Studded with cranberries and tart apples, these individual Stuffing Muffins with sausage and herbs are a playful way to serve a classic Thanksgiving side dish.
They’ll keep your menu feeling traditional without being stodgy, a balance that can be hard to strike.
How ironclad is your family’s Thanksgiving menu?
Do you follow the exact same recipes year after year, or do you leave wiggle room for a few creative additions?
Our family would mutiny, if my mom replaced her Glazed Sweet Potatoes with any other sweet potato recipe (even if it was this incredible Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole), or dared to vary from our Chestnut Stuffing.
Ben’s family is more open to experimentation (hello, Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese).
Though his family always serves a lineup of the classics, the actual recipes themselves change from year to year (so Cornbread Stuffing would be rightfully embraced for the deliciousness that it is).
5 Star Review
“Everyone loved these stuffing muffins. I’m going to make them every Thanksgiving!!!”— Amanda —
About These Individual Stuffing Muffins
These stuffing muffins begin like any traditional stuffing recipe (for example, this Crock Pot Stuffing) with a few added surprises and bonuses.
- Sweet and savory. A combination of tart apples, sweet dried cranberries, and zesty Italian turkey sausage offer an enchanting blend of flavors that might just upstage the turkey.
- Easy to serve. No serving spoon required. Easy individual stuffing muffins will keep the Thanksgiving buffet line moving.
- The CRUST. Each stuffing muffin has a delicious golden crust on the top AND sides that contrasts beautifully with the moist, fragrant apple and sausage interior.
How to Make Stuffing Muffins
Infused with Thanksgiving spices and flavorful Italian turkey sausage, this stuffing muffin recipe with apples and cranberries will win over even the staunchest of stuffing traditionalists.
- Whole Grain Bread. To sneak in some whole grain goodness that offers extra fiber, iron, and nutrients.
- Onions + Celery + Garlic. Add texture and quintessential flavor.
- Sausage. I went for lean turkey sausage to reduce the fat in this recipe. You could also swap for regular pork sausage, chicken sausage, or even a vegan sausage alternative.
If using a fattier sausage product, drain the extra fat from the pan after browning to prevent the stuffing muffins from being too greasy.
- Apple. A diced Granny Smith apple adds just the right amount of tartness, moisture, and cozy apple flavor to these stuffing muffins.
- Dried Cranberries. Stud each of these savory little muffins with red jewels of sweetness.
- Eggs. Bind the stuffing ingredients together so the muffins hold their shape once baked.
- Milk. Contributes moisture and richness.
- Chicken Broth. For additional moisture. You can also use vegetable broth or turkey broth.
- Sage + Rosemary. A classic Thanksgiving herb duo that no stuffing recipe should be without.
- Toast the bread cubes, in a preheated oven, until golden and crisp.
- Sauté the onions and celery.
- Brown the sausage with the apples and garlic.
- Toss the sausage mixture with the breadcrumbs Whisk the wet ingredients together, then pour over the breadcrumb mixture, and stir in the cranberries, sage, and rosemary.
- Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tin.
- Bake stuffing muffins until lightly browned and set in the center. Let cool slightly, transfer to a wire rack. ENJOY!
- To Store. Leftover stuffing muffins may be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- To Freeze. Allow the baked muffins to come to room temperature, tightly and individually wrap them in plastic, then freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- To Reheat. Allow the muffins to come to room temperature. Place the room-temperature muffins (unwrapped) back into a lightly greased muffin tin, then reheat in a 350 degree F oven for 10-20 minutes, until warmed through.
Meal Prep Tip
To make stuffing muffins ahead:
- Toast the bread cubes (Step 1) and sauté the apple-sausage mixture (Step 3).
- Store the bread cubes in an airtight container at room temperature and the apple-sausage mixture in the refrigerator.
- The day you plan to bake the muffins, stir together the rest of the ingredients and press into the muffin tins.
- You can then refrigerate the muffin tins, unbaked, for up to 4 hours, then bake as directed.
Note: If the stuffing comes out of the refrigerator cold, you may need to add a few minutes to the baking time.
My favorite way to use leftover stuffing muffins is to reheat them the morning after Thanksgiving served with a bit of leftover turkey and a sunny-side-up egg. (See my Leftover Stuffing Cakes recipe.)
Recommended Tools to Make Stuffing Muffins
- Skillet. No kitchen should be without a large, everyday skillet.
- Mixing Bowls. This nesting glass mixing bowl set I use daily for sweet and savory recipes alike.
- Muffin Tin. This standard 12-cup muffin tin is my favorite for muffins and cupcakes.
All in favor of a new tradition of stuffing muffins, say “aye!”
Frequently Asked Questions
I have not tried making these with leftover stuffing so it would be an experiment. I imagine it could be done by rehydrating your leftover stuffing with a smaller amount of milk, chicken stock, and eggs and then baking as directed. If you try making stuffing muffins with leftover stuffing, I’d love to hear about your results in the comments.
Yes. You can make this recipe vegetarian by omitting the sausage and opting for vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. I would increase the amount of herbs and salt slightly to compensate for the loss of spices in the sausage.
I have not tried making these as mini stuffing muffins. However, I imagine it could be done. You will likely need to reduce the baking time considerably so they don’t burn or dry out. So keep a close eye on them. If you attempt, let me know your results.
- 10 cups whole grain bread cubes loosely packed 1-inch-sliced, about 16 ounces
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage
- 1 medium-sized firm tart apple such as Granny Smith or Cortland, finely diced (ok to leave peel on), about 1 cup
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup milk any kind you like (I used skim)
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup reduced-sugar dried cranberries
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon rubbed dried sage
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
- Place two racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes out in a single layer on two large baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until browned and crisp. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Generously grease two 12-cup muffin tins (butter works best) or line with paper liners, then coat the liners with baking spray. Set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once hot, add the onion, celery, salt, and pepper. Let cook 4 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Remove the sausages from their casing and place in the skillet. Break the sausage into crumbles, turning and sautéing the meat as you go.
- Once the sausage is broken up, add the apples and garlic. Let cook until the sausage is browned, stirring occasionally, about 2 additional minutes. Place the sausage mixture in the bowl with the bread cubes.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the chicken broth, milk, and eggs until combined. Pour over the cubes. Add the cranberries, sage, and rosemary, then stir gently with a large spoon, tossing the ingredients until they are well distributed and the bread is evenly moistened.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tins. Firmly press down on the tops of the bread cubes so that they touch the sides of the muffin tin (this adds a delicious crunch to the exterior and keeps the muffins from falling apart). Spoon more stuffing on top and press again.
- Bake the stuffing muffins at 350 degrees F for 25 to 28 minutes, until lightly browned, and set in the center. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the outsides to loosen them. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm.
- MAKE-AHEAD DIRECTIONS: Toast the bread cubes (Step 1) and saute the apple-sausage mixture (Step 3). Store the bread cubes in an airtight container at room temperature and the apple-sausage mixture in the refrigerator. The day you plan to bake the muffins, stir together the rest of the ingredients and press into the muffin tins. You can then refrigerate the muffin tins, unbaked, for up to 4 hours, then bake as directed. If the stuffing comes out of the refrigerator cold, you may need to add a few minutes to the baking time.
- TO STORE: Leftover stuffing muffins may be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- TO FREEZE: Allow the baked muffins to come to room temperature, tightly and individually wrap them in plastic, then freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- TO REHEAT: Allow the muffins to come to room temperature. Place the room-temperature muffins (unwrapped) back into a lightly greased muffin tin, then reheat in a 350 degree F oven for 10-20 minutes, until warmed through.
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