This year, ditch the boxed stuffing mix and make your stuffing from scratch! This delicious Homemade Stuffing Recipe with Bacon and Cranberries is so easy to make and is packed with flavor. The combination of savory bacon, sweet cranberries, and herbs is irresistible. It's sure to be a hit with your holiday guests!
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There's nothing quite like the taste of homemade stuffing with Thanksgiving dinner, and this traditional stuffing recipe is perfect. Made with a combination of bread, onions, celery, and spices, its packed with flavor.
And, of course, adding bacon and cranberries makes this the best stuffing recipe ever.
Best of all, this turkey stuffing can be made ahead of time and reheated when you're ready to serve it for your holiday meal. You can even use this stuffing to make Stuffed Chicken Breast With Stuffing.
Why you'll love this recipe
- This traditional homemade stuffing has delicious ingredients like bacon, cranberries, and the perfect blend of spices.
- This is an easy stuffing recipe that can be made ahead of time so you don't have to worry about it on Thanksgiving Day.
- It's a great way to use up leftover bread, and it's always a hit with family and friends.
- This Thanksgiving stuffing recipe is moist and flavorful and has just the right amount of crunch.
- It pairs perfectly with roasted turkey or chicken.
- This recipe is easy to double or triple if you have a large crowd to feed. Just make sure to use a large baking dish.
- Leftovers even taste great the next day!
The ingredients for this stuffing can easily be found at your local grocery store.
- Bread. Day-old bread is perfect for this recipe. I find that white bread gives this stuffing the best flavor.
- Onion. Stuffing is not complete without onion.
- Poultry seasoning. This adds the perfect amount of spices and seasoning.
- Cranberries. They add a nice touch of sweetness to the stuffing.
- Celery for that classic stuffing flavor.
- Margarine or butter for flavor.
- Bacon adds fantastic flavor to this dish. You can also use cooked Smoked Sausage for amazing flavor.
- Chicken stock is needed for moisture, and adds more flavor than water. I used low-sodium chicken broth.
- Salt and black pepper make it taste even better.
See the printable recipe card below for quantities and a full list of ingredients.
How To Make Bacon Cranberry Stuffing
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Next, saute diced bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute for about 5 minutes. I turn the dial on my stove to between 5 and 6.
Add the onion and celery to the bacon and saute for an additional 5 minutes until the celery starts to get soft.
Next, add butter and cranberries to the frying pan and cook for five more minutes.
Add the poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, and chicken stock. Stir well. Turn off the heat. Let it cool for about 5 minutes.
While the mixture is cooling, cut or tear the bread into 1-inch pieces. Place bread in a large bowl.
Pour the bacon mixture over the bread cubes. Mix with a large spoon until well combined.
Spray or grease an 8 x 8 baking dish or a 2-quart casserole dish. Pour the bread mixture into the baking dish.
Cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake the stuffing for 1 hour until heated through and it turns golden brown with a crispy top. Top with fresh parsley if desired.
Make ahead instructions
To make this stuffing ahead of time, follow the recipe up until the stuffing is poured into the baking dish. Then, cover and refrigerate until an hour before you're ready to serve it.
When ready to bake, simply bake the stuffing in a 350-degree F oven for 60 minutes. That's it!
Can I cook the stuffing inside a turkey?
If you prefer, you can cook this stuffing inside the turkey. The key is to properly prepare the turkey and stuffing to cook evenly to reduce the risk of bacteria growing.
First, make sure to clean the inside of the turkey cavity thoroughly.
Next, mix the stuffing ingredients and stuff it inside the bird. Stuff the turkey loosely, as the stuffing will expand as it cooks. Then, roast the turkey according to your recipe instructions.
When it's time to check for doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the stuffing; it should register at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If the stuffing isn't quite done, you can always remove it from the turkey and finish cooking it separately in the oven.
I prefer to cook stuffing in the oven as it is the easiest way. I also like my stuffing to have a bit of a crispy exterior.
- Bread. You can use any kind of bread, including whole wheat bread, French bread, or leftover Air Buns.
- Onion. Any kind of onion will work, including red onion, yellow onion, or white onion.
