Sage and Onion Stuffing | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Friday, November 12, 2021

Sage and Onion Stuffing

This Sage and Onion Stuffing makes a great side dish for almost any meat, but especially good when paired with poultry, like chicken and turkey. It's a great easy stuffing recipe for the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving. Earthy herbs of sage and thyme season this stuffing just right! 

Sage and Onion Stuffing in a white serving dish ready to eat

 

The debate: Stuffing or Dressing?


The debate is real. Some say a stuffing is a recipe that's actually "stuffed" into the cavity of a bird like a chicken or turkey. Likewise, they believe that a dressing is baked in it's own dish alongside the bird. 

Honestly, I think both terms can be used interchangeably. So do as you like, call this recipe Sage and Onion Stuffing or call it Sage and Onion Dressing. Either way, it's a delicious bread-based side dish you are going to love! 

For ease of reading, I am going to officially call this recipe "Sage and Onion Stuffing". 

Sage and Onion Stuffing in a white serving dish on an angle with a red cloth under the dish


I LOVE stuffing. I make a traditional Mushroom and Leek Stuffing for my family at Thanksgiving that my relatives say they look forward to all year. (I do too.) Unfortunately, that particular recipe hasn't made it into my blog yet. But, I have had the chance to publish a Dried Cherry and Pecan Stuffing recipe that is to die for! Such a good stuffing side dish with a roasted chicken on a cold, winter day or served next to an Eye of Round beef roast for a lovely Christmas dinner! 

Sage and Onion Stuffing


Today, I'm presenting you with the classic combination of onion and sage in this delicious home made stuffing recipe. Seriously, ditch the boxed stuffing (you know the kind that you cook on the "stove top") and try your hand at homemade stuffing sometime. It's easier than you think.

Homemade Sage and Onion Stuffing makes a great side dish that compliments chicken, turkey, a beef roast, and even a pork roast

Why this recipe works

  1. It's easy to put together! No special equipment is needed
  2. Use fresh or dried rubbed sage in this recipe. If using dried sage, make sure it's fresh. (Not older than 6 months after it was first opened.)
  3. Stuff the cavity of a turkey or chicken with this stuffing to cook (make sure you check the stuffing with an instant read thermometer to make sure it's cooked to 165 degrees F before consuming it) or put the raw stuffing into a buttered baking dish and bake it for about 30 minutes. This produces a nice buttery crust that some people love. Short on stove/oven space? Make this sage and onion stuffing in a slow cooker. Just butter the crock and put raw stuffing in, cook on LOW for 4 hours or until heated through. 
  4. Use just about any day-old bread you like OR a bag of commercial dried bread cubes made specifically for stuffing. (I personally think day-old bread is better overall for flavor and texture.) For this stuffing, I used hot dog buns I purchased from my grocery store's instore bakery that were on the day-old rack. 
  5. Make this Sage and Onion Stuffing vegetarian, by swapping out the chicken stock for vegetable stock. 
  6. Add a 1/2 pound ground sausage (browned in a skillet) to the stuffing to make a sausage sage and onion stuffing recipe if you like. Pork sausage and sage compliment each other wonderfully! 

Ingredients you'll need:

  • Day-old bread (can be white or wheat, buns, brioche, etc.) OR 1 bag of commercial dried bread cubes made for stuffing (like Pepperidge Farms or Brownberry)
  • butter
  • celery
  • onion
  • fresh flat leaf parsley
  • dried rubbed sage OR fresh sage
  • dried thyme
  • grated nutmeg
  • chicken stock OR vegetable stock
  • 1 egg, beaten (optional)
  • salt and pepper

How to make traditional sage and onion stuffing:

If using day-old bread, begin by preparing the bread. Cut or tear into large cubes and add to food processor to make large "crumbs" by pulsing, working in batches as to not overload the food processor. 

Sage and Onion Stuffing preparation, side by side photos of bread in food processor before processing and after

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place processed bread crumbs on a sheet pan (you may need 2) and put in oven for about 15 - 20 minutes to help dry them out and give them some color. Stir the crumbs halfway through baking. This step helps the bread absorb the liquid and not get too soggy. (This step can be done ahead of time, up to 2-3 days, if using this recipe for a holiday meal.) 

