Southern-Style Cornbread Dressing

Southern-Style Cornbread Dressing

This lovely cornbread dressing is the only dressing that my family ever made when I was growing up.  After I was married I made it religiously every year –TRADITION is everything at Thanksgiving — unless, of course, somebody creates something amazing like the afore posted Sourdough Artichoke Parmesan Stuffing.

As I ventured out on my own away from home, I was amazed to find that anyone else in the world had a different take on what dressing or stuffing was all about. Yes, for all of the traveling that I did as a kid, I was culinarily ignorant. (Except that I did learn about cream puffs when I lived in Wisconsin and scrapple when I lived in Delaware.)

This recipe is a little tricky, but only because it is one of those recipes that was developed over the generations and its preciseness is based solely on look, feel, and taste. I think you know what I mean. My grandmother passed the recipe down to my mother and my mother passed it on to me. When my mother first told me how to make this dressing, it came with instructions such as, “break up the corn bread until it looks right” or “add the chicken broth until it looks right but not too dry or not too soupy” or “add the spices until it smells about right”…you get the picture.

This recipe is actually very cathartic. You get to crumble and tear-up stuff with your bare hands. It is glorious as you feel holiday tension melting away.

Note:  If you’ve ever wondered about the *difference between stuffing and dressing*, I answer the question here. Check it out!

Southern-Style Cornbread Dressing

Yield: 12 servings

Recipe from Terri @ that's some good cookin'

Ingredients

  • 1 8"x8" pan of cooked cornbread (see recipe for cornbread or make your own or use 2 boxes of Jiffy Mix cornbread mix.)
  • 6 slices white bread, toasted (toss them in the toaster and get them nice and golden)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 4 eggs, beaten (Just whisk them a little bit with a whisk or a fork)
  • 5 cups (approximately) chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon sage, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, or to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Dump the cornbread into a large mixing bowl and break it up--just put your hands in the bowl and crumble the cornbread into small chunks.
  3. Tear the toast into small bite-sized pieces and put them in the bowl with the cornbread.
  4. Add the chopped onions and celery to the bread mixture. Toss the breads and vegetables together--yep, with your hands.
  5. Sprinkle the sage and poultry seasoning over the above mixture and toss it all together again.
  6. Mix together chicken broth, beaten eggs, and melted butter. Pour the chicken broth mixture over the cornbread mixture. The dressing at this point should be very, very moist, almost soupy. It should not look like the more traditional dressings/stuffings you may be used to seeing.
  7. Add the salt and pepper to taste. I just sprinkle the salt and pepper until I think it is the right amount. Go easy on the salt because several of the ingredients already have salt in them.
  8. Pour into a 9" x13" well buttered baking dish (cooking spray is fine). Bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes until the dressing is firmly set. Do not over-cook; it should just be a lovely light golden color.
http://tsgcookin.com/2010/11/cornbread-dressing/

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Southern Style Cornbread Dressing
Crumble the cornbread.
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Cornbread Dressing
Now take those pieces of really great smelling toasty toast…
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Southern Style Cornbread Dressing
…and tear them into bite-sized pieces.  Some of these got a little too brown.  Oh well.
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Southern Style Cornbread Dressing
Do a small dice on the vegetables.
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Southern Style Cornbread Dressing
I had some fresh sage left in my garden…
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Cornbread Dressing
My sage plant has survived abuse and neglect for 11 years and is huge.  It doesn’t mind the snow at all and seems to always have some leaves for the offering throughout the winter.
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Southern Style Cornbread Dressing
Put the onions, celery, herbs, and salt and pepper into the bowl with the crumbled cornbread and the toast pieces.  Toss them together with your hands, of course.
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Southern Style Cornbread Dressing
Mix the broth and eggs together, then pour them over the ingredients in the bowl.  The mixture ought to be soupy.  I must tell you, though, that I made this a tiny bit too soupy.  Oopsy.  No matter; I’ll just have to cook it longer.
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Southern Style Cornbread Dressing
Put the mixture into a buttered baking dish.  Bake, uncovered, in a 350-degree oven until the dressing is firmly set and is a lovely golden brown.  This will probably take about 45 minutes — maybe a little more or a little less.
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Southern-Style Cornbread Dressing
I’m smiling right now because of all the memories this simple dressing brings back.
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You might also consider checking out this Sourdough Artichoke Parmesan Stuffing. It is amazing!

Sourdough Parmesan Artichoke Stuffing

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    I realize this recipe posting is a couple of years old, but I’ve just gotta tell yah…My mom’s been gone for about 19 years now and any time someone mentions cornbread dressing, I think of her.

    But after reading your post, it made me cry. Everything, with the exception of the toast and fresh sage, is exactly how my mother made it. We tried to figure out the measurements of all the “about” ingredients, but never could.

    Thank you so much for posting this wonderful memory! Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless!

  2. says

    I’ve been looking for a specific dressing recipe for a couple of years now. Someone brought in a pan of turkey (or possibly chicken) and dressing for my daughter’s Thanksgiving program at school. It was amazing. I’m use to eating my mom’s stuffing, of which I was never really a fan. The dressing was super moist, and I haven’t been able to recreate it. I know your dressing doesn’t have any meat in it, but would you say it’s pretty moist when it’s finished cooking?

    • says

      He Megan. Sorry for the delayed answer. I just got home from work–looooooong shift today. This dressing is VERY moist. I’m trying to think of how to describe the texture. It is dense and has a fairly smooth consistency, except for the bits of cooked vegetables. Think more along the lines of maybe a savory bread pudding. It is different than many dressings common in other areas of the country namely because of the cornbread and the increased moisture content. Plus you can control the moisture content by adding more or less liquid. Before the dressing is cooked, it is somewhat soupy. I cook my dressing until it is golden and “set”.