- Cranberries. You can use fresh or dried cranberries. I do not recommend cranberries with sugar on them. You can also use diced apples or pears instead of cranberries.
- Butter. Use margarine, olive oil, or avocado oil instead.
- Bacon. Any bacon will work in this stuffing recipe, including thick-cut bacon, thin-cut bacon, and turkey bacon. Sausage also is a great substitution and adds fantastic flavor.
- Chicken stock. You can also use vegetable stock or turkey broth.
- For a more traditional stuffing, omit the bacon and cranberries.
- Add cooked Italian sausage or chopped mushrooms to the bread cubes for a heartier stuffing.
- For a vegetarian stuffing, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and omit the bacon.
- Add raisins or dried cranberries to the bread cubes and fresh cranberries for a sweeter stuffing.
- For a savory stuffing, omit the cranberries and add chopped green onions or garlic to the bread cubes.
- For crunchy stuffing, add chopped pecans or walnuts to the bread cubes.
- For a cheesy stuffing, mix in shredded cheddar cheese before baking.
- Fridge: To store the cooked stuffing, first let it cool to room temperature, then place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to four days. When ready to serve, reheat it in the oven or microwave.
- Freezer: Leftover stuffing can be stored in the freezer for up to two months. To do so, place the stuffing in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag.
- Reheat: To reheat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it in a covered dish in the oven. Add a bit of water before heating to prevent it from drying out.
Expert Cooking Tips
- Dice the vegetables into small pieces so that they will cook evenly.
- If you are using frozen cranberries, thaw them before adding them to the stuffing.
- Keep an eye on the stuffing while it's in the oven, and check it frequently to ensure it's not getting too brown.
- Stuffing can be made ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it.
The stuffing should be moist, but not too wet. There should not be a puddle of liquid at the bottom of the bowl. If needed, add more bread to soak up the excess moisture.
Yes, stuffing should be covered when baking. This helps to keep moisture in and prevents it from drying out.
White sandwich bread makes the best stuffing because of its small hole structure and fluffy texture. It is also the best at absorbing liquid and butter.
Tear, don't cut the bread! This is a great way to add more texture and flavor when you are cooking your stuffing. Instead of cutting it into neat cubes that can easily get lost among each other during the cooking time; irregularly tearing pieces will create an interesting appearance that makes them stand out against the rest of the food.
What to serve with homemade stuffing?
Homemade stuffing goes perfectly with any holiday dish. I like to serve it with Smoked Pellet Grill Turkey, Twice-Baked Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Ruths Chris Sweet Potato Casserole, Roasted Squash, and Paleo Cranberry Sauce.
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Easy Homemade Stuffing Recipe with Bacon and Cranberries
- Frying pan
- 2-quart casserole dish or small roaster
- 5 slices bacon diced
- 1½ cup onion diced, about 3 onions
- ¾ cup celery diced
- ¼ cup butter or margarine
- 2 cups cranberries fresh or dried
- ¼ cup poultry seasoning
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 loaf white bread about 36 thin slices, torn or cut into chunks
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Saute diced bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute for about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion and celery to the bacon and saute for 5 minutes, until the celery starts to get soft. I turn the dial on my stove to between 5 and 6.
- Add butter and cranberries to the frying pan, and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add the poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, and chicken stock. Stir well. Turn off the heat. Let it sit to cool for about 5 minutes.
- While the mixture is cooling, tear the bread into 1-inch pieces. Place the bread in a large bowl.
- Pour the bacon mixture over the bread cubes. Mix with a large spoon until well combined.
- Spray or grease an 8 x 8 baking dish or a 2-quart casserole dish. Pour the bread mixture into the baking dish.
- Cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake the stuffing for 1 hour until heated through, and the top starts to get a little bit crispy.
- Dice the vegetables into small pieces so that they will cook evenly.
- If you are using frozen cranberries, ensure they are thawed before using.
- Keep an eye on the stuffing while it's in the oven to ensure it doesn't overcook.
- Make the stuffing ahead of time and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it.
The provided nutritional information is approximate per serving and is meant as a guideline only.