Aunt Kari’s Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage & Mushrooms

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Introducing you to a PWWB holiday staple: Herbed Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage & Mushrooms! This from-scratch stuffing recipe combines herbed sourdough bread cubes, sage pork sausage, & mushrooms with a super-secret ingredient that puts this stuffing over the top. Baked until golden brown, the sourdough stuffing edges are perfectly craggy-crisp & the center is so creamy it nearly melts in your mouth! This homemade stuffing is easy to make & classic with a few gourmet touches – totally worthy of a spot on your Thanksgiving table or holiday dinner menu!

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Side angle of sourdough sausage stuffing in baking dish with spoonful taken out, showing the creamy center.

My Family’s Treasured Thanksgiving Stuffing 

I’m so excited to introduce you to THE stuffing recipe that converted this lifelong stuffing-hater (ahem, me) into someone who contemplates eating the entire pan by herself every time she makes it! Yep – that’s a true story, & yep – this stuffing is that good.

Each year as I begin planning PWWB’s Thanksgiving recipes, I reach out to our Instagram community & ask: “What is your Thanksgiving dinner non-negotiable?” The resounding answer? “STUFFING!” Every. Single. Time. Honestly, I’ve never really been much of a stuffing person – I’m the one who can’t stop thinking about the bowl of buttery, fluffy mashed potatoes on the Thanksgiving table.

But all that changed when my cousin, Karley, sent me a message: “My mom’s stuffing is the BEST stuffing I’ve ever had.” Karley’s mom, my Aunt Kari, is my dad’s younger sister & she’s an amazing cook & baker. As soon as I saw Karley’s message, I knew I had to give Aunt Kari’s recipe a try. & YEAH – her Thanksgiving stuffing definitely lived up to the hype.

This stuffing is packed with deliciousness: sourdough bread, sage pork sausage, mushrooms, fresh herbs…but Aunt Kari also uses a super-secret ingredient that makes her homemade stuffing next level good – CHEESE! Yes, turns out the secret to the best Thanksgiving stuffing is folding in a bit of cheese into the mix – just enough to create a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, custard-like texture, but not so much that it turns into a really cheesy dish. It’s to die for!

Sourdough Stuffing Recipe Highlights

This herbed sourdough stuffing is based on Aunt Kari’s amazing Thanksgiving stuffing recipe, but also has some of my own PWWB twists:

  • Homemade bread cubes – Bread is at the heart of any stuffing recipe, so I like to make homemade stuffing bread cubes with sourdough bread & garlic herb butter for even more flavor.
  • Tons of fresh herbs – Fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage to add loads of aromatic flavor & a little bit of freshness to this traditionally rich dish.
  • Eggs – Adding eggs to stuffing might be a little controversial, but I love the way eggs bind everything together while also creating a custard-like texture. This prevents the stuffing from crumbling & falling apart as you serve it!

The result? A rich, indulgent, super savory, & flavorful sourdough stuffing that my family loves every Thanksgiving. Even I – a lifelong stuffing-hater – can’t resist it, so I know that your family will absolutely love it, too! ♡ Read on to learn more about this Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage & Mushrooms, or or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!

Close view of top of baked sourdough stuffing. The stuffing is topped with fresh thyme.

Stuffing vs. Dressing: What’s the Difference?

First thing’s first, what IS the difference between stuffing & dressing? If we’re getting technical about things, stuffing is cooked inside the turkey while dressing is cooked separately. So this sourdough stuffing recipe is technically a dressing recipe since it bakes on its own.

Why call it a sourdough stuffing when it’s technically dressing, then? Quite simply, I grew up calling it stuffing! “Stuffing” is what most of us are probably used to calling the bready side dish on the Thanksgiving table, even when it’s technically a dressing.

Can you prep this Thanksgiving stuffing recipe as a “stuffing” in the traditional sense? Yes, but I don’t suggest it. Why? → You inevitably end up overcooking a stuffed turkey. The stuffing inside the bird will reach a safe temperature well after the turkey meat does, causing your turkey meat to dry out as it stays in the oven. (Plus, stuffing a turkey eliminates your ability to spatchcock the turkey, my favorite way to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey!)

Sourdough Stuffing Key Ingredients

One of the best parts about homemade Thanksgiving stuffing is transforming simple, humble ingredients into something extraordinarily rich & flavorful. This sourdough and sausage stuffing recipe is no exception!