  3. Ginny says

    Hi, this recipe sounds enough for me to prepare. I’ve NEVER, EVER made cornbread dressing. Actually, I was kinda scared that I’d mess it up. And the few times I’d asked a couple of older women how to make resulted in them not wanting to tell me. So, I wasn’t very excited. But I am now. But I notice that your recipe calls for sage and poultry seasoning. Both are pretty potent. Won’t that give the dressing a too strong or bitter taste? Thanx for your response.

    • says

      Hi Ginny. Congrats on tackling making cornbread dressing! It’s not difficult, really. Trust yourself and your instincts. I felt pretty unsure of myself the first time I ever made it, too. My mom talked me through it over the phone, but even then, I was not at all convinced that everything would turn out okay. There really is no replacement for actually just jumping in and doing something for yourself.

      I have not ever found the dressing to be bitter. As for being too strong, I haven’t ever noticed that the amount of herbs make the dressing taste too strong. However, perhaps since I grew up eating this dressing, I am used to its flavor. The dressing recipe is quite flexible, so cutting back on the poultry seasoning is fine, maybe use 1-2 teaspoons. My best advice is to not change the amount of sage.

      Drop back by and let me know how things turn out for you. Best wishes and Happy Thanksgiving. ~Terri

      • Linda Hornback says

        Trying this for the first time Christmas Eve I read through a lot of post and this one I felt a connection with as it reminded me of what I remember seeing my Grandmother do in her kitchen. So glad I found this. Grandmothers are always the best cooks. Now I get to take a run at the grandmother cooking because I’m a grandmother myself and wish for everything I cook to be as special as my granny’s was to me . Thanks for sharing this rescipe hope it is as magical as I’m wishing it will be.

        • says

          Grandmothers are definitely magical… or at least that’s how we remember them from when we were younger. There’s something peaceful and soothing about watching their hands at work; muscle memory and love coming together to create something perfect.

          It’s a tall order for this dressing recipe to be as great as your Granny’s dressing. But, it is the season of hope, lol. By the way, this recipe is a similar to Southern-style cornbread dressing(s) made by Paula Deen. She and my grandmother were raised in neighboring areas of the country and I have found several recipes for other things that are pretty much the same. Paula’s recipe for dressing calls for crackers, whereas my grandmother’s recipe calls for toast. Paula’s recipe also has more liquid, but I’m guessing that is because of the drier nature of the crackers. ~Terri

  4. Demiere Lee says

    I have a couple of questions for you regarding the dressing?

    1) Can I use green bell pepper and if so how much should I add?
    2) If I double this recipe what size pan should I use? I was thinking one of those aluminum turkey oven roasting pans, the ones that are oval shaped. They seem to hold a lot of weight and make great quantities of food.
    3) Can I use dried sage? If so about how much?
    4) If I was to freeze whatever leftover dressing how long would it last in the freezer and how would I go about reheating it? Would I defrost it in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl or would I let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator?
    5) If the dressing is too moist, is there some way to rectify it like adding more toasted bread, Ritz crackers, etc….

  5. Ashley says

    My family LOVED the recipe! I don’t normally make dressing for the holidays because I don’t eat it. I left it to my mom or aunt. Now that my mom is gone, it has fell on me to figure it out. I looked up jiffy recipes and this was the first one to appeal to me. I did tweak it a little because I didn’t have all the ingredients. Onion powder instead of onions and I added chopped hard boiled eggs. My husband just smacked his lips and said “that’s what dressing is supposed to taste like” and my brother said he hasn’t had dressing that good since our mom passed. Thank you for the wonderful recipe

    • says

      Ashley, I’m so happy for your success! I had forgotten that my grandmother used to put chopped hard boiled eggs in her dressing, too, until you mentioned that you had done it. Funny how things slide from our memories with time. Anyway, congrats on your new skill, lol. ~Terri

  6. says

    I used this recipe last year. The only modification is that I used garlic French bread instead of white bread. I used approximately an equivalent amount. This is sooooo happening again this year!!!

    I just can’t remember how many people this serves. I need to make a lot more this year because we have 40 people showing up for Thanksgiving.

    • says

      40 people! That’s impressive and dang scary! lol. April, I realize the I am responding to this comment late. I’m sorry about that. I have been away from blogging for quite a while, but I have reason to be hopeful that I will be able to return to it soon.

      I’m sure that you have figured out the yield of this recipe. I updated the recipe on the blog to state that there are 12 servings. However, I feel that you can probably get more than that because there is typically A LOT of food on a Thanksgiving table, and folks will tend to take smaller portions of stuffing or dressing. Of course, if you are feeding stuffing/dressing fans, then plan on about 12 servings per 9″ x 13″ pan.

      I hope that your Thanksgiving was wonderful and that your Christmas is blessed. ~Terri

  7. Stephanie Dayton says

    I am so excited to try this recipe. My mother never made hers with cornbread and my dad always did his will bread and oysters. But my mother-in-law makes the best cornbread dressing every year and she has inspired me to try it in my home with my husband and daughter. Sounds so delish. I just wanted to confirm the recipe called for 6 pieces of toast as listed in the ingredients as opposed to the 2 pieces of toast mentioned in the caption under the picture. Should this recipe include 6 or 2 pieces of toast?

    Thanks

    • says

      Hi Stef. I apologize for taking so long to answer your question. I had a long to-do list today. 🙂

      Use 6 pieces of toast for the full recipe. It has been a long time since I originally took the step-by-step photos and I can’t remember why I only used two pieces of toast at that time. I should update the process photos. Thanks for pointing out the confusion with the toast images vs the written recipe. For now, I’ll make a note in the caption.

      Have a good day. ~Terri

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