My Auntie Rose’s Famous Southern Cornbread Dressing recipe will put boring ole’ stuffing to shame. Moist skillet cornbread is combined with homemade chicken stock, celery, onion, chicken pieces, spices and flavor galore more creating a perfect side dish ready to claim its fame at your holiday table especially served with Gravy! Serve with my Collard Greens, Mashed Potatoes, Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Candied Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Rolls to have the best Southern sides ever!
The BEST Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe EVER!
Today, I’m tackling a Southern holiday classic. I’m talking about the side dish that battles every main course for star of the show come Thanksgiving. Today, we’re discussing Cornbread Dressing or as some call it “stuffing”.
By now, you know me well enough to know that I’m a Southern reared girl through and through. There wasn’t a holiday spent with my family where there wasn’t a vat of Cornbread Dressing cooked up and served in a giant baking pan. Even the task of making the dressing was an honor only bestowed to the family member trusted enough to do it justice, and that person is and always is Auntie Rose. This is her recipe after all.
This year, it’s my honor and I plan on doing it right. Last year, my cousin Ros and I spent several days working with my aunt to get this recipe right. It has various components such as the cornbread recipe and the chicken and stock recipe. So come with me and let’s step up our holiday game together, shall we?
What Is Cornbread Dressing?
Dressing is quite simple and loaded with flavor, and is usually served along side turkey or chicken for the holidays! While other dressings may just use bread to create the doughy texture, cornbread shines here.
Each bite is deliciously moist, light, fluffy and studded with tender pieces of both meat and veggies. The outside layer of your dressing should be golden brown and its texture should be slightly crisp yet almost buttery.
Southern Cornbread Dressing is seasoned with sage, black pepper, cream of mushroom and so much more. The choice to use cornbread makes for a sweet corn taste that you can’t resist. With today’s post I am including both a homemade cornbread and homemade chicken stock recipe and I won’t lie to you and tell you to use store bought for these. It will not taste the same. I repeat IT WILL NOT TASTE THE SAME. If you are going to make this recipe, you must commit.
Dressing Vs. Stuffing
For the most part, both of these terms can be used interchangeably and just about anyone will know what you’re talking about. But as a Southerner, just as any other Southerner would, I stand by my choice to use the term ‘dressing’. Don’t get it twisted, I’m not knocking anyone who uses the term ‘stuffing’ but I might just change your mind with this recipe.
The one glaring technical difference between the two is how they’re cooked. According to most dictionaries, stuffing is defined as “a mixture used to stuff another food, traditionally poultry, before cooking.” Whereas dressing is cooked in a pan outside of the turkey cavity.
Dressing implies something a bit more embellished and capable of being enjoyed on its own rather than a side that might be ignored. This is also why we add chicken to this dressing if you don’t decide to pair with turkey or roasted turkey or chicken.
How To Make Cornbread Dressing Recipe
Here’s a bit of a guide to ensure you make a dressing even your favorite aunty would be jealous of.
First, you will need to crumble the cornbread into very small pieces and crumbs. We mix this with stuffing mix because it has so many great seasoning elements already there. We like to use this one from Pepperidge Farms.
Tip 1: Make your cornbread a day ahead to allow it to create a bit more structure. This structure will make it so that your cornbread won’t succumb to your wet ingredients. Mix in your sandwich bread then mix in both your broth and soups.
Next, fold in your onions, celery and green pepper until all your ingredients are well combined.
Pour in your stuffing mix and various spices. We do not add additional salt to the dressing. You will find sodium in various components throughout the dressing from the stock that is already salted to the cream soups added as well which have sodium. You won’t need it.
We also add chicken pieces in layers to the dressing. We love the bites of chicken in each taste. It can also be a stand alone dish without the turkey too!
Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to taste your mixture as you go along and add what you feel is needed.
Lastly, add a tent of broth around the dressing before baking. We do this because it adds more moisture as the dressing bakes. Be careful not to oversaturate your mixture. You want your dressing to be moist, not soggy. Add in broth a little bit at a time and allow it to soak in while avoiding a large pool to build up on the bottom.
Once your dressing is out of the oven, allow it to cool and serve it with your favorite main course or allow it to shine all on its own. You’ll never go back to regular old “stuffing” again.
Can Southern Cornbread Dressing With Chicken Be Made Ahead Of Time?
It’s the holiday season and I’m very aware that everyone is short on time, energy and patience. Multi-tasking is the name of the holiday game and preparation is key. By staggering out your kitchen responsibilities you minimize stress and create just a little more precious time to be spent with family. Or by yourself (hosts need alone time too).
This dressing can be made up to a month in advance if properly stored and frozen. It can also be made the night before it’s needed and refrigerated overnight. Just be aware that if cooking from frozen, or refrigerated, you will need a bit more cooking time since you’re starting with a cold dish/dressing.
We also freeze dressing after it is baked and thaw and microwave and enjoy all year round.
Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe
For the Chicken and Chicken Stock
- 1 (5-6 lb) thawed chicken
- 3 large celery stalks
- 1 large sweet onion peeled
- 3/4 cup salted butter
- 1 tbsp minced garlic heaping
- 8 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1 tbsp black pepper plus 1 teaspoon
For the Cornbread
- 5 cups self rising cornmeal
- 5 tbsp all purpose flour
- 5 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk room temperature
- 6 large eggs room temperature and beaten
- 8 oz sour cream room temperature
- 1/2 cup salted butter melted
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
For the Cornbread Dressing
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- 2 cups finely chopped celery
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
- 14 oz herb seasoned stuffing Pepperidge farms is what we use
- 2 (10.5 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
- 2 (10.5 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
- 8 white sandwich bread slices (include the 2 ends)
- 1 tbsp ground sage
- 1 tbsp poultry seasoning
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
For the Chicken and Chicken Stock
- Follow full instructions HERE https://grandbaby-cakes.com/chicken-stock/
For the Cornbread
- Follow full instructions HERE https://grandbaby-cakes.com/southern-cornbread-recipe/
For the Cornbread Dressing
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Crumble cornbread by hand into super small pieces and fine crumbs in a large roasting pan.
- Add the onions, celery, green pepper and stuffing mix to crumbled cornbread. Completely mix everything together until thoroughly mixed.
- Next add cream of mushroom soups, cream of chicken soups and 6 cups of the homemade stock and combine thoroughly. Make sure you are mixing every single thing in as well as possible so flavor gets throughout.
- Next place slices of bread to the top of dressing mixture. Pour remaining 2 cups of chicken stock over the bread and dressing soaking the bread then mix thoroughly into the dressing mixture.
- Finally add ground sage, poultry seasoning and pepper and mix in until well seasoned.
- Begin by adding a layer of dressing mixture to bottom of 9x13 pan about a ¾ to an inch high to cover the bottom of the pan. Line the layer with shredded chicken then repeat with another large layer of dressing then chicken and repeat ending with dressing at the top of the pan. Repeat for the other 9x13 pan.
- Cover both pans with foil and bake for 45 minutes (ADD TENT OF STOCK NOTED IN NOTES BELOW AS IT BAKES) then remove foil and bake for 25-35 minutes or until a thermometer reaches 180. (DON'T OVERBAKE!- ALSO SEE NOTES BELOW)