Grandma’s Meat Stuffing

Grandma's Meat Stuffing

One of the staples at my family Thanksgiving is my grandmothers meat stuffing. Meat stuffing may seem weird to many people since it isnt one of the typical T-day dishes. It was even a little weird to me growing up! But after I got over it, it became my favorite thing on the table that I look forward to every year. Think a big casserole with the flavors of stuffing but instead of bread, it’s mostly just ground meat! I use sausage and beef for the meat, and then there is a lot of potato and breadcrumbs to hold everything together. And butter. Lots of butter!

My family history with this Meat Stuffing Recipe

When I wrote this recipe, it was the first year that my grandmother didn’t have her own kitchen for thanksgiving, so it was up to my mom and I to re-create it. Asking her for the recipe proved fruitless however due to a bit of memory loss. My mom and I talked on the phone beforehand trying to figure out exactly what was in this thing, but I think it’s been a little different every year for at least the past 3 years so it was hard to remember. In the end, we came up with something that everyone agreed was delicious and “pretty close to grandma’s version”. The thing we disagreed about though was HOW it was different. “Less bread” said my Dad. “More bread” said my Mom. I think next year I will take both of their advice. (cause it was perfect)

Origins of this meat stuffing recipe

My Grandmother is Italian American, but a lot of feedback I have received since I posted this recipe is that meat stuffing is a popular French Canadian dish as well! It seems like that version has some warming spices like cinnamon and clove. People tell me, “My Mémère makes this same recipe!” I love hearing that kind of feedback! It also makes me wonder, why was my Italian Grandmother making a French Canadian recipe? Let me know in the comments if your family makes something like this and we can figure out where it came from!

Lets get started!

All the meat in a pan

First cook the beef and sausage in a pan, then pour it all into a bowl. Try and get some nice browning at this step. This recipe also makes a lot so it stretches the limits of my pans and bowls!

Cooking the onion and celery in some butter and adding garlic

In the same pan after removing the meat, add the butter, onion and celery for a few minutes, then the garlic. Sometimes at this step I also add a little bit of sage, rosemary, and thyme, but it’s not in the “official” recipe.

All the ingredients for meat stuffing in a big bowl ready to mix

Parsley, mashed potatoes, breadcrumbs, the veggies, and the meats ready to be all mixed together and baked. After mixing everything, you can hold this stuffing in the fridge a few days, then bake it when it’s time to eat. I didn’t think that baking it would change the flavor of the meat stuffing much, but it actually does!

meat stuffing ready to dig in!

Not the most pretty food, but such a classic dish that will always remind me of thanksgiving with my family! My all time favorite stuffing, for me Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without it. My OTHER favorite stuffing is made from tater tots!

A lot of people ask where I got this pan, I grabbed it at a vintage market!

Variations on Meat Stuffing

I mentioned earlier that I love to add a little sage, rosemary, and thyme to the onions sometimes. I also like to do Italian sausage sometimes instead of breakfast sausage. Or a little of both! My grandmother made it a little different every year, so I like to honor that tradition and switch it up.

The more French Canadian versions I have seen will also sometimes use veal in addition to the other meats, cinnamon, clove, and /or poultry seasoning.

Grandma's Meat Stuffing
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4.67 from 3 votes

Grandma’s Meat Stuffing

My grandmothers traditional stuffing that she served every Thanksgiving.
Prep Time20 hours
Cook Time1 hour
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 382kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound breakfast sausage
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large handful parsley
  • 1.5 cups mashed potato
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Instructions

  • Cook beef and sausage in a frying pan. Remove from pan and into a large bowl. Drain excess fat but keep some in the pan.
  • Add the butter to the pan. sauté onions, celery and garlic in butter over low heat for about 5 minutes. Once softened, add to the large bowl with the meat.
  • Add the parsley, potato, and breadcrumbs to the bowl. Stir to combine. Add the chicken stock, starting with half, and continuing to add a little more if needed to soften.
  • Pour the mixture into a loaf pan (or two). You can store in the fridge for up to a few days before baking.
  • Preheat oven to 350. Bake for an hour until heated through and lightly brown on top.

