Old Fashioned Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe

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This incredible old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe is a memorable, flavorful addition to your Thanksgiving dinner table. 

This cornbread dressing has been a holiday tradition at our family table for decades. 

Old Fashioned Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe

While there are many variations of cornbread dressing recipes. From Black folks’ chicken and dressing to soul food oyster dressing or Southern cornbread dressing with gizzards

But no matter what type of dressing you choose, it’s quintessential comfort food that begs to be enjoyed with a spoonful of Thanksgiving dinner and a slice of hot, homemade cornbread.

Old fashioned cornbread dressing

Cornbread dressing is an iconic Thanksgiving recipe in the South. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Whether it’s the Thanksgiving side dish or when protein like chicken is added, it’s the star of the show!

This Southern cornbread dressing is a classic deep South recipe with a delectable blend of sage-infused homemade cornbread, crunchy yellow onions, celery, thyme, and rosemary with savory chicken broth and egg.

Its complex texture and sweetness make this dressing a favorite on the holiday table – from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s!

Old-fashioned cornbread dressing is high on the list of comfort foods. It pairs well with turkeychicken, or pork!

It’s a holiday staple, although it should be in the rotation all year!

How do you make cornbread dressing?

Old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing is a savory mixture of chicken broth, spices, fresh vegetables, and herbs that create somewhat of a homemade poultry seasoning. 

Then the buttery-rich cornbread is combined with the herb mixture and tossed in egg. 

This Southen dressing is usually served with turkey on Thanksgiving Day to deliver a delicious flavor. 

The dressing is traditionally prepared in a large bowl by combining all ingredients and then baked in a large casserole dish in the oven.

Kitchen equipment for an old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe

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Ingredients for the homemade cornbread

  • 1 cup of medium grind cornmeal
  • ⅔ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar

Can you use Jiffy cornbread mix instead of making homemade? 

Wondering what kind of cornbread you need for cornbread dressing? 

While many Southern cooks will tell you that homemade cornbread is preferred. It’s perfectly acceptable (and tastes good, too!) to use a cornbread box mix!

Check out the recipe notes below for cornbread mix instructions!

Can you use cornbread stuffing in the bag?

A bagged stuffing could work if you’re in a time pinch and can’t make homemade cornbread

Simply replace the homemade crumbled cornbread with the bagged stuffing mix.

Making the cornbread for this recipe from scratch?

Here are the step-by-step instructions below.

What kind of cornbread do you need for cornbread dressing?

Instructions for the homemade cornbread 

  1. Preheat the conventional or Instant Pot Omni Plus oven to bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (although you may not need all this time to melt the butter).
  2. Place the butter in an 8-inch baking pan or skillet and melt in the oven for approximately 5 minutes.
  3. While the butter is melting, combine the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar) with the heavy cream in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  4. Pour the melted butter from the baking pan into the mixing bowl and mix all the ingredients. 
  5. Pour the cornbread batter into the baking pan or skillet.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F. In the conventional oven, bake for 20-25 minutes. Bake in the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven for 18-20 minutes.
  7. When baking has finished, allow the cornbread to cool for approx. 10 minutes.
  8. Cut the bread lengthwise and then across into 1-inch bread cubes and set aside.

Ingredients for an old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe

  • ¼ cup of unsalted butter 
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup of celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of thyme, fresh or dried
  • 1 tablespoon of rosemary, fresh or dried
  • 1 teaspoon of sage, ground 
  • ¼ cup of parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup of chicken stock (or chicken broth)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ a teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 large egg
What spices do you put in old fashioned Southern cornbread dressing?

Instructions for an old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe

  1. Grease an 8″or a similar-sized baking dish and set it aside.
  2. Remove the lid from the Instant Pot and turn on the sauté setting for 8 minutes.
  3. With the lid off, melt ¼ cup of butter. 
  4. Add the chopped onion, celery, thyme, rosemary, and sage. 
  5. Stir to coat the vegetables in the herbs and melted butter, and then sauté until they soften and slightly brown.
  6. Add the chicken stock, salt, and pepper to the inner pot’s simmer, and stir to combine.
  7. Remove the herb mixture from the heat and set aside. 
  8. Allow the mixture to cool to the touch so it can be mixed with the egg. (You don’t want the egg to cook from the residual heat and scramble!)
  9. While the herbs are cooling off, beat the egg with the parsley in a medium-sized bowl.
  10. Gently fold in the cornbread cubes to coat with the egg. 
  11. Pour the cooled herb mixture into the egg mixture.
  12. Transfer the mixture to the pre-greased baking dish.
  13. Cut the 2 tablespoons of butter into small pats and place them all around on top of the dressing.
  14. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. 35 minutes in the conventional oven. In the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven for 30 minutes.
  15. Uncover and bake until golden, 10-15 more minutes (conventional oven), 10 minutes (Instant Pot Omni Plus oven).
  16. Serve this old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe warm, and enjoy!
  17. Optional – serve with giblet gravy on top.

