Italian Turkey Stuffing / Dressing!

Say goodbye to boring, soggy, and dull stuffing (or dressing if you prefer).  You’ll change your mind immediately and never serve lifeless stuffing again once you prepare this recipe for your Thanksgiving meal:  Italian Turkey Stuffing.  

I kid you not!  Years ago I stumbled upon a fabulous recipe for turkey stuffing in Gourmet magazine.  But the original recipe was far too spicy.  After making several tweaks here and there, I toned down some of the overpowering flavors in a second batch.  The new version turned out perfectly balanced.  This stuffing is so fantastic that now everyone in my family insists on having this stuffing recipe each and every year!  

Any Thanksgiving table would not be complete without stuffing.  It would be like serving a naked turkey.  After all, stuffing is considered to be a classic, hall-of-fame side dish for the holiday!  It’s the co-star of the show next to the turkey.  Well, mashed potatoes and gravy share that spot too!

In this recipe, savory Italian pork sausage is tossed with melted Mozzarella cheese that oozes among toasted, buttered freshly baked bread cubes.  Using freshly baked bread that’s not purchased adds another big ‘wow’ factor to the texture of the dish.   While the bread is still hot, it’s tossed with butter-sauteed onions and celery plus a delicious blend of herbs and spices that just soak into the bread.  This stuffing/dressing is packed with so many flavors you could eat it all by itself . . . and some of my family do!   The amazing addition to this stuffing is the teeny, tiny bits of pepperoni (and not too much)!  We just love the crispy, crunchy top of this stuffing when baked outside the turkey.

Just like most of my holiday recipes, this Italian Turkey Stuffing can be made ahead.  When it’s time to put your hot side dishes in the oven, you simply stuff your bird or bake it on the side in a casserole dish . . . or both as I do to satisfy everyone with different preferences.

A great thing about this stuffing is that you refrigerate it overnight which allows all of the ingredients to marry.  That also eliminates one more thing that would keep you busy in the kitchen instead of spending more time with family and guests!  That’s a real game changer to reduce stress in the kitchen.

You won’t believe how wonderful your kitchen (and home) smells when this Italian Turkey Stuffing bakes in the oven!

Here are some other dishes that are always included on our Thanksgiving buffet.  All of these recipes have passed the test of time and some overly picky, demanding, foodie family members!

Autumn Chopped Salad

Tortellini in Brodo

Antipasto Platter

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Haricot Verts with Herbs (Green beans)

Cheesy Pepperjack Corn with Butter Crumb Topping

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Italian Turkey Stuffing / Dressing!

Italian Turkey Stuffing

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 8 reviews
  • Author: Roz
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Additional Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 24 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Cuisine: Italian


Inspired by a recipe in Gourmet magazine, once this stuffing was prepared and enjoyed by everyone in my family, it has been the go-to recipe ever since for the entire family coast-to-coast.  Truly a winner!


Units Scale
  • 20 oz. loaf of home-made bread, sliced, toasted, buttered, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes . . . (you can also buy and bake frozen bread dough for this)
  • 1 Tbsp. crumbled dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. crumbled dried sage
  • 1 tsp. crumbled dried rosemary (or less since it is so strong)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery & leaves
  • 1 stick plus 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • one turkey liver, gizzard, and heart — all chopped
  • 1 pound pork sausage . . . plus 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 8 oz. whole milk mozzarella cheese (fresh if possible), cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 2 oz. pepperoni, cut into 1/8″ tiny, tiny bits


  1. In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with the thyme, sage, rosemary . . . salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a skillet, cook the onions, celery, AND celery leaves in 9 Tbsp. of butter over medium heat until softened and tender (about 8 to 10 minutes) stirring occasionally and then add this to the bowl of bread cubes.
  3. In the skillet, cook the giblets in 2 Tbsp. of butter over moderate heat, stirring for 4 minutes or until they are browned . . . adding salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Add this mixture to the bread cube mixture.
  5. In the skillet, cook the sausage, breaking it into pieces, over moderate heat until it is cooked through.
  6. Add 1 tsp. garlic and some salt.
  7. Add this to the bread cube mixture.
  8. Add the mozzarella, pepperoni to the bread mixture….toss completely and let cool completely.
  9. Bake either inside a turkey or in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees until golden brown on the top.
  11. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to stuff the turkey or bake separately (or both).
  12. The aroma will simply amaze you when you open your refrigerator!


Adapted from Gourmet magazine


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 500