Homemade stuffing ingredients: sourdough bread cubes, butter, herbs, eggs, garlic, sage pork sausage, mushrooms, onions, celery, chicken stock & cheese.

Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

The key sourdough stuffing ingredients include…

  • Sourdough bread – It wouldn’t be a sourdough stuffing recipe without it! I use a standard sourdough boule from my favorite bakery, but a loaf of homemade sourdough would also work beautifully.
  • Sausage – Another given! Aunt Kari says sage pork sausage is best, so that’s what we use. If sage pork sausage isn’t available, any pork breakfast sausage will do!
  • Mushrooms – I use cremini mushrooms (also called baby bellas), but feel free to use your favorite mushroom variety.
  • Cheese – The secret ingredient in Aunt Kari’s stuffing! I use sharp white cheddar, though you can use any cheddar you love most.
  • Simple aromatics – Namely onions, celery, & garlic.
  • Fresh herbs – My favorites are rosemary, sage, & thyme. You can usually find this combination of herbs sold in a single pack of “poultry blend” herbs at the grocery store.
  • Stuffing binders – While testing this recipe I came to appreciate the combination of chicken stock & eggs. Chicken stock keeps everything very moist & flavorful, while eggs help bind the stuffing together.

Thanksgiving FAQ: What’s the best bread for stuffing?

It may not be traditional…but I’m a sourdough bread fanatic & believe its tangy flavor balances the rich flavors in this sausage stuffing recipe. If sourdough bread isn’t your favorite, feel free to use “country” style French bread (a large loaf, not a baguette) or Italian bread.

How to Make Sourdough Sausage Stuffing

If you’ve never made Thanksgiving stuffing from scratch, rest assured that homemade stuffing is pretty easy to make! There are 3 key steps:

  1. Prep the sourdough bread cubes.
  2. Assemble the stuffing with browned sausage & mushrooms.
  3. Bake & serve!
Homemade herbed sourdough bread cubes on a large baking sheet.

Full Recipe Directions with step-by-step photos provided in the Recipe Card, below.

Step 1: Herbed Sourdough Bread Cubes

Store-bought bread cubes are a great option (that’s exactly how Aunt Kari does it), but I think there’s a major payoff in making your own bread cubes for stuffing. It’s simple to do & it gives you full control over the flavors & textures of your Thanksgiving stuffing. 

Tips for Homemade Bread Cubes:

  • Don’t slice – tear instead! Use your hands to tear the bread into rough pieces. The irregularities of the torn pieces create nooks & crannies, trapping bits of sausage, onion, celery, & mushroom throughout the stuffing. Plus, the rough edges get perfectly craggy, crispy, & browned as the Thanksgiving stuffing bakes. It’s delicious!
  • Toast with garlic-herb butter. While many homemade stuffing recipes call for plain, day-old bread, I like toasting the bread cubes with garlicky herb butter to add even more flavor.
  • Make them ahead of time. When it comes to homemade stuffing, the drier the bread, the better! If you have time, prep the bread cubes a few days in advance, giving the bread more time to dry out. Check out the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance!

Full Recipe Directions with step-by-step photos provided in the Recipe Card, below.

Step 2: Brown the Sausage & Assemble

It’s as easy as that! Your sourdough and sausage stuffing will come together quickly once all of the ingredients are assembled. 

  • Cook the aromatics & brown the sausage: Cook the onions, celery, & garlic with a little butter in a pan on the stovetop. Add the sage pork sausage & cook, crumbling the sausage into fine pieces as it browns. Your kitchen will smell absolutely heavenly!
  • Assemble the stuffing! In a large mixing bowl, combine the herby sourdough bread cubes, sausage mixture, & the rest of the Thanksgiving stuffing ingredients – thinly sliced mushrooms, fresh herbs, cheese, salt & pepper, & lightly beaten eggs. Add the chicken stock in batches, giving the sourdough and sausage stuffing a good mix between additions. Instead of precisely measuring the chicken stock, go by feel: the bread cubes should feel saturated & rehydrated, but not overly soggy. Transfer this mixture to a greased baking dish & you’re ready to pop the sourdough stuffing into the oven!

Thanksgiving FAQ ⇢ Can I Make Stuffing Ahead of Time? 

Yes! But I suggest preparing only parts of this Thanksgiving stuffing in advance because of the eggs & sausage. There are many components of this sourdough stuffing that can be prepped 3-5 days in advance, though! Check out the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance.

