Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage

Impress the whole family with my homemade Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing! Studded with apples and sausage, this side dish is loaded with amazing fall flavors and textures!

A Gluten Free Stuffing for Thanksgiving

Gluten free cornbread dressing in a round casserole dish.

Guys! It’s happening. Autumn is here. When the leaves start falling, I turn into a basic Pinterest girl—I pull out my scarves, make all the Cinnamon Baked Apples, and cozy up with my favorite Matcha Latte recipe—even if it’s still 60 degrees outside. I fully embrace the fall aesthetic, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. 

But here’s another thing I love about fall: STUFFING. Why do we only eat stuffing in the fall? I have no idea, but I always plan to make the most out of it.

I’ve taken the classic Thanksgiving side dish, and gussied it up with cornbread, sausage, and apples.

Here’s what makes this stuffing different:

  • Farewell, boring stuffing! I used cornbread instead of plain bread. This adds a sweetness to the stuffing mixture that I can’t get enough of. This gluten free cornbread is great on its own, but it also pairs beautifully with my no bean chili or crock pot steak chili.
  • There’s a lot of variety in the texture of this dish. We’ve all had the premade, boxed stuff that’s mushy and has a one dimensional flavor. That’s not the case with this dressing. The cornbread cubes have a little crunch, the sausage is juicy, and the apple is crisp and sweet.
  • It’s gluten free! My mom is gluten intolerant, so I’m always looking for ways to customize recipes for the holidays. The Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Oven Roasted Turkey were pretty easy to convert, but finding a stuffing recipe that’s gluten free was a challenge. With this Gluten Free Cornbread Dressing we finally found a recipe the whole family can enjoy!
Gluten free cornbread stuffing in an aqua casserole dish.

What is the difference between cornbread stuffing and cornbread dressing?

Before we dive in, a quick clarification. Stuffing and dressing typically share similar ingredients, including cornbread or bread cubes, vegetables, herbs, and broth. The key difference is in how they’re baked. Technically, “stuffing” refers to a mixture that is stuffed inside the cavity of a turkey and baked with it, and “dressing” is placed in a pan and baked in the oven on its own.

These days most people don’t put stuffing in the bird itself (food safety and timing issues abound), so the two terms are used interchangeably. Technically, this is a cornbread dressing recipe, but you can call it whatever you like! It’s all delicious!

Key Ingredients in Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing

Ingredients for cornbread dressing- cornbread cubes, Italian sausage, eggs, a bowl of seasonings, garlic, butter, apple, onion, and chicken broth.
  • Homemade gluten free cornbread – I know what you’re thinking. Homemade cornbread? That seems like a lot of work. Trust me: it’s actually pretty easy, and it’ll take your side dish to a whole new level. The base of my cornbread uses butter, gluten free cornmeal, gluten free flour, buttermilk, eggs, and honey. And if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, don’t fret. You can use the same measurement of regular or dairy free milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
  • Granny Smith apples – Apples add just the right amount of sweetness to this otherwise savory dish. I chose Granny Smith apples because they’re firmer and hold their shape better for baking. If you want less noticeable chunks of apples, I’d recommend Golden Delicious instead.
  • Italian sausage – Sweet Italian sausage adds a nice texture and a little bit of spice to the stuffing. Regular pork sausage also works in this recipe.
  • Chicken broth – Make sure your chicken broth is gluten free. Some chicken broths contain wheat, which would not be safe for your gluten intolerant friends. 

How to Make Cornbread Apple Sausage Stuffing

Make gluten free cornbread (recipe below). Cut into cubes and dry overnight.

Cornbread in a cast iron skillet surrounded by bowls of seasonings, Italian sausage, eggs, apple, and butter.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease or butter a 9×13 casserole dish.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a microwave safe dish. Set aside to cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Combine the celery, onion, apple, salt, sage, rosemary, thyme, turmeric and parsley in a large bowl. Set aside.

Brown the Italian sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. Leave the fat from the sausage in the pan to saute the vegetables.  Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the fat in the pan.

Add the celery mix to the warm pan with the fat. Cook over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes.

Skillet with sauteed onions, celery, and apple.

Combine the cooked vegetables, sausage and cornbread chunks together. Stir gently so as to keep the cornbread chunks intact. Spread the cornbread mixture into your prepared casserole dish.

Combine. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, chicken broth and remaining 4 Tablespoons of melted butter. Pour over the cornbread mixture in the casserole dish. Do not stir.

