Sage and Onion Stuffing Muffins with Sausage – are the perfect Thanksgiving side dish! These savory muffins are easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time, making them a lifesaver during the busy holiday season.
The Experiment – Third Time’s a Charm!
When I decided to make these delicious Stuffing Muffins, my first thought was to use cornbread. I was raised in the South on cornbread stuffing, so I thought, why not? I used my Cast Iron Southern Style Cornbread, which by itself is delicious.
My daughter Susan advised against using cornbread because it’s crumbly, but I ignored her advice. Turns out, Susan was totally correct. The dried cornbread cubes in the stuffing mixture were crumbly, and the stuffing muffins basically fell apart. Strike one!
On my next attempt, I used white bread cubes that I dried in the oven. However, I over-compensated for the crumbly muffins on my first attempt and added too much butter and too much chicken broth. The Stuffing Muffins held together but were way too moist and way too greasy. Strike two!
On my final attempt, I reduced the amount of butter and chicken broth and added one more egg than I had used previously. The result – perfection! Below is my Third Time’s a Charm recipe.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy to Make: Stuffing Muffins are a delicious and easy-to-make side dish that is perfect for any holiday meal. These muffins are flavorful and moist, and they can be made ahead of time, freeing up your time on the big day.
- Easy to Serve: Stuffing muffins are individual portions of a savory stuffing. This makes them easy to serve and transport and also a great option for potlucks, picnics, and other gatherings.
- Versatile: Stuffing muffins can be enjoyed as a side dish, or a main course can be paired with various dishes, such as your thanksgiving turkey, chicken, ham, or pork. They can also be served as a snack or appetizer.
- Customizable: You can add different fresh herbs and spices to the stuffing mix, or you can add other ingredients such as mushrooms, celery, or dried cranberries.
Ingredients – Here’s What You’ll Need
I used the following ingredients for this stuffing muffin recipe.
- The Bread: I used Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White Bread in this recipe, which I cut into bread cubes and dried in my oven. I’ve also used French bread, which works well. I did try cornbread one time, but the consistency was such that the muffins didn’t hold together.
- The Veggie: For this particular recipe, the only vegetable that I used was onions cooked in unsalted butter. You could also add celery for a more classic stuffing recipe.
- The Spices: The only spices I used in this easy recipe were fresh sage, Kosher salt, and black pepper.
- The Liquid: The main liquid in this recipe was chicken broth. I could have also used chicken stock or turkey stock. I included some eggs to help bind the stuffing mixture together.
- The Sausage: My mother always included sausage in our stuffing, so I followed the tradition in this recipe by including Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage.
Drying the Bread
I started by cutting the bread into small pieces, about ½-inch cubes. Then, I spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet and dried the bread in a 250°F oven for an hour. Actually, I used three large baking sheets to keep the single layers.
After an hour, the stuffing cubes were crisp but not browned. I stored the dried bread cubes in a Ziploc bag until the next day when I made the Stuffing Muffins.
Here’s How I Made the Stuffing Muffins – Step-by-Step Directions
- I started by cooking and crumbling the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the sausage was done, I drained it on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Next, I wiped the skillet with paper towels and returned it to the stove top. I cooked the onions in melted butter over medium heat until they softened. This took about 10 minutes.
- Once the onions had softened, I added the fresh sage, salt, and pepper. I stirred to combine everything.
- Then, I added the cooked sausage to the onion mixture and stirred everything together. I removed the pan from the heat to allow the mixture to cool somewhat.
- I lightly beat the eggs and added them to the chicken broth. Then, I whisked together the eggs and chicken broth.
- Next, I added the dried bread cubes and onion and sausage mixture to a large mixing bowl. Then, I tossed the ingredients together to combine them somewhat.
- I poured the liquid onto the stuffing mixture in the large bowl and stirred everything together.
- I let the stuffing mixture sit for about 10 minutes to give it time for the dried bread cubes to absorb the liquid. Then, I tested the mixture by compressing some in a large ice cream scoop to see if it had enough liquid and would hold together. It was perfect!
- I sprayed the muffin pan with nonstick spray. I placed individual portions of the bread mixture into the muffin cups using a half-cup ice cream scoop. I could have also used a half-cup measuring cup. I made sure that I compressed the mixture to ensure that it would hold together.
I baked the Stuffing Muffins in a preheated 375°F oven for around 30 minutes until the tops were golden brown with crunchy edges.
I let the cute little muffins cool in the muffin cups for about 10 minutes. Then, I transferred them to a wire rack to come to room temperature.
The Sage and Onion Stuffing Muffins with Sausage were amazing. They are the perfect compliment to your holiday table. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
I like to use Jimmy Dean Sage sausage, but any good quality breakfast sausage will work in this recipe.
I like to keep the recipe simple with just sage. However, it’s also delicious with fresh parsley, rosemary, and thyme added (think Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkle!). Also, you could just use poultry seasoning. This would produce a more traditional stuffing recipe.
