Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing

By: Cassy Joy

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This cranberry sweet potato stuffing is the perfect Paleo addition to your table this Thanksgiving!

This Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing combines sweet potato croutons, browned Italian sausage, garlic-infused butter, onions and celery , and cranberries to brighten each bite. It is so good you won't even miss the traditional version!

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing

For many, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. For me, it marks the beginning of my countdown to glass bottle Coca-Cola’s, snickerdoodles, giggly spiked eggnog late-night poker, really fun parties, the best quality time with family, and an excuse to wear more sparkly jewelry than normal {which is usually quite a lot}.

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing

Thanksgiving sets the tone for the rest of the chilly months. Thanksgiving tells us to gather with loved ones, eat delicious food, and reflect on our blessings. When the “what are you thankful for” baton comes to me during our turkey dinner each year, I almost want to cry. I’m so overwhelmed by what I’m thankful for that I don’t know where to start.

I’m thankful that I’ve found the love of my life, the way Gus puts his hand on my shoulder and gives me a hug, my awe-inspiring family, the roof over my head, my favorite warm fuzzy blanket, coffee, butter, and each of you who visit and support this blog. I am so thankful for you. Thank you for inviting me into your home and kitchen. You’re in my heart and the front line in my mission to feed and heal the world.

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing

Stuffing is everything. Everything! It’s the one dish that makes this particular turkey dinner in November a Thanksgiving dinner. Even though the crumbly bready side plays just a supporting role, it’s still the first dish we sample and the one we dream about. Right? I know you’re with me.

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing

It’s hard to beat traditional stuffing. It’s simple to make, feeds a lot of people, and tastes like childhood. All that being said, this new paleo sweet potato cranberry stuffing recipe won’t disappoint. There’s a little more work involved but I PROMISE you won’t regret it. This dish can be the missing link in your Paleo-friendly Thanksgiving plate!

We’re going to use oven-crisped sweet potato croutons, browned Italian sausage {because that’s the way I like my stuffing}, lots of garlic-infused grass-fed butter, onions and celery {classic, right?}, and then some super fresh and super delicious cranberries! The cranberries in this stuffing really brighten each bite.

If you’re preparing Thanksgiving dinner this year or you’re bringing something for a potluck, I give you my word that you will be hailed king {or queen} of Thanksgiving sides with this dish. It’ll be the favorite. I promise. 2nd place might go to this Paleo Green Bean Casserole. 3rd place will probably go to Joy the Baker’s Sweet Potato Pie. Either way, people will be happy …and thankful …for you …and that you brought this healthier delicious paleo cranberry sweet potato stuffing recipe into their lives.

Know also that this recipe is great for making ahead and freezing! I've got one of these stashed in my freezer right now ready for next week.

Let’s make stuffing!

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Next, grab some freshly cleaned sweet potatoes. I used about 6 pounds, which I’m expecting to feed about 12 people. This recipe easily halves if you want to make less.

If you cleaned your sweet potatoes well and don’t have an aversion to eating their skin, we can start chopping! Otherwise, peel the potatoes and then proceed.

Because we’re looking to get relatively consistent cubes {aka. croutons} of sweet potatoes, I’m going to walk you through the steps I found to be the most simple for cutting them up. Start by cutting off both ends.

Then cut your potato in half. Then cut that half, in half. Then lay one of those halves down and cut about ½“ slices. Flip half of those slices up on one end and cut down through them. Finally, cut small cubes from those pieces!

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing | Fed+Fit-15

Until you’ve gone through them all.

That’s a lot of sweet potato goodness right there! This might seem like a lot of work, but when you’ve got a good playlist going and a glass of sparkling water over ice, it’ll fly by.

Now it’s my favorite time. Butter time! Have you seen these big hunks of 8 oz. of Kerrygold’s grass-fed butter?? I literally gasped when I saw them at the grocery store. It’s the equivalent of 2 sticks of butter and will make this stuffing taste incredible.

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing | Fed+Fit-18

We’re going to use half now and half later. Remember not to fear the butter …or any healthy fat, for that matter. Grass-fed butter can offer us a lot of really great health benefits and is WAY less damaging than any margarine or other fat-free butter substitute you can find.

Put 4 oz. {or 1 stick of butter} into a glass jar and melt it in the microwave.

Look at that golden goodness. It melts down to about ½ a cup.

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing | Fed+Fit-21

Pour it over your sweet potato cubes. Give it a good stir, making sure that each sweet potato piece gets a good coating. Pour the sweet potato croutons onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. I had to use about 4 baking sheets for this number of sweet potatoes.

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing | Fed+Fit-24

Spread them out so that you’ve got about 1 layer thick. Then, sprinkle with some kosher or sea salt.

