Apple, Cranberry, Sage Dressing

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Heather says:

Inside the bird, it’s called stuffing, outside it’s called dressing. Sometimes families or regions will call one the other. It doesn’t matter here. This recipe is for a savory Thanksgiving Apple, Cranberry, Sage Dressing that contains sweet apple, tangy dried cranberry, and crunchy almonds. The original recipe called for sausage, but I use sausage in the cornbread dressing I serve. If you’d like to use sausage, use 1/2 pound of pork or turkey sausage. Brown it and use the drippings instead of the first 2 TBSPs of butter to saute the onions and celery.

This recipe yields 10 servings and can easily be doubled.

  Thanksgiving Dressing Recipes can be easy, This apple, cranberry, sage dressing has the crunch of almonds, the tang of cranberry, and the sweetness of apple to take your Thanksgiving or dressing from side item to star of the meal.

  • 2 3/4 cups cubed whole wheat bread (A total of 5.5 cups of bread cubes the exact ratio of white to wheat isn’t that important)
  • 2 3/4  cups cubed white bread
  • 1 onion, diced (approximately one cup if you diced everything ahead of time)
  • 2 – 3 celery ribs, chopped (including the leaves)
  • 4 – 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped (dried works well, too)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary (fresh works better, use slightly more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 Granny Smith or other tart apple, cored, peeled, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds – toasted
  • 1 cup turkey stock  (if using homemade, you’ll need 1 tsp salt)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided) + extra to grease the baking dish / roasting pan

How To Make Thanksgiving Dressing

Spread the cubed bread on a large baking sheet and toast at 350. This takes in the neighborhood of 5 – 7 minutes. Watch it carefully the last few minutes. Dump the toasted cubes into a large bowl and set aside.

Butter a 9 /13 baking dish. (This a holiday feast, try not to reach for the baking spray, think of the children)

If you haven’t already, toast the almond slivers, either on a baking sheet in the 350F oven for just a few minutes 3 – 5 or in a dry skillet. Watch them carefully, it’s very easy to cross from toasted to burnt, err on the side of caution.

In a large skillet heat 2 TBSPs of butter over medium heat. Just when it starts to foam, add the onions and celery, turn the heat to low. Stir frequently, cook just until the onions are soft, then add the apple, sage, rosemary, and thyme (I’m about to break into song here, are you going to Scarborough Fair?) Cook just until it smells divine, maybe another minute, stirring frequently.

Turn off the heat, add the cranberries, almonds, and butter. Stir until everything is coated. Pour the contents of the skillet into a large bowl with the toasted bread cubes. (If you’re using the sausage add it now, too). Mix everything thoroughly. The butter has picked up a lot of flavor from the herbs and it’s important that this is well mixed.

If you are using homemade stock to which no salt has been added, stir a tsp of salt into the stock).

Pour 2/3 of the stock over the bowl and mix again. Spread the mixture into the baking dish, drizzle with the remaining turkey stock, and cover with foil.

If you are making this ahead of time, place this in the refrigerator (you can make this up to 24 hours ahead). Allow it to come close to room temperature before baking.

If it’s going directly into the oven bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and broil or continue baking until lightly browned.

There are a lot more tips and recipes for Thanksgiving on this site!

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12 thoughts on “Apple, Cranberry, Sage Dressing”

  1. This looks just….wow. I love cranberries in all kinds of things. Hmmm…I think I might be able to get this past my husband, even with the apples in it.

    Oh, and in Pennsylvania Dutch country (which includes my inlaws), it's called "filling." Yes, even if it's baked in a casserole. I guess that's because it's filling up the dish?

  2. This sounds wonderful ……………… I'm drooling as I type this!
    By the way, when we moved to Pennsylvania years back, we were confused by "filling" (since I called it dressing and hubs called it stuffing). And it came as "filling balls" ……….. and, honestly, what we were given was bland, dry, and nearly inedible. So I'm doubly glad to get this recipe which I will cook for friends here in PA (who may find it too flavorful, too moist, and yucky. LOL)

  3. Ok, so I'm going to try to convince my mother in law to let me bring this very non-Pennsylvania Dutch "filling" when we go to their house next Sunday – she's doing a turkey. I always bring cole slaw (I'm not allowed to come unless I do) but I'd like to bring something new and exciting and non-PA dutchy. Bear with me, I'm leading up to a question here…

    When we go over, we leave very early, go to a church we like to visit along the way, then to their house. Obviously I have to make this ahead, but I don't really want to have to bake it for 40 minutes after we get to their house. What do you think about baking it MOST of the way, cooling and refrigerating, and then reheating it at their house? Perhaps a quickie in the microwave (did I say that?) and then pop it into the already-hot oven to brown a bit?


  4. Oh my God! My mother brought this recipe up with her when she visited me at school this past week (Pennsylvania State University). It was phenomenal. I think 'm going to try and make it for Thanksgiving this year and return the favor. What do you think about leaving the apple peels in? What do you think that would do o the texture? I'm not nearly as good of a cook as the rest of my family, but I'd like to put my own spin on it without ruining it 🙂

  5. Hi gals, this recipe sounds marvelous and we’re doing it for Thanksgiving. Nice change.

    By the way, I read in some posts the question of why the phrase ‘filling.” I can tell you that the phrase was derived from the poorer background, that had to focus on fillers, such as dumplings and bread stuffing to feed the family.

    As for the Pennsylvania Dutch, I am a native, (our family arrived in the early 1700s). German immigrants were the first settlers of the state and quickly became known as the Pennsylvannia Deutsche, which sounds similar to Dutch.

    Don’t know why or how outsiders think its Dutch. They mostly went up into the Dakotas, Michigan, etc.


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