Cranberry-Walnut Sausage Dressing

A blue skillet full of cranberry walnut sausage stuffing.

Thanksgiving dressing. I could eat an entire pan of it all by myself! This Cranberry-Walnut Sausage Dressing takes traditional toasted bread-cube stuffing up a notch with the addition of red onions, celery, golden raisins, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts.

This dressing (or is it stuffing??) has crispy, buttery edges with a fluffy and moist center, loaded with fragrant herbs and crunchy walnuts. I love the savory-sweet combination as a delicious Thanksgiving side dish. For a more Southern twist, use cornbread to fashion this Thanksgiving side dish recipe.

Cranberry-Walnut Sausage Dressing Recipe 

A heaping spoonful of cranberry walnut sausage dressing.

Howdy! Chef Alli Here. Let’s Get You Cookin’…. Shall We?? 🙂

I don’t think there’s any in-between when it comes to Thanksgiving side dishes.  You either love dressing (stuffing) or you hate it.  Same goes for sweet potatoes, though I totally cannot understand this issue. 

I sit firmly in the I-LOVE-SWEET POTATOES and I-LOVE-STUFFING camp and I always eat way more than my fair share.  In my opinion, both of these traditional holiday side dishes just get better with time – they make the most wonderful leftovers the following day! 

And speaking of sweet potatoes, I just happen to have THE 3 BEST SWEET POTATO SIDE DISH RECIPES in the land right here on my blog. 

If you’re seeking a few new sweet potatoes side dish recipes that totally aren’t the norm, here they are: 

  1. SWEET POTATO CRUMBLE – a sweet potato side dish that could totally be served as a dessert….it’s THAT good! 
  2. BAKED SWEET POTATO BALLS WITH CRUNCHY CORN FLAKES  – just wait until you discover the sweet surprise in the center. 🙂 
  3. CREAMY AU GRATIN SWEET POTATOES – layers of fork-tender sweet potatoes smothered in a thick, sweet, cream sauce.

3 good reasons to love this stuffing recipe –

  1. It’s moist and tender inside….with buttery, crispy edges all around. 
  2. Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be the same without some good old-fashioned dressing. 
  3. Such an amazing savory-sweet flavor combination – with added crunch from the walnuts.

A full skillet of cranberry walnut sausage dressing.

What ingredients do you need to make this traditional Thanksgiving stuffing recipe? 

  • Pork sausage
  • Butter 
  • Fresh thyme (or dried thyme leaves)
  • Fresh Italian parsley
  • Dried sage
  • Red onion
  • Celery 
  • Golden raisins
  • Dried sweetened cranberries
  • Walnuts
  • French or Italian bread, may substitute corn bread, if preferred
  • Chicken or vegetable broth 

How to Make Cranberry-Walnut Sausage Dressing in 3 Easy Steps – 

  1. Cook and crumble the sausage in a skillet over medium high heat until no pink remains and the sausage is fully cooked throughout; add the butter, thyme, sage, onions, and celery, cooking until the vegetables soften a bit, approx. 10-15 minutes. 
  2. Stir in the golden raisins, cranberries, walnuts, bread cubes, and parsley. Add 2-3 cups of broth, a little at a time, gently incorporating it until the dressing is a nice, moist consistency; season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  3. Place the prepared dressing into a greased 9×13 pan or 12-inch cast iron skillet (my favorite!) and cover with foil.  Bake the dressing in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 30 minutes, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes of the baking time.  Serve warm. 

Common Questions Asked About This Recipe 

What tools are helpful for making Thanksgiving dressing? 

Cranberry Walnut Sausage Dressing as a close up.

Is there a difference between STUFFING and DRESSING??? 

Technically, stuffing and dressing are the same dish, made from the same ingredients; it’s how they are cooked that’s different. 

Stuffing is stuffed (yep, literally) into the inside of a turkey (the cavity) and cooked there. Dressing, on the other hand, is baked in a casserole dish, completely separate from the turkey.  

Many cooks have moved away from cooking stuffing inside the turkey like every homemaker did back in the day. When cooking stuffing inside a turkey, it has to be cooked to 165 degrees F. at the center in order to be safe to serve. 

