Cornbread Dressing, made with homemade cornbread, is one of the best Thanksgiving side dishes you can make! Pure old fashioned soul food.
This recipe started with some homemade cornbread and has all of your favorite savory stuffing ingredients mixed in.
I've always been a fan of traditional dressing made with a loaf of bread, but this year I decided to mix things up a bit and go with dressing made from cornbread.
It definitely is worth it to start out with a really good homemade cornbread.
From there, you'll mix in the traditional stuffing ingredients along with a fair amount of butter to create this mouthwatering side dish!
How to make the cornbread:
Of course you can buy pre-made cornbread or make cornbread from a mix, but it's actually super easy to make cornbread from scratch.
- First step is to get your cast iron skillet screaming hot. You can do this on the stove top or in the oven.
- I use a stand mixer to cream butter and sugar together. From there, I alternate mixing in the dry and wet ingredients, always taking care to avoid over mixing.
- You'll drop a couple tablespoons of butter in your hot skillet (photo 1) and then add the cornbread batter (photo 2).
- The batter is relatively thick, so spread it out to cover the base of the pan (photo 3).
- Finally, bake until golden brown and crispy around the edges. Once it's cool enough to handle, you can transfer it to a cutting board where you will cut it into cubes for the dressing (photo 4).
How to make the dressing:
If you've ever made dressing or stuffing, the process is pretty standard.
- You'll start by cooking onion, celery, and a bunch of herbs in a lot of butter. Once cooked, you'll add in the chicken, or turkey, stock. (photo 1).
- Let that mixture cool off a bit. You'll toss the cornbread cubes with egg and parsley, then add in the onion mixture (photo 2). Transfer that to a greased baking dish (photo 3).
- Again, spread it out to evenly cover the dish (photo 4) and top with more butter (photo 5).
- Bake your stuffing covered for half an hour, then uncovered for another half hour to get it nice and crispy (photo 6).
Make ahead directions:
I firmly believe that the best Thanksgiving dinners are completely prepped the day before and then cooked on the day of.
That will give you the cleanest kitchen on Turkey Day as well as more time to drink wine and enjoy your company.
- To make this recipe ahead of time, just follow all of the recipe steps all the way up to the part where you put it in the oven. Instead, cover and refrigerate.
- Then, about an hour before you're ready to bake the stuffing, set in on the counter so that it can come up to room temperature.
- Then, all you need to do is bake it per the instructions.
How to make it extra crispy:
First, I must say that I have never made dressing or stuffing that goes inside the bird. There are too many health concerns and I absolutely hate mushy dressing.
If you're like me and want dressing that is nice and crispy, there are a few things you can do:
- First thing is to let your cornbread dry out. You basically want it to get a little stale. This would mean that you'd make your cornbread the day before and allow it to sit out, uncovered or loosely covered, overnight.
- The second thing you can do is to cook your dressing in a larger pan. The thinner the layer, the crispier it will be. You will most likely have to reduce your cooking time if you use a larger pan.
- The third think you can do is add even more butter when you put little pieces on top before you bake it. I'm always a fan of more butter.
- ⅓ cup butter (softened)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup medium grind corn meal
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs ( room temperature)
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons butter ( for greasing skillet)
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups yellow onion ((1 large) diced)
- 2 cups celery ((about 8 small stalks) diced)
- 4 tablespoons fresh minced herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme)
- 3 cups chicken stock (or turkey stock if you have it)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- ¼ cup parsley minced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
To make the cornbread:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with a 12 inch cast iron skillet in the oven.
- Using a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape sides.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine eggs and milk. Alternate adding small amounts of the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients to the butter mixture, each time mixing just until combined.
- Pull hot cast iron skillet out of the oven and melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet, spreading around the bottom and up the sides. Pour batter into skillet and cook for 20 minutes in 400 degree F oven.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from skillet to fully cool.
- Cut cornbread into 1 inch cubes.
- Melt ½ cup butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, celery, and minced herbs (not the parsley). Stir to coat in the melted butter and then saute until they start to turn golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- Add stock and salt to skillet and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside. Allow to cool enough that mixture is cool to the touch. You must allow this mixture to cool because you'll be mixing it with egg and do not want it to scramble.
- Meanwhile, beat egg with ¼ cup chopped parsley in a large bowl; add cubed cornbread and gently toss to coat. Pour the cooled vegetable and broth mixture over the bread and toss. Transfer to a buttered baking dish and dot with remaining two tablespoons of butter.
- Cover and bake 30 minutes at 375 degrees F; uncover and bake until golden, 30 more minutes.
- You can heat some olive oil in a saute pan and sear the cubes of cornbread prior to mixing with remaining stuffing ingredients.
- You can bake the dressing in a larger baking dish so that there is more surface area to make it crispy. The deeper and smaller the dish, the mushier the dressing will be.