The Ultimate Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe

If you are a fan of soul food, you know that every good meal starts with cornbread. And when it comes to holiday feasts, nothing is quite as comforting and filling as Traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing. Many families make this classic dish every Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it’s not hard to see why.

Picture this: moist cornbread soaked in savory chicken broth, mixed with diced celery, onion, and bell pepper, plus fragrant parsley and eggs. The bold flavors will warm your heart and your soul – this is the taste of true Southern comfort.

Whether you’re hosting a big gathering or just making a special meal for yourself, my easy-to-follow recipe for Traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing will be the centerpiece of your feast. Here’s how to make it step-by-step – trust me, it’s easier than you think!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing Base
Traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing Base

Are you looking for a recipe that’s packed with flavor and embodies the true essence of soulful, Southern cooking? Look no further! This traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing recipe is exactly what you need.

Not only is it a classic Thanksgiving staple, but it’s also perfect for any other occasion where you want to showcase your culinary skills. The base of this recipe is made up of homemade or store-bought cornbread that is crumbled up and mixed with all kinds of savory ingredients.

The finely chopped onions, celery, and bell pepper add a nice crunch, while the parsley provides a hint of freshness. And let’s not forget about the chicken broth – it gives the dressing its distinct flavor and makes sure that every bite is moist and delicious.

This recipe can be easily customized to suit your taste buds. You can add sausage, mushrooms or bread crumbs, experiment with different types of bread or spice blends to make it your own. Rest assured that no matter which variation you choose, every bite will transport you straight to Southern comfort food heaven.

Whether you’re making this for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other occasion, this Southern Cornbread Dressing recipe will become a family favorite in no time. You’ll love how easy it is to prepare and how even novice cooks can nail this classic dish. Don’t wait- try this recipe today and treat yourself to the deliciousness of real Southern cuisine!

Ingredient List

 A Southern staple, cornbread dressing is a must-have dish for Thanksgiving or any holiday occasion.
A Southern staple, cornbread dressing is a must-have dish for Thanksgiving or any holiday occasion.

To make this Traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing, we will need the following ingredients:

Southern Cornbread

  • 2 cups finely crumbled stale Southern Cornbread, or 6 cups dry cornbread (homemade or store-bought)


  • 1 large loaf of stale old-fashioned Southern-style white bread, crumbled


  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Chicken Broth and Eggs

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
  • 2 large beaten eggs

Seasonings and Spices

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

This recipe can be made with variations such as adding cooked sausage or mushrooms. The above ingredients make the core recipe ingredients for Traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing.

The Recipe How-To

 Crispy on the edges and moist in the middle, this dressing base will have your family and guests fighting for seconds.
Crispy on the edges and moist in the middle, this dressing base will have your family and guests fighting for seconds.

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter – the recipe how-to. I promise that preparing this traditional southern cornbread dressing will be easier than you think. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Preparing the Cornbread

To begin with, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Then, take a 9-inch iron skillet and put it in the oven to preheat as well.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups finely crumbled stale cornbread, 1 cup dry bread crumbs and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. In another mixing bowl, whisk 2 large eggs and stir in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth until everything is incorporated.

Once the skillet is nice and hot, add 2 tablespoons of oil, then pour in the egg mixture. After that, put it back into the oven and let it cook for about 15 minutes or until the cornbread has turned golden brown.

Preparing the Dressing

As the cornbread bakes, let’s shift our attention to preparing the dressing. Begin with melting 1 stick unsalted butter in a large pot over medium heat. Sauteé over medium heat until soft: 3 ribs chopped celery, 1 chopped medium onion, and 1 chopped green bell pepper.

Pour everything over the dried cornbread mixture (including any remaining butter left in the pot), as well as adding in 3 cups chicken broth to make sure things are moist enough.

Incorporate together with all additional ingredients: 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, and optionally you may add some cooked sausage stuffing and boiled eggs. Mix everything thoroughly.

Transfer your dressing mix into a greased baking dish or an iron skillet if you’d like to go for a more classic look. Bake at 375°F for around 30 minutes, then turn the oven to 400°F for an additional 15 minutes to ensure the top is golden brown and deliciously crispy.


Once you complete the above steps, take the dressing out of the oven – it should be piping hot. Serve with your favorite protein, or just as a soul food staple on your Thanksgiving table.

Substitutions and Variations

 With just a few simple ingredients and steps, you can easily make a classic cornbread dressing like a pro.
With just a few simple ingredients and steps, you can easily make a classic cornbread dressing like a pro.

Traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing is a classic recipe that has been passed down through generations of Southern cooks. But don’t be afraid to switch up the ingredients to suit your taste preferences or dietary needs. Here are some substitution and variation suggestions:

– Chicken broth: You can use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version of this recipe.

