Thanksgiving Stuffing Poppers with Cranberry Jalapeno Dipping Sauce

Stuffing Poppers with Cranberry Jalapeno Dipping Sauce

Who doesn’t love finger food? I have been developing recipes for a series of posts on B&B in December featuring party worthy tapas when the idea for a finger food inspired stuffing recipe came to mind. Yep, I turned Thanksgiving stuffing into a bite sized, portable treat perfect for entertaining guests, kid’s lunches, or just sitting around on the couch watching holiday movies.  Ladies and Gents, I give you Thanksgiving Stuffing Poppers!!! Did you just hear the Hallelujah Chorus in your head? I totally do every time I say those 3 little words. 

Stuffing Poppers with Cranberry Jalapeno Dipping Sauce

I used my falafel recipe as a base for these little poppers then added in onion, carrots, celery, fresh herbs and spices to make them reminiscent of my favorite holiday side dish.

The cranberry jalapeno dipping sauce isn’t mandatory with these little bites, but it really does drive home the whole Thanksgiving dinner in one bite concept when you combine the two. Be careful though, because these babies are addictive…my kids ate an entire batch in no time! 


Thanksgiving Stuffing Poppers (gluten free and vegan)

  • Author: Beard And Bonnet
  • Yield: 8


  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water to cover by 3 inches for 24 hours then drain and rinse well.
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and peels removed
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
  • scant 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Tamari
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Grapeseed oil for frying


  1. Place all of the ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Alternate between the machine running constantly and pulsing, stopping to scrape the sides, until the mixture is all uniform in size. You want the consistency to be grainy not smooth.
  2. Use a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon measure to scoop up a small amount of the mixture. Roll it in between the palm of your hands to make a compact, round ball. Proceed with the rest of the batter, lining all of the stuffing poppers on a parchment paper lined baking sheet until there is no chickpea mixture remaining in the food processor.
  3. Pour the oil into a high sided skillet or dutch oven to a depth of 3 inches and place it over medium high heat. Place a thermometer in the oil and heat the oil until it registers between 360ยฐF and 375 ยฐF.
  4. Meanwhile, line another baking sheet with paper towels or brown paper grocery bags to drain the cooked stuffing poppers after they have cooked.
  5. When the oil is to temperature, drop one popper at a time into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. The oil should sizzle and bubble around each popper and the popper should hold together perfectly. Cook until the poppers are golden brown, about 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 minutes; remove from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and place on the paper towel lined baking sheet to drain. Sprinkle the tops of the hot poppers with salt. Repeat the process with the remaining poppers until all of them have been cooked.
  6. Serve hot or at room temperature with dipping sauce.


Stuffing Poppers with Cranberry Jalapeno Dipping Sauce


Cranberry Jalapeno Dipping Sauce (Gluten Free and Vegan)

  • Author: Beard and Bonnet


  • 1 8 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Snap liquor or Grand Marnier


  1. Place all of the ingredients into a large heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes.
  2. Allow the cranberry sauce to cool then blend with an immersion blender until smooth. This recipe makes almost 2 cups of cranberry sauce.



  1. Bailey

    Do you think they would turn out well if your baked them instead of frying, any suggestions on how I could make that adjustment?

    • Meg

      Hi Bailey! This baking method has worked for me in the past with my falafel, so I am pretty sure it will work with tehse too: Shape your poppers into patties, not balls. Preheat the oven to 400ยบF and spray a baking sheet with an oil mister filled with grapeseed oil. Place the poppers onto the baking sheet and spray the tops with additional oil; bake for about 25 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking time, or until golden brown on the outside.

    • Meg

      Hi Samaree, I have never tried the recipe with caned beans because when I have tried other falafel type recipes using canned instead soaked the texture never seems to be the same. It is totally worth soaking the beans for this one. You will not be disappointed!

      • My grocery store charges twice the amount per ounce for dried versus canned. Totally backwards! I will try your recipe with dried beans when I can find a good sale elsewhere. Thanks for the quick response.