Notes

Sometimes I add a little sage and rosemary to the mixture, I have also done this with hot or sweet italian sausage instead of breakfast sausage. – I think it’s nice to switch it up slightly every time I make it. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1scoop | Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 395mg | Potassium: 438mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg

26 Comments

    1. I’m making this recipe today for Thanksgiving. So delicious. I’m in the same predicament trying to perfect nanas delicious 😋 meat stuffing. Thank you for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    2. Hi , My Mom made the Canadian meat stuffing and I’m actually trying to remember her recipe. It has been in my family for generations being we are French Canadian. My dad was. She took a tall pot, alittle oil and chopped onions , celeryand simmered. Added ground beef, sausage, and cooked potatoe chunks all in that tall pan. Cooked 20 minutes added breadcrumbs salt pepper and the most important spice was summer savory. That gave it the main taste. All cooked on top of the stove. It was amazing!! I think that was all. lol. My parents have both passed away. My sister remembers some of the recipe. She only liked bread stuffing . My mom would cook both meat and bread. If I can’t find summer savory seasoning I’m going to try your recipe with rosemary and thyme. Never tasted either of them. Thanks for sharing.

      1. It has to have the summer savory! I get mine from Amazon! This is the one thing we have in our family that is passed down through the generations. Our whole Thanksgiving meal revolves around it. My kids are now making it, so that’s at least five generations.

      2. My mom made pork stuffing with poultry seasoning, bread crumbs. I am trying to remember the recipe (no potatoes). We made French Canadian Meat pie same recipe. It came from my dad’s Franch Canadian family.

  1. Grandma’s meat stuffing? Isn’t that called Grandpa? Sorry I couldn’t resist.
    Looks damned good though.

  2. It’s so hard to recapture the food of your memories/childhood. Congratulations on being mostly successful.
    Do you actually stuff it into something at any occasion, or is it an additional protein? I’ve never heard of meat stuffing before.

    1. My grandmother’s is slightly different. No mashpotato, I add 3 apples, walnuts (to your preference & only cook/drain meat. Then stuff it in turkey & extra stuffing goes in pan with melted butter. You can also use turkey broth from turkey pan.

  3. Recipe for Turkey Meat Stuffing
    Ingredients:
    1. 1 LB of Ground Beef 1. 1 1/2 LB of Ground Beef
    2. 1 LB of Ground Veal or 2. 1 1/2 LB of Ground Pork
    3. 1 LB of Ground Pork
    4. 1 Stick of Butter/Margarine
    5. 1 – 1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock / Broth
    6. 1 Large Yellow Onion (Diced)
    7. 4 Ribs Celery (Diced)
    8. 1 ½ cup of Mushrooms (Diced) or 1 can of Mushrooms stems and pieces
    9. 8-10 Large Peeled Potatoes (Cooked (boiled and drained) ¾ of the way to being done) allow to cool then be Diced/Chopped into 1/2” pieces
    10. 1 teaspoon of both Salt and Pepper (or to your taste)
    11. 1 teaspoon of All Spice
    12. 1/4 teaspoon of ground Clove
    13. 1/4 teaspoon of Sage
    14. Optional (1-1 ½ cups of Raisins after being reconstituted with 1-1 1/2 cup Brandy(Apple) or Bourbon Whiskey)
    Directions:
    1. Prep the Potatoes and if desired (Optional) the Raisins as described above in the Ingredients.
    2. In large frying pan melt ¾ of a stick of Butter/Margarine and combine Onion, Celery, Mushroom (add a little Bell Pepper if desired) and sauté on medium heat until ingredients are just starting to wilt or soften. Remove from the heat. (will be used in next step after meat is drained)
    3. In a large Iron skillet melt ¼ stick of Butter/Margarine and combine the meats and brown it ½ to ¾ of the way on medium-high heat.(5-10 minutes) Drain the Fat away from the meat in the skillet.
    4. Place the Skillet back on medium heat and combine and mix all of the above ingredients (except for potatoes) and when the mixture is around 90% cooked (10-15 minutes) reduce heat to low and add and mix in the Potatoes. Allow the collective liquid to cook away from meat stuffing mixture or drain it after the meat stuffing is completely cooked.
    5. Allow Meat stuffing to cool to room temperature before stuffing the Turkey or Place it in a container and refrigerate it until you reheat it later if you are going to serve as a side dish. (Highly recommend stuffing Bird)
    6. Can also be used as sort of a Sheppard’s Pie filler. (Recommend adding some left over dark turkey meat to the pie filler) Serve with Turkey Gravy.

