Venison Stuffing Balls are a perfect holiday appetizer that capture the flavors of the season. Easy to make, and ready in under 30 minutes. Make a big batch, because they’ll go fast!
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Three years ago I wouldn’t have been caught dead eating game meat. Now I regularly eat bison burgers at The Garage, one of my favorite restaurants in Stillwater, and I’m on my THIRD venison recipe on the blog! Venison Cheeseburger with Jalapeno & Guacamole was my very first, and perfect for summer grilling. Venison Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes are a fantastic twist to the traditional, and one of my favorites.
My friends who don’t hunt or eat game meat were caught completely off-guard with my leap into game meat. I thought I was nuts A) when I even considered it; B) when I bought vension at the store; and C) the whole time I made the first recipe. But it didn’t take long for me to become a believer. And now that I am a fan, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to incorporate venison into my meal plan.
WHATS SO GREAT ABOUT VENISON?
Venison, and game meat in general, are very lean meats. So yes, you do have to add fat as you cook or it will be dry. But a little bit of fat goes a long way. Venison is also:
- high in iron, so it may help people who are iron deficient
- lower in calories than beef or pork
- much lower in fat than beef
Yes, I know, venison can be intimidating, and I wouldn’t even consider trying it for a LONG time. As a matter of fact, the first time I cooked venison to test for my Venison Cheeseburgers I closed my eyes and took a deep breath before the first bite. But I’m so glad I took that leap.
I was never a fan of stuffing as a kid. I am a huge texture eater, and stuffing on the holiday table just never looked appetizing to me. I’ll eat it occasionally now, but it still has to be prepared just right. When I do Thanksgiving at home I just buy the box, but I only use a little of it, and never know what to do with the rest.
In the spirit of the holiday season, I wanted to create an appetizer that combined the flavors of the season, gave me a new way to prepare venison, and used stuffing mix. And that’s how Venison Stuffing Balls were born
These Venison Stuffing Balls are so delicious! The mild flavor of the stuffing works really well with the sharp cheddar cheese and tart cranberries. The first time I made Venison Stuffing Balls I devoured them in record time. By myself. And that’s why I avoid making them unless it’s for a crowd.
INGREDIENTS FOR VENISON STUFFING BALLS
- Ground venison: I found mine in the frozen meat section at Sprouts Farmer’s Market
- Celery, onion, butter, garlic powder and onion powder
- Dry Stuffing Mix: I prefer cornbread flavor
- Dried cranberries
- Cheese: I sharp Cheddar from Cabot Cheese
- Avocado Oil
- Broth: I use my Homemade Vegetable Broth. If you don’t have homemade, use low sodium Boxed Broth.
With my previous venison recipes I used bacon to add fat and flavor to the meat. I considered it for the Venison Stuffing Balls, but decided to try them without bacon. And you know what, they don’t need the bacon at all! Yikes…I can’t even believe I just said that. But the other ingredients add more than enough flavor.
KEYS TO PERFECT VENISON STUFFING BALLS
Making Venison Stuffing Balls is simple, and requires just a few steps.
- Don’t skimp on the oil! You’re really not using much oil to begin with, and it will prevent the venison from drying out
- After mixing all of the ingredients together, let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes before forming them into balls. This allows the egg and broth to better absorb, so the balls stay together better
- Use a Small Cookie Scoop to form the Venison Stuffing Balls. I scoop the mixture out of the bowl with the cookie scoop, and then finish forming them in my hands. Again, that helps the balls to stay together.
- Use Parchment Paper on a cookie sheet for the best result. The parchment paper means super easy cleanup! In a pinch, you can find it at the dollar store, and it does the trick.
Venison Stuffing Balls are best right out of the oven and trust me, they won’t last long. I serve them with Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce for dipping.
These Venison Stuffing Balls come together quickly. You can make these from start to finish in under 30 minutes, and about half of that time they are either resting or baking.
Can you prep ahead? Absolutely! Do steps #2 and #3 in the instructions, which gets you to the resting stage. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and keep in the fridge until ready. Remove from fridge about 15 minutes before forming into balls.
If you don’t eat venison, I recommend substituting with breakfast sausage or pork sausage.
SHOP THIS RECIPE
- 16 ounces ground venison meat
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or canola oil)
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup aged cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 box stuffing mix
- 4 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped
- 1 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add venison and cook until browned and cooked through. As meat cooks, break up into small pieces. Add onion, celery, onion powder, garlic powder, and oil, and cook for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent and celery is tender. Remove and set aside to cool
- In large bowl, combine stuffing mix, cheese, and cranberries. When meat mixture is cool, add to bowl. Add broth and eggs, combine well, and allow to rest for 10 minutes
- Use small cookie scoop to form mixture into balls. You may also want to transfer scoops to hands and squeeze mixture together to help keep balls together.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until breading is golden brown and mixture is cooked through. Serve immediately
- YIELD: 36 stuffing balls