Prunes appear in both sweet and savory dishes and are often paired with pork, as in this recipe. (Prunes are dried plums—in particular, the small purple plums called prune plums. Dried apricots can replace some or all of the prunes in the dressing if desired.)–Michael McLaughlin

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

The unexpected contrast of sweet prunes with pork sausage made this a winning recipe for our testers that they’ll be returning to year after year.

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Breakfast sausage–We like pork sausage best here, as it pairs well with the prunes in the stuffing. You can substitute a turkey or chicken sausage if you prefer. You can also make homemade breakfast sausage.
  • Sourdough bread–You could substitute a sturdy artisan bread.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Cook the sausage. Brown the sausage in a skillet until cooked through, then transfer to paper towels to drain and wipe out the skillet.
  2. Cook the onions. Melt the butter in the same skillet, add the onions and poultry seasoning, and cook, covered, until the onions are soft.
  3. Mix the dressing. Combine the bread, sausage, and onions in a large bowl. Whisk the stock and eggs together in a separate bowl, then stir it into the dressing. Add the prunes and season well.
  4. Cook the dressing. Bake the dressing in a buttered baking dish or inside the turkey.


What type of sausage should I use?

This recipe calls for one pound of bulk breakfast sausage. You could also use ground country sausage but we would advise staying away from anything heavily spiced, like an Italian sausage. You can go with turkey rather than pork if you prefer something leaner, as well.

Can I make this ahead of time?

You can assemble the dressing one day before and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. If you plan on cooking the stuffing inside a turkey, do not stuff the bird until just before baking it.

What’s the difference between stuffing and dressing?

Stuffing is generally cooked inside a turkey, while dressing is baked separately in a baking dish. This sourdough dressing could also be called sourdough stuffing since you can cook it inside a turkey. For more details, check out this article on the differences between stuffing and dressing.

Helpful Tips

  • To stop your dressing from sticking to the aluminum foil while baking, give the underside of the foil a light coating of cooking spray before covering the baking dish.
  • If your bread is still quite fresh, dry it out by spreading the cubes of bread on rimmed baking sheets and cooking in a 300°F oven for 30 minutes.

More Great Dressing and Stuffing Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Sourdough dressing with sausage and prunes in a green ceramic dish with a large serving spoon.

Sourdough Dressing with Sausage and Prunes

5 / 3 votes
This sourdough dressing with sausage and prunes pairs pork with prunes for a savory and sweet side that goes well with Thanksgiving turkey.
David Leite
Servings8 to 10 servings
Calories784 kcal
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time2 hours


  • 1 pound bulk breakfast sausage with sage, coarsely crumbled
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • 4 cups (1 1/4 pounds) finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • 2 1/2 pounds sourdough bread slices, 2 or 3 days old, crusts trimmed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 5 eggs
  • 5 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
  • 2 cups prunes, quartered and pitted
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cook the sausage and onions

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, stirring it occasionally without breaking up too much, until just cooked through and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to paper towels to drain. Discard the drippings in the skillet and wipe the skillet clean.
  • Return the skillet to medium heat and heat the butter until it foams. Stir in the onion and poultry seasoning, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is quite softened, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Mix the dressing

  • In a large bowl, toss together the bread, sausage, and onion and butter mixture.
  • In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk the stock into the eggs and then stir the stock mixture into the bread mixture. Add the prunes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and mix well.

To bake the dressing alongside the turkey

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Generously butter a 4-quart baking dish. Spoon the dressing into the prepared dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until the dressing is lightly browned on top and well browned on the sides and bottom but still moist, about another 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand on a wire rack for 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot.

To bake the dressing in the turkey (in which case it’s technically “stuffing”)

  • Loosely cram the dressing in the turkey and truss the larger opening. Increase the roasting time of the turkey by 35 to 45 minutes. Generously butter a baking dish and spoon the remaining dressing into the dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake alongside the turkey for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the dressing is steaming hot, lightly browned and crisped on top, and well browned on the sides and bottom but still moist, another 25 minutes or so, depending on the size of the baking dish. Serve hot.


  1. Make in advance–Prepare the unbaked dressing up to 1 day in advance. Store, covered, in the fridge until ready to bake. Never stuff a turkey until just before baking.
  2. Drying out fresh bread–If your bread is still fresh, toss the cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and cook in a 300°F oven for 30 minutes to dry them out.
  3. Stop dressing from sticking–Coat the underside of your aluminum foil with cooking spray to stop the top of the dressing from sticking to the foil.
Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving by Michael McLaughlin

Adapted From

Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 784 kcalCarbohydrates: 120 gProtein: 32 gFat: 21 gSaturated Fat: 7 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 143 mgSodium: 1670 mgFiber: 9 gSugar: 25 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2001 Michael McLaughlin. Photo © 2001 Noel Barnhurst. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I love this sourdough dressing with sausage and prunes recipe. The prunes are a lovely bite of unexpected sweetness to contrast with the sausage. It makes so much! Easily feeds 15. 

The cook times are accurate, and everything works wonderfully. I’d probably add more poultry seasoning in the next batch I make. The herbs were rather subtle, which is maybe the point but I would prefer a bit more. However, this is merely a personal preference and was not detrimental to the recipe.

This sourdough dressing with sausage and prunes was a very different recipe for me. Like many people, I have a tried and true recipe that I generally use to make stuffing/dressing and can be skeptical of new recipes. The poultry seasoning gave this one a very traditional type of flavor and the prunes lent a nice pop of interest to each bite.

This recipe seemed foolproof to me–each step worked pretty much as planned. It seemed like a lot of liquid at first, but it came out perfectly at the end. If you are unable to get the bread 2 or 3 days early, I think that it would work just as well to dry the bread cubes in the oven at about 300°F for 30 minutes or so. I think that this would pair really well with a pork crown roast, but would also be lovely for any holiday poultry that you like. 

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Leave out the sausage and the eggs, add dried apricots and toasted nuts and a touch more melted butter, increase to taste the poultry seasoning and reduce the amount of chicken stock and you have my go too stuffing/dressing/forcemeat recipe – a riff on my mother’s stuffing/dressing/forcemeat recipe the family has used for the past 60 or so years.

    1. Vivien, that sounds truly lovely. And if I were to make this—which I confess I may now with your tweaks—I’d swap half the sourdough for day-old cornbread. Many thanks for sharing such a lovely riff on the recipes.

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe has become a staple for us, one of our favorites! It is a huge recipe though, you might want to cut it in half.