He has cooked for Oprah, now this top chef reveals his must-have Thanksgiving recipe

Celebrity chef Art Smith knows his way around the kitchen — and plenty of famous ones. He's cooked for Oprah Winfrey, other celebrities, heads of state and even royalty.

But Smith, like so many others, has his own memories of Thanksgiving that he tries to bring to his family holiday celebrations. "Every day, we create and make our own traditions," Smith tells Yahoo Life as part of the Yahoo Life Holiday Home and Tell series. "Many traditions that we think of are traditions that are established in our families over 100 years ago."

Chef Art Smith is sharing one of his Thanksgiving breads with you. (Photo: Yahoo Life)
Chef Art Smith is sharing one of his Thanksgiving breads with you. (Photo: Yahoo Life)

Smith says he loves to make bread and feature it on his Thanksgiving table. "Bread-making to me is something that I really enjoy because [of] the senses of it, the smells," he says. "I remember as a little kid, the smell of my grandmother Georgia's dressing, this wonderful cornbread dressing."

Smith says he took that same recipe and used it in a special Thanksgiving meal he created for the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. "Oprah wanted her little girls to be able to enjoy and celebrate an American Thanksgiving," Smith says. "What was wonderful was that recipes that had been taught to me that I had enjoyed as a child, I was able to share those with other children from around the world."

Oprah wanted her little girls to be able to enjoy and celebrate an American Thanksgiving."Art Smith

Smith now has a family of his own, which includes four children that he and his husband Jesus Salgueiro adopted together from Cuba and Puerto Rico. He says his Thanksgivings always feature "delicious bread," adding that there's also "always something sweet." So, he says, "we take bread and something sweet and put it together for something absolutely delicious."

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That includes his mouthwatering no-knead cranberry swirl bread. "This recipe comes from a bit of everywhere," Smith says. "It's partly my grandma's, my aunt's—everything. We always had yeast dough for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and this is why I make it. I added my own little twist on it."

Art Smith's cranberry swirl bread is a sweet treat. (Photo: Yahoo Life)
Art Smith's cranberry swirl bread is a sweet treat. (Photo: Yahoo Life)

"What I love about this bread is it brings back those memories of my grandmother's wonderful pan yeast rolls and the smell of those with the butter and everything," Smith says. "May you have many wonderful, delicious meals together."

Interested in making Art Smith's no-knead cranberry swirl bread for your own family? Here's the recipe:


  • Scant 1/4 cup equal blend of flour and granulated sugar for the work surface. Flour for hands for working dough

  • 1 package of premade, unbaked yeast dough

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 cup of softened whole cranberry sauce

  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

  • Vegetable oil for greasing pan

1. Put dough on a work surface dusted with the flour and sugar mixture. With floured hands to prevent sticking, gently shape the dough into a flat square. Spread softened butter over the surface of dough. Top with cranberry sauce.

2. Combine ground cinnamon with 2 tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the cranberry sauce, reserving the remaining mixture. Gently roll the dough jelly-roll style.

3. Rub a loaf pan with vegetable oil. Place the dough in the loaf pan and let sit until doubled in bulk. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture over top of dough.

4. Preheat a large toaster oven to 450 degrees. Reduce heat to 400 degrees. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Recipe note: Ready to use dough can be found in the freezer and refrigerated cases of most supermarkets. Bridgford is a popular brand.

— Video produced by Olivia Schneider

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