  4. I am so glad that you feel the same way about bloody marys. I feel like I SHOULD like them. I like pickled flavors, clam juice, lemon celery and all the other weird stuff (A-1 to sriracha) that friends put in. It is like a condiment cocktail and I should like it. But invariably when it crosses my lips it is just nasty.

  5. I married into a French Canadian family and have made this stuffing for 42 years. I fool with it all the time and it always comes out delicious. Sage is my favorite addition. We do stuff the bird but make extra because it will be eaten.

  6. I grew up with a stuffing like this. I have never known anyone else who made it. My mom used safe sausage and said the key was white pepper as d Browning and sauting everything seperate.

    Curious if you know the heritage. Her mother was Irish and her father French Canadian. She never knew which side it came from but she thinks her Dad.

  7. I am also French Canadian and my Grandmother used to make this stuffing every Christmas. I thought it was her own recipe but I see now others know about it to. My Grandma passed away a long time ago and I want to keep this tradition going every Christmas which is coming up soon.

    I have been looking for this recipe for quite a long time and just found it to my surprise.

    Have a wonderful Christmas everyone 🙂

    Thank you so much!

  8. I have made this to go with my turkey each year… but i have tweaked it a bit… instead of the bread crumbs, I use the pepperidge farm stuffing mix which contains a lot of the herbs that I would put into the meat stuffing. I also use 3 heaping tablespoons of poultry seasoning. My family has always loved it and gives a twist to the traditional thanksgiving meal.

    1. How much of the pepperidge farm stuffing do you use compared to the breadcrumbs in above recipe? Also, do you put the pepperidge farm stuffing in a food processor or leave it as is?

  9. Thank you for posting this recipe! My grandmother made this exact recipe. The only difference was that she diced the potatoes into half-inch cubes. Happy Thanksgiving Day to you and yours!

  10. 5 stars
    My mom always omitted the potatoes and used a cup of grated parmesan ❤️
    We had mashed potatoes as a side. I still make it this way every year stuffed in the Christmas or Thanksgiving
    Turkey.

  11. 5 stars
    We use bread cut up in cubes instead of bread crumbs. Add lots of poultry seasoning too. I believe this type of meat stuffing is from my grandfathers French Canadian side of the family.

  12. My mom made a meat stuffing that’s a bit different, but I rarely see any meat stuffings. Ours has a Jewish twist – matza.
    500g ground beef, browned, brown onions, garlic, celery/fennel, and mushrooms in same pan. Wet 6-8 matzas and break into pieces. Mix everything, stir in one beaten egg, season to taste with salt, pepper, and herbs, and stuff into turkey or a couple chickens, or bake with chicken/turkey pieces on top.

  13. Lil asks, just received a French Canadian recipe but the ingredients only are cornflakes, veal, pork and seasoning. Has anyone ever heard of this dressing recipe. Thanks.

  14. 4 stars
    Had meat stuffing for the first time today. SO good. Can’t wait to try your recipe, probably will add Sage as that’s what I’ve always had.

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