This classic Cornbread Dressing is a staple at our holiday table. Made with an old-fashioned cornbread recipe, herbs, celery and onion, this recipe will feed a crowd!
A holiday isn’t a holiday without my Nana’s Cornbread Dressing. This recipe has been in our family for years and also uses my family’s easy Southern cornbread recipe. Needless to say, our recipes are steeped in tradition! Our recipe is from the 2007 Thanksgiving Edition of Taste of the South Magazine. It’s a classic and it’s not Thanksgiving or Christmas without it.
“Making your first cornbread dressing is a rite of passage, something you just want to be able to do so you mama can feel good about your upbringing.” Valerie Fraser, Taste of the South, 2007
Image Credit: Taste of the South
The Difference Between Cornbread Dressing, Stuffing and Bagged Mix Recipes
Cornbread Dressing is a right of passage in the South, and we are serious about the way it is made. While recipes may be similar in some respects, dressing is served on the outside of the bird – in a casserole dish – and stuffing is, well, served from inside of the bird.
As much as I love and cherish our family recipe, many people opt for a more simple plan during the holidays and grab a bag from the store. I’m not one to shame, but the bagged stuff is a big no-no in the South! We are proud of the blood, sweat and tears…and butter that go into our recipes.
Depending on the area of which the cook is from, you may find apples, pecans, oysters or andouille sausage as additions to this recipe. But I say, if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it! This recipe is a classic and for good reason. Let it lie and enjoy the nostalgia!
A Make Ahead Holiday Side Dish
The holidays are crazy for every family and the more you can simplify your holiday meal preparations, the less stressed you will be on the big day. I’ve got a lot of tips and tricks to simplify your holiday preparations, but that’s another post.
Another make ahead side dish is my Kentucky Bourbon Cranberry Sauce. It’s tangy and pairs well with all the savory dishes.
Make your life easier by making this recipe ahead of time, freeze, then defrost a day or two ahead of time. Just dump in a 9×13 casserole dish and pop in the oven until golden. Easy peasy!
How to Make Classic Cornbread Dressing
This Cornbread Dressing recipe starts with stale cornbread and bread crumbs. I always make my cornbread a day before I mix everything up, so the bread has time to dry out really well. When the bread is dry, it can absorb more of the soupy mixture you will add to it.
There is a great debate as to what kind of “soft” breadcrumbs you should use: biscuits, loaf bread, sourdough – the list goes on! Frankly, I’ve never noticed a difference. I’ve used stale hot dog buns, ciabatta bread and loaf bread. Just tear or grate and let it work its magic.
Pro tip: Make your cornbread in a cast iron skillet for extra flavor as the edges crisp and brown.
A few days before that, I chop up my veggies and get everything prepped and ready to mix. Ain’t no body got time for stress during the holidays!
I like to mix my dressing in the same container I freeze and store my dressing in. I use an 2.5 gallon Tupperware container. First, I put my breads in the container, then add the rest of the ingredients when it’s time for mixing. Also, allow the mixture to set in the fridge for 24 hours so the flavors will marry.
As I said before, this is one of our most cherished family recipes. It brings back so many memories and emotions. What I love the most, is it makes my home smell like my mama’s. Whenever I make this recipe, I am surrounded by those I love. And for that, I can’t think of a better reason to make it. I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine.
Classic Cornbread Dressing
- 5 cups stale cornbread
- 3 cups soft, stale breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 medium onion, diced (2 cups)
- 1 bunch celery, diced (3 cups)
- 1/2 cup sage, finely chopped optional
- 4 eggs
- 6 10 oz cans of chicken broth
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Make cornbread according to cornmeal package. Crumble and set aside with stale breadcrumbs for 1 day.
- Melt 1/2 cup of butter in large skillet over medium heat; add onions, celery and saute until tender. Stir in sage (optional) and saute for one more minute.
- In a large 2 gallon storage container, stir in vegetables, remaining 4 eggs, chicken broth and pepper into cornbread mixture.
- If you are freezing this recipe, allow recipe to set for 24 hours before freezing. OR Add mixture to 9x13 casserole dish and fridge for 24 hours, covered.
- Bake uncovered at 375 for 1-2 hours or until golden brown.