– Eggs: If you’re allergic to eggs or following a vegan diet, you can omit them from the recipe. The dressing will still hold together thanks to the crumbled cornbread and bread crumbs.

– Bell pepper: If you don’t like the taste of bell pepper, you can omit it. You can also substitute it with other vegetables such as diced carrots or zucchini.

– Celery: If you’re not a fan of celery, you can reduce or omit it. You can also use celery seeds instead for a milder flavor.

– Onion: Vidalia onions are a popular choice for Southern cornbread dressing because they have a sweet flavor. However, you can use any type of onion you like, such as red onion or scallions.

– Cornbread: Some people prefer to make their cornbread from scratch, while others use store-bought cornbread mix. You can also use different types of cornmeal or flour for variations in texture and flavor.

– Sausage stuffing: To add some protein and extra flavor, you can mix in cooked and crumbled sausage with the vegetable mixture before adding it to the cornbread.

– Mushroom soup: Instead of using chicken broth, some people like to use condensed cream of mushroom soup for added creaminess and umami flavor.

– Bread crumbs: You can substitute the bread crumbs with crushed crackers or even crushed potato chips for added crunch.

– Turkey dressing: This recipe can also be used as a base for turkey dressing by adding shredded turkey meat to the mixture.

Remember, there’s no wrong way to make Southern cornbread dressing. Use these substitutions and variations as a guide to make your own unique version of this classic recipe.

Serving and Pairing

 The key to a great cornbread dressing is to start with a delicious cornbread recipe.
The key to a great cornbread dressing is to start with a delicious cornbread recipe.

Of all the traditional Southern holiday dishes, cornbread dressing is one that can stand its ground as a meal in and of itself. It’s like the beautiful offspring of cornbread and stuffing. The tender crumb of the cornbread, when combined with rich, savory sausage or chicken and vegetables, creates an irresistible mixture that tastes like Thanksgiving on a plate.

When it comes to pairing, a traditional Southern cornbread dressing pairs well with roasted turkey or chicken. But personally, I find it hard to resist alongside a juicy ham steak or even roast beef. White meats are the perfect companion for this dish because they complement the flavors and textures of the dressing without overpowering them.

A generous dollop of gravy on top also takes this dish to the next level. But don’t worry if you don’t have gravy on hand. A drizzle of melted butter will do wonders too.

In terms of serving size, 8-10 generous portions from an average sized pan is more than plenty. Trust me; this stuff is incredibly rich and satisfying!

In summary, Southern cornbread dressing is a hearty and scrumptious side dish that can hold its own as a meal any day of the week. With its perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors, it goes well with roasted meats but it could be served as its independent dish too with some gravy or melted butter on top. So sit back and savor this soulful comfort food with your loved ones during holidays or anytime you’re in need of some feel-good food!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A little bit of sage gives this dressing the perfect amount of warmth and depth of flavor.
A little bit of sage gives this dressing the perfect amount of warmth and depth of flavor.

Now that you’ve prepared the perfect traditional Southern cornbread dressing, you may be wondering about how best to store it and even reheat it for later enjoyment. Luckily, this recipe is quite accommodating when it comes to prepping ahead of time and storing leftovers.

To make ahead of time, it’s best to prepare the dressing up until the point of baking. You can cover it with foil or transfer into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two days before cooking. This not only frees up some time on the day of serving but also allows the flavors to meld together even further.

When it comes to reheating, there are a few options depending on your personal preference. One method is to reheat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, while another option is to use the microwave. If microwaving, be sure to add a splash of chicken broth or water first as this prevents the dressing from drying out.

If you plan on freezing your cornbread dressing, let it cool completely before placing in a freezer-safe container. It will keep for up to three months in the freezer. To defrost, simply leave in the refrigerator overnight or use the defrost function on your microwave.

While this recipe is best enjoyed freshly baked, it’s reassuring to know that you can still enjoy its deliciousness for days after preparation. So whether you’re making leftover turkey sandwiches or enjoying a solo soul food meal, storing and reheating this traditional Southern cornbread dressing is easy and fuss-free.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Rather than using store-bought croutons, making your own cornbread cubes will add an extra
Rather than using store-bought croutons, making your own cornbread cubes will add an extra

Cornbread dressing is a Southern staple that has been passed down for generations. The savory, moist stuffing makes it an essential side dish for Thanksgiving and other holiday meals. Perfecting the dressing can be a bit tricky, so here are some tips to help you make the perfect southern cornbread dressing.

