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Published November 10, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This tasty Southern-style inspired cornbread dressing is the perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table.
If you ask us, the side dishes are what make holiday eating that much better. If you are looking to impress your friends and family and take your side dish recipes to the next level then try out my candied yams or cauliflower au gratin.
Cornbread dressing has been a southern staple for generations. While it is commonly served on holidays, it is a dish that goes far beyond that. The origin of cornbread dressing can be traced to enslaved people in the South who transformed leftover cornbread into a delicious dish. The history of this recipe can actually be traced back to a West African dish known as Kusha.
There are many variations of cornbread stuffing in the South but one thing is certain, and that is that it starts with good homemade cornbread, which is dried out of course. From there, there are endless possibilities to enhance the flavor of this coveted holiday side dish.
Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing
There are differences between traditional turkey stuffing and dressing. For one, stuffing is placed inside the cavity of the bird and baked, which is why it is called stuffing. The dressing is baking that same bread mixture stuffing in a separate casserole dish or pan. I honestly could care less what you call it, because my family calls it stuffing whether it was cooked inside the turkey or not.
How to Make Cornbread Dressing from Scratch
Follow along with these easy step-by-step instructions for making an amazing cornbread dressing from scratch:
- Start by crumbling the already made cornbread and place it on a cookie sheet tray lined with parchment paper alongside some leftover bread, biscuits, or rolls that have been cubed or broken up by hand. Bake in the oven at 300° for about 30 minutes to help dry it out.
- In the meantime, sweat the onions and celery in butter in a large frying pan over low to medium heat for about 10 to 12 minutes. It is ok if they brown up a bit. Set aside until the cornbread and bread are very dried out.
- Once the cornbread and bread are dried out, add them to a large bowl and pour the cooked vegetables, velouté, chicken stock, poultry seasoning, and season with salt and pepper. Make sure you taste it and adjust the seasonings.
- Add the whisked eggs to the top and using clean hands or a rubber spatula gently mix everything together until it is completely combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish, cover, and bake at 350° for 25 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
Optional Ingredients to Add
You can greatly enhance this dish by adding in more ingredients. Here are a few things you can put into this recipe:
- Cooked Pork Sausage
- Cut up Cooked Shredded Turkey
- Cooked and Cut up Chicken
- Sauteed Mushrooms
Recipe Chef Notes + Tips
Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 hour ahead of time, just keep it covered and warm at low temperatures in the oven until ready to serve.
How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can cover and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of dressing to a casserole dish or pan, drizzle on ¼ to 1/3 cup of chicken stock, and cover with foil. Bake in the oven at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until warmed.
You can use any stale or dried bread to help fill in with the cornbread.
If you do not have any access to dried bread, biscuits, or rolls, just 3 cups of breadcrumbs.
You can substitute the velouté for a can of cream of chicken soup.
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Homemade Cornbread Dressing Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 300°.
- Crumble the cornbread using your fingers until it breaks apart into very small pieces. Transfer to a cookie sheet tray lined with parchment paper along with the cubed rolls and spread out.
- Bake in the oven at 300° for 30 minutes to help dry it out.
- In the meantime, add the butter to a large frying pan over low to medium heat and sweat the onions and celery for about 10 to 12 minutes while occasionally stirring. It’s ok if they get a little brown. Set aside once done.
- When the bread is done drying out a bit, add it to a large bowl along with the cooked vegetables, poultry seasoning, velouté, chicken stock, salt, and pepper, and gently mix until combined. Be sure to taste it to see if you need any more salt and pepper.
- Pour in the whisked eggs and again gently mix them together until it is combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a 13x9 casserole dish, cover it, and bake at 350° for 25 minutes.
- Uncover the dish and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.