Full Recipe Directions with step-by-step photos provided in the Recipe Card, below.

Step 3: BAKE!

The oven does the rest of the work! I like to keep this sourdough stuffing uncovered while it bakes. The eggs keep the center of the stuffing moist & delicious, while the top layer gets golden brown & crisp. It’s this contrast in texture that makes your homemade stuffing shine!

When your sourdough and sausage stuffing comes out of the oven, it’s ready to serve immediately. It’s always best to enjoy Thanksgiving stuffing while it’s hot (& smothered in gravy, if you know what I mean!).

A side angle shot of baked sourdough stuffing with sausage and mushrooms in a white baking dish rests atop a light textured surface ​surrounded by a gray and white striped linen napkin and fresh herbs

My cousin was definitely right about this one… this sourdough sausage stuffing is the BEST stuffing I have ever had! (& that’s coming from a girl who barely likes stuffing at all.) I’m pretty sure after one bite, you’ll agree! Thanks, Aunt Kari!

If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!

Love savory side dishes? Us too! Be sure to try this Creamy Pumpkin Mac & Cheese, this Cheesy Butternut Squash Gratin, or these Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes next. Happy cooking! ♡

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Side angle of sourdough sausage stuffing in baking dish with spoonful taken out, showing the creamy center.

Best-Ever Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage & Mushrooms

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 1214 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop, Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A scratch-made Herbed Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage & Mushrooms. This stuffing features herbed sourdough bread cubes, sage pork sausage, mushrooms, & a super-secret ingredient that puts this stuffing over the top! Easy to make & classic with a few gourmet touches – totally worthy of a spot on your Thanksgiving table or holiday dinner menu!


Ingredients

Scale

for the homemade bread cubes:

  • 24 ounces sourdough bread, sliced 1-inch thick & torn into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (e.g. sage, thyme)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

for the sausage stuffing:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 and ½ pounds sage pork sausage, casings removed if needed
  • 12 ounces cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar, freshly grated (about 2 cups packed)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 large eggs, whisked
  • 23 cups chicken stock or broth, divided
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Set aside.Homemade stuffing ingredients: sourdough bread cubes, butter, herbs, eggs, garlic, sage pork sausage, mushrooms, onions, celery, chicken stock & cheese.
  2. Toast the bread: Divide the torn sourdough bread pieces across the 2 baking sheets. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, garlic, herbs & kosher salt. Drizzle the garlic herb butter over the bread & use your hands to toss to coat. Arrange the bread in an even layer on the baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the bread dries out slightly. Do not let the bread get too, too browned at this point – a nice, light golden brown is perfect. Remove from the oven & set aside to cool. Once cooled, you may transfer to an airtight container & store at room temperature for up to 5 days.How to Make Herbed Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage and Mushrooms, step 2: Toast the Bread. Torn pieces of seasoned & toasted sourdough bread arranged on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The baking sheet rests atop a light textured surface with a gray and white striped linen napkin and sprigs of fresh herbs surrounding the baking sheet.
  3. Brown the sausage: Meanwhile, as the bread toasts, brown the sausage. Add the butter to a large pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion & celery. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt & cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Add in the garlic & cook 1-2 minutes more, until fragrant. Add in the sausage. Continue to cook, using a wooden spoon to break the sausage into bite-sized pieces as it cooks, until cooked through, 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat.Browned sausage, onion, and celery mixture within a large red Staub cast iron skillet. The skillet sits atop a light textured surface with a gray and white striped linen napkin resting alongside and a few fresh sage leaves and sprigs of thyme surround the skillet as well. A wooden spoon used to stir the sausage mixture while browning rests inside of the skillet.
  4. Assemble the sausage stuffing: Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Place the toasted sourdough & the browned sausage mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add in the sliced mushrooms, grated cheddar, chopped sage, thyme & rosemary, & season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Pour the eggs over top. Toss well to combine. Pour in 1 cup of stock & toss well to combine. If the stuffing seems too dry, add in 1 more cup of stock & toss well to combine. Repeat once more if needed.How to Make Sourdough Stuffing, step 5: Assembly of the sausage stuffing. Browned sausage, celery, and onion, toasted sourdough breadcrumbs, sliced cremini mushrooms, chopped sage, thyme, and rosemary, and grated sharp white cheddar cheese fill a glass mixing bow and have been mixed together with a wooden mixing spoon along with melted butter and chicken stock. A liquid measuring cup filled with remaining chicken stock, a gray and white striped linen napkin, and fresh herbs surround the mixing bowl.
  5. Bake the sausage stuffing: Transfer the stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 45-55 minutes, until the top of the stuffing is crispy & browned.How to Make Sourdough Stuffing, step 5: The mixture of browned sausage, celery, and onion, toasted sourdough breadcrumbs, sliced cremini mushrooms, chopped sage, thyme, and rosemary, melted butter, chicken stock, and grated sharp white cheddar cheese have been transferred to a white baking dish. The baking dish rests atop a light textured surface surrounded by a gray and white striped linen napkin and fresh herbs.
  6. Serve immediately. Enjoy!Baked sourdough stuffing with sausage and mushrooms in a white baking dish rests atop a light textured surface ​surrounded by a gray and white striped linen napkin and fresh herbs

