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.