Sage and Onion Stuffing bread crumbs toasted in oven sitting on a sheet pan

Dump the crumbs into a very large mixing bowl. If using the pre-packaged bread cubes/crumbs you can start by putting the cubes/crumbs into a very large mixing bowl. 

FOOD BLOGGER TIP: If you don't have a big enough bowl to mix the stuffing without it falling out of the sides, a big stock pot or roasting pan will work perfectly! 

Cut the celery, onion, and parsley and gather up the rest of the ingredients. 

Ingredients photo for Sage and Onion Stuffing

Add 1/4 cup butter to large skillet and turn burner to medium heat. Melt butter and add the chopped onion and celery. 

Celery and Onion sauteing in pan on stove with a wooden spatula for Sage and Onion Stuffing

Cook until onion begins to soften and starts to become translucent, about 6 to 10 minutes. Take off heat and add remaining butter to the skillet allowing to melt. 

Pour the onion/celery/butter mixture into the bread crumbs and gently mix trying to get the butter to coat most of the bread crumbs. 

Process photo for Sage and Onion Stuffing. Mixing bread crumbs with onion, celery, and butter.

Mix in the sage, thyme, nutmeg, parsley, and the chicken or vegetable stock. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper, to taste. 

Process photo for Sage and Onion Stuffing mixing in parsley, sage, thyme, and nutmeg.

Gently mix in the beaten egg once you are happy with the salt and pepper levels. 

Now here's where you decide HOW you are going to cook this onion and sage stuffing recipe:
  1. Stuff the bird - Pack the cavity loosely with the stuffing. (you may have extra, which you can bake in a casserole dish on the side.) Roast the bird according to your directions. Check the internal temperature of the stuffing before eating it. It should be a minimum of 165 degrees for safe eating. This is very important! 
  2. Bake in a buttered casserole dish - I fit this stuffing into a 9" x 9" buttered pan. Again, do not press the stuffing down compacting it. Just spoon it loosely into the casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake as directed in the recipe card below. No need to check the internal temperature of this preparation. 
  3. "Bake" in a slow cooker - Butter the crock of the slow cooker and spoon stuffing into it. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until the stuffing is heated through. No need to check temperature on this preparation either. 
I have to confess, my favorite preparation is baked in a buttered casserole dish. I love how the edges get crispy and buttery. 

Sage and Onion Stuffing in pan after baking with corner of foil pulled back.


Oh my goodness, as this stuffing is baking, you whole house will smell like the holidays! The earthy scent of sage is undeniable and will bring back wonderful holiday memories, even if it isn't the holidays! 

Frequently Asked Questions:


What kind of bread makes the best sage and onion stuffing?


When it comes to choosing the right bread for your stuffing, you have a wide variety to choose from. Sourdough always makes great stuffing. A good white bread does as well. Try whole wheat bread or mixing whole wheat bread with white bread for a combination of flavors. Brioche will give your stuffing a richness other breads can't. Ciabatta bread makes excellent stuffing that will hold it's shape. French bread is always a good choice. Any of these breads will work well, as long as you make sure they are not super fresh. Homemade bread can be used for stuffing the day after baking. Commercially prepared breads about a week after purchase and opening. 

Don't forget to check out the day old bread section of your grocery in-store bakery. It is a great resource for bread for stuffing. Buns, dinner rolls, loaves, they will all work. Around the holidays, some bakeries will dry out their bread and cube it specifically for stuffing. 

And if you are short on time, you can always use the pre-packaged stuffing mix cubes in a bag like the kind from Pepperidge Farms or Brownberry


Can I prepare stuffing ahead of time and bake it the next day?


Yes! You can prepare this stuffing recipe ahead of time and bake it the next day. If you are baking in a casserole dish, you might need to bake it a few extra minutes to offset the temperature from the refrigerator. For any of the cooking methods mentioned, you also may need to add a bit more stock right before baking to keep it from drying out since it's had a chance to fully absorb the stock from the night before. 


Can I freeze sage and onion stuffing?


I would not recommend freezing leftover stuffing nor preparing and freezing the stuffing before baking. The texture will be off and it will get mushy. 


