This Hawaiian Sweet Roll Stuffing with Sausage is the perfect balance of sweet and savory. It's a hearty stuffing than can be eaten on its own, but of course pairs well with your Thanksgiving Turkey.
I have been making this stuffing for several years now, every since I saw Geoffrey Zakarian make it on Food Network. I was intrigued by the flavor combination of sweet and savory, so I had to try it.
If you love the taste of 'box stuffing', this recipe is not for you. I know there are some purists who need to have that type of stuffing on their Thanksgiving table.
However, if you are open to trying a stuffing with contrasting flavors and meatiness, then please give this recipe a try. I've converted stuffing haters to lovers with this recipe!
The ingredient list looks extensive, but these are the main ingredients, plus some shortcuts you can use.
- Hawaiian Rolls
- Italian Sausage
- Mirepoix (onions, carrots, celery)
- Turkey Stock
A few ingredient short cuts are buying pre-diced onions, carrots, and celery (mirepoix). Stores will usually have this available during the holidays.
Another shortcut is using store bought turkey or chicken stock. While I love the flavors you get from a homemade turkey stock, using a carton will save you time.
Prepping the Hawaiian Rolls
Slice the Hawaiian roll into similar size cubes, don't worry they don't have to be perfect. A serrated knife works best to cut the rolls.
Drizzle the bread with olive oil and season with dried Italian seasoning.
Bake the bread at 350° F for 15 minutes or until the bread cubes are toasted. This process can also be done a day ahead of time. This actually works better since the bread dries out more, preventing the stuffing from getting too soggy.
The Sausage Mixture
Sausage in stuffing is pretty untraditional, but I love the meatiness and texture it adds. The original recipes uses hot Italian sausage, and the flavor is so good. But since my kids were eating this too, I went with mild Italian sausage.
The flavor was still good, but I prefer the spicy sausage. Most Thanksgiving side dishes aren't spicy, so I like to have one or two options with some heat!
Cook the sausage, then add the diced onions, carrots, and celery to the same pan. Once the vegetables have softened, add fresh rosemary, sage, and garlic. This will smell like Thanksgiving!
Baking the Stuffing
Butter a 9x13 casserole dish and pre-heat the oven to 350° F. Add the toasted bread crumbs to a large bowl and the cooked sausage mixture.
Whisk together 1 egg with the turkey stock and pour it into the bowl. Fold all the ingredients together and transfer to the buttered casserole dish.
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the stuffing is no longer soft in the middle. You want the top to be slightly crispy. Allow stuffing to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
I've tested 2 different options to make this stuffing ahead of time.
(1) Bake the bread cubes a day ahead of time, and cook the sausage mixture 1-2 days ahead of time. Combine and bake the stuffing the following day.
(2) Bake the stuffing for 30 minutes, remove the oven and allow to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator overnight and bake the next day for 20 minutes or until heated through.
You can use any type of dinner roll or loaf for this recipe. One year I could not get Hawaiian rolls and use plain dinner rolls. The flavor was not as sweet but still worked really well.
To complete your Thanksgiving dinner here are some of my favorite recipes:
Main Dish: Smoked Turkey and Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
Side Dishes: Maple Brussels Sprouts, Mashed Potatoes, Cauliflower Mash, Roasted Delicata Squash, Kale Salad with Acorn Squash.
Desserts: Chocolate Pecan Pie, Apple Empanadas, Cranberry Ricotta Cake
Hawaiian Sweet Roll Stuffing with Sausage
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 1 12 count Package of Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
- 4 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Dried Italian Seasoning
- 1 pound Italian Sausage (Hot or Mild)
- 1½ cups White Onion diced small
- 1 cup Carrots diced small
- 1 cup Celery diced small
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 sprig Fresh Rosemary finely chopped
- 6 leaves Fresh Sage finely chopped
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ½ cup Dried Cranberries (less sweetened is best)
- 1½ cups Turkey Stock or Chicken Broth
- 1 Egg
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread butter all around a casserole dish and set aside.
- Use a serrated knife to cube the Hawaiian rolls and place on a large baking sheet.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the cubed bread and season with Italian seasoning. Toss with your hands to distribute evenly.
- Bake bread cubes for 15 minutes or until golden and crispy. Set bread aside in a large bowl.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and brown the sausage until it's fully cooked. Then add the diced onions, carrots, and celery.
- Cook until the vegetables have softened. Then add minced garlic, rosemary, and sage. Cook for 1 minute then remove pan from the heat. Taste the mixture and see if salt or pepper is needed.
- Whisk 1 egg with the turkey stock until smooth.
- Add the cooked sausage mixture and cranberries to the bread cubes in a large bowl. Pour the turkey stock and fold to combine.
- Transfer to the buttered dish and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the middle is no longer soft and the outside is slightly crispy.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and depends on ingredients and amounts used. Thai Caliente makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
I always make my hubby's grandmother's dressing recipe for Thanksgiving but sometimes make stuffing as well. I came across your recipe and gave it a try tonight. Oh my goodness, so delicious! My teens agree and want this added to the menu next week! I didn't have fresh herbs so used 1 tsp dried rosemary and 1/2 tsp ground sage. I accidentally omitted salt and pepper and neither was missed with all of the other flavors. Next time I'll use your suggestion of the "less sweet" cranberries but it was still a yummy, fantastic blend of savory and sweet! Thank you for sharing this recipe and I look forward to trying more from your website! (One side note: the typed instructions do not mention cranberries in the steps. I had to watch the video to see when those should be added.)
Hi Jamie- That's so great to hear! This is the only stuffing my kids will now 🙂 Thank you for pointing out the cranberry instructions. I've updated the recipe 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!