This old fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe is a classic that’s a must-have for every Thanksgiving table. It’s made with celery, onions, homemade cornbread, white bread and plenty of herbs. You’ll never look at cornbread stuffing the same way again!
Looking for the perfect cornbread stuffing recipe for your holiday meal? This cornbread dressing is a staple in many Southern households for good reason – it’s absolutely delicious! Serve it alongside slow cooker creamed corn and bacon roasted brussels sprouts.
Today we’re talking about stuffing, because Thanksgiving is almost here! There are about ten million ways to do stuffing, but this Southern cornbread dressing is my favorite. It’s moist and delicious with a light and fluffy texture and the perfect blend of sweet and savory. Not gonna lie, my husband and I both made this our dinner after I took these photos, it’s just that good.
What is the difference between stuffing and dressing?
You’ll notice me using the terms stuffing and dressing interchangeably in this post. So what’s the difference between the two? Not a whole lot, it’s mostly a regional preference as to whether you call it stuffing or dressing.
Dressing tends to be baked almost exclusively outside the bird, while stuffing can either be inside the turkey or in a separate dish. I actually tend to mostly refer to it as stuffing because that’s what it is called in my geographic area, although I never stuff my bird. In the South people tend to call it dressing, and this is a Southern style recipe so there you go, we’ve got Southern cornbread dressing here.
How do you make cornbread dressing?
The first step in this recipe is the cornbread. I use my honey cornbread recipe, but you could use store bought cornbread if you’re short on time. I make the cornbread at least one day in advance, stale bread is best for dressing!
The cornbread is mixed with cubes of stale white bread (I use the butter top variety) to form the basis of this dish. The breads are mixed with veggies that have been cooked in plenty of butter, along with some broth, eggs and fresh herbs. Place the whole thing in the oven, and bake to golden brown perfection.
Can dressing be made ahead of time?
You can assemble your dressing up to 8 hours before the big meal. Simply cover your baking dish with foil and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. You may need to increase the cooking time a bit since you’ll be starting with a cold dish. You can also prepare the dish, bake as directed, then seal tightly and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Bake the covered dish from frozen at 350 degrees F until it’s warmed through, about 45-60 minutes.
Cornbread dressing tips
- You can make your homemade cornbread up to a month in advance and freeze it until you’re ready to make stuffing.
- I prefer to crumble my cornbread into larger pieces as it will break down some more when you mix everything together.
- This recipe is really best when baked as directed in a dish, rather than using it to stuff a turkey. If you use this to stuff a bird you won’t get that same great crispy texture on top!
- It’s really best to use fresh herbs here as they have a lot more flavor than dried herbs. If you need to use dried herbs in a pinch, cut the amounts by 2/3.
- While I typically use plain old white bread in this recipe, you could also use wheat bread, or an artisan bread like a baguette.
Cornbread stuffing flavor variations
This recipe is great as-is, but you can add other ingredients to customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Protein: Feel free to add some cooked breakfast sausage, bacon, prosciutto or smoked chicken apple sausage to your stuffing. It’s also common to add oysters to stuffing!
- Vegetables: Stir in some extra sauteed veggies such as mushrooms, carrots, fennel, parsnips, or even butternut squash.
- Fruit: Cooked apples are a popular addition to dressing, as are dried cranberries, apricots, figs or cherries.
- Herbs: Amp up the flavor with extra herbs such as thyme, rosemary or marjoram.
Is stuffing better with or without eggs?
I find that stuffing is always better with some eggs in the mix. The eggs add moisture, a rich flavor, and also help bind all the ingredients together. I would not recommend omitting the eggs in this recipe unless there is an allergy. In the case of an allergy, you’d want to use an egg alternative to make sure everything holds together.
How do you fix dry stuffing?
The best way to prevent dry stuffing is to be careful not to overcook it! You want the dressing top to be crispy and golden brown, with a soft and tender interior. It’s important to keep an eye on your dish as it bakes to make sure the top is not getting overly browned. If you feel like the top is brown before the inside is done, simply cover the dish with foil. In a situation where the stuffing bakes for too long and is dry, mix 2 tablespoons of melted butter with 1/3 cup warm chicken or turkey broth. Drizzle this mixture over the stuffing and let it soak in for a few minutes, and that should help to fix the problem.
I have a lot of people in my family that are stuffing haters, I can’t wait to unveil this Southern cornbread dressing to them this year to see if they change their minds! In my opinion this is the best stuffing recipe I’ve tried, and I try a different recipe almost every year trying to find one my family will like. The combination of the veggies, two types of bread and fresh herbs just can’t be beat. It’s buttery and delicious just like any good Thanksgiving recipe should be!
