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A cornbread dressing recipe is a fun twist on the classic Thanksgiving side dish! Sweet cornbread is combined with onions, celery, poultry seasoning, and a delicious turkey stock. Buttery and tender with a perfectly crispy top – it’s sure to be your new favorite!
Cornbread dressing is a classic in the South and I just had to make a Midwestern version that kept all the traditional aspects of the dish and simplified a bit of the process without sacrificing on flavor!
How to make homemade cornbread dressing
- Prep the cornbread. Cut or tear it into large pieces and leave it out to air dry for a few hours.
- Sauté the veggies. In a little olive oil. Add the spices and seasoning, too!
- Add the butter. And let it melt.
- Stir in the stock. And heat everything until steaming.
- Pour the stock mixture. Over the cornbread and stuffing bread pieces, stirring gently to combine.
- Gently fill a baking dish. Spoon and spread the dressing mixture gently into a prepared pan before baking as directed.
Do I need to dry the cornbread out first?
Just for a little while. The cornbread being dry means it can absorb more stock. More stock means more flavor! Letting it sit out for an hour or two is usually good enough.
On Thanksgiving Day you can tear or cut the cornbread apart first thing and let it sit out while you prepare other dishes and components of recipes. Alternatively, cut and stored loosely covered (so not totally uncovered but not a super tight seal, either) overnight will also work!
What is stuffing bread?
Typically found in your grocery store’s bakery department, stuffing bread is small pieces and odds and ends of a variety of bread that is gathered together, bagged up, and sold by weight.
If you cannot find stuffing bread in your grocery store, 8 ounces of stale bread cut into small pieces and left out overnight would work beautifully! Feel free to use white bread, sourdough, wheat bread, Italian bread or something similar.
Using homemade cornbread
I love that this recipe uses boxed cornbread mix to make the whole process even easier, but if you’re wanting to use a homemade cornbread, go right ahead! Simply prepare two batches of your favorite recipe (might I suggest my own recipe?)
What’s the difference between dressing and stuffing?
Dressing is a bread, veggie, and stock mixture that is prepared and baked in a dish outside of the turkey. Stuffing is the same mixture that is stuffed into the cavity of the turkey and baked at the same time.
Generally, I prefer dressing to stuffing because it allows full control of cooking times and temperature for both the dressing and the turkey. To me, this yields better results all around!
Why is my dressing soggy or gummy?
Simple answer: too much liquid, not enough cooking. Cook, uncovered, for 10 – 15 minutes longer.
Too much mixing and too small pieces of bread can also result in gummy dressing. Be sure that you’re starting with pieces of cornbread that are quite large – think a bit larger than a golf ball.
When adding the stock to the bread mixture, it’s important to mix gently, incorporating until just combined. Too much mixing can lead to a bunch of crumbs and not big, beautiful pieces of cornbread that we want to take bites of!
- Large Pot or Dutch oven
- 9x13 Baking Dish
- Aluminum Foil
- 2 boxes cornbread mix prepared according to package instructions
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ medium onion diced
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 tsp. poultry seasoning
- 6 tablespoon butter
- 6 cups turkey stock
- 8 oz. stuffing bread
- Kosher salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- A few hours in advance, cut or tear the cornbread into pieces and leave out (we want it a little bit stale). Alternatively, leave a bowl of the cornbread out overnight, lightly covered.
- When ready to prepare dressing, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking pan, or large casserole, with baking spray and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and celery, stirring to coat. Cook until vegetables start to soften, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, before adding garlic and cooking until fragrant, about 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add the poultry seasoning, stirring to coat.
- Add butter and stir until melted before adding stock. Cook until stock is heated through.
- Meanwhile, combine dried cornbread and stuffing bread in a large bowl. Carefully pour the warm stock mixture over the bread pieces, reserving about 1 ½ cups. Gently toss to combine (being delicate will keep together big pieces of cornbread-y goodness!). Spoon dressing into prepared baking pan and pour some of the remaining stock over any areas that appear dry (if you don’t use it all, that’s ok!).
- Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 – 25 minutes, or until top of stuffing is golden brown and crisp. Serve warm alongside your favorite Thanksgiving meal!
- Chicken or vegetable stock can be used in place of turkey stock if desired.
- Refer to post for notes and answers to common dressing questions!