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Some holiday side dishes have no substitute, and that’s certainly true of Cornbread Dressing. Crumbled and toasted skillet cornbread infused with butter, stock, onions and herbs is moist and tender with plenty of crispy edges. Our Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be complete without it.

Cornbread Dressing served in a white baking dish.

I grew up in Northern California eating sweet Jiffy cornbread from a box. But once my Southern mother-in-law, Mary Helen, introduced me to savory skillet cornbread I’ve never looked back. It’s the key to this recipe.

I’ve spent years carefully perfecting my own skillet cornbread recipe and I hope you’ll try it. If you already have a homemade cornbread recipe of choice, that’s fine too – just be sure to opt for a savory version over a sweet one. And for bread stuffing lovers, don’t miss my Sourdough Stuffing.

Ingredients You Need to Make Southern Cornbread Dressing

For the Skillet Cornbread

Skillet Cornbread Ingredients with Buttermilk on a white marble board.
  • Whole Grain Cornmeal: preferably medium grind
  • White Whole Wheat Flour: or regular whole wheat flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt: sea salt or kosher salt
  • Sugar: white sugar or brown sugar
  • Buttermilk: or plain yogurt mixed with water (3/4 cup yogurt to 1/4 cup water to equal 1 cup buttermilk)
  • Frozen Corn: or fresh corn kernels cut from the cob
  • Eggs: large or extra-large
  • Butter: if using unsalted butter, add an additional 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Avocado Oil: or other high heat oil

For the Cornbread Dressing

Cornbread Dressing Ingredients on a white marble board.
  • 1 recipe Skillet Cornbread: or other savory cornbread
  • Butter: if using unsalted butter, add an additional 1/8 teaspoon of fine salt or 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Onion: yellow onion or white onion
  • Celery: This is a great way to enjoy the outer ribs, saving the tender inner ribs for your vegetable platter.
  • Sage: fresh sage leaves or dry rubbed sage
  • Thyme: fresh thyme leaves or dried thyme
  • Kosher Salt: if using unsalted butter, add an additional 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black Pepper: ideally freshly ground
  • Chicken Broth: or turkey stock
  • Eggs: large or extra-large

Recipe Options

  • If you happen to have homemade turkey stock, this is a great place to use it. But commercial turkey or chicken broth / stock are options as well.
  • Add more broth or stock if you prefer a very moist dressing.
  • Love herbaceous dressing? Feel free to increase or change the herbs: rosemary, oregano and/or parsley are all great options.

FAQ

What Is the Difference Between Cornbread Stuffing and Cornbread Dressing?

Cornbread stuffing and dressing might have the same ingredients, but there’s an important difference: stuffing is cooked inside the turkey, while dressing is baked separately.

With stuffing, the ingredients cook inside the cavity of your turkey to absorb the flavorful juices. This method isn’t as popular as it once was because of the risk of food poisoning. If you opt for this method, be sure that the internal temperature of the stuffing reaches 165˚F before serving.

This problem doesn’t apply to dressing since you bake it in a separate dish. If you prefer the very moist texture of stuffing, feel free to add more broth or stock.

Should Cornbread Be Dried Out for Dressing?

Absolutely. It’s important to dry your cornbread before preparing dressing to prevent it losing its structure and becoming too soft and soggy.

To give your cornbread the optimal texture, dry and toast it in a low oven as directed in this recipe (my preferred method). Alternatively, you can dry out your crumbled cornbread spread on a baking sheet uncovered at room temperature overnight (and up to 2 days).

Can Cornbread Dressing be made ahead of time?

When preparing dressing ahead of time, you should either freeze it uncooked or cook and then freeze. Cook frozen, uncooked dressing according to the recipe directions, adding 5 to 10 minutes to foil covered baking time and an additional 5 to 10 minutes once you’ve removed the foil or until the dressing is hot and golden brown.

If reheating cooked dressing from frozen, cook straight from frozen (don’t thaw it first) and be sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F before serving.

How long can Cornbread Dressing be refrigerated?

Cooked dressing can be cooled and refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.

How do I reheat Cornbread Dressing?

Reheat cooked and refrigerated dressing covered with foil in a 350˚F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 to 15 minutes more to heat through and crisp the edges. Or melt butter in a large skillet on the stove top and add the dressing; stir to break up and reheat while crisping up the edges, adding more broth or stock as necessary.

