Savory Stuffing made in your crockpot to save space in the oven! Make-ahead this moist on the inside Apple Cranberry Stuffing with hints of sweet cranberries and tart apples with crunchy edges on the outside!
When you need show-stopping side dishes like this one you can also check out the Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans and Wild Rice Salad. (both are make-ahead friendly so you won’t be stressed while entertaining for the Holidays!)
Apple Cranberry stuffing is a delicious Midwest Stuffing for Thanksgiving. We have both dressing and stuffing at the holidays and there are several questions that come up when I make it. Today I’m going to share a time-saving method for making dressing and answer some of the most common questions when you make stuffing.
- What is the difference between dressing and stuffing?
- What is the best bread to use for stuffing?
- How do I make a Thanksgiving side dish without using the oven?
What is the difference between stuffing and dressing?
The components are the same but traditional stuffing is cooked inside of the turkey and dressing cooked in a dish. A lot of people use the words interchangeably.
At our house, we make both versions and we like the different qualities of each of them. Stuffing is usually much moister and wetter than dressing. The dressing is moist on the inside but tends to be a little crunchy on the edges where it is exposed to the heat more.
Both are delicious and compliment any protein you serve it with!
What are the Ingredients for a flavorful make-ahead dressing side dish?
- Homemade bread cubes (or boxed stuffing mix)
- Diced Apples – granny smith are tart and hold up well in the slow cooking
- Chopped Pecans- small bite sized pieces
- Celery Pieces
- Minced Onions
- Cranberry Pieces- you can use fresh, frozen or even dried cranberries-
- Poultry Seasoning
- Butter – salted butter
- Chicken or Vegetable Stock
How to make your own bread cubes for Thanksgiving stuffing:
It’s super easy to make your own bread cubes for homemade stuffing. I used regular white soft bread for the photos you see here but you can use any bread you have. I like a mix of soft bread and a crusty French loaf.
Cut the bread into small cubes and place them on a baking sheet in your oven overnight to dry it out. (The oven is off, it’s just a way to keep the cubes off of the counter.) It’s way better than the boxed stuff at the market and you can control the seasonings in your recipe.
Sprinkle some poultry seasoning and salt over the top for added flavor.
By all means, if you are short on time a boxed package of dressing mix will work but if you have the time make your own. Your guests will love you!
How do you make Cranberry Crockpot Stuffing?
Making your stuffing in a crockpot or slow cooker saves valuable oven space for big holidays like Thanksgiving!
- Make your own bread cubes by cutting a french loaf into small cubes, dry them on a baking sheet and place them into the crockpot.
- Chop the ingredients into small bite-sized pieces.
- Sauce the onions and celery so they soften a little before you put them into the crockpot.
- Add the texture ingredients of cranberries, apples and pecans direct to the crockpot.
- Season with spices of parsley and poultry seasoning.
- Add melted butter and chicken stock to just barely moisten the bread.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours stirring a couple of times.
More Holiday Side Dish Recipes might enjoy:
- Jiffy Corn Cake Casserole is a great side dish or kids like it for a dessert!
- Air Fryer Green Beans with Crispy Onions – another recipe that doesnt need the oven!
- Homemade French’s Crispy Onions (Copycat) – so easy and homemade is always better!
- Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
- Garlic Sugar Snap Peas – easy skillet recipe !
We have so many delicious Thanksgiving Recipes- You can see them all here!
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- 12 cups bread cubes
- 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 3 cups apples, 1/2" dice
- 1 cup onion, minced
- 1/2 cup parsley, fresh, minced
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 3 stalks celery, chopped fine
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- In a skillet or the bottom of your crock pot if it is intended for sautéing too add olive oil and sauce onion and celery for 4 minutes
- Add bread cubes, celery, cranberries, apples, nuts, parsley, poultry seasoning, and sautéed onions and celery to the bottom of the crock pot. Stir to combine.
- Add melted butter evenly over the top of the bread mixture.
- Add the broth 1/2 cup at a time to just barely moisten the bread cubes. The amount you will use depends on how dry your bread is. Do not over wet it, the onions and celery will release more water and you want to have a moist stuffing, but you want a lot of the bread to hold its shape.
- Turn crock pot to high, cover and cook for 4-5 hours until edges are slightly crispy and center is moist. Stir several times while cooking. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Serving Size:8 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 340Saturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 488mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 5gSugar: 18gProtein: 6g
My recipe for Apple Cranberry Crock Pot Stuffing is one of over 200 recipes that are in celebration of Apple Week! (Check out my Apple Herb Baked Stuffed Pork Chops from yesterday!)
I’m not sure why we tend to only eat stuffing at Thanksgiving. It’s a comfort food classic that works with so many things and when the seasons change I love to make things that are toasty and warm.
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