Seafood Dressing

Seafood Dressing is the ultimate twist on a classic Thanksgiving stuffing side dish.  Rich, tender cornbread mixes with fresh shrimp, lump crab, fresh herbs, spices, and a homemade seafood stock to create the ultimate decadent side. 

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A white plate filled with seafood dressing ready to serve

Put a twist on the classic dish with this Seafood Dressing. Filled with shrimp, lump crab, fresh herbs, and a homemade seafood stock; this dish transforms into a rich decadent main, enjoyed by your family and friends. Serve with gravy or without and watch this recipe become a staple for years to come!

Every year, stuffing and dressing has a designated place at the dinner table. It’s like peanut butter and jelly; can’t have the turkey without stuffing or dressing! The trend in hybrid recipes are here to stay, have fun with this spin on your old school favorite.

Stuffing Or Dressing?

Depending on the region you’re from, stuffing and dressing will have different meanings! As a true Southerner who prefers dressing ,the base of this recipe stays close to traditional.

My aunt and uncle have always taken the lead with assigning dishes out and preparing their staple dishes. I counseled with the biggest culinary expert in my family to build the layers and flavors of this dish. From what I’ve gathered through the years, the foundation of this dish truly begins with the cornbread.

The Heart & Soul Of Seafood Dressing

Cuisine Inspiration: Southern Coastal
Rooted in Southern charm and flavored with coastal goodness, this Seafood Dressing marries the heartiness of traditional Southern cuisine with the delicate flavors of the ocean. It’s where the farm meets the sea, y’all!

Primary Cooking Method: Baking
After combining your ingredients, this dish requires baking. This method helps the flavors to meld beautifully, creating a sumptuous, unified dish that’s golden-brown perfection.

Dietary Info: Pescatarian
Ideal for those following a pescatarian diet or seafood lovers at heart! However, it’s important to note that this dish contains shellfish and gluten, so it might not be suitable for individuals with related allergies.

Key Flavor: Savory Seafood
This dressing isn’t just a side dish; it’s a culinary delight featuring the briny, savory depth of seafood harmoniously blended with the earthy, comforting backdrop of a classic dressing.

Skill Level: Intermediate
A bit of kitchen experience will be handy, as this recipe involves multiple steps, from properly preparing the seafood to ensuring the dressing has the perfect moist, yet not soggy, consistency.

Sweet Spots

  • Versatile Pairing: This Seafood Dressing goes beyond the Thanksgiving table. It’s a versatile side that pairs beautifully with a variety of main dishes, especially during the festive season.
  • Flavor Fusion: It’s a melody of flavors that dances on your palate, combining the savory notes of seafood with the aromatic herbs and spices common in traditional dressings.
  • Holiday Showstopper: Looking to switch up the classics at your holiday table? This dressing brings an element of surprise and sophistication that your guests will rave about.
  • Customizable Seafood Selection: Whether you’re a fan of shrimp, crab, scallops, or oysters, this recipe allows for customization based on your seafood preferences or whatever’s fresh at the market.
  • Comfort Food with a Twist: Maintaining the heartwarming comfort of a traditional dressing, the addition of seafood provides an exciting, flavorful twist that will have folks coming back for seconds… and thirds!

Ingredients to make seafood dressing

For the cornbread:

  • Vegetable or Canola Oil: The slick start to a fabulous cornbread base. It’s all about that golden crust, baby!
  • Cornmeal: The heart and soul of cornbread, bringing that grainy goodness and sunny color.
  • Self-Rising Flour: This ain’t just fluff; it’s the rising star that gives your cornbread some lift.
  • Granulated Sugar: Just a touch of sweetness keeps everything neat and treats the taste buds right.
  • Egg: The binder that keeps the party together. Room temp, because it’s chill like that.
  • Milk: Smooth operator, working in the background to make everything moist and marvelous.
  • Salted Butter: Rich, creamy, and just salty enough to make all the other ingredients swoon.

