Cranberry Orange Pecan Turkey Dressing

It is hard to describe in words how good this Cranberry Orange Pecan Turkey Dressing is!

It is very forgiving quantity wise. There is kind of a formula for dressing:

  • about 1 cup of bread cubes per person
  • 1 cup of soft vegetables per 4 cups of bread- think onion and/or celery or apple etc
  • 2 Tbsps of butter per cup of vegetables above
  • seasoning -about 1 Tbsp each dried sage and thyme per 8 cups of bread or 2 Tbsps each fresh herbs
  • accents – 3/4 to 1 cup each – pecans, cranberries, chestnuts etc

I just made this up as I went along because I wanted it to complement this Roast Turkey with Balsamic, Fig, Orange Glaze.

And -it was a winning combination if I do say so myself!

You can use pretty much any bread but I like a combination of interesting breads – a bit of white bread, a bit of light rye, cornbread would work too. A fairly dense, dry bread will help the dressing keeps it’s shape and not turn into mush inside the turkey.

The fresh cranberries in this give a really nice tart burst every few bites! It was so flavourful I didn’t even serve regular cranberry sauce with this. Of course you could if you want but I didn’t feel the need!

You can use a fresh naval orange or big juicy mandarin oranges. I used about 4 mandarin oranges to get the right amount of juice and zest.

Don’t have or like pecans? You can leave them out.

The one thing I wouldn’t change is the fresh cranberries – they really make this dressing pop! (Literally!)

This would also be great to stuff Cornish Hens or a Roaster Chicken. You would probably only need about half of the recipe for 4 hens or 1 roaster.

Once you taste this you’ll be looking for things to stuff with this!!

Cranberry Orange Pecan Turkey Dressing

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Course: Sides
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


  • 8 cups bread in 1" cubes use a mixture of white and other interesting dense bread
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 cups onions, diced or 1 cup onion + 1 cup celery
  • 1 Tbsp dried sage or 2 Tbsps fresh
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme or 2 Tbsps fresh
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces


  • Let bread cubes dry out overnight or toast about 8 minutes at 350 degrees in a single layer. You want the consistency of breakfast toast on all sides (not as dry as croutons!)
  • Sauté the vegetables in the butter over medium heat until soft -about 8 minutes. Add the spices to the vegetable mixture and still till dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the orange juice.
  • Add the bread cubes to a big bowl. Stir in the vegetable, orange and spice mixture. Add the cranberries and pecans and stir.
  • Pack the dressing into the turkey cavity and neck area and follow instructions for roasting your turkey.
  • Note: If you want make the dressing in casserole dish on the side then add an additional 2/3 cup of melted butter or chicken broth to the bread mixture. Spray and 9 X 13" pan and bake @ 350 degrees, covered for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes.
Cranberry Orange Pecan Turkey Dressing

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