Thanksgiving 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. 

I used my food processor friendly 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! 

If you’ve made our Thanksgiving Stuffing Poppers recipe I would be so grateful if you would rate the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below! I just love hearing from you and your reviews and comments really help others that visit This Mess is Ours. 


Thanksgiving Stuffing Poppers

Stuffing Poppers with Cranberry Jalapeno Dipping Sauce on a wooden board

If you’ve made our Thanksgiving Stuffing Poppers recipe I would be so grateful if you would rate the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below, I just love hearing from you and your reviews and comments really help others that visit This Mess is Ours! 

  • Author: This Mess is Ours
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Fried
  • Cuisine: Holiday
  • Diet: Gluten Free



Thanksgiving Stuffing Poppers

  • 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

Cranberry Jalapeno Dipping Sauce

  • 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


For the Thanksgiving Stuffing Poppers

  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 360°F and 375 °F.
  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.

For the Cranberry Jalapeno Dipping Sauce

  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.


Stuffing Poppers can be made in advance and frozen. Cook from frozen in hot oil, just add 1-2 more minutes cook time.

Keywords: falafel, gluten free stuffing, gluten free dressing, thanksgiving appetizer, gluten free appetizer

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes


Want to be a part of our online community outside of the blog? It’s easy!! All you have to do is follow @THISMESSISOURS on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, YOUTUBE, or PINTEREST to see cooking demos, and peeks into our day to day life.



  1. Caitlyn November 21, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Hi sorry, are we not supposed to cook the chickpeas after they’ve been soaked?

    1. thismess November 23, 2018 at 10:43 pm

      No, there is no need to cook them afterwards. They will cook when you fry them.

  2. Kelly November 30, 2015 at 9:00 am

    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!!! 🙂

    1. Meg November 30, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      Hooray Kelly!! I am so glad you and your family enjoyed these. Thanks for letting me know they work great baked as well!

  3. Ryan November 26, 2015 at 10:22 am

    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.

    1. Meg November 27, 2015 at 9:11 am

      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!

  4. Ryan November 25, 2015 at 6:52 am

    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!

    1. Meg November 25, 2015 at 9:49 am

      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 🙂

      1. Ryan November 25, 2015 at 6:34 pm

        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!

        1. Meg November 25, 2015 at 7:20 pm

          Hooray!!! I am so glad you love the sauce. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving 🙂

  5. Maria December 22, 2014 at 11:37 am

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

  6. Jenn December 3, 2014 at 9:14 am

    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?

    1. Meg December 3, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      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.

  7. Kelli November 28, 2014 at 9:32 am

    These look great! I don’t see anywhere that the chickpeas are cooked. Are they just soaked and blended?

    1. Meg November 28, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      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 🙂

  8. Alena November 22, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    These look incredible! Any suggestions if I don’t want to use liquor?

    1. Meg November 22, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks Alena, just substitute the Snap liquor for more freshly squeezed orange juice, it will be really good!!

      1. Alena November 26, 2014 at 10:43 am

        Thank you!!

  9. Tamela November 16, 2014 at 10:43 am

    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.

    1. Meg November 16, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      Hi Tamela,
      I do not have the nutritional count on these and am unfamiliar with the Atkins diet, but you can use a nutritional calculator ( ) and it should be able to figure out the information that you need to know. Hope this helps!

  10. Samaree November 4, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Have you used canned beans for this recipe? I’m just wondering if the texture would be the same. Sounds good and I will try it soon.

    1. Meg November 4, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      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!

      1. Samaree November 4, 2014 at 8:54 pm

        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.

        1. Meg November 4, 2014 at 9:21 pm

          That is so strange. I hope they have a sale soon so you can make stuffing poppers!:)

  11. Bailey October 21, 2014 at 9:07 am

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

    1. Meg October 21, 2014 at 9:55 am

      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 400ºF 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.

  12. Suzanne October 5, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    These look amazing! I’m trying to find fun new GF DF ideas for the holidays, and I think this will make the cut. 🙂

  13. Jamie September 27, 2014 at 4:19 am

    Do you think these could be baked instead of fried?

  14. Kristin November 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I agree with Beth.. totally brilliant!

    1. Meg November 28, 2013 at 7:21 am

      Thanks Kristin! 🙂

    1. Meg November 27, 2013 at 8:22 am

      Thanks Gina!!

  15. Beth @ Tasty Yummies November 26, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    OK so I DEMAND that you make these for me at some point during the holidays. K Thanks!

    Seriously these are brilliant!

    1. Meg November 26, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks Beth! You know I will totally make these for you anytime:)


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating