As a culinary explorer, I’ve discovered a recipe that will satisfy any taste bud craving during the holiday season. It’s the perfect combination of savory and sweet that will leave your guests asking for seconds – Cranberry-Stuffed Cornbread Stuffing Muffins.
These muffins are bursting with deliciousness thanks to the fresh cranberries, pecans, and cornbread stuffing mix. The addition of orange zest, fresh thyme leaves, and sage bring out the flavors even more. Plus, the use of muffin tins means everyone gets their own perfectly portioned side dish.
Trust me when I tell you that these muffins are not your average stuffing. They take traditional stuffing to the next level by infusing it with cranberries, a classic holiday ingredient.
So why not switch up your usual stuffing recipe with these scrumptious muffins? Your guests will be impressed by both their taste and presentation. And who knows, they may even become a new holiday tradition in your family.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Listen up, my fellow foodies, I’ve got a recipe for you that will knock your socks off. Introducing the Cranberry-Stuffed Cornbread Stuffing Muffins Recipe! You may be wondering why you should bother trying this recipe. Well, let me tell you why you’ll love it.
First of all, these muffins are like no other stuffing you’ve ever tasted. The combination of sweet cranberries and savory cornbread stuffing mix creates a taste explosion in your mouth. And let’s not forget the pecans, fresh thyme and sage, shallots and celery that elevate the dish to an entirely new level of deliciousness.
Secondly, these muffins make the perfect side dish for any holiday feast. They’re easy to make and can be cooked in advance, freeing up precious oven space when cooking a large meal like Thanksgiving dinner. Their individual portions also make them easy to serve and perfect for sharing with family and friends.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, this recipe is versatile. You can customize it to suit your preferences or dietary restrictions. For instance, if you’re gluten-free, simply swap the regular cornbread stuffing mix for a gluten-free option. If you don’t eat meat, omit the sausage and add some mushrooms or alternative plant-based protein instead.
Overall, there are so many reasons why you’ll love this Cranberry-Stuffed Cornbread Stuffing Muffin Recipe. The combination of flavors is irresistible, it’s perfect for serving at any holiday gathering and it’s adaptable to suit almost any dietary restriction or preference. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to give this recipe a try – your taste buds will thank you later!
Here is a list of ingredients that you will be needing to make these Cranberry-Stuffed Cornbread Stuffing Muffins:
For the Cornbread Stuffing Mix:
- 1 box of cornbread stuffing mix
- 2 cups bread cubes (dried)
- 1 large sweet onion (finely chopped)
- 2 stalks celery (finely chopped)
- 1 egg
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp thyme leaves (fresh)
- 1 tsp sage leaves (fresh)
For the Cranberry Stuffing:
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- Zest of 1 orange
- Juice of half an orange
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
For the Muffins:
- Cranberry stuffing mixture
- Cornbread stuffing mixture
- Muffin tins
The Recipe How-To
Here’s how you can make these cranberry-stuffed cornbread stuffing muffins in just a few simple steps:
Step 1: Prepare the Cornbread Stuffing Mix
First things first, you need to prepare the cornbread stuffing mix as per the package instructions. Once done, transfer it into a large bowl and set it aside to cool down.
Step 2: Sauté the Vegetables
In a skillet, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add finely chopped shallots and celery and cook until they’re softened. Transfer them to the bowl with the cornbread stuffing mix.
Step 3: Add the Cranberries and Pecans
Now add fresh cranberries and chopped pecans to the same bowl. These two ingredients add both a hint of tartness and nuttiness to your stuffing muffins.
Step 4: Whisk Together Wet Ingredients
Crack an egg into a small bowl and give it a quick whisk. In another small bowl, whisk together olive oil and low-sodium chicken broth along with some fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped fresh sage, brown sugar, and orange zest. Once combined, add in whisked egg.
Step 5: Combine all ingredients
Add this wet mix to your cornbread stuffing mix bowl along with your sautéed vegetables mixture; then combine everything.
Step 6: Preheat the Oven
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
Step 7: Grease Muffin Tin & Fill It Up!
Lightly grease a muffin tin or use paper liner in each of the muffin cups. Then fill each cup about three-quarters full with stuffing mixture.
Step 8: Bake Them!