  2. Tamela

    What is the nutritional count on these. I am doing atkins and in the induction stage. I don’t think I can have them.. yet, I would also love a low carb falafal recipe if you have one too.

    • Meg

      Hi Kelli, thank you! There is no need to cook the chickpeas for the falafel if you have soaked them for at least 24 hours ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Jenn

    I tried to make this recipe, but ended up soaking my chickpeas for too long and they started smelling and making foam on the top of the water. I soaked them for 24 hours, but they still seemed crunchy and hard when I tried one, so I left them to soak longer. Are they supposed to still be a little crunchy even after soaking?

    • Meg

      Jenn, they should still be slightly firm after soaking. They will have doubled or tripled in size from soaking, but will not be soft like a canned or cooked chickpea. Your food processor won’t have a hard time processing them at all. Just so you know after 24 hours the soaking liquid will smell pretty bad, just be sure to wash your beans off thoroughly when you drain them.

  4. Maria

    I tried these poppers and they are absolutely fantastic. My whole family loved them as well, they were super impressed. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Ryan

    Few quick questions:
    This recipe is for 8 servings, how many balls are in a serving? I’m trying to adjust the recipe for a fire department of 25 people.

    Also, snap liqour? Never heard of it, is it an orange liqour? Schnapps? I know grand marnier is an orange liqour, wasn’t sure if snaps was an inexpensive option?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Ryan,
      These little stuffing poppers are pretty rich! We usually serve 4 or 5 per person. SNAP is about the same price as Grand Marnier – either will work. SNAP is a ginger liquor so it will lend a slightly different flavor than Garland Marnier ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Ryan

        Awesome. Thank you. I quadrupled the recipe. Everything is prepped, sauce is made and is INCREDIBLE! I was surprised with a good kick of spice from the jalapeno, I didn’t think it would do much, but it’s just right.

        Tomorrow after the beans soak for 24, I’ll begin the poppers.

        Already shared your recipe once, I’m not a vegan, but there is a vegan in the fire department who usually misses out on our thabksgiving tradition. I’m sure he will be excited to know that my dish caters to him!

  6. Ryan

    Well, for the passed hour I’ve been trying to get this recipe down right. I just couldn’t do it. I know it’s not the recipe, I must’ve done something wrong.
    I’ll start by saying, the flavor and aroma of this is amazing. Just after blending everything together, I received so many compliments on the smell.

    The frying part is where I had my issues. I think the mixture was too moist. I could easily squeeze puddles of green juice from the balls as I formed them, I even attempted to strain most of the moisture out but it wasn’t enough. When frying at the correct temperature, the insides stayed dripping wet and felt uncooked as the outsides become nice and crispy. I attempted to fry longer at the correct temperature and even at a lower temperate, the balls either burnt or fell apart. I’ve never had falafel before, so I have nothing to compare it too, but by looking at the picture and looking at my finished product, it wasn’t the same.
    I’ll attempt another day, but today I just trashed the mixture and spooned the cranberry sauce in my mouth. It’s so good.

    • Oh no Ryan, I know you worked so hard and I am so bummed it didn’t work out for you! When you make these and other falafel’s the batter shouldn’t be that wet after blending…I wonder what happened? Excess moisture will definitely make the batter fall a part in the oil. You used dried chickpeas not canned correct? Were the chickpeas completely rinsed and drained really well after the soaking period? I am so glad you liked the cranberry dipping sauce, it is one of my favorites too!

  7. Kelly

    Stumbled upon this recipe before Thanksgiving and it quickly became a dish for our “Nothing but the sides & desserts” theme. They were fabulous and the dip was so flavorful and the perfect texture. We have a very healthy diet and opted to bake these vs the fry version. PERFECTION!! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe that will make its way into our normal meal rotations now. LOVE LOVE LOVE the dipping sauce!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Meg van der Kruik is the writer, mother, photographer, designer, cook and creative spirit behind This Mess is Ours. After her infant son was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, she dedicated herself to learning to make meals the whole family would love. It’s a bit of a mess – cooking for a vegetarian and three meat-eaters with a range of gluten + dairy sensitivities, but she manages to bring them together every night around their little family table.