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.
Love cornbread in stuffing! It makes it so much better. Lots of flavor in this recipe.
This was fantastic, I will be making it all the time now!
This looks so delicious and perfect for Thanksgiving! I can’t wait to make this!
This dressing is amazing and has become a family favorite. I was just hoping on to write down the ingredients for my grocery list for Thanksgiving. So easy and delicious.
Can I use frozen cubed white bread instead of stale bread?
Yes that should be fine!
This will be my go to recipe for Easter and Thanksgiving. My family loves it.
I made this a lot, when I was able to get around better. Real good
This recipe is so awesome! Everyone loved it! My husband doesn’t typically like dressing, but this was his favorite dish this Thanksgiving. We were so happy to have leftovers. I’ll be making this every Thanksgiving. Thank you!
This was my first time making cornbread dressing and it was the hit of the meal! I will make this dish every holiday. I got so many compliments and was so proud my family loved it! Thank you! ❤️ This fish deserves 6 stars! So moist and savory ❤️
This dish* deserves 6 stars
Thank you for this wonderful recioe!
Can this recipe e made a day in advance and cooked Thanksgiving morning? Thank you..
Yes that’s fine!
Yes it can be reheated after making and cooked…I did it and still moist and delicious. I warmed in oven at 250* for one hour after it came out of the refrigerator(covered in foil so not to brown anymore . Was still moist and delicious
Can I use ground sage in of chopped, as it’s all I have and I live too far from store…? I’ll let you know how it turns out…!? 👍 lol
That should be fine!
How many days ahead would you cook the cornbread for beat results? Would you let the cornbread stay out or store in the fridge to age?
I make the cornbread a day or two in advance, then I cube it up and lay it in a single layer on a sheet pan at room temperature.
Hi! I really want to try this, it sounds delicious!! I’m wondering, can I put this in a slow cooker to cook instead? Thinking of space and time for cooking all the thanksgiving dishes. Would need to add more broth? Thanks!
You can do that, just be aware that the topping won’t come out browned and crispy that way.
Hi, can you tell me how much salt and pepper you’re using? I see from the video you’re adding salt and pepper twice, which is fine. I’m guessing two teaspoons salt and probably a half teaspoon pepper combined.
I’d do 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
If I’m using dried sage instead of fresh how much would you reccomend I use?
Use 3/4 teaspoon dried!
Can I stuff this in cornish hens
Yes that would be fine!
Not a dressing fan but love it when it has turkey in it. Could that simply be added to a double receipt?
Sorry, I don’t see where to start a thread.
Yes that should be fine!
Hi! Thanks for this recipe, can’t wait to try it. I’ve only made dressing once before and it was just ok. Your recipe has all the elements I’m looking for to redeem my first try. We have some dressing haters too, would you mind sharing what your family’s reaction was?
This is my family’s all time favorite, and I’ve made a lot of different stuffing recipes! Everyone enjoys this one in my experience.
I made this recipe for a Friendsgiving dinner party (including the linked cornbread recipe) and it was a huge hit! I doubled it (might’ve been a bit too much but I’m happy to have so many leftovers!) and used a 10X15 baking dish and added some more baking time. I used vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian. Other than that I followed the recipe as is. For the stale bread, I used butter bread and toasted it in the oven for 45 minutes at 275 (I read that bread prepped this way soaks up the stuffing flavors better than bread left to sit out, who knows). I’ve never made homemade stuffing and never even tried cornbread stuffing so I was nervous about choosing a recipe and knowing what to look for when cooking it, but this was a great call! Super moist and everyone wanted to know if it was a secret family recipe.
What is the purpose of the white bread? Can you just use cornbread? Can you use bell peppers?
The bread gives the stuffing a lighter, fluffier texture. You can just use cornbread but it will be more dense. You can use bell peppers.
I’m thinking of doubling this recipe. I’ll either use a 10X15 casserole dish or a deeper 9X13. How would you recommend I adjust the temperature and time settings for either? Thanks!
I’d add another 20-25 minutes to the baking time. If you’re using a deeper dish it’ll take longer to cook versus the 10×15. Hope this helps!
Trying to find a gluten free cornbread dressing recipe. Could this be made without the white bread? Or use GF bread instead? Trying to figure out if bread is necessary.
You can substitute gluten free bread and that will work just fine!
My daddy’s cornbread dressing was/is legendary…so delish! I can’t imagine making a SWEET cornbread for the basis of dressing. Savory, yes, but not sweet.
I used a gluten free store bought cornbread mix and gf bread. I actually used 1/2 the mix as I made 1/2 the dressing recipe and used the other 1/2 for soup night. Making the cornbread ahead and veggies ahead makes it come together very quickly. Thank you it was delicious and a hit.