Cranberry Pecan Stuffing is a twist on the classic stuffing recipe. This version gets a slightly sweeter and crunchier makeover with the addition of dried cranberries and toasted pecans. It’s perfect for your Thanksgiving table or as a fall and winter side dish!
Update: This recipe was originally shared in November 2018. The recipe and photos have been updated as of November 2020.
Up until a few years ago, I’d only had one type of stuffing on Thanksgiving – the old-fashioned celery and onion kind, made with stale sandwich bread. Of course, I knew that stuffings could also be made with ingredients like pecans, walnuts, oysters, sausage, cranberries, etc., but I had never made one. Thankfully THAT has changed!
Stuffing, the Thanksgiving side dish
Whether you call it stuffing or dressing and whether you serve it in the turkey or outside, it’s pretty much a given side dish on any Thanksgiving table. It’s the ultimate comfort food, right? Who doesn’t love flavorful, seasoned and toasted bread?
🥘 Ingredients for this recipe
- white bread, toasted
- dried cranberries
- vegetable broth
- pecans, chopped and toasted
- fresh sage
- salt and pepper
🔪 Instructions for this recipe
- Toast the bread and pecans. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place pieces of bread on top. Toast both sides of the bread, then remove the bread and add the pecans. Toast those. Cut or tear bread into bite sized pieces. Roughly chop pecans.
- Plump up the cranberries and cook the veggies. Soak dried cranberries in chicken broth to plump them back up. Melt butter in a skillet and cook celery and onions until soft. Stir in salt, pepper and half of the fresh sage.
- Assemble the dish. Drain cranberries from stock. Discard stock. In a large bowl combine bread, pecans, celery and onion mixture and cranberries. Pour vegetable stock on top and toss to combine. Press into a greased 8×8 baking dish.
- Bake the stuffing. Sprinkle remaining sage on top of the dish and bake for 25 minutes or until slightly crunchy on top.
Tips and Tricks for the best stuffing
- What kind of bread to use for stuffing? I’ve tried nearly every type of bread in stuffing recipes – Italian, french, sandwich and even brown-and-serve dinner rolls. Sandwich bread will give you denser stuffing as the bread is thinner. Thicker sliced bread will give you an airier, fluffier stuffing. However, the best bread is stale bread. If you don’t have time to wait for it to get stale, you can toast it, like I did in this recipe.
- Can you make stuffing ahead of time? Yes! Stuffing can be assembled and refrigerated for 2 days before baking. Let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes before baking.
- How to freeze stuffing: Prepare and assemble the stuffing, then freeze it for 2-3 weeks. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight, then rest on the counter 30 minutes before baking.
- My stuffing is dry. If you stuffing looks dry before you bake it, add additional broth. It should look moist but not soggy. If you’ve already baked it, you can still add more broth and return it to the oven, or just double your batch of gravy and serve that on top.
- Do you cook stuffing covered? No, you want the top layer of the bread to get toasted and crispy, not get soggy, which it could do from the steam getting trapped between the dish and cover.
Serving Suggestions for cranberry pecan stuffing
Of course stuffing goes great with turkey, like my Cajun Roasted Turkey Breast or Brown Sugar-Cured Turkey with Apple Bourbon Gravy but it also goes well with pork, like my Pork Loin with Cranberry Sauce or a baked ham.
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Cranberry Pecan Stuffing
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ cup celery diced
- ½ cup onion diced
- 1 tbsp fresh sage chopped
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 6 slices sandwich bread
- 2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken)
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside. Line a baking sheet with foil.
- Add ½ cup of vegetable stock to a small bowl. Place cranberries in the bowl and let soak for 20 minutes.
- Place bread on the baking sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes on each side, until toasted. Remove the bread and cut or tear into pieces.
- Place the pecans on the baking sheet and bake for 2-3 minutes, then flip over and bake another 1-2 minutes, until toasted. Chop pecans and set aside.
- In a skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Add onions and celery and cook for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Stir in salt, pepper and half of the fresh sage.
- Drain the stock from the cranberries and discard the stock. In a large bowl, add the cranberries, celery and onion mixture, bread and pecans. Stir until combined. Slowly pour remaining stock over the mixture, tossing until coated but not soggy.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and top with remaining sage. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly crispy on top.
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