Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe

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Traditions, family, and food are the hallmarks of Thanksgiving. And in good tradition, a Thanksgiving dinner table is incomplete without an old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe. 

Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe

So whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving or attending a festive gathering this year, chances are you’re probably looking for ways to make the holiday special with soul-soothing Thanksgiving side dishes.

Get ready for an unforgettable Thanksgiving Day with this Southern old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe, a delicious casserole dish everyone around the dinner table loves. 

What is Thanksgiving dressing made of?

Thanksgiving dressing is a savory mixture of different ingredients such as cornbread, chicken broth, fresh herbs, and spices mixed with egg. 

It’s 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.

What is Thanksgiving dressing made of?

Combining comfort food ingredients with fresh herbs and savory ingredients, this old-fashioned cornbread dressing (also called old-fashioned bread stuffing) provides an enticing flavor. Which is why it’s a Thanksgiving recipe tradition.

This isn’t your traditional old-fashioned cornbread dressing recipe.

This soul food inspired recipe boasts fluffy Southern homemade cornbread, savory chicken broth, onions, celery, thyme, sage, parsley, eggs, and butter. It’s a versatile dressing that’s great served warm alongside turkey or on the side of warm, cooked ham.

How long does it take to cook cornbread dressing?

Kitchen equipment for an old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe

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Ingredients for the 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? 

Yes, check out the dynamic recipe card notes below for instructions!

Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe - Can you use Jiffy cornbread mix?

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 use 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 IP 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, then across, into 1-inch bread cubes, and set aside.

Ingredients for an old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe

  • ¼ cup of unsalted butter 
  • 1 tablespoon 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
Is it dressing, or is it stuffing?

Instructions for an old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe

  1. Grease an 8″ or similar-sized baking dish, transfer the set-aside cornbread cubes to the pre-greased dish, and then set aside the cornbread cubes.
  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. Pour the egg and parsley mixture over the cubed cornbread in the set-aside baking dish, and gently fold in the mixture evenly with the bread cubes. 
  11. Then, pour the cooled herb mixture into the cornbread and egg mixture, evenly distributing with your pour.
  12. Cut the 1 tablespoon of butter into small pats and place them all around on top of the dressing.
  13. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes in the conventional oven. Bake for 30 minutes if using the Omni Plus oven.
  14. Uncover and bake until golden, 10-15 more minutes (conventional oven) or 10 minutes (Omni Plus oven).
  15. Serve this old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe warm, and enjoy! Optional – serve with gravy on top.

Want to make this faster by using a Jiffy box cornbread mix?

Ingredients for Jiffy box cornbread

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

Instructions for Jiffy box old fashioned Thanksgiving 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 medium-sized 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. IP 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 across, into 1-inch bread cubes, and set aside.

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

Black Folks Cornbread Dressing Recipe
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!

🎙 Listen to The Soul Food Pod episode: Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe

Can you use Pepperidge Farm herb classic bagged stuffing?

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

Replace the cornbread with the bagged stuffing mix, and start with this recipe’s ‘Instructions for an old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe.’

Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe

Old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe FAQs

Is it dressing, or is it stuffing?

Oh, that age-old question… What’s the difference between dressing and stuffing?

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

Do you cook the dressing in the bird or out?

Technically, stuffing is used as a bread or chestnut-based mixture that is usually stuffed inside a turkey and baked. Thus the name ‘stuffing.’

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

You may also notice that the stuffing commonly eaten is at the bottom of the turkey while the dressing is on the side. 

What is the difference between cornbread stuffing and cornbread dressing?

When it comes to Thanksgiving, both terms are used interchangeably.

Can you cook stuffing in a turkey?

Most stuffing recipes include instructions for baking the stuffing in a separate dish so it can be served on the side. 

However, if you’d prefer to cook it inside the bird, you should try it, although you’ll need to make some adjustments.

To save yourself from a big mess, you’ll want to stuff the cavity loosely so that the stuffing has enough room to cook properly. 

Since the stuffing isn’t going to be sitting directly on the bottom of the bird, you’ll also want to check it regularly to ensure it’s not burning. 

You can also use an instant-read thermometer to determine if the stuffing has fully cooked.

Should you make stuffing the day before Thanksgiving?

This cornbread stuffing recipe is perfect for making ahead of time. You can make it 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. 

What kind of cornbread do you need for cornbread dressing?

What kind of cornbread do you need for cornbread dressing?

Homemade is best. Although it’s hard to tell the difference between boxed cornbread and homemade with cornmeal from scratch!

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 Thanksgiving dressing?

Do you put eggs in Thanksgiving 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 dressing?

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

How moist 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.

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. You might have added too much liquid. 

