Do-Ahead Stuffing with Sausage, Apple, Cornbread and Dried Cranberries

Get a head start on your Thanksgiving meal with this do-ahead stuffing recipe.

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It’s no secret that hosting Thanksgiving can be a formidable feat. From competitive grocery shopping to meal prep to setting the table and cleaning the house, the week leading up to the holiday can feel like a laundry list of chores and errands. But as harried as things can get, a little prep on Wednesday will help you get everything on the table without a hitch.

Our favorite dish to make ahead? The stuffing.  

Piece the dish together in segments, and you’ll not only save time — you’ll save your sanity, too. Here are three strategies to prep everyone’s favorite side dish before Thanksgiving Day:

Get a head start
Since the base of this stuffing is cornbread, you’ll save a little time by baking it the day before. Once it’s cooled, simply cut the cornbread into cubes and place them onto a baking sheet to dry overnight. On Thanksgiving, assemble the rest of the stuffing as directed.

Do things halfway
The cornbread cubes are ready, and you still have time to spare? Then prepare the vegetables, sausage, and stock and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, you’ll only need to add a few finishing touches before putting it all in the oven. And you’ll be grateful that you assembled most of the dish the day before.

Make it all ahead
If you want to cross something off your list before Thursday: This stuffing can be made entirely in advance. Don’t worry about drying the cornbread cubes overnight -- toast them in the oven instead. Then fully assemble the dish and refrigerate it overnight. About an hour before it’s time to eat, put it in the oven — and then go greet your guests.

LiveLoveLux Tip: Whether you need low heat for drying out breads or high heat for roasting, you will get even, consistent temperature when you bake with Electrolux ranges and wall ovens, thanks to convection technology.

 do-ahead stuffing

Photo by James Ransom

Sausage and Apple Cornbread Stuffing with Dried Cranberries

Servings: 6 to 8




1 recipe Skillet Cornbread (below), or your favorite 10-inch cornbread, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

6 tablespoons butter, divided, plus more for baking dish

2 large onions, diced

3 large celery stalks, diced

2 firm eating apples, like Fuji or Pink Lady, cored and diced (peeling is optional)

1 pound andouille sausage, removed from casing

Up to 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (divided)

1 cup dried cranberries

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 large egg, beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Skillet Cornbread:

1 1/2 cups coarse yellow cornmeal

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups plain drinkable yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk

1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

4 tablespoons unsalted butter


Place the cornbread cubes on a baking sheet and leave them out overnight to dry. Alternately, toast the cubes in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes to dry them out.

reheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.

 Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and apples and sauté until softened, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits, and sauté, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until it’s cooked through and nicely browned.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, cranberries, rosemary, and sage and cook until the cranberries soften and plump slightly, about 5 minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Place this mixture in a large bowl and add the cornbread, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and enough chicken stock just to moisten the mixture. Stir well. Pour stuffing into prepared baking dish. Dot with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake, uncovered, until stuffing is heated through and top is golden, 35 to 45 minutes.

Skillet Cornbread

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Heat a 10-inch seasoned cast iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes, until it's very hot.

Combine the cornmeal, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk together the eggs, yogurt, and maple syrup in a large bowl.

Remove the hot skillet from the oven and add the butter, swirling it until it's melted (it's okay if it browns slightly).

Working quickly, pour the hot, melted butter into the egg-yogurt mixture, and whisk until combined. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.

Pour the batter back into the hot, buttered skillet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow cornbread to cool slightly before cutting.

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