Cranberry Sausage Stuffing

4.91 from 11 votes
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This is a simple recipe for cranberry sausage stuffing that has lots of variations depending on what you have on hand. Sausage, sage, stale bread, nuts and dried berries are the stars. You can vary the meat, bread, nuts, and berries, as you’ll see below.

A casserole dish of cranberry sausage stuffing on the dining room table.

I have no idea why people don’t make stuffing all year long. It is endlessly versatile, tasty and crazy easy to make. And, for those of us who work with wild foods, super easy to “wild up” with what you’ve gathered.

In this cranberry sausage stuffing, for example, I used venison sausage and dried lingonberries — cousins of cranberries — as well as wild hazel nuts and some wild mushooms; birch boletes, to be specific.

Stuffing, or dressing, as this should technically be called because it’s not cooked inside of a bird, is essentially a casserole based on some sort of starch — rice, bread, cornbread, etc. — with fun and delicious things added to it, in this case cranberries and sausage.

Each thing you add should scratch a taster’s itch: Bread for starch and heft, sausage and mushrooms for savoriness, sage and parsley for herbal zing, hazel nuts for crunch, and cranberries for sweetness and tang.

All of this makes the sum greater than the parts. Sausage cranberry stuffing is one of my mainstay stuffings; the other being my wild mushroom stuffing, which I usually do with chanterelles.

Cranberry Sausage Stuffing Jazz

OK, I love my recipe, but you can play around with it almost at will and it’ll still be amazing. As I mentioned above, each variation scratches the same itch, so you should be fine.

  • Bread. I used stale rye bread because, well, I like rye, and I like how solid and hearty it is in stuffing. Any stale bread works, or you can use the premade stuffing cubes from the store. I would not use cornbread in this case, as it practically dissolves in stuffing, which gives you a very different effect.
  • Sausage. Go for it. Anything that makes you happy. You’ll want it uncased. I used a simple venison sausage here, but a classic breakfast sausage works well, as would a sweet Italian sausage, a Sheboygan brat, Spanish butifarra, or even a pheasant sausage. It should be uncased, however. Pull the meat out of the casing if that’s how it came.
  • Cranberries. Craisins, as dried cranberries are known, are a great sweet-tart combo. But any dried berry that does this works, like lingonberries, wild blueberries, dried raspberries, currants or gooseberries. Cranberries are just the easiest to get.
  • Mushrooms. I used dried birch boletes, but any fresh or dried mushroom works here. Yes, any edible mushroom will add something, but I prefer a handful of savory dried mushrooms to play back-up to everything else; they’re the star in my mushroom stuffing.
  • Herbs. Sage is the classic Thanksgiving herb, but rosemary is nice, too, as are parsley, winter or summer savory, marjoram or even oregano.
  • Nuts. I really like using wild hazel nuts, which are small and flavorful, but regular hazel nuts (filberts) work fine, and walnuts and pecans are, arguably, even better. Pine nuts are fun, too.

To Egg or Not to Egg?

I like my cranberry sausage stuffing to be well bound, so I beat two eggs up and stir them in before baking. This lets you cut the stuffing and serve in chunks. An unbound stuffing tends to crumble. Still good, just different.

Another style issue is soft or chewy dressing. I am in the chewy camp. I don’t like my stuffing wet and squishy. So I use less broth than many other recipes. If you like a more cohesive, wet stuffing, double the amount of broth.

Finally, I like to toast my bread before adding to the cranberry sausage stuffing. This keeps things chewy and interesting, especially with the bread crusts. If you’re in the soft camp, remove crusts and don’t toast. You also shouldn’t need to toast the premade stuffing bread cubes.

Close up of the casserole dish of cranberry sausage stuffing.

Serving and Storing

Pretty sure I don’t have to tell you how to serve stuffing: Alongside the main course, whether it’s a turkey or something else.

But I’ve eaten leftover stuffing cold out of the fridge, reheated with eggs and/or rice, and, since I am in the “egg camp” so my stuffing holds its shape, leftover cranberry sausage stuffing is amazing fried in butter later. You’re welcome…

As for storage, you can make the dressing a day or two ahead if you want, and it will keep a week, covered, in the fridge. I’ve never tried freezing stuffing but I don’t see any reason you couldn’t.