 

Does your family have a chicken and dressing or stuffing recipe that passes down from one generational table to the next?

Black Folks Cornbread Dressing Recipe
Black folks cornbread dressing recipe is a Southern dish you shouldn’t miss on the soul food Thanksgiving menu. It's easy for anyone to make!
Check out this recipe!
Cornbread Dressing Recipe

If you use box cornbread, how much or how many boxes do you use?

Wondering which cornbread do you use and what size package? 

If you’re not making a homemade cornbread recipe, simply use one package for this recipe (8.5 oz.) – and that’s all you’ll need!

Ingredients for Jiffy box cornbread

  • 8.5 oz. box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup of granulated sugar (*can be omitted if you don’t prefer cornbread sweet)
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
Which cornbread do you use and what size package?

Instructions for Jiffy box old fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe

  1. Preheat the conventional or Instant Pot Omni Plus oven to bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (although you may not use all this time to melt the butter).  
  2. Place the 4 tablespoons of butter in an 8-inch skillet and melt in the oven for approximately 5 minutes.
  3. While the butter is melting, combine the Jiffy cornbread mix, sugar, and heavy cream in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Pour the melted butter from the skillet into the mixing bowl and mix all the ingredients. 
  5. Pour the cornbread mixture into the skillet.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F. In the conventional oven for 25-30 minutes. Omni Plus oven for 23-25 minutes.
  7. When baking has finished, allow the cornbread to cool for approx. 10 minutes.
  8. Cut the bread lengthwise, then cut it across into 1-inch bread cubes and set aside.

What do you serve with an old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe?

Southern cornbread dressing is a versatile dish usually served warm alongside turkey or roasted chicken or on the side of warm, cooked ham.

It also pairs well with favorite soul food sides or Thanksgiving side dishes like Southern green beansSouthern baked candied yams, or soul food collard greens.

Do you want oysters or a chicken recipe?

If you like changing the protein in your cornbread dressing recipes, like adding seasoned savory chicken thighs, try our recipes for:

Southern Cornbread Dressing

Old fashioned Southern cornbread dressing FAQs

Is cornbread dressing a Southern thing?

The short answer is yes. Cornbread dressing is an old traditional dish of the South. It’s a popular alternative to stuffing, and it tastes much better than its name-sake sounds! 

It’s a must-have on the Thanksgiving table! Many Southerners consider southern cornbread dressing to be a Thanksgiving dressing tradition.

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Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe

Where did cornbread dressing originate?

Cornbread dressing is a delicious dish traced back to enslaved people in the American South. This recipe’s history goes back to a West African recipe known as kush.

Southern cornbread dressing with gizzards is an old-fashioned Black folks’ recipe created by Southern soul food cooks

Out of necessity, this recipe, like many iconic soul food recipes, was made when Black people used what they had available to create a delicious meal.

So when the whole chicken wasn’t available to make traditional Southern chicken and dressing, the often over-looked chicken gizzards saved the Thanksgiving Day dressing!

What’s the difference between Southern cornbread dressing and cornbread stuffing?

Oh, that age-old question… Is it dressing or is it stuffing?

The traditional view is that stuffing is made using bread crumbs, herbs, spices, and chicken, while dressing is made using cornbread. 

Old Fashioned Southern Cornbread Dressing

What do Southerners call stuffing?

This question is also asked a lot…

Do you cook the dressing in the bird or out?

Technically, Southerners define it as stuffing when it’s used as a bread or chestnut-based mixture that’s stuffed inside a turkey and baked. Thus the name ‘stuffing.’

An old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe is served on the side of the Thanksgiving turkey.

Why is it called cornbread dressing?

When it comes to Thanksgiving, the terms stuffing and dressing are used interchangeably. 

This recipe is a traditional cornbread dressing because the bread base is cornmeal, and when served, it’s outside the bird.

Can this recipe be put together, refrigerated, then baked the next day?

To maximize time, people often ask can Southern cornbread dressing be made ahead?

You can make this old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing up to 3 days in advance so that you have one less dish to worry about on Thanksgiving Day!

Then you can combine the egg mixture with the pre-baked cornbread and bake as directed. 

Why do you need stale cornbread?

Why do you need stale cornbread?

Some people prefer their dressing to be drier and crunchy. 

