A Classic Cornbread Dressing with crumbled southern cornbread pieces, savory spices and herbs, creole seasoning, and vegetables moistened in a buttery broth and baked in a casserole dish. A must make side dish recipe for Thanksgiving Day dinner with moist cornbread and classic flavors. A southern holiday tradition with exceptional taste.
Southern Cornbread Dressing is a staple for Thanksgiving and Christmas parties. It has been at the center of the Thanksgiving Day menu for generations. In fact, Creoles in New Orleans have been making it since the 1850s. Today, cornbread stuffing rivals English stuffing.
Cornbread dressing is a serious baking task that’s offer is reserved for a special guest to make. In the south, you won’t be hard-pressed to find someone who can make cornbread dressing, but there is always a person who’s cornbread dressing is raved about at family parties. That person knows it’s their task to make it each and every time. It’s a huge compliment to be tasked to make cornbread stuffing. It’s a highly regarded tradition in this region of the United States.
HOW TO MAKE CORNBREAD DRESSING
- Make the cornbread. Bake, cool, crumble into pieces.
- Brown sausage.
- Sauté vegetables.
- Whisk together eggs, chicken broth, and melted butter.
- Stir in sausage, vegetables, and creole seasoning.
- Fold in crumbled cornbread.
- Spread into casserole dish.
- Bake in 425°F oven for 50 minutes.
CORNBREAD DRESSING INGREDIENTS
■ CORNBREAD: Use my homemade cornbread recipe. If using your own recipe, be sure to reduce any sugar or honey to only 1 tsp or less. If buying from the store, make sure it is not sweet. If buying a premade package, opt to use a jalapeno cornbread mix. NOTE: Any sweetness in the cornbread will throw the taste off. Instead of the dressing being savory, it will also be sweet to which the two flavors do not mix well together.
■ SEASONING: True southern cornbread dressing uses creole seasoning. Most grocery stores carry creole seasoning in the spice aisle. To avoid added spice, swap some of the creole seasoning out with poultry seasoning.
■ SAUSAGE: Seasoned sausage like andouille or kielbasa flavors the dressing. Of course, this is totally optional. Crumbled bacon is another good option.
■ BROTH: To hold the ingredients together, the broth is used to moisten the cornbread and bind it together with the vegetables and seasoning. Use a good quality chicken broth or your own. Vegetable broth may be substituted as well as water. However, chicken broth offers more flavor than water.
■ VEGETABLES: A trinity of classic NOLA vegetables that include onion, green bell peppers, and celery. Saute until translucent.
■ BUTTER: Everything tastes better with butter. Its rich taste brings out the best flavors in this cornbread stuffing.
DRESSING VS STUFFING
Every year the debate is talked about over and over again but at this point, I think most people who are familiar with cooking understand the difference between dressing and stuffing.
Dressing typically consists of cornbread mixed with herbs and seasoning. It’s baked in a casserole dish. The cornbread is not sweet. It’s mixed with vegetables and broth where the cornbread binds together with the other ingredients. The result is a very moist cornbread dish.
Stuffing is an English recipe. Stale white bread, sage, and pepper are stuffed into the crevice of a turkey and roasted inside of the bird. The turkey drippings provide moisture to the bread mixture to create that classic version. Classic stuffing recipes always use white bread cut into cubes. It is then set out to dry. Then, the stale white bread is mixed with classic savory herbs like sage and spices and bakes inside of the turkey. It is common practice now to bake stuffing outside of the turkey with added broth to moisten the bread.
Today, dressing vs stuffing can simply refer to the flavor and texture difference as well as regional dialect. Cornbread dressing tends to have more moisture. Also, the bread crumbles much easier than stale white bread which is why it’s common to see Lousiana dressing that is flat without any noticeable chunks. Either dish can include additional meat such as sausage.
In Louisiana, cornbread dressing is often made with oysters. Many restaurants offer traditional cornbread dressing and oyster cornbread dressing during the holiday season. If you like oysters and you’re looking to try something new, feel free to add the oysters and some of the juice to the mix in place of broth.
HOW TO SERVE DRESSING
Traditionally, southern dressing is served for Thanksgiving and as part of dinner during winter and fall months. However, in the south, you’ll find it ma and pop old school buffet line restaurants and some tourist restaurants that focus on the classic New Orleans food scene. The dressing is often served as a side dish with another vegetable and meat. We eat it with roasted turkey, ham, or prime rib roast, and roasted vegetables like carrots, brussels sprouts, or broccoli. If you are planning to make a classic Thanksgiving Day dinner spread and want recipe ideas, try these below.
- Classic Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe
- Easy Cranberry Relish / Quick Cranberry Sauce
- Creamy Cranberry Fluff Salad
- Sweet Cornbread
- Ranch Roasted Carrots
- Best Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Divine Roasted Broccoli
- Brown Sugar Crock Pot Ham
- Slow Cooker Turkey Breast and Gravy
DIETARY TIP: Want to make this recipe vegetarian? Skip the sausage and opt to use a vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.
CORNBREAD ALTERNATIVES TIP: When making cornbread dressing, use a plan cornbread that you like. If you plan on buying it in the bakery or making it using a premade mix, do make sure that it doesn’t have a lot of sugar, or your dressing with taste sweet and savory since it’s full of herbs. If buying a premade mix, try to buy a savory/jalapeno mix.
Classic Cornbread Dressing
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal, medium (see notes for using premade cornbread)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 8 tbsp butter, melted
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 lb andouille sausage or kielbasa, chopped (optional, see notes)
- 1 cup chopped white onion
- 1 cup chopped green onions
- ¾ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- 2½ tbsp minced garlic
- 2 large eggs
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 7 cups crumbled cornbread
- ¼ cup chopped parsley leaves
- 1 tbsp creole seasoning
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 8 tbsp melted butter
- Preheat oven to 370 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch casserole dish with foil. Spray with cooking spray or butter; set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar.
- In a medium bowl, whisk eggs. Pour in buttermilk and melted butter. Whisk to combine.
- Slowly pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, a little at a time, folding batter to incorporate. Repeat until all the wet ingredients are incorporated into the dry mixture.
- Pour into prepared casserole dish.
- Bake in oven 35-40 minutes. Top should be golden brown and center should be set, adjust time accordingly. Insert a toothpick into the center. If batter is wet, continue to bake at 5 minute intervals. If top gets too dark, cover with foil.
- Cool cornbread completely then crumble into 1-inch cubes.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly oil or butter an 8×8-inch casserole dish or two pyrex round casserole dishes.
- Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Cook sausage until deep golden brown in color. Remove meat.
- Saute onion, green onions, and celery until translucent in color and fragrant; about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs. Add chicken broth and melted butter, leaving about 2 tbsp melted butter for topping.
- Whisk in sausage, sauted vegetables, chopped parsley, creole seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Fold in cornbread crumbles. Mix thouroughly.
- Evenly spread cornbread dressing into prepared casserole dish. Pour on remaining butter.
- Bake in oven for 45-50 minutes. Scrap and mix dressing every 25 minutes to prevent the bottom from burning.