This Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe, lovingly named Fall Harvest Stuffing, is the perfect revival of the classic stove-top Thanksgiving Stuffing. With ingredients such as homemade bread, fresh cranberries, apples, walnuts, and apple cider, this is bound to be a welcomed addition to any table this Thanksgiving.
How do you make stuffing tasty?
There’s nothing quite as comforting as warm, potluck style dishes flowered around a warm juicy turkey on Thanksgiving. There’s also nothing quite as bland as biting into a stuffing casserole that is a brown pile of mush. Yuck. Stuffing has always been one of my favorite sides to any Thanksgiving meal. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and homemade cranberry sauce are really all I need. Then I’m one of those weird ones that puts it all in a bowl and mixes it together. It’s like a taste explosion in my mouth! Not sure whether this gives me more or less credit as a food blogger but let’s assume it’s more.
Over the years I’ve gotten a bit pickier about my stuffing though. Let’s be honest, it comes only second to the turkey at Thanksgiving and you really don’t want your supporting lead actor to be a frump. So I decided to revive this recipe for traditional stuffing in the form of homemade stuffing. This one includes delicious ingredients such as apple cider, cranberries, and even a tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice.
Now I know 1 tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice seems like a lot, and you may be scratching your head at my choice in spice for a savory dish, but I promise it’s really tasty. I enjoy using Pumpkin Pie Spice because it has a nice blend of spices I would be choosing to use in the recipe anyhow: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. For me, this is a nice little shortcut. If I want some more control over the portions, then I will certainly use each and measure them out. However, being this recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving, we all know saving time is of the essence – pun intended.
This Fall Harvest Stuffing recipes calls for Butternut squash. Butternut squash is one of my favorite fall vegetables. And while it certainly has gained traction in popularity, I feel as though squash and pumpkins in general and still highly under utilized. My parents grew Butternut squash on the farm this year and harvested over 100 of them! It’s not like the area where they were planted was a huge area either. Butternut squash is just an excellent squash to grow. It is a dream come true for harvest. When the squash has fully matured, all the leaves on the vine it’s growing on dies and falls off. One morning you have a beautiful green field, and the next the unveiling has taken place to show a field of Butternuts ripe for the picking.
If I don’t have to “hunt” for a vegetable or fruit – they have my vote. Adding Butternut squash to this stuffing recipe brings in a hearty yet buttery texture. The contrast between the toasted stuffing cubes, traditional wet stuffing cubes, apple, cranberry, and crunchy walnuts is just perfect.
What are the ingredients for stuffing?
It’s certainly going to depend on the kind of stuffing you want to make. Traditionally, stuffing includes:
- Broth or Stock
The ingredients for this Fall Harvest Stuffing are a bit more exciting. Here’s a list with some stuffing substitutions you could make:
- Bread or Stuffing Cubes – now you could use a store bought bag or two or stuffing cubes, but if you really want to impress the “stuff” out of your in-laws this Thanksgiving, grab a bag of day old croutons at a grocery store like Whole Foods. Or you can make your own bread from scratch, cut it, and leave it unwrapped on the counter for a day. Starting with the basics in a homemade fashion really add to the authentic, fresh feel we’re going for here.
- Butternut Squash – you could use any hearty squash or even pumpkin here. As long as you can cube and roast it to be about the same size as the stuffing cubes, you’ll be good. You just don’t want all of your squash turning to mush or being to different in size and shape. You want all the ingredients being roughly the same size to ensure you get a fork full of everything in every bite.
- Onions – either yellow or white onions will do. A white onion will have a bit of a sweeter taste, but you’re sauteeing them in butter so it doesn’t really matter. In this recipe I used a yellow onion because that is what we had on hand.
- Apples – When the apple is cooked in the casserole it gets very soft like an apple crisp or apple pie would. Keeping that in mind, you’ll want to use a hearty apple like a Granny Smith so it doesn’t turn into applesauce on you in the dish. We’re trying to avoid the overall mushy texture. I only used one apple in this recipe but you could certainly add a second for a slightly sweeter stuffing recipe.
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- Fresh Cranberries – You could use dried cranberries here and I would use the same amount. I used fresh cranberries and love the pop of red, delectable sweetness, and bit of tartness they added to the stuffing casserole. By using dried cranberries you’ll loose a bit of the sour note. They will plump up nicely though with the apple cider and broth sauce as they bake.
