Mmmm…the holidays are so close we can almost taste them! It’s one month until Christmas, and here’s the first of our barkmas-themed posts for this year. Woofs! These homemade cranberry chicken dog treats get a boost of colour (and flavour) from natural ingredients. The natural reddish cookie treats are pawfect for Christmas or any time you feel like a doggone delicious treat. Here’s the cranberry chicken dog treat recipe and DIY details.
Holiday Leftovers? Doggone Delicious Treats!
If you are currently swimming in leftover turkey, unseasoned dry turkey meat would make a great substitute for the cooked chicken in this recipe. You can bake and freeze your treats or (like I often do, and as was used in these treats) freeze small batches of cooked meat for future use. Winner winner, chicken dinner! Or turkey, or whatever you please. Although turkey and cranberry are the classic holiday combo, turkey isn’t something we commonly have (it’s semi-seasonal in the grocery stores and expensive here in New Zealand) so these treats use chicken instead.
Cranberries, fresh or frozen, are also something that I don’t see very often here in New Zealand. When I find some, I snap them up for the freezer. Cranberry sauce is readily available, but generally in a sugary variety that isn’t very dog-friendly. Not that that stops our boys from sniffing hopefully. Cranberries are dog-safe in moderation, but they’re not for every pup (or every person). They’re not a dominant flavour in the treats, but we have plenty of other baked biscuit and cookie dog treat ideas if your dog isn’t a cranberry fan.
Colourful Christmas Cookie Dog Treats
This cranberry chicken dog treat recipe pairs pureed cranberry with moist yummy apple. With pureed cranberry (chunky bits of skin not withstanding) the pretty pink dough colour usually ends up looking pale post baking. These treats use optional natural (and healthy delicious) add-ins to boost the colour to a bright reddish tint.
The pictured cranberry chicken dog treats were tinted with beetroot powder and turmeric powder. When you add a red tint to treat dough, it tends to create a pinkish treat. Adding a yellow or orange, either with the base ingredients or as a partner tint, helps to warm the pink closer to a reddish tone, especially after baking. It isn’t a true red, but the dogs don’t care. In fact, they don’t see red the way we do at all so this tint is just for our human holiday fun. Check out our dog vision vs. human vision post for more info and see our dog treat tinting post for other colouring ideas and tips.
Cranberry Chicken Dog Treat Recipe
Baked Cranberry Chicken Christmas Cookie Dog Treats with Natural Colourings
The chucky cranberry skins and chicken can be tricky for clean cutting as a roll-and-cut shaped cookie. I opted to make these cranberry chicken dog treats as simple flattened balls, using a fork just like making peanut butter cookies. The dough also works for other quickie treat-making methods, if you prefer. See our simple shortcuts for making baked dog treats in any size for more ideas.
- 1/4 cup pureed plain cranberries (I used frozen cranberries, defrosted, pureed, then measured)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp beetroot powder and 1 tbsp turmeric powder (both optional for colour)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped dry cooked chicken
- Approximately 1 to 1 + 1/4 cups of brown rice flour, plus additional flour for rolling
Depending on the moisture levels in your chosen ingredients and whether you include the optional add-ins, you may need to adjust your flour content. Adding the flour incrementally will help you get a consistency that suits your ingredients and handling preferences. See more below.
Making the Treats:
- Preheat your oven to 180C (or local equivalent) and gather together your baking ingredients and materials.
- Combine cranberry puree, applesauce, egg, chia seeds, beetroot powder, and turmeric powder in a mixing bowl.
- Stir in chicken.
- Incrementally add flour to form a nice firm workable dough. As noted above, you may need to use less/more flour to adjust consistency depending on your specific ingredients and prep methods. Overshoot? No worries! You can add a bit of water (or a touch of olive oil) if you find the mix a bit too dry when you are ready to roll.
- Rest dough (optional but recommended).
- Roll into small bite-sized balls, place on a prepared baking tray, and gently flatten with a fork.
- Bake at 180C for approximately 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on your cooking time – the smaller the treat, the shorter the baking time.
- Allow to cool before storage and serving.
Baked Biscuit Dog Treat Making Tips and Tricks
- See our introduction to making homemade baked biscuit (cookie) dog treats for additional information on baked dog treats.
- Homemade baked dog treats are best consumed within a couple of days from baking or frozen for longer storage. See our post on baked dog treat shelf life and storage for information and tips.
Recipe and Ingredient Tips and Tricks
- We don’t include yield in our treat recipe posts because it is very dependent on what the maker decides for treat shape, size, and thickness when they’re baking.
- Variations in measurements, individual ingredient types, and options and substitutions as well as variations in egg size, ingredient and ambient temperatures, etc. are all part of why we work incrementally when mixing.
- Resting the dough is optional, but helps with the texture/handling of gluten-free baking dough. I like to rest briefly, then knead a little before use to ensure it is well mixed. For simple ball treats like these, consistency is less of an issue than roll-and-cut treats, so you can skip the resting if you want to speed up your baking.
- Want some greens with that red? Dog-friendly herbs like parsley or rosemary would be great with these flavours and scents if you’re looking for other add-in ideas.
Hungry for more tasty treats? There are all sorts of different DIY dog treats here on the blog. Please remember that treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. Woofs! We share ideas here from treats that we make ourselves for our pets, but different animals will have different preferences (likes/dislikes) and dietary needs. Some pets may have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt or have questions about what’s suitable for your pet, have a chat with your trusted vet.