For the dressing:

  • Onion & Celery: To be minced later because they’re the behind-the-scenes heroes, building flavors from the ground up.
  • Fresh Green Onion, Tarragon, and Parsley: Will mince later to keep ’em fresh and fancy. They’re the green gang, here to bring the zest and zing.
  • Raw Shrimp: The sea’s treasure, ready to jump into the mix and show off its jazzy side.
  • Crab Meat: Sweet, succulent, and oh-so-sophisticated. A true taste of the ocean’s finesse.
  • Garlic Paste & Butter: The dynamic duo that brings aromatic allure to the table.
  • Seasoning Salt, Black Pepper, & Old Bay: The holy trinity of taste that brings the heat and sassy seasoning.
  • Herbed Seasoned Stuffing: Not just a filler, it’s a thrill-ya, ready to absorb all the saucy goodness.
  • Mayonnaise, Cream of Mushroom, & Cream of Celery: The creamy dream team, giving the dressing its luxurious body and soul.
  • Seafood Stock: Can sub with veggie or chicken broth, but why would ya? This is where the dressing soaks up the sea’s secrets.
  • Smoked Paprika: The final dusting of smoky magic that seals the deal with a kiss of piquancy.
A mix of fresh seafood in a bowl with cornbread crumbs, seasoning, spices and more to make a stuffing

How To Make Seafood Dressing

  1. Preheat the oven and place the cast iron skillet oven lightly oiled.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and beat the egg and add to the dry mix.
  3. The oven will be close to temp, remove the baking dish and add softened butter allowing it to bubble and melt. Slowly pour in the butter into the batter one tablespoon at a time, temping the batter.
  4. Next start on the stock. Begin by adding the shrimp and crab shells to a medium sized stock pot and add celery, carrot half of a roughly chopped onion, garlic bouillon and enough water to fill above the ingredients.
  5. Bring stock to a slow boil and simmer, draining liquid from the pot and set aside.
  6. Prep the ingredients by small dicing the onion, celery, tarragon and parsley. Roughly chop the shrimp reserving 4-6 pieces whole for topping.
  7. Prepare crab by removing meat from the shell and setting aside.
  8. Next, in a medium sized pan on medium heat, saute veggie mixture adding a 1/2 teaspoon of butter if needed. Season with salt and pepper and add fresh herbs sauteeing an additional minute. Set aside and let cool.
  9. Next, the cornbread will be broken down by hand into smaller pieces. Add in cooled vegetables and herbs and one cup of dried stuffing mix and lightly stir.
  10. Next, add mayo, cream of mushroom and celery and seasonings. Finally, pour in shrimp stock until batter becomes slightly mushy, adjusting for flavor folding in crab and shrimp. Sprinkle with paprika and bake for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees.
seafood cornbread dressing with spice on top in a white baking pan

Tips for making the best seafood cornbread dressing

  • Cornbread Prep: Cornbread dressing, seafood stock, and dressing are the three separate parts to this recipe. Prepare the cornbread ahead of time, for best results a day ahead or completely cooled, left out on the counter.
  • Seafood Stock Tip: Save the crab and shrimp shells for the seafood stock. If you can find store-bought, even better! The seafood stock gives a rich flavor if you can spare five minutes of prep.  But if not, substitute with vegetable or chicken stock.
  • Fish Quality: Use fresh crab! Splurge, and by the good stuff, the holidays are here!
  • Baking and Taste Testing: Oven time and temp will vary; gauge your dish as it bakes. Taste test each step of the recipe.

Popular substitutions & additions

  • Different Seafood: Swap out shrimp and crab with other seafood like lobster, scallops, or oysters.
  • Vegetarian Options: Omit seafood altogether and add more vegetables or a meat substitute.
  • Gluten Free Dressing: Use a gluten free cornbread and stuffing mix.
  • Spice it up: Experiment with different herbs like rosemary or sage for a Thanksgiving twist. For some more heat use a dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce for a spicy kick.

What to serve with seafood cornbread dressing

A close up of a seafood stuffing after eating with a server for the holidays

How to store & reheat seafood dressing

How long will seafood dressing last in the fridge?

When stored properly in an airtight container seafood dressing will last 3-4 days in the fridge.

Can I freeze seafood dressing?

After your dressing has cooled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then again in foil, for further protection, place it in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze in portions for easier thawing and serving. Freeze for 2-3 months. Do note that freezing can, at times, alter the texture of dishes after they’ve been thawed. As always a dish is best served fresh.

Reheating: Reheat using either an oven or microwave. In the oven, cover with foil to prevent drying out and reheat at 350 F until warmed through. Heat in 30-second intervals, sitting in between for heating in the microwave.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use store-bought cornbread instead of making it from scratch?

Yes! Store-bought cornbread can be used for convenience. However, homemade cornbread may offer better moisture and flavor control.

I don’t have access to fresh seafood, can I use frozen?

Frozen seafood is a great alternative. Just make sure to thaw it properly and thoroughly drain any excess water before using.

How do I prevent the seafood dressing from becoming too dry?

Ensure you add enough liquid or seafood stock to the mixture. The dressing should be moist before baking. If it seems dry, and a bit more stock.

Other GBC Favorite Holiday Recipes 

Thank you Carita of Seasoned To Taste Blog for guest posting this amazing holiday recipe!

*Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating and leave comments below!* Post a photo of how your version of the recipe came out on Instagram (using #grandbabycakes)!!

A white plate filled with seafood dressing ready to serve

Seafood Dressing

This Seafood Dressing is amazing.  Rich tender cornbread mixes with fresh shrimp, lump crab, fresh herbs, spices and a seafood stock to create the ultimate decadent stuffing side.
4.49 from 29 votes
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients

For the Cornbread

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup self rising flour
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg beaten, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup salted butter room temperature

For the Dressing

  • 1 cup onion will mince later
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped green onion
  • 1 cup celery will mince later
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon will mince later
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley will mince later
  • l lb medium sized raw shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 6-8 oz crab meat Dungeness used in this recipe
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt I used Season All
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup herbed seasoned stuffing
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup cream of mushroom
  • 1/4 cup cream of celery
  • 1 tsp Old Bay
  • 1 cup seafood stock find recipe below if using homemade or you can substitute with veggie or chicken broth
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika

Instructions

For the Cornbread

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Coat the baking dish with 1 tsp of oil and place in the oven while it preheats.
  • In a medium sized bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, and sugar. Add beaten egg to dry ingredients.
  • Add milk and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Once the oven comes to temp, remove the baking dish, add the butter allowing it to bubble and melt.
  • Once the butter is melted, slowly pour in the wet batter 1 tbsp at a time (simultaneously whisking and pouring). Continue to temp the batter by adding small amounts of butter until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Reserve one tablespoon of butter in the baking dish.
  • Pour batter into the baking dish and bake for 25 minutes until cornbread is cooked through to the center.
  • Allow cornbread to cool while preparing the stuffing mixture.

For the Dressing Ingredients

  • Mince onion, celery, tarragon and parsley. Set aside.
  • Peel shrimp and deshell crab (or drain juice if using canned). Set aside.
  • In a medium sauté pan on medium/high heat, sauté garlic, onion and celery in 1 tsp butter for 3-5 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper and add fresh herbs sautéing an additional minute. Set aside and let cool.
  • Once cornbread has cooled, begin breaking it apart into smaller pieces into a large mixing bowl. This will make about four cups of cornbread.
  • Add in vegetables, herbs and one cup of dried stuffing mix and lightly stir.
  • Add in mayo, cream of mushroom and celery and seasonings. Stir until combined.
  • Slowly pour in the seafood stock 1/4 cup at a time, stirring until batter becomes slightly mushy. (Batter should need the entire cup of stock)
  • Taste batter for flavor and adjust seasonings to your liking.
  • Fold in crab and shrimp carefully and place in the baking dish, spreading out evenly.
  • Sprinkle with paprika on top and bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes uncovered.
  • Remove from the oven and let stuffing rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Notes

If you want to make your own Seafood Stock, follow this recipe: 
– 1 cup celery (roughly chopped)
– 1 cup carrot (roughly chopped)
– 1/2 onion (shallot)
– 1 tbsp Roasted Garlic Base Bouillon
– ½-2 Cups Water 
Bringing to a boil and then simmering for 20-30 minutes
Tips
Cornbread dressing, seafood stock and dressing are the three separate parts to this recipe.
Prepare the cornbread ahead of time. For best results a day ahead or completely cooled, left out on the counter.
Save the crab and shrimp shells for the seafood stock. If you can find store bought, even better!
The seafood stock gives a rich flavor if you can spare the five minutes of prep.
Substitute with vegetable or chicken stock.
Use fresh crab! Splurge and by the good stuff, the holidays are here!
Oven time and temp will vary, gauge your dish as it bakes.

Nutrition

Calories: 324kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 1082mg | Potassium: 310mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 546IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 2mg
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Filed Under:  Cornbread, Holidays, Main Dishes, Oven, Seafood, Side Dishes, Thanksgiving

Comments

  1. I made this for Thanksgiving – ha, it was our entree! No turkey needed! I omitted the Pepperidge Farm and replaced it with some French bread I had – first let it dry out a bit then sauteed it in garlic butter. I did use shrimp stock for the liquid and think it is key! I used lump crabmeat and fresh shrimp. Next time I think I will add some oysters also! Absolutely delicious – thank you thank you – the leftovers were minimal and kept well, just as tasty the next day!

  2. This sounds delicious. I love all the spices you used here. I bet it tastes so good. I must make this soon. Thanks for the idea and the recipe!

  3. Oh wow! This Seafood Dressing definitely is quite the decadent side. Love all those flavors and so perfect for the holiday table.

4.49 from 29 votes (17 ratings without comment)

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