As a kid I always hated the stuffing at the Thanksgiving table, but oh how things have changed! I could sit down and eat a big bowl of it for a meal – that is if it’s homemade like this one. This Apple Cranberry Rosemary Stuffing is a new favorite for sure (this one and the Slow Cooker Stuffing I shared last year are a tie for top favs)! I’ve been making the slow cooker one every year for Thanksgiving now I’ll have to rotate them, either that or make both (I know that sounds crazy, but that’s how I get on Thanksgiving. I make waaaayyy too much food).
I love this twist on stuffing with the apples and cranberries in it. It gives it a nice light sweetness and since it has cranberries you could even skip the cranberry sauce this year. And they both pair with the fresh rosemary perfectly. Of course I also love how buttery and perfectly delicious this is! Trust me you’ll want to make it again and again, and not just for Thanksgiving. I just served it as a side to rotisserie chicken and a veggie (or more like a main dish to rotisserie chicken because we ate so much of it!).
With this recipe I highly recommend drying your own bread vs. buying the store-bought dried bread cubes. You can dry your bread a few days in advance (or even weeks if you just want to freeze the dried bread cubes, I always do that with fresh croutons). So really there’s no need to use the store-bought for Thanksgiving. Just be sure to use bread that has some structure to it, not the kind that squashes down to paper-thinness when you barely touch it. Also be sure to saute your veggies until they are softened because they won’t soften much more in the oven and no one wants to bite into crispy pieces of celery and onion in their stuffing.
Apple Cranberry Rosemary Stuffing
Yield: About 10 servings
- 10 cups (16 oz) about 1/2-inch dice hearty white sandwich bread*
- 1/2 cup salted butter , diced into 1 tbsp pieces
- 2 cups diced celery
- 1 1/3 cups chopped yellow onion
- 2 large Braeburn apples (1 lb), cored and chopped
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 4 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley , divided
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth , as needed
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Transfer bread cubes to two rimmed baking sheets and spread into an even layer. Place both sheets on two opposite oven racks (set near center) of preheated oven and allow to dry through, tossing bread cubes and rotating baking sheets to opposite racks once halfway through baking, about 30 minutes total. Remove from oven and set aside. Increase oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery and onion, season lightly with salt and saute until softened, about 10 - 13 minutes. Add in apples and saute until they begin to break down and soften slightly, about 3 - 4 minutes. Remove from heat, toss in cranberries, 3 Tbsp parsley, rosemary, thyme and sage.
Pour dried bread cubes in an extra large mixing bowl. Pour apple mixture over bread cubes, season lightly with salt to taste then evenly pour in 1 cup of the chicken broth and gently toss mixture. Slowly pour in more broth as needed (and gently toss) until bread has nearly soaked entirely through (I used the full 2 cups but only add as much as it takes to moisten the bread, all brands are a little different. You can also add a little more if you need more but don't overdue it).
Spray a 13 by 8-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour bread mixture into baking dish and gently spread into an even layer. Cover baking dish with foil and bake in preheated oven 15 minutes then uncover and bake until warmed through and top is golden brown, about 15 - 25 minutes longer. Serve warm sprinkled with remaining 1 Tbsp parsley.
*I recommend using a brand such as Great Grains, Granny Sycamore or Granny's Delight. Don't use that super airy cheap sandwich bread. It is too delicate and won't absorb much liquid. If you don't have the time to dry your own you can use 8 cups of the store-bought unseasoned bread cubes - the freshly dried are better though and you can dry them a few days before you need to use them (or even weeks and freeze them).
Recipe source: inspired by a bookmark I saw in Food Network Magazine from McCormick