Mom’s Sausage & Sage Dressing (Pork Sausage Stuffing Recipe)

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My Mom’s Sausage & Sage Dressing is the only one we have ever had on Thanksgiving.  It’s my Grandma’s stuffing recipe and our family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipe!
My Grandma Czaplewski always had Thanksgiving dinner.  When she passed away, a month after I gave birth to my first son, Spencer, we moved it to my Mom’s, but the dinner stayed EXACTLY the same.
Every year, my Mom says “should I make something different? It’s like the same ‘ol same ‘ol.”  I always reply “NO!!”
I am a creature of habit. It is a dinner that I look forward to every year, and I want it EXACTLY the same!!
Mom's Sausage & Sage Dressing
My husband, Brian, (then fiance) my Grandma and me, in 1991 at Easter
Speaking of pictures, in this day and age, we take pictures of EVERYTHING! I guess it’s because at the very least all (or almost all) of us have a camera phone at our ready disposal.  I had to search to find a picture to share with you of my grandma and me to post on this entry!
My favorite thing (next to the way it tastes!) about this recipe,  is that it’s one of the few recipes that I have that is in my Grandma’s handwriting.  As a scrapbooker, a person realizes the importance of handwriting.  It can’t be duplicated, just like the person doing the writing cannot.
Mom's Sausage & Sage Dressing


I spoke with my Mom last night and shared the recipe that my Grandma wrote down for me some 25 years ago.  She has made some variations to the recipe, but strangely, it tastes the same to me?  My mom makes extra stuffing, because we would all cry if there were no leftovers!!  So, these days, she buys a turkey that is somewhere between 20-22 pounds.  She prepares the dressing and stuffs as much of it inside the turkey as it can hold.  The remaining goes into a heavy-duty foil pouch and bakes along with the turkey.  Yay for extra dressing!


I wrote this post the first time in November of 2012.  It’s getting an update today in 2019 with the details of how to make it.  My Mom recently spent the day with me, and we made her entire Thanksgiving meal together.  I was able to photograph it, and then update the pictures for you.  

Ingredients in Mom's Sausage & Sage Dressing



What do I need to make Mom’s Sausage & Sage Dressing?

  • pork sausage
  • bread crumbs
  • onion, celery
  • chicken broth
  • butter


Preparing Mom's Sausage & Sage Dressing

Add your cooked celery and onion, bread crumbs and pork sausage to a big bowl.  


Mom's Sausage & Sage Dressing

Using your hands mix it all together.  Begin adding chicken stock a little at a time, and working with your hands until it becomes the right consistency.  The amount of bread crumbs you use will determine how much liquid you need, so working slowly is key. 


Preparing Mom's Sausage & Sage Dressing

My mom is showing here how the dressing will stick together and form a ball when it’s got enough moisture.  


Mom's Sausage & Sage Dressing

The day we made the stuffing to show you the step by step instructions, we prepared it in a bowl.  As I mentioned before, my mom typically stuffs the bird, and wraps the extra in tin foil to bake.  She does this mostly for lack of oven space.  The attached recipe card will tell you how to bake the stuffing in the bird, in foil or in a casserole as I have here.  

I know.  I keep switching the name.  “Dressing” and “Stuffing” – everyone uses them differently.  Typically “Stuffing” goes in the bird, and “dressing” is cooked outside of the bird.  In our family, there was no rhyme or reason to that, as we always called it dressing, because that’s what my Grandma called it.  Call it whatever you want, just make it! I promise you will LOVE it!


Dressing vs Stuffing

You can call it whatever you want, but if you are going to cook your stuffing inside the bird, then make sure to remove it from the cavity quickly! You don’t want to burn yourself of course, but the quicker you get it out of the bird, the better. Why?
Well, you just don’t want any sort of bacteria to turn a great meal into a trip to the hospital to deal with food poisoning! 
Making the stuffing in the bird does have advantages though. It will help to keep your turkey moist. It also benefits from the turkey flavor from being cooked inside the bird. However, you can still put veggies like onions and carrots and celery inside the turkey to keep it moist. (Remove those quickly too).
If you have any concerns about the health risks, do it as dressing outside the bird. 
Mom's Sausage & Sage Dressing

What Other Thanksgiving Traditional Dishes Can You Share?

I love these recipes that have been passed on for so many generations. I consider it a great honor and privilege to share them and pass them on. If you like this sausage and sage dressing, then you might like some of these other dishes we hold near and dear in our family traditions. 
From left to right, My Mom, My Grandma and Me in the late 1980’s
Happy Thanksgiving, from my Mom, My Grandma and Me, 
Grandma's Sausage & Sage Stuffing
Dressing in a decorative bowl with text "Grandma's Sausage & Sage Dressing"
4.67 from 33 votes
Print Recipe

Mom's Sausage & Sage Dressing

My Mom's Sausage & Sage Dressing is the only one we have ever had on Thanksgiving.  It's my Grandma's recipe, and this stuffing is the main reason our family loves the Thanksgiving meal.  
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 30 minutes
Course: Thanksgiving
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Mom's Sausage & Sage Dressing/Stuffing
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 249kcal
Author: Michaela Kenkel


  • 2 pounds sage flavored pork sausage
  • 2 12 ounce packages Pepperidge Farm bread crumbs,1 Herb Seasoned, 1 Country Style
  • 3 cups celery chopped
  • 1 cup onion minced divided
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 2 sticks of butter melted (1 cup)