Got ‘em well dusted? Good! They’re ready for the oven. Bake them at 350 F for 30 minutes, give them a stir and then bake them for another 25 minutes. Leave them in longer if they’re still soft but don’t let them burn {like I did}.

While the taters are roasting, we can move onto the sausage. I grabbed this awesome mild Italian sausage from Whole Foods. You’ll need 2 pounds of meat for this recipe. Pinch the Italian sausage out of its casing into a frying pan over medium/high heat. Discard the casings and start breaking up the sausage with a spoon. Keep breaking it up! You want to end up with small pieces of sausage.

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing | Fed+Fit-31

When it’s crispy, brown, and smells amazing, it’s finished. Pour the sausage into a colander to drain and then set it aside.

It’s my favorite time again! Butter time! Grab the other stick {or 4 oz.} of butter and put it into a pot over medium heat. Hello love of my life. I love garlic. Why is it that lots of people love garlic but nobody loves a garlic lover? Not that I’m not loved, I’m just not loved as much when I’ve loved too much garlic. Does the same apply to onions? Maybe people just don’t like second hand food. This got a little weird. Back to cooking.

Peel and smash five cloves of garlic then add them to the melting butter.

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing | Fed+Fit-36

Got ‘em in there? Stir it up and let these flavors come together for about 5 minutes. We’re not actually going to eat this garlic. We’re just using it to flavor our butter. When it’s got a nice golden brown color and you can really smell the garlic, it’s time to pull them out! Remove the garlic and discard. Or eat. Whatever. I’ll still love you, you garlic lover.

Onions are next! We’re going to need one large onion. I’m also going to walk you through an easy way to chop up this onion. If this is old news, feel free to skip ahead.

 

First, cut off the non-hairy side of the onion. Then peel the onion but leave the hairy end attached. Cut that piece in half through the hairy end. The hairy end will actually help hold the rest of the onion together while we do our dicing. The non-hairy end won’t hold anything together. Flip one of those halves down and cut strips almost to, but not through the end. Cut one or two horizontal slices through the half. Then run your knife over the top so you get these nice pieces! When you get close to the end and it’s starting to tip over, save your fingers and just lay it face down for the rest of your chopping.

Add the onions to your now garlic infused grass-fed melted butter magic. Give them a stir and marvel at that amazing color and flavor.

Time for the celery! I love celery. My high school biology teacher taught me the difference between turgid and flaccid with a couple pieces of new and older celery. Thanks to Mrs. Ramos, I’ll never forget those definitions. Nor will I ever be able to look at celery without assessing its turgor pressure and therefore, freshness. Nerd-alert! Thanks for being my friend.

Cut the ends of the celery off. Then cut the long piece into two long halves. Chop those halves into small, adorable pieces!

Done?

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing | Fed+Fit-53

Add them to the pot of softening onions. Give it a good stir. Add ½ tsp of kosher salt and stir it again. This is my secret make-it-taste-like-childhood-stuffing weapon. Italian seasoning! The bread croutons we usually buy for stuffing are typically flavored with Italian seasoning. Add 1 Tbl of the goodness to the onion and celery mixture.

Let it simmer for about 5 minutes on medium/low until the onions are translucent and the celery is softened a bit.

We’ve finished all the components and it’s time to assemble! Pour the roasted sweet potato croutons into a big bowl. Add the perfectly crisped Italian sausage bits. Add the buttery goodness onions and celery. Make sure you get all that butter in there!

Finally, the star of the show. Allow me to introduce you to the fruit of the season. The one and only, cranberry. Oh goodness how I love cranberries. Stay tuned because next week I’ll share my very own recipe for all natural, all delicious, and all super easy cranberry sauce.

Add 12 oz. {about 2 cups} of fresh cranberries to the bowl.

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing | Fed+Fit-64

Got it all in there?

I hope you’re marveling at all your hard work right now. These flavors are going to come together and make Thanksgiving magic happen.

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing

Fold all the ingredients together. I don’t recommend you give it an aggressive stir because we want the sweet potato croutons to maintain their shape.

Pour the mixture into a large baking dish.

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing

Pat it down so that you have an even layer.

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing

Cover with foil and then stick it in the oven at 350 F for 20 minutes! After those 20 minutes are up, remove the foil and finish baking for another 10 minutes.

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing

Done!

Bam! Isn’t it gorgeous?? It’s even tastier than it looks.

You, your family, your extended family, your office potluck participants, and your friends are all going to just love this dish.

Wishing you a healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

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Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing

This Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing combines sweet potatoes, Italian sausage, garlic butter, onions, celery, and cranberries to brighten each bite.

