These gluten free stuffing muffins are filled with sweet Italian sausage, apples, cranberries, sage and pine nuts for a fun alternative to traditional stuffing in the perfect portion size.
Stuffing or dressing?
Please tell me you say the former.
Dressing is something you put on salad, not the Thanksgiving table.
It’s almost as bad as when people call pasta sauce “gravy” (cringe).
Stuffing is hands down the best part of Thanksgiving to me.
Nothing else comes even remotely close.
If it was acceptable to just pile my mom’s stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce on my plate without any other sides or even the turkey, I’d be a happy camper.
In fact, I created this cornbread chestnut stuffing to mimic her recipe and I’d be just as happy with that on my plate too.
Why You’ll Love This Easy Stuffing Muffin Recipe
The bread takes a backseat and instead the sweet Italian sausage, cranberries, pine nuts, apples and herbs shine.
It’s the perfect balance of sweet and savory, super moist (dry stuffings are THE WORST) and the one thing that there’s usually no leftovers of when dinner is over (although if there are, these stuffing frittata bites are a hit the next day).
So if you’re like me and could easily gorge yourself on stuffing alone, these sausage cranberry apple stuffing muffins might just be the answer to your overflowing Thanksgiving plate.
Plus, then you leave some room for other delicious sides like green beans with cranberries, bacon and goat cheese – another family favorite.
Or, you can just say heck with it, it’s Thanksgiving after all and eat half the muffin tin yourself.
No shame in that game either.
Ingredients Needed to Make Stuffing Muffins
- white sandwich bread – I used Udi’s
- extra virgin olive oil
- sweet Italian sausage
- apple – use a variety that is somewhat tart like Granny Smith
- minced garlic
- pine nuts
- milk – any variety will work, just be sure it’s not sweetened
- salt and pepper
Using Homemade Croutons for the Stuffing
I wanted to take a lot of the elements from my mom’s recipe and shove them into muffin molds to create these perfectly portioned stuffing muffins.
Instead of buying those pre-made stuffing croutons, I made my own using Udi’s white sandwich bread, cutting slices into cubes and toasting them in the oven.
I’ve never been a fan of seasoned croutons (or breadcrumbs for that matter) and would much rather add my own seasonings and spices. If you’re used to buying pre-made croutons for stuffing, I highly recommend making your own this year, it makes a world of difference!
How to Make Cranberry Apple Sausage Stuffing in a Muffin Tin
Preheat the oven and toast the bread cubes on a baking sheet.
Melt the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the celery and onion and cook until they are soft.
Stir in the sausage, apple, sage, and minced garlic. Cook until the sausage has browned. Sprinkle in the cranberries and pine nuts. Cook for another 2 minutes then remove from the heat.
Beat the milk and eggs in a bowl.
Add the toasted bread and sausage mixture to the bowl with the eggs. Season with salt and pepper and set aside for 5 minutes.
Grease a muffin tin, then pack the stuffing into each cavity.
Bake until golden brown and top and allow it for cool for 10 to 15 minutes before scooping out and serving.
Tips for Making and Storing
- Using another type of sausage or ground meat may lack seasoning, so just adjust based on your liking.
- You can also add diced mushrooms if you’d like.
- Using a vegetable chopper will help to save preparation time.
- To make ahead of time: Toast the bread, let cool completely then store in a plastic bag. You can also prep all of the your veggies ahead of time so all you have to do it mix it up and bake.
- Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To freeze, wrap the individual stuffing muffins in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag for up to 2 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight, then bring them to room temperature. Warm in the oven at 350°F .
- Want to make mini stuffing muffins? Use a mini-muffin tin and follow the same directions, except reduce the cooking time so they don’t get over done.
What We Serve Stuffing Muffins With
While this is a total holiday and fall favorite, it’s doesn’t have to be reserved just for turkey day! Here are some of our favorite serving suggestions:
- Apple Butter Roasted Chicken
- Slow Cooker Tri-Tip
- Sheet Pan Cornish Game Hens
- Balsamic Dijon Crusted Beef Tenderloin
Love this Gluten-Free Stuffing Muffin recipe? Try these too:
Sausage Cranberry Apple Stuffing Muffins
- 5 slices Udi’s white sandwich bread cubed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery about 2 stalks
- 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion about 1 small
- 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
- 1 cup finely chopped apple something on the tart side like Granny Smith works well
- 2 tablespoons chopped sage
- 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped cranberries
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place cubed bread on a baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Bake for about 10 minutes until crispy and starting to brown on edges. Remove and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the butter and remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.
- Once butter is melted, add the celery and onion and cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the sausage, apple, sage and garlic and continue cooking until sausage is browned, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks with a spatula.
- Add the cranberries and pine nuts to the pan, toss to combine, cook another 2 minutes and remove from heat.
- Beat the eggs and milk together in a large bowl.
- Add the toasted bread cubes and sausage mixture to the bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss well until thoroughly combined. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray and spoon stuffing mixture into the muffin tins, packing the mixture in tightly in each mold.
- Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown on top.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before using a sharp knife to loosen the edges and remove from the tins.
- Serve warm.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.