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Butternut Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberries and Pecans

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Turkey tenderloins stuffed with a sweet and savory filling of butternut squash, cranberries, sage and pecans – this tastes like Thanksgiving, all wrapped up in one dish!

Turkey tenderloins stuffed with a sweet and savory filling of butternut squash, cranberries, sage and pecans – this tastes like Thanksgiving, all wrapped up in one dish!Butternut Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberries and Pecans

Honestly, the photos don’t do this justice. I was having one of those days that I couldn’t take a decent photo, but the turkey – it’s amazing! And the leftovers were just as good the next day for lunch.

Some other turkey recipes I love are No Bean Turkey Chili with Sweet Potato and Turkey Pot Pie Soup.

Turkey tenderloins (the tender long strip of white meat hidden under the turkey breast) are very tender and excellent for weeknight cooking. Because it’s so lean, you want to be sure you don’t overcook it or the meat will be dry.

Butternut Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberries and Pecans – tastes like Thanksgiving all in one dish!

More Turkey Recipes:

Butternut Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberries and Pecans

4.88 from 8 votes
Turkey tenderloins stuffed with a sweet and savory filling of butternut squash, cranberries, sage and pecans – this tastes like Thanksgiving, all wrapped up in one dish!
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Turkey tenderloins stuffed with a sweet and savory filling of butternut squash, cranberries, sage and pecans – this tastes like Thanksgiving, all wrapped up in one dish!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 2 slices


  • 2 boneless turkey tenderloins, 1 lb total
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups 6 oz  diced butternut squash, 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup, replace with honey for Paleo, omit Whole30
  • 1 cup baby spinach or kale
  • 3 sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans
  • 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 6 to 8 pieces cooking twine
  • cooking spray


  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.  Add shallots and garlic and sauté over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes, or until golden. Add butternut squash, cranberries, maple syrup and 1 tablespoon water and cover; cook on low for 10 minutes.
  • Remove lid and add kale, salt, sage, and pepper, cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool and mix in pecans.
  • Cut a pocket into the sides of the tenderloins, careful not to cut all the way through at the ends. Season the inside and outside of the turkey with salt.
  • Stuff each turkey breast with about 3/4 cup of squash mixture.  Cut cooking twine long enough to tie each breast with 3 to 4 pieces of twine.  Cut off extra twine.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, lightly spray with cooking spray. Carefully sear each turkey breast on each side about 2 minutes. Pour 1 tablespoon water into the skillet and cover tight with foil.  (Or transfer to a baking dish and cover tight with foil). Cook in the center of the oven 25 minutes.
  • Allow to sit 5 minutes before cutting off twine and slicing each turkey breast in 4 slices. Spoon any pan juices over the turkey and serve.

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Serving: 2 slices, Calories: 221 kcal, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Protein: 22 g, Fat: 6 g, Saturated Fat: 0.5 g, Cholesterol: 51 mg, Sodium: 880 mg, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 7 g


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132 comments on “Butternut Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberries and Pecans”

  1. Excellent. I ended up cutting a larger turkey (boneless) in half, pounding it to be flatter and thinner so could stuff centre reasonably well before tying. I used butternut squash and extra from fresh one, roasted to make a squash soup. The au jus didn’t need anything more added post roasting ( I did add more water during the roasting period so I ended up with over a cup of drippings/added liquid).

  2. This was the perfect dish for our small, family of 4 thanksgiving dinner, where only 2.5 eat turkey! One daughter is a vegetarian and the other almost is, and only wanted a small portion of meat, so there was no way I was going to cook a large bird or even a large breast. I used a Shady Brook 1.5 pound tenderloin, spinach not kale and had to substitute walnuts for the pecans. I followed the rest of the recipe, making the “stuffing” the day before to save some time in the kitchen on thanksgiving. My husband exclaimed he never wants to eat “regular turkey” again and there is enough to make a couple of sandwiches! It truly is the most moist turkey I have ever had. This complemented all our traditional thanksgiving dishes and made this 2020 thanksgiving still special. Thanks Gina for another great, healthy and easy to follow recipe.

  3. What would you recommend instead of cranberries? I have a picky eater. Would dates be a good substitute? 

    1. I did it with raspberries & it was delicious but it was even better with dried cranberries. I’ve made it three different ways original (fresh cranberries)

    2. Wonderful recipe! I used frozen cubed butternut squash and apple, since I didn’t have fresh cranberries. Somewhat cumbersome to tie up, but worth it. Not all the stuffing fit in the 2 turkey tenderloins, so I roasted them on top of the rest of the stuffing. Yum!

