The Basics: How to Make Apple and Sage Stuffing

Apples and sage are one of the most evocative fall pairings we know—the sweetness and subtle acidity of aromatic apples like Galas or Pink Ladies, with the resinous, piny scent of the fresh herb. We’ve paired them for the ultimate autumnal celebration dish, the Thanksgiving stuffing. It’s a classic, easy-to-assemble bread stuffing baked outside the turkey so the top ends up golden brown and crisp. We designed this recipe to be easy to master, more of a general formula than a strict recipe. Enjoy!

For 6 to 8 servings, you'll need:

  • a 3-quart baking dish
  • a large heatproof bowl
  • a large frying pan
  • half a stick of unsalted butter, plus more to coat the baking dish
  • a 1-pound loaf of day-old bread
  • 2 onions
  • 2 apples (such as Pink Lady, Gala, or Golden Delicious)
  • 3 celery stalks
  • fresh sage leaves
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 cup of chicken stock or broth
  • salt and pepper
  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (it will take at least 20 minutes to warm up) and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat the baking dish with butter.

    Slice the crust off the bread, cut the loaf into 3/4-inch cubes, and place the cubes in the bowl. Chop the onions, apples, and celery stalks into 1/2-inch pieces. Finely chop a handful of sage and the leaves from about eight sprigs of thyme.

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    Melt the half stick of butter in the frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the onions and cook until they're just starting to brown, about five minutes. Add the apples, celery, and herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and easily pierced with a knife, about six minutes.

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    Add the stock or broth and bring the mixture to a simmer.

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    Turn the heat off and add the vegetable-apple mixture to the bread cubes. Season with two or three generous pinches of salt and a generous pinch of pepper, and mix well.

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    Dump the bread mixture into the baking dish and bake until the top of the stuffing just starts to brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.

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    THE RECIPES

    Sausage Stuffing

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    This is an easy go-to recipe, appropriate for stuffing inside the turkey’s cavity or baking apart, in a baking dish (our preferred method, for the crispy top surface and lack of worry about timing). It calls for two types of bread, white and coarse country levain, plus sweet Italian sausage—use hot if you like things spicy! Get our Sausage Stuffing recipe.

    Cornbread and Oyster Stuffing

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    Chef Charlie Palmer’s take on the Thanksgiving staple: Cornbread and oysters are a classic combination for Thanksgiving stuffing. In this recipe from Charlie Palmer, the chef uses fresh-shucked oysters, celery root, and slightly dried-out cornbread to create a stuffing with a perfectly moistened, not mushy, texture. Get our Cornbread and Oyster Stuffing recipe.

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