Sometimes home cooks feel like cooking stuffing inside a turkey is a bit overwhelming and I’d agree.  Both of my grandmothers cooked their stuffing inside their turkeys and it was totally delicious! But, because dressing baked in a casserole dish seems lots easier and faster, I’ve opted to make mine in that fashion.  

Can I make dressing ahead of time and then bake it when it’s time for Thanksgiving dinner? 

You sure can and this is an excellent question.  Because it can get kind of hectic when making Thanksgiving dinner for the gang, I like to make as many things ahead of time (say 1-2 days prior to the holiday) as possible. 

This way, all I have to do is cook the dishes for my dinner since I’ve already done all the prep and assembly ahead of time. Such a time saver and stress reliever.  Plus, there’s a little more time for drinking some wine. 🙂 

The recipe instructs to use toasted bread cubes for the dressing.  Does this really matter?

Absolutely!!  Toasting the bread cubes for making dressing is as easy as it is important.  Toasted bread can absorb a lot more of one of the most flavorful ingredients when making dressing:  the broth.  

How do you toast the bread cubes? 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the cubes of bread in a single layer over a rimmed baking sheet, taking care not to crowd them too much.  Bake the cubes of bread for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, until golden brown, tossing half way through the baking time.  Repeat with the remaining cubes, as needed.  

A large blue skillet loaded with cranberry walnut sausage dressing.

 

More Favorite Side Dish Recipes to Enjoy – 

Printable Cranberry-Walnut Sausage Dressing Recipe – 

A blue skillet full of cranberry walnut sausage stuffing.

Cranberry-Walnut Sausage Dressing

Thanksgiving dressing. I could eat an entire pan of it all by myself! This Cranberry-Walnut Sausage Dressing takes traditional toasted bread-cube stuffing up a notch with the addition of red onions, celery, golden raisins, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts.
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 576kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground pork sausage
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. fresh chopped thyme leaves, or substitute 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 4 ribs celery diced
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts toasted
  • 1 lb. French or Italian bread (or cornbread) cut into 1-inch cubes, toasted until golden brown
  • 3 cups warm chicken or vegetable broth divided use
  • chopped Italian parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    In a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat, cook and crumble the sausage until no pink remains and the juices run clear; add the butter, thyme, sage, onion, and celery, cooking until the vegetables are softened and the spices are very fragrant, approx. 10-15 minutes.
    Stir in the golden raisins, cranberries, walnuts, bread cubes, and parsley. Add 2-3 cups of the broth, a little at a time, gently stirring until the dressing is a nice, very moist consistency; season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Place the dressing into greased 9x13 baking dish or a 12-inch cast iron skillet; cover with foil.
  • Bake the dressing, covered, for 30 minutes, adding more chicken broth during baking time if the dressing needs added moisture.
    Remove the foil cover during last 10 minutes of baking time. Keep dressing warm until ready to serve. Garnish with additional chopped parsley, as desired.

Notes

Can I make dressing ahead of time and then bake it when it's time for Thanksgiving dinner? 

You sure can and this is an excellent question.  Because it can get kind of hectic when making Thanksgiving dinner for the gang, I like to make as many things ahead of time (say 1-2 days prior to the holiday) as possible. 
This way, all I have to do is cook the dishes for my dinner since I've already done all the prep and assembly ahead of time. Such a time saver and stress reliever.  Plus, there's a little more time for drinking some wine. 🙂 

The recipe instructs to use toasted bread cubes for the dressing.  Does this really matter?

Absolutely!!  Toasting the bread cubes for making dressing is as easy as it is important.  Toasted bread can absorb a lot more of one of the most flavorful ingredients when making dressing:  the broth.  

How do you toast the bread cubes? 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the cubes of bread in a single layer over a rimmed baking sheet, taking care not to crowd them too much.  Bake the cubes of bread for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, until golden brown, tossing half way through the baking time.  Repeat with the remaining cubes, as needed.  
 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cornbread dressing, stuffing, Thanksgiving dinner

Nutrition

Sodium: 1073mg | Calcium: 126mg | Vitamin C: 4mg | Vitamin A: 903IU | Sugar: 21g | Fiber: 4g | Potassium: 409mg | Cholesterol: 104mg | Calories: 576kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Fat: 37g | Protein: 14g | Carbohydrates: 49g | Iron: 3mg

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Let’s Get You Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

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