  4. Avatar photo
    Brandie Farrell

    This looks delicious! I’m so excited to make it for Friendsgiving! I just have to say…I think it’s screaming out for a pan sauce…

  5. I made this for dinner tonight! I couldn’t find turkey tenderloins so instead I used ground turkey. I prepared the first part of the recipe as is. Instead of stuffing I just mixed it all with the raw ground turkey and baked it for 25 minutes in a 9×13. It was SO good! I made it with the garlic knots!! If Fall had a taste this would be it! 

    1. What a great idea! I sometimes have trouble finding the turkey tenderloin also. I’m going to try your approach!

  6. I made this the other night and followed the recipe exactly. The turkey turned out perfectly cooked! The stuffing was good too, but I did think it was missing a little something (for my taste). I couldn’t really taste the sage – when you say 3 leaves, do you mean 3 of the individual tiny leaves? Or like three sprigs (with all their leaves)? I want to make this for Christmas dinner, so I might try adding some more traditional stuffing herbs – marjoram, thyme, etc. It is also quite beautiful on the plate. I’m planning to serve with garlic mashed potatoes and some balsamic Brussels sprouts w/pancetta.

  7. I have a smaller oven and I’m trying to figure out what to put where… can this be done entirely in the pan on the stovetop or in a convection toaster oven?

  8. Not sure if this is the place to leave a comment about your meal plans in general, but I just wanted to say I use them every week and I am in LOVE with them! Please keep it up! I’m a first time learning how to cook and how to eat real food in a healthy way person and this has changed my life! Thank you so much!

  9. I made this recipe last night and it was delicious!
    I had to use chicken vs. turkey, dried low sugar craisans, and added poultry seasoning. It was delish & looking forward to leftovers tonight.

    1. The original version of this recipe was published in the skinnytaste cookbook Fast and Slow. It shows this being cooked in a crockpot with gravy.

  10. As a classically trained chef who finishes most French dishes with butter,(but who now cooks for two elderly, overweight relatives on weight watchers), I’m constantly looking for new recipes to curb points. I made this and altered it a bit and it was a hit. I love this site and keep up the great work you’ve done so far. Keep experimenting and cooking!
    Love To Cook Cook For love

  11. Avatar photo
    Kathleen Bonvicini

    I would like to prepare this for Christmas eve and have 10 people for dinner. What might be the most efficient way to prepare this rather than individual turkeyloins? It sounds fantastic!

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  15. This was absolutely AMAZING! I will definitely be making this again. My boo liked it so much he wants this to be a part of the normal rotation. 

  16. Thanks for another yummy dinner 🙂 I live in Australia and can’t get Turkey Tenderloins or fresh cranberries. I didn’t want to buy a whole turkey just for the tenderloins so I used Chicken breast and baked it for 20minutes at 180c. I also used frozen cranberries and it was delicious. It was juicy and tasty. I love that all your meals are healthy and yet so full of flavour! 

  17. Avatar photo
    Gretchen Roper

    I have made this two years in a row now for Christmas dinner. It’s SO good!! Thank you for this recipe! YUM

  18. Avatar photo
    Gretchen Roper

    I have made this two years in a row now for Christmas dinner. It’s SO good!! Thank you for this recipe! YUM

  19. Avatar photo
    Heather Johnson

    Just made this tonight–OMG. Hubby and kids gobbled it up. He gave it an A+, said it tasted like restaurant food, and was easily in the top 10 of anything I have ever made. Absolutely delicious and making WW SOOOOO much easier. Keep the fabulous recipes coming! (And for those looking, I was able to find turkey tenderloin right at Target. It was the Jennie-O brand right next to the ground turkey. Not sure if all Target stores carry it–but that’s where ours had it.)

  20. Pingback: Turkey tenderloins stuffed with a sweet and savory filling of butternut squash, cranberries, sage and pecans – this tastes like Thanksgiving, all wrapped up in one dish! | My Bariatric Lifestyle

  21. I made this for our Thanksgiving dinner last night. It was just me and my husband so I didn’t want or need a massive amount of food. This, along with lightened up stuffing and roasted green beans, was a perfect Thanksgiving feast for two. My husband must have said “pretty tasty” a dozen times.