Bake for 30 minutes uncovered, then cover with foil and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Toasty brown cornbread cubes and sausage shown in a round casserole dish.

Tips, Storage, and Substitutions

  • Drying out the cornbread is (unfortunately) a step you cannot skip, unless you really want soggy stuffing! However, If you don’t have time to make the cornbread and let it dry overnight, you can place the cubed cornbread on a baking sheet and bake in a 200 degree oven for 10-20 minutes, or until the edges feel dry.
  • To save time, use a store bought gluten free cornbread mix for the cornbread.
  • If you prefer, you can lower the amount of sausage in this recipe to as little as ½ pound. No other adjustments need to be made to the recipe.
  • Adding the foil after the stuffing has cooked for 30 minutes keeps the top from sticking to the inside of the foil. You can remove it again for the last few minutes of baking if it needs additional browning.
  • Make Ahead Tips: You can prepare all the ingredients (the cornbread, sausage, and sauteed veggies) up to 2 days in advance, toss them together, and store in the fridge. I do not recommend adding the liquids until right before you’re ready to bake to prevent a soggy stuffing.
  • Storage and Reheating: Baked dressing can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Reheat it in a 350 degree oven, covered, for 25-30 minutes. If it looks dry, add a small amount of broth before reheating and uncover for the last few minutes to regain that crispy crust.
Plate with a serving of gluten free cornbread dressing, sliced pork, and broccoli.

More Recipes for Your Thanksgiving Table

Looking for more dishes to round out your holiday menu? I’ve got you covered.

Recipes that you can make ahead of time are a LIFESAVER during the holidays. Start off with my corn souffle and make ahead butterhorn rolls, which can both be made in advance and pulled out for your festivities. Then whip up my gluten free sweet potato casserole, crock pot applesauce and cranberry jello salad to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.

We can’t forget about the veggie sides! This green bean recipe, this roasted broccoli cheese casserole, and these easy cheesy potatoes are two of my favorites!

Gluten free cornbread dressing in a round casserole dish.

Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

This gluten free dressing is dotted with celery, onion, apple, and sausage for a super flavorful dressing recipe with lots of great texture!

Ingredients

For the cornbread:

  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 ½ cups gluten free cornmeal
  • ½ cup gluten free 1-to-1 flour blend, with xantham gum
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons honey

For the stuffing:

  • 1 recipe of gluten free cornbread (above)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • ¾ cups celery, sliced (about 2-3 stalks)
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced (1 medium sized onion)
  • 1 cup granny smith apple, diced (1 large apple)
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups gluten free chicken broth

Instructions

For the cornbread:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place an 8 inch round cast iron skillet in the oven to preheat.
  2. Melt 4 Tablespoons butter in a microwave safe container.  Set aside to cool before adding to the batter.
  3. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir together until well combined.
  4. Crack eggs into a medium sized bowl, then whisk until frothy.  
  5. Add buttermilk, melted butter, and honey to the eggs. Whisk together to combine.
  6. Pour wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Fold together gently with a spatula about 15 strokes.
  7. Remove the skillet from the oven and place a tablespoon of butter in the bottom, swirling the pan to coat. Pour the batter directly into the hot pan and smooth with a spatula.
  8. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the top springs back when gently pressed.
  9. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Cut cooled cornbread into cubes and lay out on a baking sheet to dry overnight.

For the stuffing:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.  Grease or butter a 9x13 casserole dish.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a microwave safe dish.  Set aside to cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  3. Combine the celery, onion, apple, salt, sage, rosemary, thyme, turmeric and parsley in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Brown the Italian sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  5. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.  Leave the fat from the sausage in the pan to saute the vegetables.  Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the fat in the pan.
  6. Add the celery mix to the warm pan with the fat.  Cook over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. 
  7. Combine the cooked vegetables, sausage and cornbread chunks together. Stir gently so as to keep the cornbread chunks intact. Spread the cornbread mixture into your prepared casserole dish.
  8. In a medium sized bowl, combine the eggs, chicken broth and remaining 4 Tablespoons of melted butter. Whisk together until smooth. Pour over the cornbread mixture in the casserole dish. Do not stir.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes uncovered, then cover with foil and bake an additional 30 minutes.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 508Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 205mgSodium: 1432mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 3gSugar: 12gProtein: 20g

Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.

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