Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Fennel Recipe

Use your favorite store-bought cornbread to make this crispy, golden dressing.

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Serves 8 to 10 (serving size: 1 cup)
Thanksgiving Classic Bread Dressing Recipe


  • 6 cups cubed day-old cornbread (about 15 oz.)

  • 1 pound fresh mild Italian sausage, casings removed

  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided

  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 1 large onion)

  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 Honeycrisp apple, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup


  1. Spread cubed cornbread on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Place in oven, and preheat to 400°F. Bake until cornbread is golden brown, about 15 minutes after oven preheats.

  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high. Cook sausage, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer sausage to a large bowl, reserving drippings in skillet. Add fennel, 1 tablespoon of the butter, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper to skillet. Reduce heat to mediumhigh; cook, stirring occasionally, until fennel is tender and slightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add fennel to bowl with sausage.

  3. Add onion, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of the butter, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Add to bowl with fennel and sausage. Add apple, thyme, and 1 tablespoon of the butter to skillet; cook, stirring often, until apples are slightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add apple mixture and toasted cornbread to sausage mixture in bowl.

  4. Whisk together chicken broth, eggs, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour over cornbread mixture in bowl, and toss gently to combine. Let stand 10 minutes.

  5. Grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Spread cornbread mixture in prepared dish. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove foil; dot dressing with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Return to oven; bake until golden brown, 25 minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup before serving.

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