  22. I made this today for my parents. We all loved it! I used frozen cubed butternut squash and it worked great.

  23. Thanks for the recipe! I used it for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, and baked it with a Pork Tenderloin instead and it turned out great! I baked the extra butternut squash and cranberries as a side dish with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper too. Thanks Again!

  24. Planning on making this for thanksgiving tonight, as my 2 year old is sick so we had to change our plans. Is the sage absolutely necessary? I don’t have any on hand 

  25. Can’t wait to try this recipe!!! I’m going to try it with turkey cutlets..what do you think about baking time as these are a bit thinner than the tenderloins? Do you think it’s necessary do sear with the cutlets?


  26. This was amazing! I made this tonight along with the chicken sausage and herb stuffing & parmesan roasted green beans (early friendsgiving dinner!). I also wasn’t able to find turkey tenderloins, so I got some turkey breast chops (98% fat free!) and pounded them out so they’d fit the stuffing…it was absolutely scrumptious!

  27. Want to bring this to work for a potluck on turkey day…. Could I use a slow cooker to keep these hot at work until lunch time? Should I skip the baking step?

  28. I finally tried this and it was delicious! I am responsible for a side dish for our family’s Thankmas. Any suggestions on how to make the stuffing as a side dish?

  29. Avatar photo
    Barbara Cormier

    I doubled the filling recipe and used it to stuff a butterflied pork loin. Absolutely delicious.

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  31. I just bought your Fast and Slow cookbook and spotted this recipe. Thinking about making it for Thanksgiving with my husband this year, as it’ll be just us on the holiday, and this looks like a good stand in for a full Thanksgiving feast. He’s not a fan of squash though, silly man. Anyone ever tried this with sweet potatoes instead? Think it might work?

  32. This looks so good!! I am curious on how to replace the maple or leave out for a whole30 run… tips? 

  33. I just made this tonight for dinner. I had cranberries and turkey tenderloins in the freezer. It was absolutely delicious. The tartness of the cranberries with the sweetness of the maple syrup was divine!!! I almost used craisins instead of the cranberries- don’t do it! They would be way to sweet. I did replace sage with parsley as sage is not my favorite. Will be making many times more????

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  35. This is phenomenal. Absolutely amazing. I just made it for dinner but i used ground Turkey and made stuffed Turkey burgers. Took a little longer but deff worth the wait. I’m impressed and in love with all of your recipes! 

  36. Avatar photo
    Sarah Edwards

    I made this last year. This year we are taking on a whole turkey. However, the "stuffing" squash mix will be a side for us! I prep as you suggest and throw in the oven for a bit. Delicious! A big hit at our house!

  37. Avatar photo
    Leslie Thompson

    Hi Gina, I am making this for Thanksgiving this year. What sides would you recommend with this?

  38. I'm having trouble finding turkey tenderloin. Would it work to make this using two turkey cutlets (one on each side to form a pocket for the stuffing) instead?

  39. I made this tonight but with pork tenderloin – it was phenomenal!! An absolute favorite of mine. It just took a tad bit longer to cook 🙂

  40. if i used dried cranberries what stage would you include them, i assume they wouldnt need cooking for as long? also could you use cranberry sauce instead?

    1. Avatar photo
      Skinnytaste Gina

      I would add them the last 3-4 minutes when you add the kale. They don't take as long as the fresh.

  41. Avatar photo
    Shelby Miller

    This was AWESOME. I used dried cranberries because I didn't have any fresh. My boyfriend (who is not a small man) said that it was one of the best meals that he has ever had. Thank you so much for the recipe 🙂

    1. when/what stage did you include the dried cranberries in the recipe as i assume they dont take as long as fresh to cook? and did use still use the maple syrup?

  42. We made this for a simple Thanksgiving dinner and it was amazing. So happy to say it's made the cut for our Christmas eve dinner as well. There is nothing "skimping" about the taste in this recipe!

  43. Avatar photo
    Sarah Welliver

    This looks really good, and my first thought is they would make nice-sized servings for a work potluck later this week. However, since we only have a crockpot and a microwave at work, I'm wondering…do you think I could sear these, refrigerate and bring to work, and put in a crockpot for the rest of the cook time? I COULD microwave them but that seems mean to do to such pretty food 😉

  44. Avatar photo

    Wow…this looks beautiful, the pictures are nice, no worry about that. I am thinking to substitute the cranberry with citrus, because it is not easy for me to get cranberry here. Anyway, also thinking to add some cheese, I love cheese and the cheese might able to hold all the ingredients too. 🙂

  45. Avatar photo
    Lauren McCormick

    I made this with pork chops instead and it came out AMAZING! Thank you so much for this great fall recioe!

