Southern Turkey Dressing Recipe

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As Thanksgiving approaches, the spotlight shines on the dinner table centerpiece – the turkey

However, let’s acknowledge the unsung hero of the feast. The stuffing, aka turkey dressing. And not just any stuffing, but the classic, aromatic, and moist Southern cornbread stuffing that you wait all year to eat and just can’t get enough of!

Southern Turkey Dressing Recipe

This turkey dressing recipe is full of rich buttery flavor, seasoned to perfection with aromatic herbs, and infused with chicken or turkey stock. 

The edges of this Thanksgiving stuffing are golden and slightly crunchy; the top is lightly crusted and golden, while the inside is soft with delicious soulful flavors! 

What is the difference between stuffing and dressing?

The simple answer is that stuffing is “stuffed” inside the bird’s cavity. At the same time, dressing is usually baked separately in a casserole dish.

Traditional stuffing is prepared by stuffing it inside the turkey and cooking it together. However, this method is not very advisable because there is a risk that the stuffing mix may not reach a safe temperature of 165 degrees F to consume, while your turkey may be overcooked. Therefore, it is advisable to cook the stuffing and turkey separately, stuffing it afterward for optimal results.

Preparing your Thanksgiving dressing recipe separately in a baking dish is the key to achieving the crispy, golden brown crust and soft buttery center this Thanksgiving side dish is famous for.

What is Thanksgiving dressing made of?

What is Thanksgiving dressing made of?

This Southern-inspired dressing recipe features light and fluffy homemade cornbread infused with a savory chicken broth, slow-cooked onions and celery, earthy thyme and sage, bright parsley, and rich butter, all bound together with a perfectly whisked egg. Yum!

Want to simplify this classic stuffing recipe even further?

I’m your go-to gal for modern soul food Southern cuisine! My pro tip is to consider adapting this recipe’s Instant Pot sauté instructions for everyday stovetop meals.

Kitchen equipment for a turkey 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
Ingredients for a Southern cornbread turkey dressing recipe

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 is 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 a Southern cornbread turkey 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 (Turkey stock or chicken broth, or use vegetable broth to make this dish vegetarian.)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ a teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 large egg
Instructions for a Southern cornbread turkey dressing recipe

Instructions for a Southern cornbread turkey 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, 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 to 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 chicken and 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 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 turkey dressing recipe warm, and enjoy! Optional – serve with gravy on top.

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!

What do you serve with a Southern turkey dressing recipe?

Serve this Thanksgiving dressing with your Thanksgiving turkey or a soul food pineapple glazed ham recipe with Southern candied yamscollard greens, or creamy mashed potatoes for a memorable Thanksgiving dinner feast.

What do you serve with a Southern turkey dressing recipe?

Turkey dressing recipe FAQs

Can you stuff your bird with this homemade Thanksgiving dressing?

When you stuff your Thanksgiving dressing inside the turkey cavity, it becomes soggy due to steaming. It loses its textured, crunchy topping, synonymous with this Thanksgiving delicacy. 

Moreover, there’s a risk of the turkey dressing not cooking at the same rate when you stuff it inside the bird, which is an invitation to bacteria that you definitely don’t want at your Thanksgiving dinner. 

Baking the dressing separately in a casserole dish is the ultimate way to achieve a perfectly-textured side dish. And you can always stuff the cooked bird with this cooked turkey dressing recipe later!

Can you stuff your bird with this homemade Thanksgiving dressing?

Do you need to find plain cornmeal for this recipe?

Yes, cornmeal is necessary to make the cornbread part of this recipe. However, a box cornbread mix is also acceptable when preparing this recipe.

Can I add meat to the turkey stuffing recipe?

Certainly! Added meat to your turkey stuffing is a fantastic way to enhance its flavor and offer a heartier option. Popular choices include recipes for chicken and dressingchicken gizzard dressingoyster dressing, and liver dressing.

Would adding sausage be a good addition to this recipe?