You can definitely add celery to this recipe. I would add about 1 ½ cups and reduce the amount of onions to 1 ½ cups.
According to Cooks Illustrated, it’s best to dry the bread crumbs in the oven.
I know that stuffing (or dressing) typically doesn’t contain eggs. However, the eggs in this recipe are important to help bind the stuffing mixture together for the muffins.
You can substitute one tablespoon of dried sage for the three tablespoons of fresh sage used in this recipe.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- One of the keys to this recipe is compressing the stuffing mixture before adding it to the muffin cups. This is important to ensure that the stuffing muffins hold together after they are cooked. I like to fill my large ice cream scoop (½ cup capacity) with the stuffing mixture and then press my hand on the mixture to compress it.
- I like to let the stuffing muffins rest for about 10 minutes before removing them from the muffin pan. For me, the best way to remove the muffins from the muffin tin is to run a thin knife around the edges, place a wire rack on top, and invert the pan. The stuffing muffins come right out.
- I generally place the stuffing muffins in an open container in the refrigerator for several hours or even overnight before closing the container. The reason is that a lot of condensation comes off the muffins as they continue to cool in the refrigerator. Once they have reached refrigerator temperature, I store the muffins in an airtight container.
- I reheat the stuffing muffins in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes to crisp them up. Actually, the crispy edges are the best part for me!
- I generally have stuffing mixture left over after filling the muffin cups. I use a 1 ½ tablespoon ice cream scoop with these leftovers to make stuffing balls. I was able to make eight stuffing balls that I baked at 375°F for about 20 minutes.
Other Make-Ahead Holiday Side Dishes
These Sage and Onion Stuffing Muffins with Sausage are a delicious side dish for your thanksgiving table. For other make-ahead side dishes, check out these awesome recipes:
- Best Ultimate Make-Ahead Creamy Macaroni And Cheese
- Make-Ahead Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Make Ahead Duchess Potatoes (Easy and Delicious)
- Perfect Southern Pecan Pie
- Easy Make-Ahead Spinach Gratin – Perfect Holiday Side Dish
- Brown and Serve Dinner Rolls-Bread Machine
- Classic Southern Seven-Layer Salad (Spectacular Side Dish)
- Elegant Make-Ahead Mushroom Croustades
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Make-Ahead Sage and Onion Stuffing Muffins with Sausage
- Regular muffin pan
- 1 pound pork breakfast sausage (See Tip 1)
- 6 Tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
- 3 cups chopped onions (2 large onions)
- 3 Tablespoons fresh sage, minced
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth (See Tip 2)
- 3 large eggs
- 8 to 9 cups dried white bread cubes (See Tip 3)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Cook and crumble sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. When the sausage is done, drain on paper towels.
- Wipe the skillet used to cook sausage with paper towels. Add butter and melt over medium heat. Add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 10 minutes. Add sage, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the cooked sausage and stir the mixture together. Allow to cool slightly.
- Whisk together 1 ½ cups of chicken broth and the eggs.
- Add the bread cubes and onion and sausage mixture to a large bowl. Stir to combine. Pour on the chicken broth and eggs. Toss to coat the ingredients evenly. Allow the stuffing mixture to sit for ten minutes to absorb the liquid. Toss again to ensure that everything is well combined. If the stuffing is too dry, add a little more broth or water until you have the right consistency.
- Using a ½ cup ice cream scoop or a measuring cup, fill the muffin pan cups heaping full with the stuffing, compressing the stuffing mixture as you fill the cups. (See Tip 4)
- Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the stuffing muffins are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow the stuffing muffins to cool in the muffin pan for 10 minutes before removing them from the pan.
- Remove from the pan and serve.
- Yield: 12 Stuffing Muffins (See Tips 5 and 6)
- I used Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage. I’ve also used Jimmy Dean Hot Sausage in this recipe. Both are delicious.
- You may need a bit more chicken broth to achieve the desired consistency but start with 1 ½ cups. For me, the 1 ½ cups was spot on.
- I started with a 1.5-pound loaf of Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White sliced bread. I discarded the two end pieces and cut the remaining slices into ½-inch cubes. This produced about 12 cups of bread cubes. I placed the bread cubes in single layers on three large-rimmed baking sheets and baked them at 250°F for one hour. After an hour, the bread cubes were dried but not colored and had reduced in size to around 8 cups.
- You want the stuffing muffins to hold together after they have been baked. Compressing the mixture as you fill the muffin cups is key to ensuring that the stuffing muffins hold together.
- I had enough stuffing mixture left over to make eight stuffing balls that were about the size of golf balls. I baked them at 375°F for 20 minutes.
- These stuffing muffins can be made ahead of time. Allow it to come to room temperature and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days. The stuffing muffins can also be frozen for up to three months. Reheat in a 375°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy and hot.