Notes

  • Storage & Freezing:
    • Storage & Reheating: Leftover stuffing will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven, until warmed through.
    • Freezer Instructions: You can also freeze leftover stuffing. Transfer leftover stuffing to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in the microwave or oven, until warmed through.
  • Meal Prep: A little meal prep goes a long way in pulling this homemade stuffing together on Thanksgiving day! Between prepping the bread cubes, chopping the veggies & herbs, shredding the cheese, & browning up the sausage, there are many components of this sourdough stuffing that can be prepared 3-5 days in advance. Pick & choose from the below list, or do it all ahead of time & all you have to do on Thanksgiving is toss it all together – easy! 
    • Herbed sourdough bread cubes: Prep according to Steps 1-2 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. (10 minutes active prep)
    • Chop veggies & herbs: Finely dice 1 large onion, 3 ribs of celery, & 3 cloves of garlic. Finely chop 3 tablespoons each fresh sage & thyme, & 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary. Clean & finely slice 12 ounces mushrooms. Grate 8 ounces cheese. Store in individual airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (15 minutes active prep)
    • Brown the sausage: Prep the sausage mixture according to Step 3 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (10 minutes active prep)
  • Portions: As written, this sausage stuffing recipe yields a large batch, serving 12-14 generously as a side dish. To serve a smaller crowd of up to 6, simply reduce the recipe by 1/3. Assemble in an 8×8 baking dish or 9-inch pie plate bake as directed in Step 5, for 45-50 minutes or until the top of the stuffing is crispy & browned. To serve a smaller crowd of up to 4 halve the recipe. Assemble in an 8×8 baking dish or a 9-inch pie plate (pictured) & bake as directed in Step 5, for 35-40 minutes or until the top of the stuffing is crispy & browned.

Keywords: sourdough stuffing, sourdough sausage stuffing, homemade, traditional, easy, Thanksgiving, side dish, mushrooms, Thanksgiving stuffing

Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Eat Love Eat & Megan McKeehan

Baked sourdough stuffing with sausage and mushrooms in a white baking dish rests atop a light textured surface ​surrounded by a gray and white striped linen napkin and fresh herbs

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Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 11.29.21
    Britt said:

    I hosted Thanksgiving in 2021 for the very first time, even though it was just immediate family I was nervous. And although I had never made this recipe before, because Jess is who published it I KNEW it would be a hit. THIS IS THE LITERAL BEST EVER STUFFING RECIPE!!!! It honestly stole the show out of all of the sides. Will absolutely be making it again, and again, and again!

  2. 11.26.21
    Lauren Hobson said:

    This was probably the best stuffing I have made. My husband and daughters loved it. Making your own bread cubes is for sure the best idea. They were amazing. Thanks for always having detailed instructions and pictures.

  3. 10.26.21
    Sabrina said:

    great stuffing recipe, I always love seeing new ones (to me) and love these ingredients, so thank you

  4. 12.3.20
    Anna said:

    This recipe is absolutely amazing! I made it this year for our quarantine Thanksgiving and it was easily the best thing we made. This is going to become a staple at our Thanksgivings from here on out! Highly recommend!

    • 3.9.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Anna! Yes, stuffing is definitely a must even for a smaller Thanksgiving – thanks for choosing PWWB! We are SO glad you enjoyed!

  5. 12.3.20
    Brianne said:

    Made this stuffing this year for my family and it was so delicious! I personally loved both the additions of cheese and mushrooms. I will definitely be making this again in the future!

    • 3.17.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Brianne! Thank you so much for sharing – we are SO glad to hear that you loved this recipe – the cheese & mushrooms make it so savory & creamy!