  46. I made this tonight and my husband asked if I could make it every Sunday and then suggested that we have this dish instead of traditional turkey on Thanksgiving! This is a fabulous dish and fairly easy to make!

    I found turkey tenderloins at my Wegman's (near the whole fresh turkeys) and unfortunately the cuts were rather long and thin. I stuffed them and tied them (also found cooking twine at Wegman's) and they did hold together really well even though the stuffing was popping out!

    I used a cast iron skillet from start to finish for this dish. Thanks Skinnytaste!!

  47. I made this tonight and it was really delicious! I couldn't find turkey tenderloins, so I just used a boneless and skinless turkey breast and increased the time until I got the proper internal temp. I used walnuts because I had them in my pantry. I also put some stock and wine on the bottom of the pan and made a pan gravy with that at the end. I know I kind of changed the recipe a bit, but the stuffing is what makes this!

  48. Just tried this for dinner and it was delicious! This will definitely be added to our personal recipes.

  49. These look great! Definitely going to try these out for Xmas 😀

    -Miss Sennnaa

  50. This is very good! I tried your other stuffed turkey tenderloin recipe, and didn't have figs, so I used dried cranberries, and it was wonderful…It made enough for 2 dinners for my husband and myself. Great both times….I get my turkey tenderloins from Trader Joe's. this is perfect for a simple thanksgiving! thanks for sharing! Sue

  51. I have the same question as 127ster – how can I make this as a stand alone stuffing. It would be a great side dish for the vegetarians in the family. Thank you.

  52. Avatar photo
    Suzanne Zambrano

    This is similiar to the stuffed turkey with butternut and figs which I tried and loved. I can't wait to try this one as well!

  53. If I don't want to use the turkey, but just want to make the stuffing, do I just continue cooking in the pan, or do I still need to cook in the oven? How long would I need to cook/bake it?

  54. Gina, this looks so good…and I love the points. It would work on a phase2 low carb diet, as well. Excellent!

  55. Avatar photo

    That stuffing! *eyes wide open* it looks amazing! And I am so glad you didn't use meat for it, sometimes a comforting veggie dish can be just as good to wrap the meat around. This looks delicious 😀 x

  56. Fresh Cranberries aren't available in my local grocery stores. What would you reccomend for a replacement? Dried Cranberries? Raisins?

    1. Avatar photo
      Skinnytaste Gina

      Dried Cranberries would be great, no need to add maple syrup if they are sweetened already.

    2. Ask the clerk in Produce, every store usually carries fresh cranberries during the Holiday season.

  57. My husband and I both have jobs that don't always afford being home for the holidays. He will be out of town; I'll be home alone. This is a wonderful way to celebrate when cooking a whole turkey along with all the trimmings just isn't feasible. 🙂

  58. I like having good food on hand for me & my 5-year old when my husband travels but hate cooking it just for us. So, similar to Kary's question – do you think it would work well if prepped it through searing and then FROZEN BEFORE baking? Please say yes…these sound yummy & I'd love to have a stash of these on hand 🙂

    1. That is a FANTASTIC idea!  I cook for just my hubby and I – would be great to make this recipe and freeze half for another day!!!!!

  59. Avatar photo
    Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy

    My mom used to make turkey tenderloin for us ALL the time growing up, but I love the additions of fall flavors here 🙂

  60. This looks soooo good! I love turkey but I have a pork tenderloin in the freezer…so I might actually make this stuffing to put in there. I bet it would still be delicious. PS: My husband and I are loving your cookbook! We just made the sriracha-glazed salmon the other night and he said it was "the best meal we've cooked in a long time." Yum.

  61. This is genius!! I need to try making this, it looks unreal. Thanks for sharing!

  62. This looks so yummy! Where do you get your turkey tenderloin? I haven't been able to find any at my local grocery stores.

    1. Make sure you look where the pork tenderloin is kept. They are in a similar package at my grocery and I overlooked them several times.

      1. I looked for itr several times, even asking the meat department at several stores. A couple said they would have to special order it. I am trying it tonight with pork and switching up the seasonings. Wish me luck!

  63. This looks great! Do you think it would work well if I prepped it through the searing and then refrigerated it before baking?