Sausage Cornbread Dressing - this sausage cornbread dressing combines the sweetness of cornbread with delicious sage or maple pork sausage and fresh herbs. The perfect accompaniment to roast turkey.
At Thanksgiving time, there is stuffing and there is dressing. So, what is the difference between the two? The only real difference is in the cooking method. Stuffing is "stuffed" in the turkey when roasted; dressing is baked separately, usually in a casserole dish.
I'm definitely a dressing person. I like to stuff my turkey, not with stuffing but with lemons, onions, and fresh herbs. This Sausage Cornbread Dressing is my go-to recipe at Thanksgiving time. I love the sweetness of the cornbread combined with the sausage and fresh herbs.
For this recipe, I use cornbread from the bakery section of my supermarket. It's nice to have a little shortcut with all of the other from-scratch dishes I make around the holidays. I also really like the texture and sweetness of the bakery cornbread. The night before I assemble the dressing, I break the cornbread into chunks and let it air dry on baking sheets. If you are feeling ambitious, you can certainly make cornbread from scratch. The dressing will be delicious either way.
I like using either sage or maple pork sausage. I can usually find one of these varieties around Thanksgiving time. Regular pork sausage is perfectly fine to use if the flavored variety isn't available. Start by browning the sausage in a skillet, breaking it apart into pieces. Drain the sausage on a paper towel-lined plate. Add the butter to the skillet along with the celery and onion. Saute until onion is translucent.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornbread, sausage, celery, and onions. Add the fresh sage and thyme and maple syrup. Add chicken broth, starting with one cup. Stir to incorporate. Add additional chicken broth until the mixture has the desired consistency. I like to add enough broth to hold the mixture together without being overly wet. You can adjust the amount of broth to get the consistency you like.
This dressing is a perfect make-ahead dish. I usually make the dressing one or two days before Thanksgiving. I store it covered in the refrigerator. Before baking, let the dressing come to room temperature.
Leftovers, if there are any, reheat well. If the dressing starts to get dry, pour a little chicken broth over the top before reheating. This dressing is delicious in a day-after-Thanksgiving panini or served as breakfast hash with a fried egg on the side.
I hope you try this dressing on your family's Thanksgiving table. The flavors will not disappoint!
More Thanksgiving sides to try
- Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots and Sage Brown Butter
- Corn with Pancetta
- Roasted Green Beans with Orange Butter and Crispy Pancetta
- Maple Ginger Roasted Carrots
Sausage Cornbread Dressing
- 3 18-ounce trays of bakery fresh cornbread (7x7 pans)
- 16 ounces pork sausage roll - sage or maple variety, if available
- 1 large onion, diced
- 6 stalks celery, diced
- 1 stick butter
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 3 -4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 cups chicken broth, plus extra as needed
- The night before you plan to prepare the dressing, break the cornbread into chunks and let air dry on sheet pans overnight.
- The next day, in a skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage, breaking it into pieces as it cooks. Cook the sausage thoroughly until no longer pink. Drain the sausage on a paper towel-lined plate.
- In the same skillet, melt the butter and add the onion and celery. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cornbread, crumbled sausage, and onion and celery mixture. Add in fresh herbs and maple syrup. Toss to combine. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth, folding to combine. Continue adding chicken broth until cornbread mixture is holding together but not overly wet.
- If making ahead of time, cover the casserole and store in the refrigerator for one-two days. Bring to room temperature before baking as noted above.