Bake for around 30-40 minutes or until they are completely golden brown on top. Let them cool down and once ready – dig in!
Enjoy these muffins stuffed with cranberries and pecans that’ll rock your taste buds! You are sure to have delicious cranberry-stuffed cornbread stuffing muffins that will leave everyone asking for more.
Substitutions and Variations
Listen here, friends. If you wanna mix things up a bit, I gotcha covered! Here are some substitutions and variations you can make to this recipe:
– For a Gluten-Free Version: Use gluten-free cornbread stuffing mix or swap the cornbread with gluten-free bread cubes.
– For a Vegetarian Version: Swap the low sodium chicken broth with vegetable broth and omit the sausage or use a vegetarian sausage.
– For a Spicier Version: Add some chopped jalapeños or red pepper flakes to the mixture.
– For a Sweeter Version: Increase the amount of brown sugar to 3/4 cup and add some chopped apples.
– For a Savory Version: Omit the cranberries and pecans and add more thyme, sage, and dried herbs like rosemary and parsley.
– For a Leftover Turkey Version: Add some cooked shredded turkey to the mixture along with the cranberries for a hearty post-thanksgiving side dish.
Remember, feel free to experiment with different spices and ingredients. This recipe is versatile and allows for plenty of substitutions and variations using what you already have in your pantry. That’s the beauty of cooking, folks!
Serving and Pairing
These cranberry-stuffed cornbread stuffing muffins are a delightful side dish that can be enjoyed during the holiday season or any meal that needs an extra pop of flavor. The tangy cranberries and sweetness of the cornbread stuffing makes these muffins perfect to serve alongside a succulent turkey, roasted chicken or pork, but they also pair well with grilled meats or veggies for a more casual meal.
I recommend topping each muffin with a dollop of cranberry sauce or sprinkling some dried cranberries on top for an extra burst of tartness. You can even pair it with a glass of white wine or cider to enhance the flavors of this dish.
These muffins are also great for potlucks or family gatherings since they are easy to serve and transport. You can arrange them in a serving platter or bowl for a more formal setting, or simply place them in a muffin tin for a more relaxed setup.
No matter how you serve them, these cranberry-stuffed cornbread stuffing muffins will surely impress your guests and leave them wanting more.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
When planning ahead for holiday feasts or dinner parties, the last thing anyone wants is to have a stressful time in the kitchen. Luckily, these Cranberry-Stuffed Cornbread Stuffing Muffins can be easily made ahead of time and stored for reheating later.
After baking the stuffing muffins, wait for them to cool to room temperature before storing them. If you are making them just one day ahead of time, store them in an airtight container or resealable bags and keep them in the refrigerator. For a longer period of storage over two days, it is better to keep them in the freezer.
To reheat the stuffing muffins, preheat the oven to 350°F and place muffins on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until they are heated through and begin to brown on top, which usually takes 10-15 minutes when taken out from refrigeration and 25-30 minutes when baked straight from freezer.
If you have any leftover cranberry sauce or dried cranberries after making these delectable muffins, you can use them as a topping! Simply reheat your cranberry sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it becomes liquefied again. Drizzle a bit of sauce over your reheated muffins or sprinkle some dried cranberries on top for an added festive touch.
Making the stuffing muffins ahead of time will save you valuable cooking time on the day of your event while still letting you maintain their flavor and quality. With this make-ahead suggestion, even amateur cooks will manage every aspect of this recipe smoothly.
Tips for Perfect Results
To achieve perfect results with these cranberry-stuffed cornbread stuffing muffins, I’ve compiled some tips that will come in handy as you prepare this delicious side dish.
Firstly, make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. Cold ingredients tend to separate and can cause the muffins to be dense and dry. Bring your eggs and butter out of the fridge a few hours beforehand.
When using cornbread stuffing mix, it’s important to follow the directions on the box. However, feel free to swap out the water with low-sodium chicken broth for added flavor.
For the best flavor and texture, I recommend using fresh cranberries instead of dried ones. Fresh cranberries have a tangy flavor that contrasts perfectly with the sweetness of the cornbread and brown sugar in these muffins.
When making the cranberry stuffing mixture for these muffins, don’t overwork it. This can cause a tough texture to form. Just combine everything until it is blended together, but not over-mixed.