Serve With

How to Make Cornbread Dressing

Dry crumbled cornbread, spread in an even layer on a baking sheet, in a 250˚F preheated oven for 1 hour.

Soften vegetables in melted butter along with the herbs and spices in a skillet over medium heat.

Combine crumbled and toasted cornbread and vegetables softened in butter along with herbs and spices in a large mixing bowl. Pour whisked eggs and chicken broth over mixture and gently stir to combine, adding more broth as desired. Spread cornbread mixture into an even layer in a buttered 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Bake 30 minutes covered with foil. Then remove foil and bake 15 minutes more, or until hot and golden brown. Serve.

Cornbread Dressing

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 35 minutes
Cook: 2 hours 20 minutes
Total: 3 hours 25 minutes
Course: Breads and Quick Breads, Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Calories: 430
Servings: 8 people
The best cornbread dressing I know, made with my tried and true skillet cornbread!

Ingredients  

For the Skillet Cornbread

  • 1 1/2 cups whole grain cornmeal 228 grams, preferably medium grind
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour 120 grams
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk or 3/4 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn 99 grams
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 tablespoons butter 1 stick, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or other high heat oil

For the Cornbread Dressing

  • 1 recipe Skillet Cornbread above, or 1 1/2 pounds of other savory cornbread
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion diced small
  • 4 ribs celery diced small
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage or 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chicken broth or turkey stock, or more
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions 

For the Skillet Cornbread

  • Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet on oven’s center rack. Turn oven to 400°F, allowing the pan to preheat.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
  • In a blender or combine buttermilk and frozen corn; mix until smooth. Add eggs and blend for a few seconds, just until combined.
  • Pour yogurt mixture and melted butter into cornmeal mixture. Fold ingredients together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until combined; don’t over-mix.
  • With an oven mitt, remove preheated skillet. Add oil to hot skillet and swirl to coat bottom and sides of pan. Pour batter into skillet, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula. Smooth top and place on the oven’s center rack.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until knife or toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

For the Cornbread Dressing

  • Once cornbread is cool, crumble into bite-size pieces (not too small) and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 250˚F preheated oven for 1 hour until dry and lightly toasted (my preferred method). OR crumble cornbread, spread on a baking sheet and let stand uncovered overnight and up to 2 days to dry out.
  • Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  • Butter a 13x9x2-inch baking dish (3-quart) and set aside.
  • Place crumbled, toasted cornbread in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook and stir until softened but not browned, 8-10 minutes. Stir in sage, thyme, kosher salt and pepper; check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and chicken broth.
  • Add onion mixture and drizzle egg and broth mixture over cornbread; gently toss to combine. If mixture looks dry, moisten with stock as desired.
  • Transfer to prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. (recipe note #1) Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes; remove foil and bake uncovered, 15 minutes more, or until golden brown and hot all the way through. Serve.

Notes

  1. At this point you can tightly cover and freeze if desired for up to 1 month and bake from frozen, making sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F before serving. You can also refrigerate after cooking for 3 to 4 days and reheat or freeze for up to 1 month. Reheat cooked dressing in a 350˚F oven, covered with foil for the first 25 to 30 minutes and then uncovered until hot all the way through with crispy edges, 10 to 15 minutes more. 

Nutrition

Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 593mg | Potassium: 435mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 807IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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10 Comments

  1. Katherine | Love In My Oven says:

    5 stars
    This would be something different on a holiday table and I love the sounds of it!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      It’s fantastic, Katherine! I think you and your family would love it.

  2. Kelly | Foodtasia says:

    5 stars
    This would be the first thing to be devoured on the holiday table, Marissa! It looks wonderful!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      aww…thank you, Kelly!

  3. David @ Spiced says:

    5 stars
    I absolutely agree – Thanksgiving isn’t complete without a good cornbread dressing! In fact, some years we make a double batch just to make sure we’ll have plenty of leftovers. 🙂 I’ll have to try your version out ASAP!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Love the idea of a double batch (particularly since it freezes so well!). Thanks, David.

  4. angiesrecipes says:

    That looks really good and tempting and I am not even a big fan of corn.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thank you, Angie!

  5. Valentina says:

    I love using cornbread for my stuffing. Pretty sure you had me at butter for this one. 🙂 ~Valentina

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      haha…butter definitely makes everything irresistible.