Creamy Sausage Cranberry Pillows

My mom makes these hamburger rollups that are really good. Part ground beef, part sausage, cheddar cheese, fluffy bread. I wanted to make something similar, like an empanada, but not fried, & not really ethnic at all.

Sausage & cranberry go really well together, & they seem to be in a lot of stuffing recipes, if you think back to Thanksgiving & anytime you searched for a stuffing recipe it would come up with a lot of variations with sausage & cranberries, so I combined those two flavors, made my favorite dough recipe, shaped them like empanadas, & added a little cream cheese to make them over the top delicious! I even sprinkled the tops with some bread crumbs to give it a more, stuffing-esque feel.

Creamy Sausage Cranberry Pillows

These were delicious as a meal for dinner, but you can make them smaller if you want an appetizer for a party or whatnot. Have fun with it!

Creamy Sausage Cranberry Pillows

Creamy Sausage Cranberry Pillows



  • 1 1/2 cups very warm water
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups flour (more, if necessary)


  • 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb lean pork/turkey sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onions
  • 1/2 cup Ocean Spray Original Craisins
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 8 oz (1 pkg) Neufchatel Cream Cheese
  • Italian Bread Crumbs


  1. For the dough: Mix water with yeast & sugar in a stand mixer. Let sit 5 minutes until bubbly. Add salt & flour. Knead on medium-low speed for 10 minutes; until dough is soft & elastic (add extra flour if necessary). Take dough out of bowl & round into a ball. Spray the bottom of the mixing bowl & return dough to bowl. Cover with a towel & let rise until double in size, about 30-60 minutes depending on the temperature of the room.
  2. Take dough out of bowl, pat down & cut into 20 even pieces. Roll pieces into balls & place on a greased cookie sheet. Cover with a towel & let double in size; 30min or so. (This process is relaxing the dough so you can roll it nice & thin, but still have a fluffy bread.)
  3. Once your rolls are almost doubled start your filling; In a large non-stick saute pan, brown sausage, drain any fat. Set aside. Brown ground turkey. Add sausage, white onion, & cranberries breaking up ingredients with your spoon or mix-n-chop. Add spices & cook until the onion is translucent. Throw in the green onions & toss up the mixture. Turn off heat & remove.
  4. Preheat oven to 375*F. Set up your items to put together the pillows: greased cookie sheet, flour, rolling pin, cut-n-seal or fork, small bowl of water, cream cheese & knife, sausage mixture & ¼ cup measure.
  5. Uncover rolls a few at a time, so as to not dry out the dough. Take roll, roll into an oval. Wet finger & trace the rim of half the dough for a seal. Spoon ¼ cup sausage mixture & top with a tsp or so slice of cream cheese. Fold top over & pinch edges with a fork or cut-n-seal. Place on greased cookie sheet & repeat until all pillows are finished, covering with a towel in between each pillow (don't want these your little sandwiches drying out!)
  6. Once all the pillows are filled spray the tops with cooking spray & sprinkle with a little bit of Italian Bread Crumbs. Bake at 375*F for 15-20 minutes or until browned on the tops.