This butternut squash stuffing recipe is a delicious mix of tender butternut squash, Italian sausage, crisp bread, and a melody of fall-themed herbs and spices.
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Table of Contents
- About Butternut Squash Stuffing
- How should you prepare the bread?
- How can you quickly dry bread?
- Is there a difference between stuffing and dressing?
- Can you substitute butternut squash for sweet potato?
- Can you make butternut squash stuffing in advance?
- How long is stuffing good for?
- Can you freeze stuffing?
- Notes & tips for butternut squash stuffing
- More great side dishes
- How to make butternut squash stuffing
- Recipe Details
About Butternut Squash Stuffing
Nothing says a holiday dinner quite like stuffing, and this butternut squash stuffing is all about making your holiday dinner full of comfort food.
From the butternut squash to the Italian sausage to the fall-themed spices of allspice and nutmeg, this side dish is full of flavor and will pair well with any main course.
How should you prepare the bread?
One of the keys to making delicious stuffing is a simple trick:
Cut the bread into bite-size pieces, then leave it out, uncovered, overnight.
This will allow the bread to dry out some, which is very important for the texture and flavor of stuffing. Even using slightly stale bread is okay. It gives the bread some crunch (but not too much) and encourages the bread to absorb flavors without becoming too mushy.
How can you quickly dry bread?
Is everyone ready to eat some stuffing and you remembered everything except drying out the bread?
We’ve all been there. It happens. And thankfully, it’s fixable.
To quickly dry out bread, do the following:
- Cut bread into 1 inch cubes and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Gently stir, then bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the bread appears dry (lightly crisp and a little golden) but not overly browned.
- Allow to cool then use as instructed in the recipe.
Is there a difference between stuffing and dressing?
If you want to get technical, “stuffing” is supposed to refer to whatever is actually stuffed inside the main dish (such as stuffing the cavity of turkey or chicken). And by classic standards, a bread-based side that’s baked in a dish is usually called “dressing.”
But despite that, you’ll find areas all over the United States who will prefer to call this stuffing so that it isn’t confused with a liquid sauce dressing (like ranch, thousand island, etc). And then you’ll find whole pockets of the southern United States who will refuse to use the word “stuffing” because of how unpleasant it sounds.
So, what should you call a dish like this, then?
In the end, you can call it whatever makes the most sense to you. Neither is wrong and everyone will know what you mean. And this is exactly what I do when I cook stuffing for company: we all use our favorite word, multiple times a day, as if there’s a competition going on (there is) and whoever says their word the most wins (I will totally win).
Can you substitute butternut squash for sweet potato?
Yes, you totally can!
Depending on the size, you may need 1-3 sweet potatoes to make an equal substitution of butternut squash.
As far as preparation, it’s nearly identical for both, except you can skip the part about microwaving and removing seeds (since that’s not necessary for a sweet potato). You may also need to extend the cooking time of the sweet potatoes for another 10 minutes to ensure they’re tender enough. Be sure to test the texture with a fork before adding the sweet potatoes to the stuffing mixture.
Can you make butternut squash stuffing in advance?
Stuffing is typically made for big holiday dinners, and one of the keys to success is timing. With limited counter space and oven room, the more you can make in advance, the better.
The bad news here is that stuffing is still best baked just before serving. But fear not! You can prepare most of the recipe steps in advance so that when you’re ready to eat, all you need to do is mix and bake. Such as:
- Store the bread separately. This should be the easy part, since you’re already leaving the bread on the counter overnight so that it dries out (see point above about bread). If the bread has dried out to your liking but it’s not ready to cook yet, just store it in a bag or sealed container until it’s time.
- Cook the meat and vegetable ingredients per recipe instructions (butternut squash, italian sausage, onion, celery). Once prepared, transfer the ingredients to a sealed container, then store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to move forward.
- Hold off on doing anything with the liquid ingredients (melted butter, eggs, seasonings, chicken broth). Those are mixed in just before baking, so there’s nothing you need to do in advance.
How long is stuffing good for?
Once prepared and cooled, this butternut squash stuffing can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Can you freeze stuffing?
Yes, you totally can!
Once prepared and cooled to room temperature, herb stuffing can be stored in a sealed container or freezer bag for one to three months.
Notes & tips for butternut squash stuffing
- For most stuffing recipes, you’ll need a trusty 9×13 baking dish. I like this one because not only is it good quality but it also makes a pretty serving dish.
- You’ll also need a large bowl for this recipe. I like this 13 quart mixing bowl because it’s light, easy to handle, and more than big enough for all the ingredients.
More great side dishes
How to make butternut squash stuffing
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – Prepare the butternut squash by peeling it, microwaving it, cutting it in half, and removing the seeds. Cut the butternut squash into cubes, toss it in olive oil, and bake until tender. Once all of this is done, set it aside for now.
Step 2 – Prepare the Italian sausage by cooking and crumbling it in a skillet. Drain the grease, then toss in the onion and celery. Cook a bit more until the vegetables are tender, then set the skillet aside.
Step 3 – Mix everything up! In a 13-quart mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs, sage, thyme, salt, butter, nutmeg, and allspice. Add the cooked butternut squash, Italian sausage and vegetables, and dried out bread to the bowl, then use a spatula to gently toss everything together.
Step 4 – Pour in a little bit of chicken broth, gently mix, and then check the bread. You only need enough chicken broth to moisten the bread; avoid soaking it with chicken broth if it doesn’t need it. It’s okay to use less or more chicken broth as needed.
Step 6 – Bake!
Step 7 – Serve and enjoy!
Butternut Squash Stuffing
- 1 butternut squash, peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 pound Italian sausage
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1/2 cup salted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 eggs
- 12 sprig fresh sage, chopped
- 4 sprig fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 loaf Italian bread, dried out and cubed (roughly 8 cups) *
- 2 1/2 cup chicken broth, more or less depending on bread
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
- Add olive oil to bowl and toss squash to coat. Once coated, pour squash onto prepared baking sheet and spread out into an even layer.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until squash has softened (test with a fork). Once baked, set squash aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook and crumble sausage until no longer pink, about 10-12 minutes. Once cooked, drain and discard any grease.
- Return skillet to heat and add onion and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4-6 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside.
- In a 13-quart mixing bowl, add the melted butter, eggs, sage, thyme, salt, butter, nutmeg, and allspice. Whisk well to combine.
- Add cooked squash, cooked sausage and vegetables, and breadcrumbs to bowl, then use a spatula to gently toss ingredients together.
- Working in batches, slowly pour a little chicken broth over the stuffing, then gently mix. If needed, add more chicken broth and mix again. Only use enough chicken broth so that the bread is moistened but not soaked.
- Pour the butternut squash stuffing mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. If desired, top with chopped walnuts.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until heated through.
- Serve immediately.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.