Savory gluten-free cornbread stuffing with sausage, apples, pecans, and fresh herbs is sure to impress! Made with homemade gluten-free cornbread, this is the ultimate Thanksgiving side dish!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
This stunning gluten-free cornbread dressing is sure to be the star of your Thanksgiving table. It is packed with savory flavor and texture from all of its delicious components.
This Thanksgiving stuffing is relatively easy to make and the steps can be broken down across days to make your holiday menu easier to execute.
While some might consider this stuffing a side dish to be reserved only for Thanksgiving dinner, I urge you to consider it a lovely addition to any holiday meal, whether it be Easter or Christmas, or even as a comforting side dish for Sunday supper.
If you're looking for more great sides to add to your gluten-free Thanksgiving meal, I have another gluten-free stuffing recipe, made with gluten-free bread, sweet potato casserole, cornbread casserole, cheesy au gratin potatoes, and this simple gluten-free gravy.
- Cornbread: Use a double-batch of my easy homemade gluten-free cornbread recipe for this dish. It's so simple to make and much cheaper than buying a boxed mix. Plus the recipe isn't overly sweet, which makes it perfect for this dish.
- Italian Sausage: I used Italian sausage here, but you can use breakfast sausage, spicy sausage for a little kick, or even crumbled Applegate Farms Maple Chicken Sausage for a pork-free option. In any case, the sausage adds phenomenal flavor and texture to the stuffing.
- Eggs: Provide structure and bind the dish together. The eggy custard that forms turns this dish almost into a spoon bread.
- Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs are best if you can find them! I use the clamshell packages found in the produce section of most grocery stores. It's easy and convenient, especially in the winter months! The poultry blend consists of fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme. I also grab a package of fresh parsley, the Italian flat-leaf variety, if available. Feel free to substitute dried herbs if you need to though.
- Apple: A diced Granny Smith apple is perfect, use a tart apple good for baking.
- Broth: Use either vegetable broth or chicken broth.
- Butter: Feel free to substitute olive oil or another dairy-free alternative for the butter if you need this to be dairy-free as well.
- Make cornbread ahead of time. Once cooled, dice into 1-inch cubes and arrange on a large baking sheet. Toast the cubed cornbread in the oven until golden brown. This adds more flavor and helps dry out the cornbread so it can soak up the stuffing mixture.
- In a sauté pan, cook the sausage until golden brown. Remove the sausage and set aside to cool.
- Then in the same pan, sauté the diced onions, celery, and garlic in melted butter.
- Next, add in the apples and sauté for just a minute or two.
- Add the cooked vegetables and apples to a large mixing bowl along with the sausage. Whisk together the eggs and chicken stock, pour the mixture into the bowl.
- Add in the pecans and herbs and stir to combine.
- Then gently fold in the dried cornbread cubes.
- Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish and bake.
Make Ahead Options
To make this stuffing ahead, break down the steps into parts. You can do any of these steps a day or two ahead of Thanksgiving:
- Make the cornbread and toast the cornbread cubes.
- Cook the sausage and sauté the vegetables and apple.
- Combine the broth, eggs, sausage, and vegetable mixture.
Store each component separately in the refrigerator in airtight containers. Wait to fold in the cornbread until just before baking.
Leftover stuffing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several days.
For food safety reasons, do not leave this stuffing sitting out for more than 1-2 hours before or after baking.
- Make sure to actually brown the sausage! There is flavor in the brown! Take your time to let liquid evaporate and then let the sausage bits brown in the pan. Leave the bits there and scrape them up when you're sautéing the onions and celery.
- Don't skip toasting the cornbread cubes. Toasting the cornbread is very helpful, especially when using gluten-free cornbread. It adds flavor and helps keep the cornbread on top of the casserole intact.
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More Gluten-Free Recipes
I hope you enjoy this homemade gluten-free cornbread stuffing recipe! It sure smells delicious while it bakes, filling your home with that wonderful holiday aroma! Before you go, be sure to check out all of my Gluten-Free Thanksgiving recipes!
Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Apples
- 2-quart casserole dish , greased
- 6 cups homemade gluten-free cornbread, make double-batch if using linked recipe
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- ½ cup butter
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- 2 large eggs
- 0.5 ounce fresh poultry herb blend (contains sage, rosemary, and thyme), chopped, or 1 ½ teaspoons dried poultry seasoning
- 0.5 ounce fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Turn oven to 350°F. Dice cornbread into 1-inch cubes. Spread onto non-stick sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until cornbread is dry and lightly browned, like a crouton. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon into small pieces. Remove the sausage to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Then sauté the diced onion and celery until tender. Add the diced apples and sauté another minute or two. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the broth and eggs.
- Add the sautéed vegetables and apples, sausage, herbs, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Add the cornbread cubes to the bowl and gently fold, just to combine.
- Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish and cover with aluminum foil. Let sit for about 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the broth mixture.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top, heated through, and sizzling in the center.