To prevent your muffins from sticking to the pan or tins, use a non-stick spray or brush each cup with olive oil or unsalted butter before filling them.
While baking these cranberry-stuffed cornbread stuffing muffins, keep an eye on them after 20 minutes. Cooking time can vary depending on how hot your oven runs, so check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of a muffin – if it comes out clean, they’re done!
Lastly, allow your baked muffins to cool down before removing them from the pan or tins to avoid any breakage or crumbling.
By following these simple tips, your cranberry-stuffed cornbread stuffing muffins will turn out perfectly every time – just in time for Thanksgiving!
In conclusion, this cranberry-stuffed cornbread stuffing muffins recipe is a must-try if you’re looking for a delicious and versatile side dish to add to your holiday menu. With its unique blend of sweet and savory flavors, it’s sure to impress your guests and leave them asking for more. Plus, the recipe is easy to customize with substitutions and variations to suit any dietary preferences. So, what are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen and give these muffins a try – you won’t be disappointed!
Cranberry-Stuffed Cornbread Stuffing Muffins Recipe
For the Stuffing
- 3 (12 ounce) boxes cornbread stuffing mix (I like the Trader Joe's kind- includes a seasoning packet)
- 2 (32 ounce) boxes low sodium chicken broth (I like College Inn)
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage (I like the Publix kind that comes in one long casing- easier to cut, vs. several sausages)
- 1 1/2 cups diced onions (yes- why bother dicing yourself?)
- 1 1/2 cups diced celery (again... )
- 1 1/2 cups diced shallots, onion, and garlic (this is a killer mix I found at Trader Joe's)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 eggs
For the Cranberry Filling
- 2 (12 ounce) bags fresh cranberries
- 2 -3 cups orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups spicy pecans (can be found at Trader Joe's, or use regular pecans)
- 1 full orange, zest of
- 2 1/2 cups brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray cooking spray into muffin pan.
- In large skillet, heat olive oil to high heat. Slit sausage casing, and remove ground sausage. Break up sausage in pan, then turn to medium heat just before fully cooked. Add the three containers of onions, garlic, shallots, and celery and cook all until sausage is done and onions are translucent. Add seasoning packet that came with Stuffing mix (or not, if you bought the kind that’s pre-seasoned), and add one of the chicken broth boxes. Heat all ingredients until bubbly, then add thyme and sage just before removing from heat.
- Pour all stuffing mix all into one very large bowl. Then pour all contents of pan plus the additional box of broth over stuffing mix. Stir all together with two large serving spoons. Set aside.
- Rinse and drain cranberries, then heat in orange juice until juice is boiling and all cranberries pop open and become mushy. Watch that the juice doesn’t boil over, so turn it down to low and keep it at a simmer. In a food processor, pulse orange zest and pecans together to get a medium ground. Strain cooked cranberries from orange juice and mix them with the zest, pecans, and brown sugar.
- Just before baking, add the four eggs to the stuffing mix. Stir well, coating all stuffing.
- Spoon stuffing into muffin cups, halfway, and make a bit of a well for the cranberry filling. Just not all the way to the bottom. Spoon about 1 ½ tablespoon of cranberry filling into each muffin cup, then come back over and fill the muffins the rest of the way, covering the cranberry filling entirely. They won’t rise, so they can be filled to the top. Keep the cranberry filling buried within the stuffing, since the filling is sugary and will caramelize when baked, and you don’t want it to cause the muffin to stick into the pan.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 45-55 min, or until bubbly and golden brown/crusty on top. Let cool in muffin pans and run a butter knife around the inside of each cup to loosen each muffin. That way if any of the cranberry filling has leaked out and gotten sticky, it won’t cause the muffin to break apart. They will be dense so it’s best to use a plate upside down on top of the muffin pan, then flip over to remove the muffins. Makes 30 large muffins.
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Mishra Vikas is a digital nomad who loves to explore the world and learn about its cultures. As a programmer, backpacker, and cook, he enjoys sharing his adventures and cooking up delectable dishes. Writing about his experiences, creating tasty recipes, and discovering new places are some of his favorite activities. He’s an avid traveler and passionate chef, always on the lookout for an exciting new journey.