Cornbread dressing is an integral element of any Thanksgiving table. Moist and fluffy with crunchy edges and top. Seasoned with sage, thyme, onions, and celery.
For those not celebrating Thanksgiving, this recipe doubles as a delicious baked stuffing to accompany the Christmas turkey.
This is an easy cornbread dressing. The hardest part is baking the cornbread, and that only takes 30 minutes from start to stop.
I've given you the basic recipe, but as always I encourage you to make it your own. Throw in a handful of dried cranberries, grated apple, or even chopped cooked pork sausage. Plus this recipe is easily halved if you aren't feeding an army.
I hope my Thanksgiving cornbread dressing recipe doesn't fall short for my American readers. For my fellow Aussie, and other readers not celebrating Thanksgiving, it makes a unique side for Christmas or Sunday roast, give it a go!
- Cornbread: It's easy and quick to make. I suggest making my cornbread recipe the day before. See my top tips for suggested substitution.
- Celery: Adds flavour and texture. Remove any thick celery strings before chopping.
- Garlic: I add two large or three small cloves of garlic. If you aren't a big garlic fan simply use one clove.
- Salt: For seasoning, but take into consideration level of salt in the stock and butter you are using.
- Pepper: Freshly ground black pepper for a nice peppery kick.
- Bread: Day old white bread.
- Thyme: Fresh thyme, leaves and tender stalks only. Can be substituted with 1-2 teaspoons of dred thyme.
- Chicken Stock: Use a full flavoured low salt stock, homemade is best if you happen to have it. Vegetable or turkey stock can also be used.
- Butter: You can use salted or unsalted butter, it is up to you and what's on hand. If you do use salted butter you may not need to season with extra salt, taste before doing so.
- Sage: Fresh sage leaves and tender parts of the stalks. Can be substituted with 1 teaspooon of dried sage.
- Onion: White onions, often called salad onions, are slightly sweeter than brown. Brown or yellow onions can also be used.
Dressing Vs Stuffing
What is the difference between dressing and stuffing? This question can cause heated debate around some dining tables.
Simply, dressing is served on the side, and stuffing is stuffed inside of something, like a turkey or chicken. But nothing is really simple, is it?
In Australia we don't use the word dressing at all, it's called stuffing, or baked stuffing. Personally, being an Aussie, I use the word stuffing. Unless, as in this case, I am referring to a classic American dish and can't justify calling it baked stuffing.
In some parts of the USA it is called dressing whether it is inside the bird or baked separately as a side.
Now do I include forcemeat in the debate of the difference between dressing and stuffing? Quite honestly both words refer to the same dish, it's all about what you personally call it.
How to Make Cornbread Dressing
Scroll to the bottom of the page for a printable version of this recipe.
Preheat oven 180°C/350°F. Tear cornbread and white bread into chunks and place them into a baking dish. Toss the bread with your fingers to mix.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a pan over medium low heat. Add onions and celery and sauté until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and the rest of the butter.
Continue to sauté until the butter has melted. Taste, season with salt and pepper.
Add sautéd vegetables and herbs to the baking dish with the bread. Toss gently to combine the ingredients.
Pour over the chicken stock. Mix ingredients carefully but well with hands working the stock through the bread mixture.
Place the cornbread dressing in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until it has puffed up slightly and is golden brown.
Sara's Top Recipe Tips
You don't want to use cornbread.
You like the idea of this recipe, but you don't want to make cornbread. Something those of you (like me) living outside of the USA may be thinking. Substitute sourdough.
It won't be the same, at all, but you'll end up with a delicious dressing. I suggest adding a few handfuls of dried cranberries or other dried fruit. It will need something, a flavour injection, that will be lost without using cornbread.
Make the cornbread ahead of time
Make the cornbread the day before. Or a month before and freeze it, and defrost when you need to use it.
Make the dressing ahead of time
Prepare the cornbread dressing up to the baking stage ahead of time. Make it the morning of the day you will be serving. Or the day before. Keep it covered in the fridge until you are ready to bake it.
Don't overwork the dressing
Try to not overwork the dressing when you are adding the vegetables, herbs and stock. Be as light handed as you can. I like to retain some of the bread chunks throughout the dressing, especially on top. They crisp up and go extra crunchy.
More Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- Cheesy Cauliflower Bake
- Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts
- Baked Stuffed Onions with Parmesan Cream
- Broccolini Slaw
- 1 batch of cornbread
- 4 slices white bread | day old
- 125 grams (½ cup) butter
- 2 white onions | finely chopped
- 4 stalks celery | finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt and pepper | to season
- 625 mls (2½ cups) chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons sage | finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons thyme | leaves and tender stalks finely chopped
- Preheat oven 180°C/350°F
- Tear cornbread and white bread into chunks and place them into a baking dish. Toss the bread with your fingers to mix.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a pan over medium low heat.
- Add onions and celery and sauté until vegetables are tender.
- Add garlic and the rest of the butter. Continue to sauté until the butter has melted. Taste, season with salt and pepper.
- Add sautéd vegetables and herbs to the baking dish with the bread.
- Toss gently to combine the ingredients.
- Pour over the chicken stock. Mix ingredients carefully but well with hands working the stock through the bread mixture.
- Place the cornbread dressing in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until it has puffed up slightly and is golden brown.Serve immediately.
- 1 teaspoon equals 5ml
- 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml (Nth America, NZ & UK use 15ml tablespoons)
- 1 cup equals 250ml (Nth America use 237ml)
- 4 teaspoons equal 1 tablespoon
- I use the below unless specified in my recipes.