  • In a skillet over medium heat, brown sausage until cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • In that same skillet, melt butter. Add celery and onion and cook until tender. About 10 minutes. Cool slightly so you are able to touch it for the next step.
  • In a big bowl, combine sausage, celery, and onion with your bread crumbs. Working with your hands, add small amounts of broth until dressing is moist, and forms into a ball.
  • Stuff your turkey full. (we typically make a 20 pound bird) Wrap remaining stuffing in heavy duty foil. * see notes to prepare in a casserole dish
  • Bake turkey according to size and package instructions for a stuffed bird.
  • To bake the foil package, place in oven with turkey about 45 minutes before turkey is done.
  • When turkey is cooked, remove stuffing immediately.


To prepare the dressing in a casserole dish: Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray, pack dressing into the dish tightly. Bake at 325 degrees F for one hour.
This recipe is easily cut in half for smaller turkeys.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 312mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 2g

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  1. love, Love LOVE Michaela!!! Thank you! I honestly didn’t realize how much we have in common 🙂 My Kansas grandmother’s stuffing was very similar to yours, except that she didn’t include any meat at all. There was always an extra pan of stuffing/dressing which included eith oysters or sausage or sometimes both, depending. I sooooo agree with you about the meal stayhing the same – year after year after year – that was extremely important to me. Over the years, I have hung onto family traditions as much as possible. My Thansgiving menu has expanded – and shrunk – but I still love my grandmother’s Thanksgving menu the best of all! Thank you for this excellent post! xoxo

  2. P.S. I still have my grandmother’s pumpkin pie recipe on a 3×5 card in her handwriting 🙂 It’s so stained that it’s just barely legible, but I wouldn’t trade it for a million bucks! Thanks again 🙂 ~ Michele at La Belle Cuisine

  3. This is very similar to my Moms and now mine! I use eggs ( fork whipped) to moisten before stuffing! Hmmm made me hungry for turkey day!

  4. Michele,
    My favorite thing? Your grandmother’s recipe card in her handwriting!!!! Love the story behind the dressing! When I think of my grandmother, Emma, it is all mixed up with smells: stuffing, turkey, sage, mincemeat…all cooking in the kitchen and the lovely sound of her voice. It doesn’t get any better than Thanksgiving and the wonderful memories that go along with the holiday!

    1. Laurie, Thank you kindly for sharing some of your memories with me. Isn’t it amazing how the sounds and smells stay with us, and can get those memories flooding back? Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I agree with you about being a creature of habit…especially for the holidays. In food, we have memories, and what better memories than during the holidays?

  6. Awww, I love love, recipes with a memorable story! When a recipe has a wonderful memory to go with it, it make the dish that more delicious! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  7. I love this! I am so in agreement about treasuring those handwritten recipes. I have a few that were my Mama’s and I wouldn’t give anything for them. We call it dressing too, but whatever you call it – it looks delicious and warms your heart to think of loved ones when you eat it.

  8. I love the handwriting on those old recipe cards and fondly remember my dad’s handwriting. These recipes are chapters in our lives that I hope neer disappear. My Grandmother made “dressing” even though it was stuffed in the bird. In my opinion, just call it delicious. I love the addition of sausage in this recipe and the tip about cooking extra in tin foil!

  9. Recipes handed down through the generations are the ones you can absolutely trust. This sausage stuffing sounds so perfect for Thanksgiving and has such a sweet background.

  10. I made this for my in-laws last year (my wife’s family loved it) and was scrambling to find it to make for my parents this year! I searched for about 15 minutes trying several different search options and then finally found it (remembered the basic recipe AND the great 80’s hair photos)! Thanks to you, your mom, and grandma for sharing this delicious recipe. I can’t wait to make it again… And I’ve saved it this time! ?

  11. How many ounces is the large size package of Pepperidge Farm bread crumbs? Their website indicates it is available in 12, 14, and 16 oz,
    One of my pet peeves is when a recipe does not indicate a measurement. I don’t know if the store the author of this recipe shops at carries all three sizes, so there is no guarantee the 16 oz is her version of large. It has long been a pattern of companies to reduce package sizes to avoid raising prices (remember the 5-lb bag of sugar or can of coffee?). 16 oz might be the largest size now (2020, the year that keeps on giving and taking), though, in a year or two, the “largest” size might only be 15 oz.
    Of the recipes I have found online, this one is closest to how I remember my grandmother’s. I may have to keep looking if I can’t get an answer.

    1. Debbi – have you ever heard the phrase “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?” MY Grandmother taught me that. Heaven forbid you could simply ask a question like “how many ounces of stuffing do you use?” instead of coming to my blog, yes, the “her” and the “author” is me. I am fully aware that sizes change. That is why it states to add the liquid slowly, depending on the amount of bread crumbs that you use. I hope that if you “have to keep looking” that you will extend some kindness to the next food blog that is sharing free recipes with you because honestly, there is enough hatred in the world. Have a GREAT DAY.

  12. Hi, Michaela! Thank you for sharing this yummy-looking recipe. I am planning on making this in a casserole dish, and I was wondering if you think it will still taste as good if I make this the day before Thanksgiving and just re-heat it on Thanksgiving?

    Thank you!

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