  • Author: Cassy
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 105 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Yield: 12
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Holiday

Ingredients

  • 6 pound sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) grass-fed butter or extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 head of celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • curly parsley for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Melt half the butter and pour over the cubed sweet potatoes. Lay the sweet potato cubes on the baking sheets in a single layer. Dust with half the kosher salt. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes, stir, then bake for an additional 25 minutes. Add or subtract baking time in order to get slightly crisped, but not burnt sweet potato croutons.
  2. In a large frying pan, break up and brown the Italian sausage. When it’s brown and crispy, drain in a colander and then set aside.
  3. Add the other half of the butter (4 ounces) to a large sauce pan over low/medium heat. Add the cloves of garlic and let it simmer and infuse for about 5 minutes. When the garlic starts to brown, remove and discard. Add the diced onions and stir. Add the diced celery, ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt, and the Italian seasoning. Stir and let simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  4. Pour the finished sweet potato croutons, Italian sausage, and cooked onion, celery, and garlic mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the raw cranberries and fold until evenly combined.
  5. Pour the mixture into a large baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. Remove the foil then bake for an additional 10 minutes uncovered.
  6. Remove from oven, serve, and enjoy!

Keywords: holiday, dairy free, paleo, gluten free, nightshade free

Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing | Fed+Fit

Comments

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  1. cathyo says:

    This looks fantastic! I might just have to give this a try!

    1. fedandfit says:

      That’s great! I’d love to know how you like it 🙂

  2. Vickie says:

    This is a beauty to behold! The colors are amazing! I WILL be making this but not being a fan of Italian sausage I’ll just stick with regular ole sausage and also using my handy dandy Vidalia Onion Chopper, it makes the most perfect little squares in no time at all, either large or small and no, I am not an onion chopper saleswoman, just really like mine as it cuts time and everything is just the same as long as I cut the slabs the same thickness. Thanks so much for this post, done so well and I like your humor!

    1. fedandfit says:

      Thanks, Vickie! It sounds like I need an onion chopper 🙂

  3. Vickie says:

    Oh and I forgot to add, love your pan!

    1. fedandfit says:

      Thank you! It actually belonged to my Grandmother – really puts me in the Thanksgiving mood 🙂

  4. Ms Mercury says:

    Looks and smells wonderful (just projecting about the aroma). I am planning to make all the ingredients on Wednesday, putting in fridge, then Thursday take out til room temp and assembling them and putting in oven for baking.

    Question: Any suggestion on how to handle the sourness of the cranberries. I only use fresh cranberries once a year, but they are always he most sour produce ever. Do they get sweeter when they are baked? I usually use sugar and/or applesauce to sweeten fresh cranberry sauce, but since they are whole, I’m wondering how to tame them down.

    Thanks.

    1. fedandfit says:

      Sounds like a great plan! The mild sweetness of the cranberries absolutely comes out while baking – but it doesn’t change that they’re still a tart fruit. They’re easy to avoid while you’re eating the stuffing because they’re still whole. I recommend giving them a go and then just pick ’em out if you find them too tart. You might surprise yourself and love the taste too! Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving.

  5. CaliGirl says:

    Presentation is beautiful but I would love to be able to print just the recipe and instructions. Do you have this recipe somewhere else that I can print from?

    1. fedandfit says:

      Great question! At the bottom of the post {just above the very last picture}, I’ve provided a summarized list of ingredients and instructions. For the time being, the only option is to copy and paste that text into a Word document for printing. I’m working on a website redesign right now {will go live late December} and will have a printer-friendly recipe button available on all future posts.

  6. cori says:

    I found this recipe via Just Eat real food. I made this as a side dish for our Sunday dinner last evening. I halved the recipe as there was just my husband & I. It is every bit as delicious as Promised. I will be making this again in our future. I can with confidence recommend this recipe. I only had frozen whole organic cranberry’s. they worked well in the recipe. I can say that the cranberries do get sweeter as they bake in this dish and are a lovely addition. Along with the chopped fresh parsley just before serving. I actually used a combination of butter and coconut oil for roasting & sautéing the vegetables.

    Thank you very much for sharing this!

    1. fedandfit says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Cori! I’m so thrilled that you and your husband liked it. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  7. Jeremy Goldstrich says:

    Could you use this inside the bird ?

    1. fedandfit says:

      Hi Jeremy! I haven’t tried cooking it in the bird, so I can’t speak to how well it would turn out. It’s worth an experiment if you’re wanting to give it a try! I’d love to know how it comes out. Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Teresa says:

    Oh my, I am making this right now for tomorrow’s dinner and snap! It is delicious. Turning out perfectly. Thank you soooo much for sharing.

    1. fedandfit says:

      My pleasure, Teresa!

  9. Dollie says:

    This is a new family favorite! Love your step by step directions-thanks for sharing

    1. fedandfit says:

      Oh I’m so thrilled that you liked it, Dollie! It’s my pleasure.

