No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without Cranberry Stuffing, which is a vegetarian side dish that balances the rich flavors of buttery bread, onion, celery, and fresh thyme with the sweet tartness of dried cranberries. Bake in a 1 quart casserole dish for small batch stuffing.
Only two more weeks until it’s time to cook your Thanksgiving dinner for two!
Over the past 16(!) years I’ve been bringing you recipes for two. However, there’s one small batch recipe I’m missing: Cranberry Stuffing.
I do have classic homemade stuffing with my Stuffed Cornish Hen, but that cooks inside the bird.
What Thanksgiving isn’t complete without stuffing?!
This cranberry stuffing recipe is a mixture of bread cubes, onion, celery, cranberries, and thyme that is moistened by egg and broth then baked until golden brown and crispy.
Because this homemade stuffing is baked on its own, it’s also vegetarian friendly to serve alongside some stovetop scalloped potatoes.
And since no meat is involved, you can serve it with my gravy without drippings.
Of course being vegetarian isn’t a requirement as it’ll be devoured by both carnivores and herbivores alike.
What is the difference between stuffing and dressing?
Technically speaking, stuffing is bread mixture that goes inside the bird while dressing is bread mixture that’s cooked outside of the bird.
According to that definition, I actually made cranberry dressing and not cranberry stuffing.
However, it’s not a term I use in real life. When I say dressing I’m referring to salad dressing, not stuffing. In fact, I don’t think I know anyone who says dressing when referring to stuffing.
Regardless of what you call this recipe, it’s still pretty darn delicious.
Ingredients For Cranberry Stuffing
To make your homemade stuffing with cranberries, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Bread: Ideally you want to use a hearty bread like French or brioche. However, there’s nothing wrong with using regular white sandwich bread. Whichever you use, the staler it is, the better stuffing you’ll make.
- Butter: Used to cook the veggies, add flavor, and help bind the stuffing
- Salt: Used to season the stuffing, especially if you’re using unsalted butter
- Celery, onion, and garlic: Veggies to flavor your stuffing
- Broth: I used chicken broth because it’s what I keep on hand, but to make vegetarian stuffing, use vegetable broth.
- Egg: Not only does egg help bind the stuffing, it also makes it fluffier.
- Dried cranberries: Adds a burst of sweet tartness. You can also use raisins or dried cherries.
- Fresh herbs: Use a hearty herb such as thyme, rosemary, or sage. Don’t like those flavors? It’s ok to leave them out too!
Do you toast bread for stuffing?
Toasting your bread for stuffing is highly recommended for several reasons:
- Adds another layer of flavor. It’s like toasting nuts. Plain is fine but toasted is even better.
- Dries out bread even more. The origin of stuffing is to use up stale bread. However if you don’t have any lying around, toasting helps make fresh bread more suitable for stuffing.
- Absorbs liquid better without getting too soggy. To avoid soggy stuffing, starting with toasted bread means it can withstand the moisture without being too wet.
How To Make Cranberry Stuffing
Making your stuffing with cranberries is easy with these simple steps:
- Toast bread cubes for 5-8 minutes or until golden and hard.
- Cook celery, onion, and garlic in butter until softened.
- Mix together bread, vegetables, broth, egg, cranberries and herbs until everything is moistened and sticking together. Transfer to a 1 quart casserole dish.
- Bake at 350F covered for 20 minutes then uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Serve while warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
Cranberry Stuffing FAQ
Yes, you can substitute fresh cranberries instead of dried. Add them to the celery onion mixture and cook together.
Instead of using dried cranberries, you can use raisins or even dried cherries.
Yes, you can cook this inside a turkey or chicken instead of its own casserole dish like I did with my stuffed turkey breast. Depending on how big your bird is, you might want to double the recipe.
You can prep your stuffing ahead of time – toasting the bread cubes, sautéing the veggies, mixing everything together – but don’t bake it until you’re ready to serve.
Covering the stuffing with foil for the first half of baking keeps it moist. Then you finish baking it uncovered to crisp up the top.
What To Serve With Cranberry Stuffing
I’ve given some great examples above of what to serve with cranberry stuffing, but here are a few more of my favorites to add to the list:
- Cranberry Sauce
- Mashed Potatoes For Two
- Mushroom Gravy
- Green Bean Casserole Without Mushroom Soup
- Sweet Potato Casserole For Two
- 3 + 1/2 cups bread cubes cut into 1-inch pieces (can use French, brioche, or sandwich bread)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Salt, to taste (preferably kosher)
- 1/2 cup diced yellow or white onion
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 cup vegetable or chicken broth/stock
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon fresh hearty herb such as thyme, rosemary, or sage
- Preheat oven to 350F. Add the bread cubes in a single layer onto a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and hard like croutons, 5-8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet on medium heat, melt the butter. Add onion, celery, and a big pinch of salt and cook until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
- In a large bowl, mix together toasted bread cubes, onion mixture, broth, egg, cranberries, and herb. Stir until everything is moistened and sticking together.
- Transfer to a lightly greased 1 quart casserole dish and cover with lightly greased foil. Bake covered for 20 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crispy. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
- You can cook this stuffing inside a turkey or chicken like I did with my stuffed turkey breast or stuffed Cornish hen. Depending on how big your bird is, you might want to double the recipe.
- Planning your holiday menu? Check out Thanksgiving Dinner For Two and Christmas Dinner For Two for recipe pairings.
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