- Nuts – Traditional stuffing recipes will either call for no nuts, pecans or walnuts. We had walnuts on hand, so that’s what I used. I think I will be coming up with another stuffing recipe that uses my spiced candied pecans.
- Herbs and Spices – you can change out the Sage for Rosemary, Thyme, or any kind of combination here really. My biggest suggestion is using fresh herbs and warm spices. Dry herbs, in my opinion, can either over power a dish or completely kill it. Just not worth the risk.
- Apple Cider and Beef Stock – While cooking the first half of the bread cubes doesn’t totally matter in the way of liquid being used, to make the sauce for the final baking of the dish apple cider and stock is a must. No room for wiggling on the apple cider. However, if you don’t have or don’t want to use beef stock, you can use chicken or vegetable. Just be sure to use the stock that already has salt in it. There is not much for salt in the casserole by itself. If you are using salt free stock or broth, be sure to add about 2 teaspoons of salt to the top of the dish before it’s final baking.
- Eggs – One of the last steps is adding a few whisked eggs to the casserole. This helps to bind everything together and keep things moist. No substitution suggestions on this one. If you don’t want to use eggs you can just add more liquid.
How long do you cook homemade stuffing?
This stuffing takes only 40 minutes to finish baking in the oven. While the steps leading up to it can be a little on the time consuming side, I assure you that any time you make a recipe from scratch it always tastes better. What makes this homemade stuffing better than other stuffings you get from a box is the texture control. By finishing the homemade stuffing in the oven, you get a nice, crispy topping and time for all those juices to be absorbed.
This Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe, lovingly named Fall Harvest Stuffing, is the perfect revival of the classic stove-top Thanksgiving Stuffing.
Fall in love with this Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe and impress the in-laws in the process! I would love if after you try this recipe, because I know you will, go ahead and rate the recipe with 5 stars! Leave me any comments or questions below and I’ll be happy to answer them. Then head over to Instagram and tag me in your stories @theKatieMChase and show me how you’ve made the recipe.
Fall Harvest Stuffing
Revive your Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe with this new and improved Fall Harvest Stuffing Recipe. Complementary tastes and textures are the perfect addition to any Fall inspired meal.
For Roasting Butternut Squash
- 1 cup diced butternut squash
- 2 tbsp evoo
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2.5 cups plain bread cubes I use crouton cuts from Whole Foods or homemade
Additional Stuffing Ingredients
- 1 Granny Smith (green) apple
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 fresh sage leaves
- 1 yellow or white onion
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 cup beef stock you can substitute other stock
- 2-3 eggs
Preheat oven to 350F.
Dice butternut squash into bite sized cubes. Measure out 1 cup. Mix 2 tablespoons evoo, butternut squash, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Dump bowl onto a sheet pan and place in 350 F oven for 20 minutes until just underdone or fork tender.
For the bread stuffing portion: boil 3/4 cup water and butter on the stove. Remove from heat and add 2.5 cups bread cubes. Lightly fluff/toss. Add a drizzle of lemon juice and toss again. Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes to ensure the bread has soaked up all of the liquid.
In a sauce pan, add 4 tbsp of butter and 2 sage leaves. Once bubbling, add one diced onion and sautee until soft and translucent. Then remove onions and sage leaves, leaving behind any butter liquid.
Add two cups of apple cider and one cup of stock to pan with butter. Stir just a bit. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let liquid reduce by one quarter or a half. The more you let it reduce, the more intense the apple cider will be. Set aside to cool.
Mix butternut squash, first bread mixture, onion, apple, cranberries, walnuts, additional 2.5 cups of uncooked cubed bread, and two to three whisked eggs in a large bowl until combined.
Place all in a 9x13 pan.
Drizzle cooled apple cider & stock liquid over the top of the casserole as evenly as possible. Feel free to reserve 1/2 cup for additional topping after cooked.
Add a couple sage leaves to the top for garnish and place in a 350 F oven for 40 minutes.
If you would like: drizzle any leftover apple cider & stock liquid over individual servings as you would gravy. Otherwise, enjoy!
Total you will need 6 Tablespoons of butter.
Total you will need 5 cups of stuffing cubes or bread.
If you only have fresh bread available, toast it well in the oven with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and cut for "croutons".