Raisin Bread Stuffing with Cranberries

The recipe below is one I’ve saved for years to remind myself to use raisin bread as a stuffing base, a great option from cornbread or sourdough. And finally I decided to try it.

However, I could only find raisin bread with cinnamon, which isn’t an ingredient I wanted in the stuffing, mostly because I wanted it for turkey, not duck or goose. Did there used to be commercial raisin bread without cinnamon?

I considered making my own cinnamon bread by making panettone or challah and adding raisins, but then discovered a cheat mix for brioche online (at Amazon, of course) from King Arthur’s flour. It makes 1 – 1.5 pound – 9 x 5” loaf and turned out delicious. All you add is butter and warm water; the yeast came with the mix.

So in the end, I’m not really using raisin bread as a base for this stuffing, but I refuse to change the name of the recipe! One day I will find cinnamon-less raisin bread. Or, am I weird and do you think cinnamon belongs in stuffing?

Raisin Bread Stuffing with Cranberries
printable recipe below

1.5 pound loaf prepared brioche
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Scant 1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup raisins
Heaping 1/2 cup dried whole cranberries
Chopped parsley, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove the crust of the prepared brioche if necessary. Cut into cubes about 1″ in diameter and place the cubes on a jelly-roll pan. (In retrospect I’d make 1/2″ cubes.)

Bake the bread cubes until golden and slightly crusty, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t include raisins in the brioche, since I was so gung-ho on using raisin bread, it was because I decided I didn’t want the cranberries dried out from the toasting step. Adding them at the last minute assured that they remained plump. The cranberries I use are from nuts.com. They are whole dried cranberries.

Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F.

In a medium-sized skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, allspice, salt, and white pepper, and remove the skillet from the heat.

Place the cooled bread cubes in a large bowl. Add orange juice, drizzling over all of the cubes as much as possible. The bread should be soft, but not soggy.

Stir in the vegetable mixture.

Gently incorporate the raisins, cranberries, and cream. You can add the parsley at this point, but I decided to sprinkle it on before serving instead.

Place the dressing in an 8 x 10.5” baking dish covered tightly with foil.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, remove the foil, then continue until the top is golden brown, about 5-6 minutes.

I served the stuffing with turkey from a whole turkey breast I roasted in the oven. A perfect pairing.

This stuffing came out absolutely perfect, in spite of the absence of actual raisin bread.

Overall the stuffing isn’t sweet except for the brioche and the bit of orange juice. Even the raisins didn’t pop out as sweet. I think I could have added more allspice, but the savory components were perfect.

I hadn’t yet made cranberry sauce or chutney this year, so I opened a jar of NM prickly pear and jalapeno jelly I bought in old town Albuquerque a while back. I discovered the maker of this jelly here. It’s good stuff!

Please tell me if you know of raisin bread without cinnamon!



71 thoughts on “Raisin Bread Stuffing with Cranberries

    • Nice! My daughter moved to London in 2006 I think and I personally feel that she started the Thanksgiving meal trend there! She had a large basement apartment in Marylebone and had so many friends over year after year. I don’t know how she did it with her teeny oven! But I seem them still now making Thanksgiving meals on Instagram! It’s wonderful!

  • It’s stuffing season again, isn’t it! And oh my God, does this raisin bread stuffing look fantastic! Mimi, you’re such an inspiration. And as fate would have it, I think I also have a jar of prickly pear jelly in the cupboard that I have no idea what to do with. I think I’m going to roast a chicken this weekend.

    • Ha! That’s great! I finally did get to my cranberry sauce and chutney, but it’s sad cause I’m the only one who likes them! This post was almost dumb because I never did end up using raisin bread, but boy the recipe was so good my husband ate it! He doesn’t like sweet and savory together.

    • My husband, who doesn’t like savory and sweet mixed together 🙄 is actually eating the stuffing. And, he wants it for Thanksgiving. I about fainted. Do you know of raisin bread without a lot of cinnamon?

  • I don’t believe I’ve had raising bread for several years. You have me craving it now, though — both for making toast with it (love that stuff!) and for making this stuffing. Neat dish — thanks.

  • I love cinnamon raisin bread, but I don’t like raisins in anything else. The stuffing with the cinnamon raisin bread I might have to try though. Lol.
    Have a fantastic week and weekend coming up!

    • That’s so funny. Weird, but funny! You might have to make this with actual cinnamon raisin bread! Have a great week yourself!

    • Ooohhh that sounds yummy! Something I use often is boiled cider. I get it on Amazon. I know I can reduce it myself, but it’s all there in a bottle for me! Gravies, chutneys, sauces, you name it. I’ve never thought of using it in sangria!

  • This is just a wonderful recipe! It’s right up my taste alley, but knowing my family, I am in the minority. So many people don’t like raisins, which is just so hard for me to understand. My favorite ice cream is rum raisin. :-) I am thinking I’d like to make a little side dish for Thanksgiving and see if I can get any takers. If not, I’ll just eat the whole thing! I like to bake bread, so I might just bake some raisin bread and freeze it until I need it. But I think a little added cinnamon might be nice. I’m going to experiment! Can you hear my enthusiasm?

    • Yes, I can! I’m finding this out about raisins… who knew?!! I think they’re fabulous! It’s certainly hard making everybody happy, isn’t it? I just made cranberry sauce and chutney, and I’m the only one who eats them. I’ve sometimes just not made them, but then I miss them! Would they be put off by golden raisins? Or maybe if you added walnuts? there have been plenty of dishes I’ve had to eat myself, like red cabbage. No takers there! More for us, right?!!

