Other business:

2 Golden Delicious Apples cored, peeled, chopped.
1.5 cups dried cranberries
2/3 cups minced fresh parsley
3 cups turkey or chicken stock (Note: this varies based on your bread. You might need more.)
1/2 cup melted butter

Instructions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cube up all your bread and bake for 15-20 minutes. You want these cubes pretty toasty. Keep an eye on them though.

2) Meanwhile, cook sausage and onion in a large skillet over medium heat until sausage is browned and cooked through.

3) Chop up aromatics listed above. When sausage is cooked, add aromatics to your sausage mixture and cook for just 3 minutes to combine.

4) IN a huge bowl, toss together all the ingredients except stock and butter. Once it’s well combined, start adding stock until the mixture is very moist but not soggy at all.

5) Pour out stuffing onto a few 9×13 baking dishes and drizzle butter over the stuffing. Bake until the stuffing for 30 minutes covered and then 30 minutes uncovered, stirring ever 15 minutes. It should be browned on top and cooked through. It’ll still have some liquid in it but be not soggy. Don’t be afraid to let it bake a little longer if it seems too soggy.

Serve while warm with traditional Thanksgiving stuff!

Here are a few other great recipes to try!

28 Responses to “Mr. Marquis’s Marvelous Stuffing” Leave a comment

  1. Totally! I think it would work fantastic with cornbread. Might need to adjust the stock amounts a bit. I would think that you would need less stock if you are using cornbread, but again that probably varies. Good idea!

  2. Well I am lucky enough to have had the Marquis version two Thanksgivings ago, the Nick version last Thanksgiving and now from Sofia, Bulgaria I will be making the Karolinka version: meat free with veggie stock and loaded up on walnuts and dried plums and apricots. Wish me luck!

  3. I will try the veggie version, minus meat. It may overcome my antipathy to stuffing. Rita and I voted unanimously for a no stuffing Thanksgiving. Thanks, Nick, for the tip to this great blog.

  4. Just made this for the family on Black Friday. DELIIIIICIOUS! I left out the parsley and sage since I didn't have any but it still tastes awesome.

    A.G. – I'd be interested in knowing how your veggie version turned out and whether you substituted anything for the meat. I have vegetarian friends that I'd love to share it with!

  5. p.s. the only thing is – I had to bake it for an extra hour, and by that time, I had all this burned stuff around the perimeter, and extra time in the oven just increased the width of this burned perimeter. meanwhile – the stuffing was still too moist! i tried spreading it out thin and such. luckily – it still tastes good overly moist. any hints?

  6. @ A.G. You should definitely try it with Veggie stock. I think it would still be fantastic. But if you do try it you will start wanting stuffing again on holidays!

    @ Susie: I'm glad you liked it! The trick to avoid the burned edges and get an even texture throughout is to be sure to stir it every 10 or 15 minutes. It is a bit of extra work, but totally worth it. And yes, sometimes I have to cook it for longer than an hour. I think the variables for cooking time are type of bread, how toasted the bread gets, and how much stock you use.

    As long as you keep stirring you will get an even, perfectly moist (yet crispy) stuffing.

  7. Looks like the perfect recipe! Beautiful pictures as well, steam comes out nicely…
    Gonna try it out now for our Thanksgiving dinner on Curacao tonight!

  8. Hi, this looks wonderful! I’m a vegetarian and would like suggestions on how to substitute for the meat. Also, did you use sandwich bread for the wheat and white? Or did you use a loaf from the french bread area of the grocery? I have your book too, and I am now making perfect baked potatoes every time, so thank you for all of your recipes and tips!

    1. Hey Cindy, I think you could sub mushrooms for the sausage. Just saute a pound or two and fold it into the mix. I used sandwich bread for both types of bread, but you can use any bread really.
      Glad you like the book!

  9. Just to be clear, will the recipe posted as above create 15-20 servings or should I double it? Thanks!

    1. Hey Michael, the recipe posted as-is will easily feed 15. It makes a lot. Good luck. It’s delicious and still my go-to stuffing recipe even after many years of experimenting.

  10. just made this today. I hate stuffing, every year i just dread making it. but this is awesome!!!! the smell after you add the thr aromatics is unbelievable. it was one of my favorite dishes by far this year.this will be in our family for years. thanks so much for sharing this. it is amazing!!

  11. I made this for Thanksgiving this year for the first time. I followed the recipe to the T. It was a big hit, it was absolutely delicious. I just had a request for making it again for Christmas. I think this is our stuffing

  12. I made this for Thanksgiving this year for the first time. I followed the recipe to the T. It was a big hit, it was absolutely delicious. I just had a request for making it again for Christmas. I think this is our stuffing from now on. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  13. Nearly identical to the one I make(except I add egg). Love it because it can be tweaked so many ways. Can add oysters, wine, or whatever you like in your dressing!

  14. I discovered this recipe a few years ago and it has become our holiday stuffing. It is the best I have ever had. I also use ut to stuff pork chops.

  15. Hi Nick! I’m super excited to make this tonight :) do you think I could mix it up tonight and then bake it tomorrow?

    1. Hey Kelly! Yep! I always make it in advance actually. I just would hold off on adding the stock until you bake it, but you can mix up everything else! Hope you like it. :)

  16. I’ve made this stuffing for the last 4 thanksgivings. This year will be #5. It’s always a huge hit!

  17. This is without a doubt the best stuffing of all time.
    We host huge Thanksgiving meals every year and for 4 years now we’ve made this recipe.
    Thank you!
    Nothing compares. Everyone loves it.
    It’s a recipe that my children and their children will ask for.
    A total classic.

  18. I’ve been making this stuffing for 7 years and everyone who tries it LOVES it. I forgot to add the apples the first year and cranberries are difficult to get find in Kenya but it was such a huge hit despite that so I’ve continued to make it without. Best stuffing I’ve EVER had!!!

    1. Sorry for the delay Sherry but yes. you can freeze it after baking and reheat it any time over the next 2-3 months. Good luck!

  19. I make an almost identical stuffing. My variation: use apple juice or apple cider in place of half of the stock. Try it!

  20. Well I thought I had bought ground turkey but instead bought sausage!! How could I have done that!! And thank you for the brown rice link, and yup that was the one!! Anyway I did make this tonight but instead of turkey I used ground beef! It was all I had and I wanted to make this so bad. But guess what – it was fantastic!! I know it would have been healthier with the turkey but this was, as my husband said — give it two yums!!! Thanks again

  21. I just had to add a comment – I’ve never really loved stuffing but because my husband does, we’ve tried several different recipes over the years. After reading your hype for this recipe and the gushing comments, I decided to try it this year and it was FANTASTIC! It really made our Thanksgiving dinner and this will be our go-to stuffing from now on! Thanks for another keeper, Nick!

  22. Thank you and Mr. Marquis for this recipe. I have made it every year, a few times a year, ever since I found this on your blog a few years ago. I had intended to keep trying other stuffing recipes, but we just cannot tear ourselves away from This One. We love it and like all true loves, it will be forever.

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