Sausage, Fig & Cranberry Stuffing

Yesterday I asked readers on my Facebook page what they were most looking forward to eating next week for Thanksgiving. I always look most forward to, surprise, side dishes and dessert! Most specifically, stuffing, mashed potatoes and dinner rolls are my go-to on Thanksgiving. I could easily eat a massive pile of each and call it a day (as well as a very successful Thanksgiving meal). For the most part growing up, stuffing was always really good, pretty much your standard onion, celery, chicken broth, poultry spice and cubed bread variety. Fast forward to last year when, a few weeks before Thanksgiving, I was watching Ina Garten make a rolled, stuffed turkey breast. This is the stuffing she used. I think it took me a good 10 minutes to pick my jaw up off the floor. This was maybe the biggest hit of Thanksgiving last year and my Chief Culinary Consultant has declared it the best stuffing he has ever eaten. Ever.

I couldn’t get over all of the outstanding flavors that dance around together in this stuffing. We obviously have sausage, figs and cranberries, but there’s more, so much more. Those figs and cranberries are soaked in brandy, wowza! We also have rosemary and pine nuts. And of course the staples of onion, celery, and seasoned stuffing mix. Basically, the most amazing clash of flavors in a stuffing that man has ever seen.

As I mentioned above, this was a HUGE hit last year. Everyone was ooh-ing and aah-ing over it, asking what was in it and how it was made. My plan this year is to somehow hoard a portion for myself. Shhh, I’m not going to tell anyone where I’m stashing it! I highly recommend making this stuffing – you will be crowned a Thanksgiving rock star (and really, what better type of rock star is there?).

One year ago: Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Crisp Squares

Sausage, Fig & Cranberry Stuffing

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes


¾ cup large-diced dried figs, stems removed
¾ cup dried cranberries
½ cup Calvados or brandy
¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1½ cups diced onions
1 cup (½-inch-diced) celery (about 3 stalks)
12 ounces pork sausage, casings removed (sweet, mild or hot - your preference)
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1½ cups chicken stock
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9x13 casserole dish; set aside.

2. Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and ½ cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Add the figs and cranberries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

4. Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg, salt and pepper and stir well.

5. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes.

*Note: The stuffing can be assembled the day before, just cover and refrigerate.

(Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)


42 Responses to “Sausage, Fig & Cranberry Stuffing”

  1. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking on November 16, 2011 at 6:39 am

    This stuffing recipe is HAPPENING in my kitchen. It sounds incredible!! Thanks so much for the recipe!


  2. Katrina on November 16, 2011 at 6:53 am

    What a healthy alternative to regular stuffing! Yum.


  3. amanda @ fake ginger on November 16, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Yum! I love that it still uses the packaged stuffing but really dresses it up.


  4. Sally on November 16, 2011 at 8:14 am

    We could totally have Thanksgiving together – all I need is the mashed taters and stuffing. Frankly, it is ALL about the stuffing! This one looks great!


  5. The Café Sucré Farine on November 16, 2011 at 9:00 am

    This sounds just wonderful and I love the unique combination of flavors, I never heard of figs in a stuffing recipe, how fun – and delicious! Thanks!


  6. katie @KatieDid on November 16, 2011 at 10:09 am

    I missss stuffing, I need to make an adaptation of this for the holidays! I love the fruity additions!


  7. Elizabeth @ Coppertop Kitchen on November 16, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Fruit in stuffing is like magic, I swear. This sounds amazing.


  8. lauryn on November 16, 2011 at 10:31 am

    This sounds amazing- and I have some leftover cranberries from your cranberry upside down cake (that I turned into cupcakes!) However, i’ll have to make this another time, my dad would never allow any other stuffing than his at thanksgiving dinner!


  9. Grace on November 16, 2011 at 10:31 am

    There is no way I could get away with serving that at Thanksgiving (we love our traditional menu), but I make stuffing several times a year and I can’t wait to do this one up! It looks wonderful and I’ll bet it smells heavenly cooking!


  10. Kyla on November 16, 2011 at 10:49 am

    This looks delicious. I’ve made something similar to this but without the figs and booze! By the way, I think you’re missing how much butter is needed for this recipe in the ingredient list.


    • Michelle on November 16th, 2011 at 10:59 am

      Hi Kyla, Thank you for catching that, sorry about the typo! I have edited the recipe to include the butter.


  11. Jamie on November 16, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Wow, this one looks especially amazing. Will put it on my too be made list. Unfortunatly here in Canada Thanksgiving has come and gone 🙁


  12. Kelly on November 16, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Ohh wow this looks absolutely amazing and perfect for Thanksgiving! Gorgeous pictures!! 🙂


  13. Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes on November 16, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Thanksgiving is all about the stuffing for me! LOVE this recipe!


  14. Bex on November 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    “Stuffing mix” is this your homemade version or is it out of the box…never used out of the box stuffing mix that makes me kinda scared to use this recipe…..