  10. Diane says:

    I made this for Thanksgiving dinner and yes, it was a hit! Loved the flavor combinations. And thank you for including pictures of how to properly chop the sweet potatoes and the onion (still cried, though).

  11. Maria Flores says:

    Can I substitute coconut butter for the butter used in recipe? Thank you.

    1. Cassy says:

      Hi Maria! You mean, can you substitute butter for the coconut oil? If that’s your question, then yes. Absolutely.

  12. Maria+Flores says:

    I guess my question is has anyone tried it with the extra virgin cocunut oil, and how did it taste.

  13. Blade says:

    My wife loves sweet potato, me, not so much. That gosh awful mashed with marshmallow casserole ruined me. But I have tried, and liked, roasted wedges. This is something I’ll have to try for T-Day this year. Have you tried any other seasonings than Italian? Herbs de Provence, or fresh thyme or marjoram? Also wonder if a little heat, say a fresh jalapeno or some red pepper flakes might me nice. Oh it’s so much fun to experiment. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. Cassy says:

      Fresh thyme may be a great substitute! I also think that some red pepper flakes might be an awesome addition. Hope you enjoy!

  14. Megan says:

    Thank you for this awesome recipe! This was a big hit with my immediate family and so I’m making for Thanksgiving with friends. My picky kids even had seconds! They did pick out the cranberries and I suppose if you want to accommodate pickiness you could substitute dried sweetened cranberries or even raisins. I’m not changing anything thought b/c I loved the tart berries and I think most adults would too. This dish alone is making my Thanksgiving!

    1. Cassy says:

      I’m so glad you liked it so much, Megan!

  15. Karen says:

    making this for the third time. I forgot to buy mild Italian sausage so I used hot. Hope it works! Last time I set some aside w/o the sausage for an AIP friend. It’s even fabulous meat free! Love this recipe!

  16. Lyndsey says:

    So excited to make this tomorrow! Any way I can do the last step the day of thanksgiving ? And cooks everything else the day before ?

    1. Kelly says:

      Hi Lyndsey! Sorry, I just saw this comment. You could definitely do that. Hope it turned out well for you and you had a great Thanksgiving!

  17. Rachel says:

    I don’t usually comment, but I just had to this time. I made this for an almost 100% aip compliant christmas dinner (the exceptions being ghee and black pepper). It was outstanding. My husband, who eats about 50% paleo and 50% SAD, declared more than once that it was better than “regular stuffing”. He had already devoured most of the leftovers. All of the other guests at the table also loved it and the recipe was passed on to a few people. The only changes I made were to use ghee, added mushrooms, and I used pork apple sausage because that’s what I had. Thank you!!

    1. Kelly says:

      So glad you loved it Rachel!! That makes us so happy to be apart of your Christmas in some way, even if it is small. Hope you had a lovely holiday and Happy New Year!!

  18. Kristin says:

    Can you prep/pre-cook the ingredients ahead of time and then bake it off together on Thanksgiving Day?

  19. Alison Lewis McCoy says:

    This is amazingly delicious. My gluten intolerant family loved it and it will become part of our holiday meals from now on.

    1. Cassy says:

      I’m so glad you liked it!

  20. Heather H says:

    Made it with Turkey cranberry sausage, looks beautiful but those cranberries are sooo bitter

  21. judy says:

    I made this today; cut the recipe in 1/2; otherwise followed it exactly. Except we cannot yet get cranberries; so I used dried apricots and it was out of this world. My husband and I ate some of it for lunch. He is diabetic so I was looking for a recipe to go with turkey and/or chicken that he could eat and this is it. Thank you so much. I am looking for the nutrition info on this recipe. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks

  22. Lauren says:

    Hi!! Can you elaborate on freezing instructions?? Do you fully cook it and then freeze? Or after you assemble and then let thaw and bake thanksgiving morning?
    Thank you!! Happy thanksgiving!

  23. […] dish is like Thanksgiving in a spoon! I was inspired by an AIP version of Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing that I’ve been making but wanted a creamier consistency, so I leveraged a few classic […]

  24. […] help address our autoimmune conditions, we came home with a handy packet of food rules and meals. Fed & Fit’s Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing was front and center for a make-ahead go-to breakfast meal. That was our first AIP staple […]

  25. Rizalina says:

    I am still madly in love with this recipe! Thank you for sharing this delicious perfection for the holidays.

    5.0 rating

  26. CGL says:

    I made this two years ago for the alternative to bread stuffing. It’s now on my permanent rotation for holidays.

  27. Denise says:

    Can you use this to stuff your turkey? I can’t stuff the turkey since I have a gluten intolerant guest coming. I want to stuff the bird to help with keeping it moist.

  28. Marcia Schlie says:

    Hi,
    I was wondering if you ever made this recipe ahead and froze it.