More thanksgiving side dishes
- Green Bean Bundles
- Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
- Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
- Cranberry Jello Salad
Cornbread Dressing Video
Southern Cornbread Dressing
- 1 recipe honey cornbread or any 9" square cornbread that's homemade or store bought
- 5 slices stale white bread cut into cubes
- 10 tablespoons butter divided use
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 cup celery finely chopped
- 4 cups chicken or turkey broth
- 5 eggs
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- cooking spray
- optional: sage leaves for garnish
- Prepare the honey cornbread according to post instructions.
- Cool the cornbread and crumble. Place the cornbread in a large bowl with the bread cubes and toss to combine.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9"x13" pan with cooking spray.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook for 6-8 minutes or until softened. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. Place the vegetables in the bowl with the cornbread mixture.
- Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and pour into a large bowl. Add the chicken broth, eggs, salt and pepper to taste, and sage and whisk to combine.
- Pour the butter mixture into the bowl with the cornbread mixture and stir to combine.
- Transfer the stuffing mixture to the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until dressing is browned and cooked through.
- Sprinkle with parsley and garnish with sage leaves if desired. Serve.
This post was originally published on November 14, 2017 and was updated October 14, 2021 with new content.
This dressing sounds delicious and I definitely want to make it! Thank you 😀
Can this be made ahead and baked the day of?
Yes that’s fine!
Is there a way to make this egg free? My kiddo is allergic, but this looks so yummy!
You could omit the eggs, it just will have a looser consistency. Also most brands of cornbread, including my homemade version, use eggs, so you’d need to substitute for that.
I have NEVER used eggs in a stuffing recipe. It will be fine.
I just made gluten free corn bread from the store and substituted a flax egg to make it egg-free. I also plan on making this recipe with 2 flax-eggs to make it egg-free. It should taste good and be a little healthier via more fiber. Maybe this will help you. 🙂
Is this dressing sweet due to the honey cornbread? I prefer savory but this recipe sounds good.
It’s just slightly sweet, there are many savory components that counteract it! You’re also free to use a different type of cornbread and the recipe will work the same way.
Made this for my rainy day dinner tonight served with roasted chicken thighs. I added 5 cored, peeled and chopped apples and no celery. I had leftover Italian sausage so I browned six breakfast sausage patties. A Yankee baby with Southern parents has gotta have this whenever she wants 😋🤤😉🔥
I used this recipe for our Thanksgiving dressing and everyone love it. It was very moist, but with a crusty top, and it had nice level of sweet and savory. I prefer dressing that has some chopped dried apricots or prunes; I didn’t have any so instead I cut up a medium-sized apple, brown it in the same pan that I cooked the the celery and onions, and tossed it in the dressing. I could see cooked sausage being a great addition to this recipe as well. Thank you!
Do you cover the dish with foil?
I do not cover it, if you feel like it’s getting overly browned near the end of the cooking time you could cover it then.
Has anybody added any other ingredients as mentioned in the article? I was thinking of adding a can of corn.
Wanting to try this for Thanksgiving, could I use biscuits instead of the white bread? I know i’ve seen that in other dressing recipes, but wondered if you’ve tried that? Thanks so much!
I haven’t tried it but I think it should work ok!
My great aunts always used biscuits, too. I find it unbelievable that on a feast day with everything else to do, they would start this recipe by baking biscuit.
Will be making this for thanksgiving? Can we make this in a crock pot? Could i use 3 eggs instead of 5? Thanks
This recipe has not been tested in a crock pot. Here is my stuffing recipe that is intended for the crock pot: https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/crock-pot-stuffing/
This is basically how I have always made stuffing, but never measured anything, so this is a real time saver! Also easier to pass on the recipe. Thanks!
I used this recipe when I catered my first Southern Thanksgiving meal for 150 people. It got rave reviews from everyone last time, so I’m using it again this year! I cut costs by using some dry seasonings and some fresh, but i don’t think it compromised the dish at all.
Yes! Cornbread Dressing is a staple for our holidays!
Love the additional flavors in this cornbread. Going to be perfect for Thanksgiving! Thanks!
Thi cornbread stuffing looks perfect for turkey, chicken or pork too! So many great flavours and easy to make.
I think my Thanksgiving meal is looking at a newcomer! I’ve never tried a cornbread dressing before but this looks absolutely incredible. Can’t wait to give it a go!
You’re in for a treat!!! I’ve never known Thanksgiving without cornbread dressing.
This stuffing was so good! We had it for our Canadian Thanksgiving and it was perfect!