    • Michelle on November 16th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      Hi Bex, This is a “box” mix, I actually used Pepperidge Farm in the bag. Don’t be scared! It’s delicious! You could always substitute your own dried bread with seasonings if you’d like.


  15. Marlina @ Baker Princess on November 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    wow, I’m practically drooling! I’m not usually a fan of stuffing (bleh, sage) but since this recipe has so many other wonderful flavors I definitely am going to try it out this year! Love the figs and cranberries 🙂 thanks!


  16. claire @ the realistic nutritionist on November 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    This is absolutely gorgeous. I love it 🙂 I love fig jelly and jam, but can’t seem to get on board with regular figs. Maybe this recipe will inspire a like for them!


  17. nicole {sweet peony} on November 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    this sounds amazing! i’ve never thought of putting fruit into the stuffing but i bet it tastes great! we’re doing thanksgiving out of town this year, but maybe i’ll still get a chance to make this 🙂


  18. Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos on November 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    What’s funny is that ep. was on the dvr this week and I printed out this recipe for Thanksgiving. Glad to hear that it’s a huge hit – it will definitely be on the menu this week.


  19. Penny Wolf on November 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    It’s like an Italian twist to dressing. This would pair so nicely with turkey cooked with rosemary and garlic, which I love. Thank you!


  20. amelia from Z Tasty Life on November 16, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    oh yes! I love the look and sound of this stuffing! so Fall-ish, so country-side, so comforting…


  21. Viviane Bauquet Farre on November 16, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Beautiful! Fig and cranberry are definitely more interesting flavors than you find in most stuffing recipes – I love your approach. The aesthetic outcome is worthy of the finest Thanksgiving banquets.


  22. Ann on November 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I made something VERY similar last year, but didn’t use the calvados. I stuffed a turkey breast. This one sounds EVEN BETTER! Thank you SO much for sharing this….you ARE a rock star!


  23. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. on November 16, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Stuffing is by far, my favorite Thanksgiving side! This stuffing looks really incredible! I love the figs and cranberries!


  24. Amalia on November 17, 2011 at 12:53 am

    This looks so delicious! I love all the different flavors, the cranberries, sausage, and the pine nuts, a fabulous combination! Great recipe, I love it 🙂


  25. Kita on November 17, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Stuffing is one of those guilty pleasures that I can’t resist. My family makes the same kind every year – and I love it – but all the other options out there make me want to deviate. Sausage, figs and my beloved cranberries? See, that’s what Im talking about. How could one not want to cheat of the same old stuffing when there are recipes like these out there to tempt me.


  26. Jenni on November 17, 2011 at 10:51 am

    We may have been separated at birth: my ideal Thanksgiving meal is stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls and gravy! This one really does sound amazing–I love the step of plumping the fruit with brandy. So yummy! Thank you for sharing–it took me a second to pick my jaw up off the floor, too! lol


  27. @Mango_Queen on November 17, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Oh my goodness! I love stuffing, more than the roast turkey. And this absolutely just does it for me! If I made this, I’d keep it for myself….delish! Thanks for sharing!


  28. sara on November 17, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Oooooooh this looks like an amazing stuffing…great flavors! 😀


  29. Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi) on November 18, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I LOVE this, especially the hint of brandy. This has to be amazing. I’m definitely recommending this for my dad and I to make next Thursday.


    • Grubarazzi on November 26th, 2011 at 8:02 am

      My father made this for our Thanksgiving feast and it was perfection! Thanks for the hit of inspiration.


  30. desertpa on November 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Wow this sounds amazing!! Can it be doubled and still baked in 9×13 pan? I have a lot of peeps to feed and they come hungry!


    • Michelle on November 18th, 2011 at 6:18 pm

      Yes, in fact I am going exactly that! It might need to bake a tad longer, but definitely doable.


  31. lisa on November 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I really want to try that. Love the combo of sausage and fig.


  32. Linda Gilmore on October 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Three of my favorite things, cranberries, sausage, figs and it’s rolled into another of my favorites bread stuffing. Could it get any better?


  33. Karl Anderson on November 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I made this stuff(ing) last year and in the words of Linda Richman it’s ‘butta’!


  34. Cathy O on November 24, 2012 at 8:00 am

    I made this last year for Thanksgiving and loved it. My only comment was I thought the figs were too big. So this year, I made it again for Thanksgiving, and chopped my figs smaller. Wow – loved it even more this year! Thank you for the great recipe


  35. vivian on November 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    i could not find dried figs, do u think i could substitute dried dates?


    • Michelle on November 27th, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Hi Vivian, Yes, absolutely!


  36. Veronica on December 23, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    Hi! Do I need to actually stuff the turkey with this or should it be cooked completely as a separate dish?
    Thank you, it’s my first time cooking turkey at all and I am so looking forward to making this stuffing!


    • Michelle on December 28th, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      Hi Veronica, I’ve only ever made this as a completely separate side dish since we deep-fry our turkeys.


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