Cornbread Dressing (Southern, Old Fashioned Recipe)
“Old Fashioned Cornbread dressing! Learn how to make a flavorful, cornbread dressing made the true southern way! Starting with from-scratch buttermilk cornbread, flavorful broth, onions, peppers, celery, chicken, and spices!”
Video tutorial: Watch me make this old-fashioned cornbread dressing from start to finish!
I really didn’t need another old-fashioned cornbread dressing recipe on this site because you guys seem to be absolutely crazy about this recipe. However, I figured it was about time I did an updated post and video on the slight tweaks I’ve made to this cornbread dressing over the years. If you like it EXACTLY the way I posted many years ago then feel free to use that recipe. I’ll always keep up the original recipes of foods that I tweak so no worries.
What is cornbread dressing?
Cornbread dressing is a popular Southern baked side dish often served for Thanksgiving. It consists of cornbread that is mixed with broth, spices, herbs, veggies, meat, and eggs. It is savory and flavorful and goes great with turkey and gravy.
What’s the difference between my two dressing recipes?
This old-fashioned cornbread dressing recipe is loaded with more spices, flavorful chicken thighs, a new buttermilk cornbread recipe, and red peppers. They are minor tweaks that make a big difference in my opinion! However, both recipes are amazing!
What is the difference between cornbread stuffing and cornbread dressing?
Cornbread stuffing is typically cooked inside of a turkey and cornbread dressing is cooked in a pan. Here in NC, we tend to call it dressing whether it’s cooked in or out of the turkey, preferring it to be cooked OUT of the turkey.
How To Make Cornbread for Cornbread Dressing
A true southern cornbread dressing starts with from-scratch buttermilk cornbread. You want the cornbread to be a dry side so baking it a few days before is ideal so that it will be slightly stale.
Feel free to use your favorite non-sweetened cornbread. This cornbread recipe isn’t my normal cast iron skillet cornbread nor is it my favorite cornbread to sit and eat plain but man oh man, does it go great in cornbread dressing! With all that butter and buttermilk this easy cornbread recipe creates the perfect base for some really flavorful old-fashioned cornbread dressing.
To make the cornbread: In a large bowl sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. Pour into a grease 8×8 dish and bake for about 20 minutes in a 425 F. preheated oven. Crumble the cornbread up and use it to make your dressing once it is a bit stale. Alternately you can place the crumbled cornbread on a baking sheet and toast it to dry it out quicker.
Making a pan of moist and flavorful dressing is so easy! Here is the cast of characters that we’ll be using for this recipe:
- Homemade Buttermilk Cornbread: A good cornbread is the base for this side dish.
- Celery, Onions, Green Bell Pepper, Red Bell Peppers: These classic veggies are sauteed until tender and give the dressing so much flavor and texture.
- Chicken thighs: You could also use chicken breast or even ground sage sausage if desired.
- Spices: Spices like poultry seasoning and extra sage give cornbread dressing its classic flavor, that complement a turkey dinner so well!
- Chicken broth: broth has so much flavor to dressing and give it a moist finished texture.
- Toasted bread: This adds extra binding and flavor. I like to use potato or butte bread.
- Eggs: Eggs are used as a binding to hold the dressing together when baked.
How moist should dressing be before baking?
This is one of the secrets to getting the best texture cornbread dressing. Before putting the dressing in the oven you want it to be semi-soupy as my grandmother explains it. The cornbread will soak up a lot of the broth and having your “batter” a little soupy will give you a nice, moist cornbread dressing instead of a dry, crumbly one.
Since this recipe has so much broth be sure to use a really good brand that is well seasoned and salted. If I don’t have any homemade stock or broth in the freezer, I use Better -than-Bouillon roasted chicken base. It’s in paste form and you just mix it with water.
Can you freeze cornbread dressing?
Yep, you can freeze cornbread dressing! Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then place into freezer bags to freeze. Thaw in the fridge.
Here are a few tips on how to make the best Dressing
- Use homemade cornbread. Cornbread is the base so it’s important that it tastes great. It’s so easy to make a good buttery, buttermilk cornbread from scratch. Most store mixes contain sugar anyway. If you need a cheat then let that come in with using rotisserie chicken, pre-chopped veggies, or store-bought chicken broth.
- Use a flavorful chicken broth/stock and add the chicken broth a little at a time to get a wet but not extra soupy texture. Most Southern-style dressings are usually very moist yet firm enough to keep it’s shape when plated. Creating a wet texture will keep the dressing from drying out in the oven and give it that classic moist texture.
- TASTE, TASTE, TASTE! Before adding the eggs, adjust your spices to perfection. Your dressing mix should taste exactly the way you want your finished dressing to taste. Once satisfied mix in the eggs.
- Stir only as much as needed. Sometimes if you stir the batter too much it will break down the cornbread crumbs too much and give the dressing a mushy texture.
What meats go with dressing? Poultry like chicken and turkey goes great with dressing.
Why do you put eggs in dressing? Eggs are used as a binder to hold the dressing together when baked.
Can dressing be prepared ahead of time? Yep, the dressing freezes and reheats well. It actually tastes even better the next day!
Get the Recipe: Cornbread Dressing made the Southern Old-Fashioned way!
- 1 ¼ cup yellow cornmeal, stone ground
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup onions, diced
- ½ cup green bell peppers, diced
- ½ cup red bell peppers, diced
- 4 chicken thighs or chicken breast, cooked & chopped (seasoned with seasoned salt & pepper before cooking)
- 3 slices bread, toasted and crumbled
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 1 tablespoon sage
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3-4 cups chicken broth
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- salt, if needed
To Make The Cornbread:
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Grease an 8 x 8 dish and set it aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Make a well in the center and add beaten eggs and buttermilk.
- Gently stir dry and wet ingredients together just until combined.
- Stir in the melted butter.
- Spread batter evenly into prepared dish.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Let cool completely. Cover and let cornbread sit a couple of days before proceeding with the dressing. Or crumble the cornbread up and toast it in the oven to dry it out in order to use it the same day for dressing.
To Make The Dressing:
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x13 pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, crumble up the cornbread and set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter.
- Add the celery, onions, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper.
- Saute until tender.
- Stir the vegetables into the cornbread.
- Stir in the prepared chicken thighs and breadcrumbs.
- Stir in enough chicken broth to make the mixture really wet and slightly soupy. (I usually need about 3 1/2 cups)
- Add poultry seasoning, sage, and black pepper.
- Taste the mixture and adjust the seasonings if needed. It should taste exactly how you prefer your dressing to taste.
- Once satisfied with the taste, add eggs.
- Spread mixture evenly into prepared dish.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool.