Cranberry pumpkin seed stuffing (dressing) is an easy and delicious crockpot dish that balances sweet, tart, and savory in each bite. Savory bread cubes mixed with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds makes for a truly unique treat. Special enough for a holiday but easy enough to make anytime!
Stuffing vs. Dressing
Are you a member of Team Dressing or Team Stuffing?? Where I come from, the bready like concoction that is traditionally cooked on Thanksgiving and Christmas with bread cubes and spices is called stuffing - regardless of whether it is actually "stuffed" anywhere or not. However, others say that if it is cooked inside the bird, it is stuffing. If it is cooked outside (as is my preference!) is it dressing.
Regardless of what you call it, the stuffing/dressing that appeared on our family holiday table was always pretty much the same for many years. More recently, different, fun and delicious variations have piqued my interest and I started to experiment. This recipe is a perfect example of jazzed up stuffing/dressing that will add a pop of color and flavor to your table.
How To Make Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Stuffing (Dressing)
Starting with store bought bread cubes is most certainly the easiest way to go. For this recipe, herbed flavored cubes are a plus. In addition to bread cubes, you will need:
- butter or butter alternative
- chicken or turkey broth
- dried cranberries
- shelled pumpkin seeds
- green onion
Note: Exact quantities can be found in recipe card below
If you plan to line your slow cooker with a liner or parchment paper, that is always the first (and often forgotten) step. Parchment paper works really well for this recipe.
To begin, place bread cubes, green onion, cranberries and pumpkin seeds into your slow cooker. Melt butter in a microwave safe dish. Stir the seasonings into the melted butter and allow to cool a bit. Whisk eggs into cooled, but still fully liquid, melted butter mixture until well combined. Pour butter/egg mixture over slow cooker contents and stir to fully coat.
Pour broth over mixture in slow cooker a bit at a time and stir to mix. If you like a stuffing/dressing with a bread pudding-like texture, you will want to use all of the broth (and possibly even more, depending on how dry your bread cubes are). If you prefer your stuffing on the drier side, use less. The stuffing pictured here is on the drier side and took about 1.25 cups of broth.
Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. If you need to store longer while waiting for your meal time to start, this dish waits very well on the warm setting, as long as you keep the lid on. If the dish will be on warm for an extended period of time, it may help to stir every now and then to keep the bottom from burning. For those who (like me) love crispy edges, turn your slow cooker to high for the last two hours or so of cooking time. This should cause the edges of the stuffing to get that yummy, crusty almost burnt texture and flavor. As always, keep in mind that each slow cooker is different. If yours runs hot, you may not need to turn it up at all to see some crisping around the edges.
How To Serve This Stuffing
This dish can be served all the same ways that traditional stuffing is served. It is great with turkey and gravy and all the usual trimmings. But, don't limit it just to turkey. This is a great side dish for any red meat recipe as well as chicken or even fish. Leftovers are perfect served with (and even in!) sandwiches. One fun leftover concoction is the "turkey-cranberry sauce-stuffing sandwich. This dressing makes for a particularly delicious addition to that creation.
How To Store This Dish
Cranberry pumpkin seed stuffing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (assuming there are any leftovers!). Just place into an airtight storage container or bag. I do not recommend freezing. Leftovers are wonderful both hot and cold. If you prefer them hot, the microwave works well for a quick warm up.
Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Stuffing (dressing) Hints & Hacks
- This dish can be made with either butter or a butter alternative to keep it dairy free. I generally go with the the dairy free option and use Olive Oil Smart Balance.
- The key to a good slow cooker stuffing is to add the liquid broth to the bread cubes slowly to reach the consistency you prefer. This requires paying careful attention while adding the liquid. If you like a dressing that maintains a cube-like texture such as the one pictured, don't overdue the liquids. For those who prefer a very moist, pudding-like stuffing, you will certainly want to add it all.
- In the market for a new slow cooker? Here is the one I am currently lusting after.
- I am a huge fan of slow cooker liners and usually recommend them for everything. However, for this type of dish, parchment paper is even better. Here is the kind I use.
Lazy Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Stuffing/Dressing Recipe
- 4 quart or larger slow cooker, casserole Crock-Pot
- slow cooker liner (optional)
- measuring spoons and cups
- 12 oz bag, herbed bread cubes
- 1 cup sliced green onion
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds, shelled
- 1 cup butter or butter alternative
- 1 teaspoon dried Rosemary
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups chicken broth
- place parchment paper or slow cooker liner in slow cooker, if using
- add bread cubes, green onion, cranberries and pumpkin seeds to slow cooker. stir to mix
- melt butter in a separate bowl (a microwave is easiest)
- add rosemary and thyme to butter and allow butter to cool sightly, but remain liquid
- whisk eggs into melted butter mixture to fully mix
- pour egg/butter mixture over bread cube mixture and stir to fully combine
- slowly add chicken broth to crockpot mixture stopping to stir every ½ cup of broth or so. If bread is starting to look really soggy, stop and do not add full amount of broth. If bread is keeping its shape, continue until all broth as been added
- cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or on low for 2-4 hours and on high for 2 hours if you want slightly burnt edges (my favorite part!).
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