In this case, cornbread that’s at least a day old, up to almost stale, is recommended!

How do you make bread stale overnight?

Ensure the cornbread is completely dry before adding it to the casserole dish if you’re trying to achieve a crunchy dressing. 

To do this, place the crumbled cornbread or bread cubes in a large plastic bag (seal open) or let it set uncovered overnight at room temperature. 

When the cubed cornbread is dry enough, it’s good to use for dressing or stuffing with more of a crunch. 

You can add the remaining ingredients to the casserole dish and bake it as usual.

Do you put eggs in cornbread dressing?

Yes, adding eggs makes the dressing richer and more flavorful. Remember the classic rule of baking? Don’t forget the egg! 

Why do you put eggs in stuffing?

Beyond the savory flavor, egg yolk is the binding ingredient that holds the dish together when baking. It makes the dressing more solid and less runny.

How do you make cornbread dressing?

How moist should dressing be before baking?

A common question asked when making homemade cornbread dressing is, “What consistency should dressing be before baking?”

The uncooked dressing will be moist because of the herb and egg mixture. Then it goes through a two-step baking process, covered and uncovered.

Why is your cornbread dressing mushy?

The dressing must be moist enough to hold it together. However, it should not be wet because it will make the overall dish mushy. 

For example, if there’s a puddle of liquid at the bottom of the dish, like chicken soup. You might have added too much liquid.

What is the best bread to use for dressing?

Southern dressing recipes use cornbread.

If you need to add bread because the dressing is too moist, Any bread addition will work. 

From sandwich bread to white bread, artisan bread, or a cubed baguette. Although I recommend honey wheat! 

It’s also ideal if the bread is hard or dried, so you can make dried bread cubes.

Old Fashioned Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe - What do Southerners call stuffing?

How do you fix dry stuffing?

Think your dressing is too dry or overcooked? 

No worries! You can fix dry stuffing with a few tablespoons of chicken stock or broth.

How do you keep cornbread dressing from being gummy?

Remember, try not to overwork the stuffing when adding ingredients and mixing. 

You don’t want to break down the cornbread, which will cause the dressing to then have a mushy, gummy texture.

How do you fix bland stuffing?

Even though it’s an old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing, that doesn’t mean it should taste old and bland!

You’ll avoid a bland dressing by using this soul food seasoned recipe.

Ingredients for an old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe

What spices do you put in turkey stuffing?

The flavor is in the African-American recipe tried-and-true flavor profile of broth, fresh herbs, and spices.

This old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe calls for onion, celery, parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, and chicken broth. 

And, of course, salt and pepper – already measured to the correct proportion and included in the recipe instructions for you. (You’re welcome!)

The art of seasoning combinations is no stranger to soul food cooks, who are very well-versed in spice profiles and seasoning to perfection!

How much sage do you put in the dressing?

This recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of ground sage.

Should dressing be covered while cooking?

The dressing will go through a two-step baking process. So should you cook stuffing covered or uncovered?

First, cover the baking dish with foil for this Southern cornbread dressing with gizzards recipe and bake.

Then uncover and bake until golden, about 10-15 minutes more.

What temperature do you cook homemade dressing on?

Bake at 350 degrees F. 

How long does it take to cook cornbread dressing?

Remember that cooking appliance times and oven temperatures will vary.

So cooking an old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. 

30 minutes to prep, 25 minutes to cook, and about another 35 minutes to bake. 

Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe

How do you know when cornbread dressing is done?

You will bake the dressing covered with foil and then uncover it and bake for 10-15 minutes until you can see that it’s golden brown and done.

How long can Southern cornbread dressing be kept in the fridge?

When stored correctly, cornbread dressing will stay in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

Cornbread dressing stored in the fridge should be covered to prevent drying and to keep out unwanted refrigerator odors.

Can you freeze cornbread dressing?

To freeze Southern cornbread dressing with gizzards, place the prepared dish in the freezer wrapped in 2 layers, plastic wrap or parchment paper, then foil.

Keep in the freezer for up to two weeks.

What did you think of this old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe?