Can you use sandwich bread for stuffing?

If your dressing is too runny, you could add some cubed sandwich bread to soak up the excess moisture.

How many cups of bread for this recipe?

If you need to add extra bread because your dressing is too wet, 1 cup of cubed sandwich bread will do. 

What is the best bread for stuffing?

Any bread will work, from white bread to artisan 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 Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe - How do you fix dry stuffing?

How do you fix dry stuffing?

Think your dressing is 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.

Do you use broth or stock for stuffing?

Like the words “stuffing” or “dressing” when it comes to Thanksgiving…

Broth and stock are also interchangeable! Use your choice of the two.

If you don’t have either stock or broth, you can use half a cup of water and half a teaspoon of chicken bouillon or poultry seasoning.

How do you fix bland stuffing?

Even though it’s called an old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe, that doesn’t mean it should taste old and bland.

You’ll avoid a bland dressing by starting with a soul food seasoned recipe like this one or a soul food cornbread dressing, Southern cornbread dressing with gizzardsBlack folks’ chicken and dressing recipe, or a Southern liver 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 Thanksgiving 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!

For the herbs, do you measure before or after they are chopped?

Measure out the amount needed after the fresh herbs (i.e., parsley or thyme) are chopped.

Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe - For the herbs, do you measure before or after they are chopped?

Should you cover the stuffing with foil?

Do you cover stuffing when baking? Yes, because the dressing will go through a two-step baking process. 

First, cover the baking dish with foil for this old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe and bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.

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

How long does it take to cook cornbread dressing?

Remember that cooking appliance times and oven temperatures will vary.

So cooking an old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. 30 minutes to prep, 25 minutes to cook, and about another 35 minutes to bake. 

Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe - Should you cover the stuffing with foil?

What temperature are you supposed to bake at?

Bake at 350 degrees F.

What can you do with leftover stuffing?

Check out this recipe for leftover Thanksgiving turkey and dressing.

What tradition can you not live without at Thanksgiving?

I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, Thanksgiving is just another day without an old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe served on the table and out of the recipe box!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! 

Did you enjoy this old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe?

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

Then subscribe HERE for all the soul food!

The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
What is soul food? Soul food recipes are African-American recipes full of flavor! A legacy of Southern cooking the Black way. Check out this collection of the best soul food recipes!
Check out this recipe!

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The Soul Food Pot Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing
Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe

Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe

Get ready for an unforgettable Thanksgiving Day with this soul food inspired Southern old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe. A delicious casserole dish everyone around the dinner table loves!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Baking Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Servings: 8
Calories: 374kcal

Equipment

  • 8″ cast-iron skillet
  • 8″ baking dish
  • Instant Pot electric pressure cooker (optional)
  • Instant Pot Omni Plus oven (optional)

Ingredients

Ingredients for the cornbread

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

Ingredients for an old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon 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
  • Can you use Jiffy cornbread? Check out the recipe card notes below for instructions! 

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 use 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.
    Pour the cornbread mixture into the skillet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F. In the conventional oven, bake for 20-25 minutes. Bake in the IP Omni Plus oven for 18-20 minutes.
    Bake at 350 degrees F in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  • When baking has finished, allow the cornbread to cool for approx. 10 minutes.
  • Cut the bread lengthwise, then across, into 1-inch bread cubes, and set aside.
    Cut the bread lengthwise and then across into 1-inch bread cubes and set aside.

Instructions for an old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe

  • Grease an 8″ or similar-sized baking dish, transfer the set-aside cornbread cubes to the pre-greased dish, and then set aside the cornbread cubes.
  • 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.
    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.
    While the herbs are cooling off, beat the egg with the parsley in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Pour the egg and parsley mixture over the cubed cornbread in the set-aside baking dish, and gently fold in the mixture evenly with the bread cubes. 
  • Then, pour the cooled herb mixture into the cornbread and egg mixture, evenly distributing with your pour.
  • Cut the 1 tablespoon 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 for 35 minutes in the conventional oven. Bake for 30 minutes if using the Omni Plus oven.
    Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake until golden, 10-15 more minutes (conventional oven) or 10 minutes (Omni Plus oven).
  • Serve this old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe warm, and enjoy! Optional – serve with gravy on top.
    Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe

Video

Notes

Ingredients for Jiffy box cornbread
  • 8.5 oz. box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • ¼ cup of granulated sugar (*can be omitted if you don’t prefer cornbread sweet)
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
Instructions for Jiffy box old fashioned Thanksgiving 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 medium-sized 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. IP 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 across, into 1-inch bread cubes, and set aside.

Nutrition

Calories: 374kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 449mg | Potassium: 214mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1172IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 2mg
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