Apple sage stuffing puts a sweet spin on the savory holiday side dish. This delicious stuffing recipe pairs well with turkey or chicken and will steal the show this holiday season. Perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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Holiday eating for me isn’t about the main event.
Sure turkey is fine and beef is pleasant.
What I get excited for? The copious amounts of carbs, of course!
Give me all the buttery homemade stuffing and creamy mashed potatoes and top it all with gravy. Then eat it using a roll as spoon.
Am I the only one that does the holidays like this?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Anyway, this apple sage stuffing is a variation on my classic homemade stuffing but with tart pieces of green apple throughout it for a little punch to break up all that rich butteriness.
It pairs perfectly with the apple cider turkey breast I just shared with its subtle apple flavor. But since it is a subtle background of apple and sage it pairs well with other turkey recipes as well like this garlic roasted turkey. It would even go nicely with this stuffed flank steak at Christmas.
- Bread– I used wheat sandwich bread. However any bread you like would be good. A fresh bakery loaf that you’ve let sit out to get a little stale would be very good.
- Olive oil– Olive oil to coat the bread before you toast it.
- Mirepoix– Celery, carrots, onions all diced into equal sized pieces
- Apples– Granny Smith apples for that tart sweetness
- Spices– More on that in a minute
- Butter- Both to saute the veggies and apples in and to add some extra richness and moisture to the bread.
- Stock– Chicken or turkey stock.
What spices should I use for homemade stuffing?
I don’t know that there are hard and fast stuffing rules. For this version of stuffing we’re going to use:
- Sage– It can’t be apple sage stuffing without sage after all. This herb has a distinct flavor that just reminds me of fall and the holidays.
- Marjoram– A piney herb similar to rosemary that adds a distinct flavor. This is a must for me for any stuffing recipe.
- Thyme– An earthy herb that pairs well with sage and marjoram. You’ll find it in most poultry blends.
- Garlic– Any time you can add garlic to a dish you should! Stuffing is no exception. You won’t overpower it with garlic flavor and it won’t be weird with the apples. Promise. Use fresh garlic and press it.
- Salt and pepper
If you don’t want to use the combo of spices listed here, you could use poultry seasoning which generally is a combination of sage, thyme, rosemary and sometimes marjoram and nutmeg. It is a very woodsy, aromatic blend of flavors.
How to Make
- Cube and toast the bread.
Tear or cut the bread into equal pieces and put it into a large bowl. Toss with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Pour onto two cookie sheets that you’ve lined with aluminum foil. Toast the bread in a 350 degree oven for 7-10 minutes or until the bread looks like toast and is slightly crunchy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Prepare the veggies and apples.
Dice the celery, carrots and onions into equal sized pieces and cube the apples. Melt 3 tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a large pan. When the butter is melted, add the veggies, apples and 4 pressed cloves of garlic to the pan. Season with salt, pepper, sage, dried thyme and marjoram. Saute for 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Remove from the heat.
- Mix the veggies with the bread.
Pour the softened veggies into a bowl with the cubed toasted bread and 1/2 a stick of cubed butter and chopped parsley. Toss together until combined. Then stir in 1/2 cup of stock or a bit more if you want your stuffing more moist.
- Bake and enjoy.
Transfer everything into an oven safe dish. Top the stuffing with the remaining half stick of cubed butter. Bake covered 350 for 20 minutes. Then uncover and bake another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy.
You can store leftover stuffing covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat it, either pop it in the microwave and microwave until warm or put it in the oven until warmed through.
Can I freeze stuffing?
Yes! You can freeze stuffing for up to 3 months. To do it, store small portions in air tight containers. Reheat in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until warmed through.
By all means, if you like sausage go for it! Sausage apple stuffing is a classic combo. If you were to do that, use any kind of ground sausage you like. Cook the sausage first to render the fat and then saute the veggies and apples in that instead of the butter.
Follow the rest of the directions and enjoy.
How do I make this stuffing ahead of time? Can I make it the day before?
Yes! You can save yourself some holiday hassle and get your stuffing mostly prepared the day before. To do this, get your bread cubed and cover it. Freeze it if you are not assembling the next day.
Then saute your veggies in the butter as directed above until soft. Cover and store in the fridge and just quickly reheat the next day before tossing it with the bread cubes and assembling as directed.
Tips and Tricks and Variation
- Stuffing is one of those dishes that gives you lots of flexibility. Don’t like one of the herbs? No problem, get rid of it or sub something you do like. Want to use olive oil instead of butter? Go for it.
- If you are looking for a meatier stuffing, you can certainly add a pound of ground sausage. You could also cube a package of bacon and cook that up and add it in.
- Want to add some chestnuts to this mix for the ultimate seasonal factor? Go for it. Walnuts would also work really well on this.
- While I am using a half a cup or so of stock for moisture, you can adjust this to suit your taste. I like the buttery crust on top to have a little crunch. If you like it softer, go for a little more liquid.
- Feel free to sub the stock for pan drippings from your turkey or chicken.
Looking for delicious holiday side dishes to round out your turkey dinner this holiday season? These are some of our holiday favorites:
- Parmesan Garlic Twice Baked Potato Casserole is a cheesy Italian influenced spin on mashed potatoes and twice baked potatoes. So yummy!
- Looking for a stovetop mashed potato recipe that is just as yummy as the casserole? Try these mascarpone mashed potatoes with rosemary butter.
- For a more traditional stuffing, try this classic homemade stuffing recipe?
- Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce gives you a tart and bright side dish without the weirdness of the canned cranberries.
- Cranberry apple crisp is the sweet side dish your family will beg you for.
- Pumpkin mac and cheese with pancetta is a delicious holiday version of mac and cheese you’ll adore.
- For some greens, try these garlic roasted green beans or these cheesy garlic Brussels Sprouts.
- And for a salad? This kale salad with apples, pears and pumpkin seeds is the perfect starter.
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- 1 small loaf of bread, cubed
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, divided
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 medium to large Granny Smith apples, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
- 1 1/4 tsp dried sage
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp marjoram
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup of chicken or turkey stock*
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- Cube and toast the bread. Tear or cut the bread into equal pieces and put it into a large bowl. Toss with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Pour onto two cookie sheets that you’ve lined with aluminum foil. Toast the bread in a 350 degree oven for 7-10 minutes or until the bread looks like toast and is slightly crunchy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Prepare the veggies and apples. Dice the celery, carrots and onions into equal sized pieces and cube the apples. Melt 3 tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a large pan. When the butter is melted, add the veggies, apples and 4 pressed cloves of garlic to the pan. Season with salt, pepper, sage, dried thyme and marjoram. Saute for 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Remove from the heat.
- Mix the veggies with the bread. Pour the softened veggies into a bowl with the cubed toasted bread and 1/2 a stick of cubed butter. Toss together until combined. Then stir in 1/2 cup of stock or a bit more if you want your stuffing more moist. Stir in the chopped parsley.
- Bake and enjoy.Transfer everything into a buttered or greased oven safe dish. Top the stuffing with the remaining half stick of cubed butter. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes covered then remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy
* You could also use pan drippings from the bird. And this is to your own taste and moisture preference. If you find yourself wanting to add more than a cup, by all means do so.