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

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Old Fashioned Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe
Old Fashioned Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe

Old Fashioned Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe

This old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe is a classic deep South dish with a delectable blend of sage-infused homemade buttery-rich cornbread, onions, celery, thyme, and rosemary with savory chicken broth and egg.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Keyword: African American cornbread dressing recipes, cornbread casserole, cornbread dressing, cornbread dressing recipe, old fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe, old fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe, Southern cornbread dressing
Servings: 8
Calories: 328kcal
Author: Shaunda Necole

Equipment

Ingredients

Ingredients for the homemade cornbread

  • 1 cup cornmeal medium grind
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Ingredients for an old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup yellow onion diced
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 1 tablespoon thyme fresh or dried
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary fresh or dried
  • 1 teaspoon sage ground
  • ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
  • ½ cup chicken stock or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg large

Instructions

Instructions for the homemade cornbread

  • Preheat the conventional or Instant Pot Omni Plus oven to bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (although you may not need all this time to melt the butter).
  • Place the butter in an 8-inch baking pan or skillet and melt in the oven for approximately 5 minutes.
  • While the butter is melting, combine the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar) with the heavy cream in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  • Pour the melted butter from the baking pan into the mixing bowl and mix all the ingredients.
  • Pour the cornbread batter into the baking pan or skillet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F. In the conventional oven, bake for 20-25 minutes. Bake in the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven for 18-20 minutes.
  • When baking has finished, allow the cornbread to cool for approx. 10 minutes.
  • Cut the bread lengthwise and then across into 1-inch bread cubes and set aside.

Instructions for an old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe

  • Grease an 8″or a similar-sized baking dish and set it aside.
  • Remove the lid from the Instant Pot and turn on the sauté setting for 8 minutes.
  • With the lid off, melt ¼ cup of butter.
  • Add the chopped onion, celery, thyme, rosemary, and sage.
  • Stir to coat the vegetables in the herbs and melted butter, and then sauté until they soften and slightly brown.
  • Add the chicken stock, salt, and pepper to the inner pot’s simmer, and stir to combine.
  • Remove the herb mixture from the heat and set aside.
  • Allow the mixture to cool to the touch so it can be mixed with the egg. (You don’t want the egg to cook from the residual heat and scramble!)
  • While the herbs are cooling off, beat the egg with the parsley in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Gently fold in the cornbread cubes to coat with the egg.
  • Pour the cooled herb mixture into the egg mixture.
  • Transfer the mixture to the pre-greased baking dish.
  • Cut the 2 tablespoons of butter into small pats and place them all around on top of the dressing.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. 35 minutes in the conventional oven. In the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake until golden, 10-15 more minutes (conventional oven), 10 minutes (Instant Pot Omni Plus oven).
  • Serve this old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe warm, and enjoy!
  • Optional – serve with giblet gravy on top.

Video

Notes

If you use box cornbread, how much or how many boxes do you use?
Wondering which cornbread to use and what size package? 
If you’re not making a homemade cornbread recipe, simply use one package for this recipe (8.5 oz.) – and that’s all you’ll need!
 
Ingredients for Jiffy box cornbread
  • 8.5 oz. box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup of granulated sugar (*can be omitted if you don’t prefer cornbread sweet)
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
 
Instructions for Jiffy box old fashioned Southern cornbread dressing recipe
  1. Preheat the conventional or Instant Pot Omni Plus oven to bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (although you may not use all this time to melt the butter).  
  2. Place the 4 tablespoons of butter in an 8-inch skillet and melt in the oven for approximately 5 minutes.
  3. While the butter is melting, combine the Jiffy cornbread mix, sugar, and heavy cream in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Pour the melted butter from the skillet into the mixing bowl and mix all the ingredients. 
  5. Pour the cornbread mixture into the skillet.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F. In the conventional oven for 25-30 minutes. Omni Plus oven for 23-25 minutes.
  7. When baking has finished, allow the cornbread to cool for approx. 10 minutes.
  8. Cut the bread lengthwise, then cut it across into 1-inch bread cubes and set aside.

Nutrition

Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 456mg | Potassium: 223mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1010IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 2mg
Save it so you can make it!Pin this recipe to remember it later.
Nutrition Facts
Old Fashioned Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
328
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
22
g
34
%
Saturated Fat
 
13
g
81
%
Trans Fat
 
0.4
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Cholesterol
 
78
mg
26
%
Sodium
 
456
mg
20
%
Potassium
 
223
mg
6
%
Carbohydrates
 
29
g
10
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
4
g
4
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
Vitamin A
 
1010
IU
20
%
Vitamin C
 
6
mg
7
%
Calcium
 
117
mg
12
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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2 Comments

  1. Elizabeth D Sumner
    November 24, 2022 / 3:03 pm

    5 stars
    Southerners DO NOT make sweet cornbread and it is never acceptable in cornbread dressing. Never. Ever.

    • November 25, 2022 / 9:14 pm

      5 stars
      I’m a sweet cornbread Southerner! 😉 I also make non-sweet cornbread, too (recipes on the blog). Both ways are delicious, and that’s the beauty in the variation of old Southern family recipes!

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