If you liked this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below; I’d love to hear how everything went. If you’re on Instagram, share a picture and tag me at huntgathercook.

A dish of cranberry sausage stuffing.
4.91 from 11 votes

Cranberry Sausage Stuffing

This is a simple, delicious stuffing you can use as a model to make it your own: The written recipe is excellent, but see above for variations.
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 5 cups Stale bread, cubed
  • 1/2 cup dried mushrooms, crushed (about 20 grams)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound loose sausage
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts (or other nuts)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or lingonberries (see below)
  • 2 cups chicken, pheasant or grouse stock
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set the bread cubes in one layer on a baking sheet and toast for 20 minutes, or until nicely browned. Keep the oven on. NOTE: This step is not needed if you are using premade stuffing cubes.
  • Pour boiling water over the dried mushrooms and let them rehydrate. Chop roughly and save the water.
  • Brown the sausage and onion in a pan, using some of the butter if the sausage is not overly fatty. Add salt to taste (you might not need it), then the sage and parsley. Turn off the heat and let cool.
  • Put the toasted bread, rehydrated mushrooms, sausage and onion, nuts and dried fruit in a bowl and mix well. Add up to 1 cup of the mushroom soaking water, and up to 2 cups of the stock, depending on how wet you like your stuffing; I add a total of 2 cups of liquid.
  • Grind pepper into the mixture, then mix in the beaten eggs. Move all this into a casserole: I use a 10×10 Pyrex casserole. Pack it in tight if you want to be able to cut it into chunks later. Cover and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook another 20 minutes, or until the top is pretty and browned.


If you are using lingonberries, don’t use more than 1/2 cup because they are very, very tart. You can use up to 1 full cup of other berries.
If you decide to use fresh mushrooms, go with 1/2 pound and cook them with the sausage and onion. 


Calories: 467kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 735mg | Potassium: 342mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 221IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 210mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

4.91 from 11 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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  1. Made this after we were gifted the carcass at a family Thanksgiving dinner. Made soup, stock and gravy with the leftovers. Used the stock and gravy with this wonderful dressing. It was a hit with all including the kids. (Who normally don’t prefer Rye). I wasn’t sure on the butter mentioned in the ingredients but not the directions so just mixed it in when the stock and eggs were folded in. Came out great after baking in a Dutch oven. As always thank you Hank for expanding our horizons.

  2. Excellent dressing. If I screw up the turkey I could serve just this dressing and the guests would be happy. Thanks for yet another superlative recipe

  3. This looks delicious. I FINALLY have been shown a small, easily accessible wild cranberry area in the Keweenaw, I got 6 precious cups this October. Do you think chopped fresh berries would be ok? I could mix them with a little maple sugar.

  4. Good afternoon Hank,
    I make a very similar stuffing / dressing, but I include a baking apple or two, add some chopped celery, and chicken stock. I haven’t added aggs, yet… Is there a reason why you wouldn’t or I shouldn’t, stuff a bird with this? I will be heading up to my Northern lower Michigan cabin this weekend to hopefully fill my deer tag.

    Thank you very much and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,

  5. Hank,

    I hope fall in MN is treating you well. If you want to go pheasant hunting or ice fishing reach out to me. We just put up 2 deer shot by both my kids. First time in 5 years we have some venison. I am going to try a few of your jerky recipes. I also am looking forward to making some sausage. MN winters can get long so reach out if you want to get outside and do some hunting or fishing. David A.

  6. Stuffing freezes very well. I make mine (no eggs, in the damp side) in a lasagna pan, then cut it into generous portions, freeze, overnight, then vac-seal each one (doesn’t squish that way) to enjoy later. I really could do without the turkey, except for the gravy – dressing and gravy is my favorite part!

  7. Good Morning from the woodlands of Minnesota. Thanks for sharing your ‘this and that’s’ of stuffing/ dressing. Kinda nice to read the “whys” of what we do or don’t do.
    My dressing will be the kind you cut, made with sage, wild rice, mushrooms, and sausage…
    Happy Thanksgiving