  • Mimi, this stuffing is perfection! Love the brioche and love the bit of sweetness from the raisins and cranberries. It looks incredibly delicious!

    • thank you Kelly. I’m still wondering about using fresh cranberries next time. These whole cranberries aren’t sweetened, which is why I prefer them, but fresh ones could also be fun. Or, I could incorporate cranberry sauce into the stuffing…. so many options!

    • It’s definitely American. It’s so fun to make because of all of the options, and not only for the bread. My family’s favorite stuffing is based on a sausage stuffing from a French chicken recipe, actually. But I added the bread!

  • Mimi, this will be perfect in the goose I’m cooking for our Mårtensafton (St. Martin’s day) dinner this weekend. I’d have no problem using cinnamon raisin bread in the recipe, but we don’t get it in the markets here. However, brioche bread with raisins is quite common, so I’m set. Maybe I’ll shake in a bit of cinnamon just for the heck of it.

    • I’m so happy to help. I don’t know why I am resistant to the cinnamon. I use allspice in a lot of savory foods. I guess I was worried about too much of a cinnamon flavor. Glad you can get brioche with raisins – less baking!

    • Oh interesting! Do you use the swirly grocery store bread with cinnamon? Sausage in it would be so good. We have a pescatarian in our family, so I always have to prepare non-meat dishes, or the poor thing would starve! Thank god she eats seafood, though!

  • Well it looks marvelous! When I first saw the title I wondered, but I can see there’s a lot of gorgeous ingredients in this. I think you are right about raisin bread w/o cinnamon. I see cinnamon put in a lot of places I think it has no business being in…like berry cobbler, for instance and it just takes over the flavor.

    • Some cinnamon is so strong as well, or people overuse it… not sure. Well thanks. This definitely worked out well!

    • I know. The whole point of the damn post was about using raisin bread! But it all worked out. good for your Mom!

  • I love the idea of raisins and other dried fruits in stuffing. How delicious with turkey. Love it! :-) ~Valentina

  • What a great recipe, with or without cinnamon. Although i agree with you that the volume of cinnamon in commercial raisin bread would have been too much. It’s cool that there is a brioche mix, will try that when we are in Arizona this year. Will also try your tasty recipe for stuffing. Thx

  • Yay! I’m loving all the cranberry recipes that are coming out now. Cranberries are one of my most favourite berries and always remind me of this time of year and the festive time yet to come! What an excellent recipe. I think I like raisins better in a stuffing than cinnamon too. Yum!

    • A few people voted for the cinnamon, but I’m still not sold on that idea. The raisins definitely worked, and didn’t add too much sweetness. They could always be soaked in port first…

    • No stuffing?!! That’s very unAmerican! Just kidding. I think a touch of cinnamon, but no more. I do like using allspice.

      • Yes, I know, very unAmerican 🤪 maybe because I’m from Europe and we never celebrated Thanksgiving or stuffing in general was not part of our meals 🤪 The stuffing that we usually do are the stuffed peppers or cabbage rolls 😉 However from when I’ve started to travel the world, I do appreciate all kind of cuisine and also the stuffing 😉

      • My mother is French, and not only never allowed us to celebrate Thanksgiving, but hated turkey. I couldn’t wait until I could do my own Thanksgiving once I was married. But I cooked globally, which got my husband from the MidWest hooked quickly, and for our 2nd Thanksgiving together he requested Ethiopian! Now that my daughters are older (in their 30’s) they request pretty traditional dishes. On daughter’s guy is British, and last year was his first Thanksgiving in the states, at our house, and he’s hooked! So they’re coming again!

      • The beauty is that each cuisine has its delicious dishes 😋 Definitely you can’t get bored in the kitchen 😉 and than the most important is to be able to share it with the loved ones 😊🥰

      • Absolutely! And I do remember you’re from Romania. that’s why I was joking about thanksgiving stuffing!

  • This stuffing looks so tasty, Mimi! I’ve never heard of raisin bread stufffing! But you’re right, maybe the cinnamon kind goes better with duck or goose. I’m not sure how it would be with turkey. I like the spices you added, though. I’ve never seen that brioche bread mix from King Arthur, looks like a great find! And, I don’t think Ive seen raising bread without cinnamon, unless it was an English muffin or a biscuit of some type. Hmmmm.

    • Hmmm is right! All I know is that this recipe worked out beautiful, to the point that my husband suggested it for Thanksgiving. We have a vegetarian, otherwise I’d add sausage to it. But it’s that good! The raisin bread situation seems to be a mystery. Certainly no raisin bread exists now without a significant amount of cinnamon.

  • Hmmm…you make an excellent point about raisin bread without cinnamon. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that. Of course, I normally like raisin bread with cinnamon, so it’s never occurred to me to even look. And with that said, a bit of cinnamon would totally work in this recipe – I don’t think it would be enough to overpower all of the other flavors going on in there. Either way, I support your move of baking the KAF broiche and using that. This stuffing looks amazing – perfect for Thanksgiving!

    • Thanks, David. My husband actually suggested it for the Thanksgiving stuffing, which is odd for him. He typically doesn’t like sweet and savory mixed together. But it really turned out good! and I’m definitely going to use that mix again!

  • I love how unique your recipes always are. What a fantastic idea – raisin bread stuffing. Wow. Such a festive Thanksgiving side dish. Thanks so much for sharing!

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