Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be complete without cornbread stuffing! Fluffy and moist in the middle with crispy, lightly dried edges. It’s called stuffing but served and baked like dressing in its own pan.
Technically, cornbread stuffing is just cornbread dressing packed into a bird. Since we have a turkey dressing recipe, we tend to call this one stuffing so that we can communicate who is cooking what at a holiday meal.
I do not recommend stuffing a turkey. If you decide to stuff the bird, make sure that the cornbread stuffing has been cooled completely before using and cook until the stuffing has reached 165°F in the middle of the stuffing. Don’t risk foodborne illness!
This stuffing is similar to regular turkey dressing, but half of the bread cubes are replaced with dried cornbread pieces and uses raw eggs mixed into the stuffing to give it extra richness, body, and moisture.
Cornbread dressing will puff up a bit like bread pudding while cooking.
Best Cornbread for Stuffing
The best cornbread for stuffing is really all about your preference.
I have seen southern moms use Jiffy cornbread mix, I have seen some use a sweet cornbread recipe, I prefer a homemade cornbread that isn’t sweet. Basically, I follow the direction on the cornmeal box minus the sugar.
If you like sweet cornbread, then add the 1/4 cup of sugar recommended on the package.
Now I can’t say I have seen it done in the South, but it would probably be alright to use a premade cornbread from the grocery store. Chances are, that thing is already plenty stale by the time you get it home.
You need to have about 6 cups of cornbread and 6 cups of regular bread.
Forgot to leave out your bread?
Did you forget to make cornbread yesterday and leave it out? No worries, I have been there and done that more than once in all my years of making Thanksgiving dinner.
If you have enough room in the oven to make fresh cornbread, go on and make it. Allow it to cool for about 20 minutes then crumble it into cubes and place it back into the oven set to 300⁰F to 350⁰F until the cornbread begins to dry out, about another 20 minutes or so. Stir the cornbread pieces every 5 minutes or so. You can follow the same directions if you forgot to leave your bread out to dry too.
Combine 6 cups of day-old cornbread crumbles and 6 cups of day-old bread cubes in a large bowl. If you forgot to dry out your cornbread or bread cubes, see the notes above.
In a large skillet, melt 1/2 cup salted butter over medium heat and saute 1 cup of sliced or diced celery and 1 cup of diced onion until the celery begins to turn bright green. Add 2 teaspoons of ground or rubbed sage, 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix well and add the celery mixture to the dried bread in the bowl.
Add 4 cups of chicken broth and stir to combine. If the mixture is too dry, add more broth until it has a bit of extra liquid in the bottom of the bowl. My grandma used to call it soupy.
It’s important to taste the dressing now because we don’t want to be tasting raw eggs. If it needs more seasonings, go ahead and add more.
Once you’re satisfied with the seasonings, add 4 well-beaten large eggs and mix just until combined.
Spoon into a cake pan or casserole dish that has been coated with baking spray or buttered. The stuffing can be made the day before and stored in the refrigerator, covered in foil until it is time to bake.
Cover the stuffing with foil and bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and baste with turkey drippings if desired. This isn’t required, but it adds some serious turkey flavor. Continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes or until it’s as dry as your family likes it.
This recipe is just a basic stuffing. I am simple when it comes to stuffing and dressing. I like just celery and onions.
If you don’t like those, feel free to leave them out. Just make sure you melt your butter before adding it to the stuffing mix.
- Sautéed bell peppers
- Chopped up boiled eggs
- Cranberries, fresh or dried
- Cooked and crumbled sausage
- Minced cooked chicken
- Minced cooked giblets
The list is really endless. If you remember some version of your grandma or aunt, add whatever it is that makes your Thanksgiving or other holiday meals special!
Help! My Stuffing is Dry!
Sometimes your stuffing or dressing is dry because the bread you used was super dry, and that’s OK, just add some more broth, stock, or water to it before adding the eggs.
If you didn’t realize it was dry until it was half-baked, it’s not really a problem. Just add some turkey drippings over the top and continue baking.
I simmer the turkey giblets in a bit of chicken broth and add the turkey dripping to this as the turkey cooks. I use this for basting dressing and making gravy, after removing the giblets.
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Cornbread Stuffing Recipe
- 6 cups cornbread broken into pieces and dried overnight
- 6 cups bread cubes dried out overnight
- 1/2 cup butter salted
- 1 cup diced onion about 1 small
- 1 cup celery sliced
- 4 cups chicken broth turkey stock, or giblet stock
- 2 teaspoons sage rubbed or ground
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- Preheat an oven to 350⁰F.
- Place dried crumbled cornbread [6 cups] and dried bread cubes [6 cups] into a large bowl and set aside.
- Melt butter [1/2 cup] in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add sliced or diced celery [1 cup] and diced onions [1 cup] to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until the celery and onions are crisp-tender. Celery will turn a brighter green.
- Add celery mixture to the bowl with the bread and cornbread.
- Add ground or rubbed sage [2 teaspoons], poultry seasoning [1 teaspoon], and ground black pepper [1/2 teaspoon] and mix well.
- Add 4 cups of broth and mix well. If stuffing is too dry, add additional broth until the mixture has a bit of extra liquid or seems a little soupy.
- Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Add the beaten eggs [4 large] and mix just until combined.
- Spoon stuffing mix into prepared pan and cover with aluminum foil.
- Place into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil, the dressing may be based with additional broth or turkey drippings for additional flavor, and continue baking for another 15 to 30 minutes or until cooked to your preferred level of dryness.
- Remove from the oven and serve.
- More broth can be added for moister stuffing, start with one cup at a time.
- The stuffing can be basted with turkey dripping after removing the foil for an extra pop of turkey flavor.
Preheat an oven to 400⁰F. Combine 1 1/4 cups flour, 3/4 cup cornmeal, and 2 teaspoons baking powder in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup milk, 1 whole egg, and 1/4 cup of vegetable oil or bacon fat. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Do not over mix. Pour batter in prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Removed from the oven and set aside to cool. Once cool crumble into a large bowl or onto a baking sheet and set out overnight to dry slightly.