Can I use plant-based "butter" and vegetable stock to make this sage and onion stuffing vegan? 


Yes! You can replace the regular butter with plant-based butter and the chicken stock with vegetable stock. Also. omit the egg. The stuffing will still be delicious! 


Can I substitute gluten free bread for the bread portion of the stuffing to make this a gluten free sage and onion stuffing? 


Yes! You can substitute regular bread with your favorite gluten free bread to make this a gluten free sage and onion stuffing. For another option, try my Mushroom Quinoa Stuffing which is both gluten free and vegan.


Can I use dried ground sage instead of rubbed sage in this stuffing recipe?


Yes, you can but you need to adjust the amount you use. Dried sage can be found in the spice aisle as  ground or rubbed. Ground sage is made by grinding the entire leaf into a fine powder while rubbed sage is made by rubbing dried whole sage leaves to create a light and fluffy mix.

Ground sage is more concentrated than rubbed sage, so if you are using it, use half the amount called for for rubbed sage. 

Image for Pinterest

Image with text for Pinterest of Sage and Onion Stuffing ready to eat by Renee's Kitchen Adventures


sage and onion stuffing, onion and sage stuffing, homemade stuffing
side dish, Thanksgiving, Holiday
American
Yield: 10
Author: Renee Paj
Sage and Onion Stuffing

Sage and Onion Stuffing

Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 1 H & 10 M
This Sage and Onion Stuffing makes a great side dish for almost any meat, but especially good when paired with poultry, like chicken and turkey. It's a great easy stuffing recipe for the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving.

Ingredients

  • 3 - 4 quarts of bread cubes (2 loaves "day-old" bread = equivalent to 2 pounds total)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup minced flat leaf parsley
  • 3 TBSP dried rubbed sage (OR 2 TBSP minced fresh sage)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut bread into large cubes and, working in batch, put into food processor. Pulse two or three times to create crumbs.
  2. Place crumbs on baking sheet(s) and put in oven for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, to dry out bread and crisp it up a bit.
  3. Put bread crumbs in very large mixing bowl.
  4. In large skillet, over med-high heat, melt 1/4 cup butter. Add in celery and onion and sauté until onion begins to become translucent -about 6-10 minutes. (If using fresh sage, add it to the mixture halfway to allow the veggies and butter to get infused with sage flavor). Turn off heat and add the rest of the butter (save a little bit for the casserole dish if baking that way) and let it melt completely.
  5. Pour mixture over the bread crumbs and gently mix to coat all the crumbs with the melted butter.
  6. To the mixture, add parsley, dried rubbed sage, dried thyme, nutmeg, and chicken or vegetable stock. Stir to combine. (If mixture still seems dry, add a little more stock until it's moist). Taste for seasonings, and add salt and pepper as you like.
  7. Stir in beaten egg.
For Stuffing the Cavity of the Bird:
  1. Pack the cavity loosely with the stuffing. (you may have extra, which you can bake in a casserole dish on the side.) Roast the bird according to your directions. Check the internal temperature of the stuffing before eating it. It should be a minimum of 165 degrees for safe eating. This is very important! Remove stuffing from bird and place in a serving dish.
For baking in a Casserole Dish:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3 quart casserole dish. Spoon stuffing into dish loosely. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes to crisp up the top. No need to check internal temperature with this method.
For Cooking in a Slow Cooker:
  1. Butter the crock of the slow cooker and spoon stuffing into it. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours or until the stuffing is heated through. You can either remove stuffing to a serving dish or turn to warm and keep in slow cooker to serve. No need to check internal temperature with this method.

Notes:

TO MAKE AHEAD: Prepare stuffing up to the addition of the egg. Cover. Store in refrigerator overnight until ready to bake. Follow instructions above.

Nutrition Facts

Calories

337.33

Fat (grams)

21.40

Sat. Fat (grams)

12.43

Carbs (grams)

29.98

Fiber (grams)

2.49

Net carbs

27.49

Sugar (grams)

5.40

Protein (grams)

7.24

Sodium (milligrams)

586.35

Cholesterol (grams)

69.03

Nutritional Information provided is an estimate.

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