Our cornbread dressing is made the classic old fashioned Southern way and will be the hit of your Thanksgiving dinner table! (Video tips included)
A family recipe for southern cornbread dressing
This is dressing made the way my mother-in-law makes it, and I learned just by watching her. When I decided I wanted to share it with y’all I had to make it and measure to have an actual recipe.
I admit that this recipe includes a couple of prepared grocery items – Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix and a canned cream soup. We typically try to stay away from prepared foods in our recipes. But, this is one of those “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” situations. Everyone loves this cornbread dressing just the way it is, so we don’t mess with that.
Dressing or stuffing? And then there’s the gravy
Here in the south, we don’t refer to our dressing as stuffing. That probably comes from the fact that we don’t typically “stuff” the turkey with our dressing. We bake it in a dish separately.
Gravy is made of the pan drippings from the turkey and most folks like to have gravy over their dressing, though not everyone eats it that way. For the basics on “How to Make Gravy from Scratch” you’ll want to read this.
Advance prep makes it easy (and good)
I like to make the cornbread for my dressing ahead of time. This may seem odd, but stale cornbread is better. If it’s fresh it would absorb too much of the liquid and get mushy.
To cut down on the last minute prep needed I usually make cornbread a week or two ahead and cut it into pieces and freeze it. Just empty it into a bowl early in the morning to thaw and don’t worry about covering it. Remember, stale is good!
Watch the video for tips on making the best cornbread dressing:
If you’re putting together your Thanksgiving menu you’ll want to include Sweet Potato Biscuits. Y’all, they are so good!
Another trick for saving time the day you’re making dressing is to chop the celery and onions the day before. They’ll keep just fine in plastic bags in the fridge.
VERY IMPORTANT TIP: Do NOT overstir when you mix all the dressing ingredients together. Stir only enough to get it all mixed up. Overstirring will remove air and the cornbread dressing will end up being too heavy and dense. Be gentle with your dressing!
I make my cornbread as follows, but you can use your favorite recipe (just don’t use any version that is sweet – sorry Jiffy).
- 3 cups of self-rising cornmeal mix
- 2 eggs
- 1-¾ cup milk (buttermilk is best)
Stir it together and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until brown.
Self-rising cornmeal mix is found in the baking products aisle at your grocery and already has the proper proportions of cornmeal, flour and leavening agents combined. We use it in our Toasted Cornbread and our Buttermilk Cornbread Muffins.
I usually make cornbread in a iron skillet, but I don’t have a skillet big enough for this much cornbread so I use a 9×13 pan. What? You don’t have an iron skillet? You don’t know what you’re missing. Order one here.
Cornbread Dressing (Southern Style)
- 1 large recipe cornbread (1.5 times a typical pan of cornbread)
- ¾ cup butter
- 2 cups onion, diced
- 2 cups celery, diced
- 2 cups Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing
- 1-½ teaspoons salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 Tablespoons rubbed sage
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 4 cups chicken broth or stock
- Crumble cornbread with your hands. No need to completely pulverize it, but don't leave any large pieces (see video).
- Melt butter in skillet.
- Saute’ onions and celery in butter until tender and partly translucent.
- Stir all ingredients together, being careful not to overstir.
- Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes
Southern Food Then and Now is all about traditions, regions and the origins of our favorite cuisine! In fact, many people consider this type of cornbread dressing to be soul food, and this article explores the difference between southern food and soul food.
If you’re reading this post chances are you love southern food and know others that do too. We’ve put together this awesome guide, Great Gifts for the Southern Foodie. It has several cast iron cookware choices, books of southern recipes and food history and small items that would make a great gift basket.
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A few more of our Southern favorites for fall:
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