Sausage and Sweet Potato Thanksgiving Stuffing

This Sausage and Sweet Potato Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe is the best! It’s packed with the perfect balance of sweet and savory ingredients, perfectly seasoned with lots of fresh herbs, and so hearty and delicious.  See tips below for gluten-free and/or vegetarian options too.

Meet my all-time favorite Thanksgiving stuffing recipe. ♡

It’s quite literally stuffed with all of my favorite stuffing-y things — crusty bread, savory sausage, tender sweet potatoes, garlicky veggies, sweet apples and dried cranberries, a sprinkle of crunchy pecans, and a generous handful of fresh herbs.  It’s the perfect balance of sweet and savory, soft and crispy, light and hearty.  And after making this sausage stuffing recipe for the past half dozen Thanksgivings, I can vouch that it is always (always) a crowd fave.

So if you are looking for a winner of a stuffing recipe this Thanksgiving, I highly recommend giving it a go.  I’ve updated the post below with tips for how to prep this stuffing recipe ahead of time, if you would like one less thing to do on the big day.  Plus I’ve also included options for how to make this stuffing gluten-free or vegetarian (with the best vegan sausage) if you prefer.

Let’s make some homemade stuffing!

Sweet Potato and Sausage Stuffing Ingredients:

Alright, let’s talk ingredients!  To make this sweet potato and sausage stuffing recipe, you will need the following:

  • Sausage: A pound of any type of sausage that you prefer.  (I used spicy Italian sausage, but also really love this Italian vegan sausage.)
  • Veggies: I used a combination of sweet potatoes, leeks (halved and thinly sliced), celery and garlic.
  • Apple: Any kind of apple will work here.
  • Crusty bread: Leftover crusty stale bread works best in stuffing, but any type of bread will do.  If your bread is fresh and moist, just dice and pop it in the oven for 5-10 minutes before adding it to the recipe so that the bread can dry out a bit.
  • Nuts: I used chopped pecans, but walnuts, almonds, pepitas or sunflower seeds would be delicious too.
  • Dried cranberries: Or you are welcome to sub in a different dried fruit that you prefer.
  • Fresh herbs: I vote the more the merrier, but use whatever you have on hand.  I used a combo of fresh parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
  • Chicken or veggie stock: Whichever you prefer!
  • Eggs: Finally, we will use a few eggs to bind all of these sausage stuffing ingredients together.

How To Make Stuffing:

To make this sweet potato and sausage stuffing recipe, simply:

  1. Sauté, sauté, sauté. In a large non-stick sauté pan, sauté your main ingredients in batches — first the sausage, then the sweet potatoes, then the remaining veggies and apples.
  2. Combine stuffing ingredients.  In a medium mixing bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the chicken stock and eggs until smooth.  Then in a (separate) large mixing bowl, add the sausage, sweet potatoes, leek mixture, bread, pecans, cranberries, herbs and egg mixture, and toss until all of the ingredients are evenly combined.  Spread the stuffing out evenly in a greased 9×13-inch baking dish, and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake.  Bake (covered) for 40 minutes.  Then remove the foil and bake (uncovered) for 10-15 more minutes, until the top is lightly toasted and golden.  Keep an eye on the stuffing as it bakes so that the top does not burn!
  4. Serve.  Serve warm, garnished with extra fresh herbs and black pepper if desired.

Possible Variations:

Want to customize this Thanksgiving stuffing recipe a bit?  Feel free to…

  • Make it vegetarian: Use vegetarian sausage (I’m a big fan of Italian Field Roast) and veggie stock in order to make this a vegetarian stuffing recipe.
  • Make it gluten-free.  Easy, to turn this into a gluten-free stuffing recipe, just use gluten-free bread!  (And as always double-check that the sausage and other ingredients are certified gluten-free as well.)
  • Use cornbread: If you are craving cornbread stuffing, feel free to use cornbread in place of the crusty bread.
  • Use butternut squash: Feel free to swap butternut squash in place of the sweet potatoes to make a delicious butternut squash stuffing.
  • Use onions: If you don’t have access to fresh leeks, you are welcome to sub thinly-sliced (or diced) red, yellow or white onion in place of the leeks.
  • Use different nuts/dried fruit: If pecans and dried cranberries aren’t your thing, feel free to sub in different nuts/seeds (such as walnuts, almonds, pepitas, etc) or dried fruit (such as apricots, cherries, raisins, etc).

More Thanksgiving Recipes:

Looking for more delicious Thanksgiving recipes that won’t let you down?  Here is my full collection, plus a few more of my classic faves here below…

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Description

This Sausage and Sweet Potato Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe is the perfect blend of sweet and savory ingredients, and always tastes so hearty and delicious.  See notes above for gluten-free and/or vegetarian options too.



Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage (or your favorite kind of sausage)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium leeks, halved and thinly sliced, white and pale green parts only
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 apple, cored and diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups roughly-diced stale crusty bread*
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (I used a combo of fresh parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Prep oven and baking dish.  Heat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Sauté sausage. In a large non-stick sauté pan, brown the sausage over medium-high heat, crumbling it with a spoon or spatula as it cooks.  Once the sausage is browned and cooked through, transfer it with a slotted spoon to a separate plate, and set aside.
  3. Sauté sweet potatoes.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same sauté pan (or if there is leftover grease from the sausage, I highly recommend using that instead for extra flavor), and stir in the sweet potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, then sauté for 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.  Transfer the sweet potatoes to a separate plate, and set aside.
  4. Sauté other veggies.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the sauté pan, and add the leeks, celery, apple and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 5-6 minutes, or until the leeks have softened a bit.  Remove pan from heat and set aside.
  5. Combine stuffing ingredients.  In a medium mixing bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the chicken stock and eggs until smooth.  In a (separate) large mixing bowl, add the sausage, sweet potatoes, leek mixture, bread, pecans, cranberries and herbs.  Pour the egg mixture over the stuffing mixture, and toss until all of the ingredients are evenly combined.  Spread the stuffing out evenly in the prepared baking dish, and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  6. Bake.  Bake (covered) for 40 minutes*.  Remove the foil and bake (uncovered) for 10-15 more minutes, until the top is lightly toasted and golden.  Keep an eye on the stuffing as it bakes so that the top does not burn.
  7. Serve.  Serve warm, garnished with extra fresh herbs and black pepper if desired.


Notes

*Bread: If you are using fresh bread, I recommend popping it in the oven for 5-10 minutes until it is dried out a bit (but not too toasted/golden).  Otherwise your stuffing may get a little mushy, if your bread is too soft.

*Baking covered vs. uncovered: If you would like a drier stuffing, feel free to bake (covered) for 10-15 minutes longer, before baking uncovered.

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