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Stuffing Balls with Cranberries and Pecans

Dec 12, 2022 | 0 comments

These juicy stuffing balls are the perfect side. They’re loaded with dried cranberries and pecans for a fun, festive twist, super easy to prep ahead of time (up to 3 days!) then just throw them in the oven when you’re ready to serve.

Cranberry pecan stuffing balls piled on a large white plate with more stuffing balls in the background.

I love serving stuffing as little meatballs on the side of a spread. It means they’re already portioned out, and never run the risk of drying out after being in the oven for a long time inside a roasted chicken or turkey.

They couldn’t be easier – just mix your favourite sausage meat with festive cranberries and pecans, fresh breadcrumbs, herbs and an egg to bind everything together. They’re juicy, super addictive and a wonderful side to enjoy over the holiday season.

I also love making these as little party snacks – load them all up on a big serving plate and serve them with cranberry sauce for a fun festive bite.

Ingredients

There are just a handful of ingredients that go into these balls – and you can make them your own based on what you like best.

Ingredients for cranberry pecan stuffing balls laid out on a grey marble background.
  • Sausages. Use your favourite sausages here – ideally a good quality, free-range pork sausage.
  • Dried cranberries. These little pops of sweetness are delicious and festive, but you could swap them for another dried fruit. I also like using apricots.
  • Pecans. Similarly, the pecans work well with the cranberries but you could swap them for another nut – pistachios, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts or cashews would work too.
  • Bread. We’re using fresh bread here – you can either chop the slices up really finely or pop them into a food processor to blitz. Don’t worry if there are some chunkier pieces. I like using sourdough, but any soft bread will do.
  • Za’atar. I love this mix of sumac, dried oregano, sesame seeds and salt, but you could swap this out for just dried thyme or oregano if you like.
  • Egg. This is key for binding the stuffing balls together, without it, they’ll be dry and fall apart.

How to make them

Slice down your sausages and squeeze the meat out of the skins into a large mixing bowl. Add the other ingredients, then mix it well. It’s easiest to do this with your hands, so you can pop on some gloves and get your hands in there.

Heat your oven to 180C/350F fan and line a couple of oven trays with baking paper. Scoop up about 1 tablespoon of the stuffing mix and roll it into a ball in your hands. Place on the tray and repeat with the rest of the mixture. Pop them into the oven for 20 minutes, until they’re looking golden and lovely.

PREP AHEAD: You can form the stuffing balls 3 days in advance, then just bake them when you’re ready.

Got a question?

Can they be made in advance?

Yes! That’s what’s great about these. You can make them up to 3 days ahead of time, then just cook them when you’re ready.

What can I use instead of pecans?

You can use any other nut you like – hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts or pistachios are great too.

Can I use a different dried fruit?

I love using chopped dried apricots in these balls in place of cranberries – you could really use any dried fruit you like.

How long will they last?

Once cooked, they’ll keep for at least 3 days stored in the fridge in an airtight container.

Complete your Christmas menu with these ideas

If you make these stuffing balls, I’d love to hear how you get on! You can leave me a comment below.

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Cranberry pecan stuffing balls piled on a large white plate with more stuffing balls in the background.

Stuffing Balls with Cranberries and Pecans


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Description

These juicy stuffing balls are the perfect side. They’re loaded with dried cranberries and pecans for a fun, festive twist, super easy to prep ahead of time (up to 3 days!) then just throw them in the oven when you’re ready to serve.

Remember, if you’re looking for US measurements, use the ‘Units’ section below and click on ‘US’.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 800g/1.7lb sausages (ideally good quality and free-range)
  • 2 slices of bread
  • ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon za’atar
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Prepare the ingredients. Heat your oven to 180C/360F fan and line 2 oven trays with baking paper. Roughly chop the pecans, cranberries and flat-leaf parsley. You can either finely chop up or tear the bread slices, or tear them roughly them throw them into the bowl of a food processor and blitz a couple of times to break them up into chunky breadcrumbs. 
  2. Make the stuffing mix.  Get a large mixing bowl ready, then cut through the sausage skin and squeeze the meat out into the bowl. Add the chopped pecans, cranberries, flat-leaf parsley, breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of za’atar, 1 teaspoon of salt and the egg. Mix everything together really well with a large wooden spoon (or get your hands in there!) so that everything is combined and it’s looking more like a paste.
  3. Form and cook the stuffing balls. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of the mixture into your hands, then roll it into a ball. Place on the prepared oven tray, then repeat with the rest of the mixture. You should get about 40 stuffing balls. Transfer to the oven and cook for 20 – 25 minutes, until the balls are looking golden brown. Remove from the oven, and serve.

Notes

PREP AHEAD: You can roll the balls up to 3 days ahead of time and then just bake them when you’re ready. Store the uncooked balls in airtight containers in the fridge. 

SUBSTITUTIONS: Swap the cranberries for chopped dried apricots, or switch out the pecans for almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts or hazelnuts.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: These are lovely served with a drizzle of honey, and served with cranberry sauce or your favourite chutney – this fig and tamarind chutney works really well. Sweet chilli jam is also great with them.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: sides
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: american

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 3 balls
  • Calories: 260
  • Sugar: 0.5g
  • Sodium: 656mg
  • Fat: 22g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Fiber: 0.8g
  • Protein: 13.1g
  • Cholesterol: 64mg

Welcome!

I’m Kate, the creator behind Dished. I love creating flavour packed, simple (ish) recipes for you, designed for every day and special occasions.

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