Moist, delicious herb-seasoned buttery stuffing with Italian sausage and rice that is elegant enough for all your holiday meals or simple enough to be a weeknight side dish.
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Stuffing is just as much of a tradition on Thanksgiving as the turkey itself. So many families have their tried and true recipes that have been handed down for generations, and this recipe is no different.
I remember helping my grandfather make the sausage for this dressing with his meat grinder. I was fascinated by the whole process as a kid. Now, as an adult, what I wouldn’t give to enjoy his homemade Italian sausage once again.
How to Make the Perfect Thanksgiving Stuffing
There are so many moving parts to putting together a Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe it’s your first time hosting the holiday or maybe you’ve been tasked with bringing the stuffing this year, or maybe you just want to make a delicious side dish for a weeknight meal. Whatever your reason for needing a delicious stuffing recipe, you have found the right one.
5 links mild Italian sausage, no casing
2 cups instant rice, uncooked
24 oz cubed stuffing, herb-seasoned
3 cups water, more if needed
3 cups chicken stock
2 sticks unsalted butter, more if needed
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste
I use a mild Italian sausage when I am preparing stuffing for a crowd, since not everyone may like it spicy. However, if I am making it for my immediate family, I go with hot Italian sausage because we enjoy a spicy kick.
I have used both white and brown instant rice with this stuffing recipe and I actually prefer brown, but either one works well.
Begin with preheating your oven to 350°F. If you haven’t already finely chopped your onion and celery, do so now.
Melt 2 sticks of unsalted butter in a large skillet ( I use an electric frying pan) and add the onion and celery. Sauté until the onion is transparent, then add the sausage.
Break up the sausage and stir frequently. Add in the rice and continue to saute until the sausage and rice are browned. Add in additional butter, if necessary.
In a large mixing bowl, add the stuffing mix. Combine ingredients from the skillet into the bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Slowly pour your chicken stock and water while mixing until completely moistened. More water may be added, if necessary.
Place the stuffing in a large baking pan. Cover with foil and bake for one hour.
Making Stuffing Ahead of Time
Make this sausage herb stuffing the day before to save yourself some time (and oven space) on Thanksgiving or any other occasion.
Simply follow the same directions for prepping, but adjust the cooking time to about 45 minutes and then refrigerate after it cools a bit. The next day, take it out of the fridge so it can come up to room temperature. Keep it foil-covered and heat at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven until completed heated through.
Cooking Stuffing Inside the Turkey
I know that stuffing the turkey is frowned upon these days, but I must say, it produces the moistest and most delicious dressing.
If you want to stuff your turkey with this sausage stuffing recipe, do so by following the directions up until placing all the stuffing in the baking pan. Instead, leave some stuffing unbaked. The amount will depend on the size of your bird. Do not pack the turkey cavity tightly. Loosely fill the cavity to ensure the stuffing cooks completely. The stuffing inside the turkey must reach 165°F.
Be sure to check out some of my other Thanksgiving favorite recipes:
Sauteed Green Beans
Cranberry Moscow Mule
Bite-Sized Pumpkin Pies
Pumpkin Dump Cake
Whether you like your stuffing moist from inside the turkey or a bit more crispy from pan, this recipe is filled with traditional flavors and savory goodness that will be comforting and delicious to all.
- 5 links mild Italian sausage no casing
- 2 cups instant rice
- 24 oz cubed stuffing herb seasoned
- 3 cups water more if needed
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 sticks unsalted butter more if needed
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 celery ribs finely chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Melt 2 sticks of butter in large skillet and add onion and celery. Sauté until onion is transparent, then add sausage.
- Break up sausage and stir frequently. Add in the rice and continue to saute until the sausage and rice are browned. Additional butter may be added, if necessary.
- In large mixing bowl, add stuffing mix. Combine ingredients from skillet into bowl; add salt and pepper. Slowly pour chicken stock and water while mixing until completely moistened. More water may be added, if necessary.
- Place in a large baking pan. Cover with foil and bake for one hour.