Save yourself time and stress by preparing these easy make ahead stuffing muffins for the holidays! Made with sourdough bread, tons of vegetables, dried cranberries, and apples, they’re just as good as traditional stuffing but in muffin size. You’ll love how convenient it is to make individual servings in advance to enjoy on Thanksgiving or Christmas. They’re even freezer-friendly!
I like to prioritize two things when I make Thanksgiving recipes to share with all of you: 1) they have to be veggie-loaded (of course!), and 2) they have to be super easy and/or a way to save time or kitchen space on the big day. I’m happy to report that these make ahead stuffing muffins meet both criteria!
While I was planning my holiday content, I came across my Slow Cooker Vegetable Stuffing with Sourdough and was reminded how much I loved it. I figured another veggie-loaded stuffing recipe could be helpful, especially if it could be made ahead of time and in individual servings. Enter: muffins, or should I say…stuffins?!! (Come on, it’s right there.)
While these muffins don’t have as many veggies as that slow cooker stuffing, I made up for it by adding some apples and dried cranberries for extra plant goodness. I love the sweet and savory flavor, and I highly recommend them for your holiday needs! You can even make a batch to keep in the freezer and enjoy with non-holiday dinners when you need an easy side. Don’t think you need to limit them to Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Sourdough bread cubes: I prefer to use sourdough bread that I cut up into cubes myself for this recipe. You need about 10 cups of cubes. This may be anywhere from 6 to 12 slices of bread, depending on the size and shape of your bread loaf. If you don’t like sourdough bread, you can use other varieties as well. You can even substitute store-bought stuffing mixes. However, keep in mind that many of these are already seasoned, so you may need to omit or adjust the seasonings included in this recipe if you use store-bought bread cubes.
- Butter: Unsalted butter is key to making a rich stuffing. However, you can substitute olive oil for a healthier fat if desired.
- Onion: Use white, yellow, or red. Shallots also work.
- Celery: You can’t have make ahead stuffing muffins without celery!
- Mushrooms: I used cremini (aka baby bella) mushrooms, but most varieties would work.
- Apple: I used a Honeycrisp apple because that’s why I had, but any sweet variety can be substituted. Granny Smith apples would also be delicious here.
- Dried cranberries: I used a reduced sugar variety. You can also swap in fresh cranberries, but I’d recommend cooking them down with the veggies so they’re softer. They will also have a much tarter taste than dried cranberries, FYI.
- Garlic, dried sage, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and salt: The classic stuffing seasonings. Feel free to sub fresh herbs for dried. Remember that 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs is equal to 1 teaspoon dried. Again, if you are using store-bought stuffing bread cubes, you may need to cut back or omit these seasonings if they’re pre-seasoned.
- Vegetable broth: Sub chicken broth if that’s what you have. I like to use low-sodium.
- Milk: Any kind works, even plant-based versions.
- Eggs: You will need 3 eggs to help the muffins stick together.
The full recipe card for make ahead stuffing muffins, including ingredient quantities, is at the bottom of the post. Here’s a preview of the steps with photos to guide you.
Toast the bread cubes. If you did not leave them out overnight to get stale, spread them out on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Dice the mushrooms, apple, celery, and onion.
Warm the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped veggies and apple. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in the garlic and dried seasonings. Cook until everything is soft.
Transfer the cooked ingredients to a large bowl. Add the dried cranberries.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the broth, eggs, and milk.
Pour the wet ingredients over the other ones. Stir until everything is coated. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so that the bread softens.
Scoop the muffin mixture into 2 prepared muffin trays. See notes for recommended equipment below.
Bake until the muffins are golden brown, about 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
To prevent stuffing muffins from sticking, I highly recommend using a silicone muffin tray (placed on top of a baking sheet), silicone liners, or paper liners that have been generously greased with butter/oil or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. I made one batch in my silicone tray and another in a regular muffin tin with paper liners that I sprayed. Both turned out really well – no sticking!
Expert tip: By nature, make ahead stuffing muffins tend to be delicate. They stay together well if you follow the instructions closely but not in the same way traditional muffins do. To stop them from falling apart, do what you can to prevent sticking and let them cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the muffin tray.
Make Ahead and Storage
As the name suggests, make ahead stuffing muffins can be made in advance! Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days ahead of when you plan to eat them.
To freeze the muffins, let them cool completely. Wrap each one in plastic wrap, then place into a freezer-safe bag or container. Since the muffins can be a little delicate, I recommend putting them in a single layer if you are using a bag and laying the blag flat in the freezer. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat muffins you made ahead of time or that you froze and thawed, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the muffins in a muffin tray or on a baking sheet. Heat for 10 to 15 minutes until warmed through.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
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Make Ahead Stuffing Muffins
- 2 muffin pans
- 10 cups sourdough bread cubes - about ½-inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter - can sub olive oil
- 1 yellow onion - diced
- 3 ribs celery - sliced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms - diced
- 1 apple - diced
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup dried cranberries - I recommend a reduced sugar variety
- 3 eggs
- 1.5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- ¾ cup milk - any kind
- If you have the time and remember, cut the bread you are using into cubes and let it sit out on trays on the kitchen counter overnight to get stale. If you don't do this, you can easily toast the bread in the oven. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spread the cubes onto baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and toasted but not rock hard.
- Increase the oven to 350 degrees F. If you have silicone muffin trays or silicone liners, use those. If not, use paper liners and generously grease with butter or nonstick cooking spray. You will need two muffin trays. Alternatively, you can bake the muffins in two batches if you only have one tray.
- Prepare the stuffing mixture. Warm the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, mushrooms, and apple. Cook for 10 to 13 minutes until tender. About halfway through the cooking time, stir in the garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Remove the stuffing mixture from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the dried cranberries.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, broth, and milk.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the bowl with the rest of ingredients. Stir well to make sure all of the bread gets wet. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so the bread softens.
- Spoon the stuffing into the prepared muffin trays. It's helpful to push everything down into each muffin cavity with your fingers after filling them. This helps the muffins stay together. You want to fill each cavity all the way to the top but not overflowing.
- Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown. If you are baking both trays at once, rotate the trays halfway through the cooking time to promote even baking.
- Let the muffins cool for at least 20 minutes before taking them out of the trays. Ideally, they should finish cooling on racks after that. The muffins are delicate when warm, so it's helpful to let them finish cooling before transporting to storage containers. This helps prevent them from falling apart.
- Enjoy right away or see notes for storage and reheating.
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- Substitutions: You can use store-bought stuffing cubes for this recipe if preferred. However, they are often pre-seasoned so you may need to omit or reduce the amount of seasonings you add.
- Storage: If making in advance, keep muffins in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months. After the muffins cool, wrap each one in plastic wrap. Place in a single layer in a freezer-safe bag or container. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Reheating: Reheat in a muffin tray or on baking sheets for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees F until warmed through.