If you’re adding sausage, choose a mild or sweet variety to complement the traditional Thanksgiving flavors. Cook the meat thoroughly before incorporating it into the stuffing, adding a savory and well-cooked element. 

For all meat additions, sauté the meat alongside aromatic vegetables like onions and celery for seamless flavor integration. Adding meat provides a delicious twist but also introduces a satisfying protein component to your stuffing.

Should you prepare uncooked dressing ahead of time and refrigerate?

Asked another way, “Has anyone prepped it and baked it the next day?”

This Southern turkey dressing recipe is an excellent make-ahead dish.

How to make turkey dressing in advance: 

  1. Pre-bake the cornbread and sauté the vegetables and herbs ahead. 
  2. Seal in an airtight container, unmixed, and refrigerate.
  3. Add the egg and combine the ingredients when you’re ready to cook the dish.
  4. Then bake!
Do you put eggs in a Thanksgiving stuffing recipe?

Do you put eggs in a Thanksgiving stuffing recipe?

Yes, the egg is necessary because it binds the dressing ingredients together.

What kind of bread is best for turkey dressing?

Southern soul food dressing recipes call for homemade cornbread because it’s a warm, delicious comfort food with a slightly sweet and crumbly texture. You’ll be amazed at how beautifully cubed cornbread marries with chicken and herbs.

Would you use a white loaf for this recipe?

You’d only need to add cubed regular loaf bread to this recipe is if you’ve missed an instruction and your pre-baked dressing is watery or gummy. 

Should you cover the turkey dressing before baking?

Covering the turkey dressing before baking helps to retain moisture and prevents the top layer from becoming overly crisp or dry during the initial phase of baking. 

The dressing is covered with aluminum foil for the first portion of the baking time. This allows the flavors to meld and the ingredients to cook evenly, ensuring a desirable moisture level in the final dish. 

After the initial covered baking period, you’ll uncover the dressing for the final stretch of cooking to achieve a golden and slightly crispy top layer.

What kind of bread is best for turkey dressing?

How long does turkey dressing last? 

Turkey dressing is best warm but can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days when stored in an airtight container until reheating.

Did you enjoy this turkey dressing recipe?

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

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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!
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Southern Turkey Dressing
Southern Turkey Dressing Recipe

Southern Turkey Dressing Recipe

The turkey dressing recipe is the unsung hero of the Thanksgiving feast. It's full of rich buttery flavor seasoned to soul food perfection with aromatic herbs and spices infused with delicious chicken or turkey stock.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Dressing Baking Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Servings: 8
Calories: 258kcal

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 the turkey dressing recipe

  • ¼ cup butter unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon butter unsalted
  • 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 turkey stock or chicken broth (Use vegetable broth to make this dish vegetarian.)
  • 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.
    Pour the cornbread mixture into the 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.
    Bake at 350 degrees F in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  • When baking is 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.
    Cut the bread lengthwise and then across into 1-inch bread cubes and set aside.

Instructions for the turkey 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 heat and set aside.
  • Allow the mixture to cool to the touch so that 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. 35 minutes in the conventional oven. In the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven for 30 minutes.
    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), 10 minutes (Instant Pot Omni Plus oven).
  • Serve this turkey dressing recipe warm, and enjoy! Optional – serve with gravy on top.
    How Do You Make Cornbread Dressing

Video

Notes

Why is your cornbread dressing mushy?
  • When you’re adding ingredients to the mix and stirring the batter, try not to overwork it, so you don’t break down the cornbreadwhich could cause the dressing to have a mushy texture.
  • The dressing before it’s baked should be moist but not watery or gummy. If you find that your stuffing is too wet, you can add a few slices of cubed honey wheat bread to soak up the extra liquid.
How do you fix dry stuffing?
  • You can fix dry stuffing with a few tablespoons of melted butter or chicken stock, or broth.
  • Remember, try not to overwork the stuffing when adding ingredients and mixing. You don’t want to break down the cornbreadwhich will cause the dressing to then have a mushy texture.
Southern Turkey Dressing Recipe Card

Nutrition

Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 465mg | Potassium: 233mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 760IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 2mg
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