Southern Style Cornbread Dressing

This classic and easy Southern Cornbread Dressing is a staple at our holiday table. It’s a traditional dressing recipe with a modern twist!

You can use the recipe for my delicious Sour Cream Cornbread for this recipe if you want use homemade cornbread!

Cornbread stuffing in a casserole dish with a scoop

This Traditional Southern Style Cornbread Dressing Recipe Has A Modern Twist!

Cornbread dressing is a holiday tradition at my house. This recipe has made its way onto our Thanksgiving table for years, ever since my youngest son decided he liked to bake his own cornbread! I have included the instructions using dried, package cornbread mix, but making this recipe with  homemade cornbread makes it EXTRA delicious!

This recipe  is for classic cornbread dressing, but with a few extras to make it unique and extra delicious! The addition of bacon and pecans adds tons of flavor and texture. Plus, I love adding a little fresh thyme along with sage. The thyme adds a little brightness that I adore.

cornbread dressing in a baking dish baked

What Is Cornbread Dressing?

Cornbread dressing is the ultimate side dish at the holidays. Turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes are the holy trinity of Thanksgiving dinner! Cornbread dressing is made from stale cornbread, mixed with seasoning, vegetables, chicken broth. A little melted butter on top makes everything better and it’s all baked and delicious! My recipe has a tweaks to the classic to make it really special!

What Is the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?

Whether it’s a regional distinction, or the actual literal definition, the simple answer is that stuffing is the mix of dried bread and seasonings STUFFED inside the cavity of your turkey or chicken. Dressing is baked separately from the bird, more like a casserole. 

Ingredients Needed for Cornbread Dressing:

Here’s a list of all the ingredients you will need for cornbread dressing, but note the full recipe and ingredients with measurements in in the recipe card at at the bottom of the post!

  • Thick cut bacon. I like to use thick cut for this recipe, but you can use regular if you prefer!
  • Diced yellow onion
  • Diced celery
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh thyme
  • Chopped fresh sage
  • Chopped pecans
  • Dried cornbread stuffing mix
  • Chicken stock. I 100% recommend using Homemade Chicken Stock in your dressing or stuffing at the holidays.
  • Butter

How To Make Cornbread Dressing

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9×13 casserole dish with butter or nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Chop the bacon into small pieces and place in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the bacon until crisp. Drain almost all the bacon grease from the pan, leaving about 2 tablespoons. Add the onions and celery to the skillet, turn the heat up to medium heat and cook the vegetables for 6 – 7 minutes, or until soft. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, sage, and pecans and cook for 2 additional minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

3. In a very large bowl combine the dry cornbread stuffing and the vegetable mixture. Add in the chicken broth and stir until incorporated evenly.

4. Transfer the stuffing mix into the prepared pan. Top evenly with the butter slices and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil from the pan and bake for 15 – 20 more minutes until golden brown.

How To Make Cornbread Dressing With Homemade Cornbread?

Making Cornbread dressing from scratch is the ultimate holiday casserole! I mentioned my recipe for Homemade Sour Cream Cornbread earlier, but that is definitely the recipe that I prefer when making this from scratch! OR you can use a boxed cornbread mix if you prefer to do it that was as well. We have done it both ways and when I’m using a boxed mix we LOVE the Krusteaz Honey Cornbread. It’s our favorite boxed cornbread. Here’s the easy steps using fresh cornbread instead or cornbread stuffing mix:

  1. Bake the cornbread according to the recipe instructions.
  2. Allow the cornbread to get stale overnight by crumbling the cornbread onto a large baking sheet and let it sit out (at room temperature for 24 hours.
  3. To dry out the cornbread more quickly, crumble the cornbread onto a large baking sheet and bake it for 15 – 20 minutes in a 350°F oven. 

Can Dressing Be Prepared Ahead Of Time?

Absolutely! That’s the beauty of this recipe. You can prep the recipe completely right up until you bake it. Cover it and refrigerate for up to 2 days! When you’re ready to serve, remove it from the fridge and allow it to sit at  room temperature for 30 minutes to take the chill off. Then bake according to the directions. You might need to add a little time to make sure it’s warmed through. You can also use a meat thermometer to check warmness. You want it to be about 160°F. Don’t bake it for too long uncovered, as it will dry out.

Cornbread Dressing in a baking dish with a spoon

Easy Add-Ins For Cornbread Dressing

You can really play around with what you add into dressing or stuffing recipes. Here are a few variations that change things up:

  • Sausage. Cook up a pound of ground sausage (like Jimmy Dean), or Italian sausage, crumble it and use it in place of the bacon! Really any protein you prefer could be added!
  • Omit the nuts entirely if you don’t love nuts in you dressing.
  • Add some diced apples into your dressing, or you could do dried cranberries too!
  • Dice up some red or green bell peppers and cook those with the onions and celery! 
  • Mushrooms! I LOVE mushrooms in dressing, and they are an easy addition. Sauté them with the onions and celery!
  • Cheese! In cornbread dressing I  prefer cheddar cheese the most! Grate it up and add it into the mixture before baking!
  • Switch up the seasonings! Rosemary or Oregano are great additions to dressing, but the sky is the limit!

Tips:

  1. If you notice your dressing is a little dry, add more chicken stock!
  2. Don’t over-bake this uncovered. The time you bake it uncovered is simply to brown the top, not to heat it through. Too long in the oven uncovered will dry it out.
  3. T keep stuffing warm after it is browned, recover the dish and place in a warm oven. You can also turn the oven off when it is done baking and recover it with foil and let it sit in the oven until ready to serve!
  4. If you notice that the stuffing is drying out, drizzle a little more chicken stock and melted butter on top!

Other Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes You Might Like:

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Southern Style Cornbread Dressing

  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield Yield: serves 12 1x
  • Category Category: Side Dish
  • Method Method: Oven
  • Cuisine Cuisine: American

Description:

This Southern style cornbread dressing is a family favorite. I’ve taken a classic and added some fun ingredients like bacon and pecans that really make it unique!


Scale

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound thick cut bacon
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 ribs celery, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 (12- ounce) bags dried cornbread stuffing mix
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup butter, sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Chop the bacon into small pieces and place in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the bacon until crisp. Drain almost all the bacon grease from the pan, leaving about 2 tablespoons. Add the onions and celery to the skillet, turn the heat up to medium and cook the vegetables for 6 – 7 minutes, or until soft. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, sage, and pecans and cook for 2 additional minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  3. In a very large bowl combine the dry cornbread stuffing and the vegetable mixture. Add in the chicken broth and stir until incorporated evenly.
  4. Transfer the stuffing mix into the prepared pan. Top evenly with the butter slices and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil from the pan and bake for 15 – 20 more minutes until golden.

Notes:

Serve warm.

To make ahead prep the stuffing as stated, cover with foil and refrigerate until  ready to bake. Take the stuffing out of the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes before baking to take the chill off. You will need to add 10 – 15 more minutes to the covered bake time.

Keywords: cookies and cups, stuffing, dressing, cornbread dressing, cornbread stuffing, thanksgiving

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Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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Ellen Hindle
November 14, 2021 8:41 pm

Hi Shelley, if I am going to make this recipe (and I am!) with regular cornbread, will your recipe for cornbread (or one box of the Krusteaz) equal the two 12-ounce bags of dried cornbread stuffing mix?

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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