Smoked Sausage, Caramelized Onion, and Cornbread Stuffing

4.58 from 7 votes
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Smoked Sausage Stuffing is the ultimate holiday side dish! This Thanksgiving stuffing has savory smoked sausage, caramelized onions, and sweet cornbread, and is cooked directly on the smoker or grill freeing up your oven for other things!

Smoked Sausage Cornbread stuffing in a cast iron pan.
This is on our Thanksgiving Menu Every Year
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Did you know you can cook your Thanksgiving stuffing (or dressing, however you prefer to call it) directly on your smoker or grill, saving room in your oven for all the other goods. Or better yet, take Thanksgiving outside this year and give your oven a break! Bonus points if you use our smoked turkey recipe.


Before we moved to our new house we had the worlds tiniest oven. It was ridiculous. Like so tiny you couldn’t fit a regular sized turkey in it. I’m not lying. So whenever we hosted Thanksgiving we adapted all of our favorite recipes to be cooked outside on the smoker or grill.

Pro tip: Use your grill as a warmer while other things are cooking so nothing is served cold. 

This Smoked Sausage Stuffing recipe works both on your grill or smoker, just depending on if you want some of that smoked love. It is super easy to make and the results are so good this has been our go-to stuffing every year for at least the last 10 years.

You can start with our skillet cornbread recipe since you need day old cornbread.

How to Make Smoked Sausage & Cornbread Stuffing

  • Start with bulk sausage, about one pound, and break it up into about quarter size pieces and place on a baking sheet. Place on your smoker, preheated to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, and cook up to 60 minutes, until the pieces are cooked through.
Sausage cooking on the grill.
  • Next caramelize your onions, then mix the remaining ingredients together, and then place into a cast iron pan. Jack up your smoker temp to around 375 degrees (F) and place your sausage stuffing into the smoker for about 30 minutes or until it looks crispy and cooked through. You can also finish cooking in your oven at the same temperature and time (375 degrees for 30 minutes).
Thanksgiving sausage stuffing on the smoker

Boom. That’s it. And if looking for more stuffing ideas try our grilled wild mushroom stuffing.

More Holiday Side Dish Recipes

Smoked Holiday Recipe Roasts

About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

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Smoked Sausage, Caramelized Onion, Cornbread Stuffing for Thanksgiving, cooked on the smoker or grill
4.58 from 7 votes

Smoked Sausage, Caramelized Onion, and Cornbread Stuffing Recipe

A simple smoked sausage, caramelized onion, and cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving, cooked on the smoker or grill.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Smoking Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
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  • 1 pound bulk spicy Italian pork sausage
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (roughly 2 cups worth)
  • 10 sage leaves, chopped (about ¼ cup loosely packed)
  • 10 sprigs thyme, chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 6 cups day old/dried cornbread, chopped into 1-inch cubes, (we prefer gluten-free cornbread)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup chicken stock, (may need more or less, see notes)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper, (or a few twists of fresh ground pepper)


Smoke Sausage

  • Pre-heat smoker to 225 degrees using fruit wood.
  • Break up the sausage into quarter size pieces and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Place on the smoker for up to 60 minutes, or until browned. Remove and transfer the sausage to a large bowl.
    Increase the grill temperature to 375 degrees, using a two-zone or direct/indirect method, to prepare it for cooking the stuffing.

Make Dressing

  • Caramelize Onions: In a large skillet set to medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter and the chopped onions. Let them slowly soften and nearly caramelize (about 15 – 20 minutes), stirring often. Remove from heat and add the sage and thyme. Mix together. Transfer to the large bowl with the sausage.
  • Add the cornbread pieces and cranberries to the bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, chicken stock, and one egg. Pour that mixture over the cornbread and stuffing mix. Add salt and pepper and stir together. Add more chicken stock (just a couple tablespoons at a time) if the mix looks dry.
  • Transfer to a buttered 10-inch round cast iron skillet for this size portion (alternatively a large buttered baking dish will work too)
  • Place the skillet uncovered on the grill and bake until the top is golden brown (or about 30 minutes). Alternatively you can finish in the oven at the same temperature and time.



Gluten Free: for a gluten free version just make sure you are using gluten free cornbread.
For the cornbread it’s best to use day old cornbread. But if you forget to cook it the day before (it happens!), cut the pieces into 1″ cubes and place on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for a couple minutes, monitoring closely, to dry out a little bit and toast up.
If the cornbread is still too moist, the texture of the dressing will be more cakelike.


Calories: 1721kcal | Carbohydrates: 212g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 77g | Saturated Fat: 31g | Cholesterol: 368mg | Sodium: 3115mg | Potassium: 919mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 69g | Vitamin A: 1290IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 536mg | Iron: 9mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Smoking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: easy, Holiday, Thanksgiving
Cuisine: Thanksgiving side dish
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 1721
Keyword: sausage and cornbread stuffing, smoked sausage stuffing, smoked stuffing
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. John, you can certainly do that if you are traveling elsewhere (assuming maybe it’s your location). I would actually slice it all up when done, then fridge it. Then when you are warming, use a little apple cider vinegar in your pan, put the turkey parts in there at a lower heat (250 ish), and wrap in foil. When you reheat that way, you are steaming and warming at the same time.

  1. This is the best stuffing we have ever had and crave it every year!!
    I lost my print out and almost freaked out!! Thank goodness for History on my computer and found it from 2 years ago!! So excited to be making it again for the 3 year!

  2. I love how you figured out how to adjust things to make it work for you. I can relate, since my first stove in my NYC apartment years ago wasn’t wide enough to fit sheet pans; a large turkey would never have worked. The combination of ingredients and flavors in this stuffing sounds awesome together. If I was making TDay dinner, I’d totally include it, but we are eating out, but I will save it for another time. Thank you!

  3. Ooh I love the idea of using the grill as a food warmer too, during the holidays. What a great tip! And I love the flavor combo you have with this stuffing recipe.

  4. The combination of sausage and cornbread in a stuffing sounds incredible! We’re going to be staying at a cabin for Thanksgiving so this recipe would be perfect!

  5. 5 stars
    What a great idea to do the stuffing on the smoker! I love that it frees up room in the kitchen too! I may need to try this for Thanksgiving this year!