1. Use Homemade Cornbread

Using homemade cornbread is the key to making excellent dressing. Nothing beats the taste and texture of freshly made Southern cornbread. The ingredients are simple – self-rising cornmeal mix, eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Whip it up in no time and your dressing will be that much more delicious.

2. Let It Stale

Once you’ve made your cornbread for the dressing, let it stale a bit before you use it. You can crumble it up and spread it out on baking sheets to dry out or leave it out on the counter overnight. This helps ensure that your dressing won’t come out too soggy.

3. Don’t Overmix the Ingredients

When preparing your mixture, be careful not to overmix the ingredients. Gently fold everything until just combined so that the dressing stays moist and light.

4. Add Plenty of Chicken Broth

Adding enough chicken broth is essential to achieving moist and flavorful dressing that is not too dry or crumbly when baked. Don’t be afraid to add more if needed, as long as your mixture remains wet before baking.

5. Include Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs are a great addition to Southern cornbread dressing as they bring aroma, flavor and make it healthier overall. Add chopped parsley to your recipe for a bright pop of green and fresh herbaceous taste.

6. Bake It Low And Slow

To get crispy edges with a tender interior, bake the dressing at 350°F until golden brown but still moist in texture.This allows you to have control over how crispy you want your dish while keeping everything evenly cooked.

7. Garnish The Final Dish

A sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley or diced green bell peppers on top of the dressing adds a bright visual pop to the plating and enhances flavor as well.

Keep these tips in mind as you prepare your traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing recipe. You will be guaranteed a successful, delicious result that everyone at your table will love!


Before you start cooking, it’s a good idea to take a look at the FAQ section. This will help clear up any questions or concerns you may have about the recipe. Here, we answer popular questions such as “can I use chicken stock instead of chicken broth?”, “can I make this recipe ahead of time?” and “what variations can I try with this traditional Southern cornbread dressing base recipe?”. So, let’s dive in and get started on making the perfect Southern-style cornbread dressing!

What makes Southern cornbread different?

When it comes to cornbread, Southern style is a whole different ballgame than Northern style. Southerners prefer their cornbread to have a sweeter taste and a rich buttery finish. A key difference is the addition of more eggs, which results in a more cake-like texture. This type of cornbread can be made with either white or yellow cornmeal.

What is the origin of Southern cornbread dressing?

The roots of cornbread dressing can be traced back to the South when enslaved individuals turned their leftover cornbread into a flavorful dish. Interestingly, this recipe has its origins in a West African cuisine called Kusha.

What is cornbread dressing made of?

The blend of eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter infuses the cornbread with a delightful texture and flavor. Following its baking, cooling, and crumbling, the cornbread is transformed into scrumptious dressing. The richness brought by butter complements the dish’s vegetal flavors and magnificent textures resulting from the incorporation of celery and sweet onions.

Why do Southerners not put sugar in cornbread?

Cornbread is a staple in Southern cuisine and is commonly made with white, coarsely ground cornmeal. Sweetening cornbread with sugar or using wheat flour is not traditional in Southern cooking. In fact, some sources suggest that adding sweetness to cornbread is a big mistake and risks ruining the dish. For example, one popular Southern cornmeal pudding is served with a sweet sauce, but this is not how it is done with cornbread. A 1937 article from the Times emphasizes the importance of not using sugar or wheat flour in Kentucky-style cornbread.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you are looking for a delicious and traditional Southern cornbread dressing recipe that is easy to make and perfect for any occasion, look no further! This base recipe is the perfect starting point for creating a mouth-watering dressing that will impress your family and friends. With simple ingredients like cornbread, celery, onion, and chicken broth, you can create a dish that is packed with flavor and a perfect complement to any holiday meal.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations and substitutions to make this recipe your own. Whether you prefer sweet onions, white bread, or even sausage stuffing, there are plenty of ingredients that can be used to create a unique twist on this classic dish. And remember, making your own cornbread from scratch can take this recipe to another level and add an extra touch of love and care.

So gather your ingredients, follow these easy steps, and enjoy the delightful aroma of traditional Southern cornbread dressing filling your home. Your taste buds will thank you for it!

Traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing Base

Traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing Base Recipe

This is the base with which we start our southern dressings for turkey and other birds. Some add oysters, shrimp, sausage, whatever is traditional in their families. Or you may opt to serve it just like this, it's good plain!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern US
Calories 162.6 kcal


  • 2 cups cornbread, crumbled
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs, toasted
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper


  • Leave the corn bread out a few hours to stiffen up or use it the next day.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl mix all the above ingredients.
  • Pour into a greased baking dish.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 1-1/2 hours or until golden brown.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 233gCalories: 162.6kcalCarbohydrates: 18.7gProtein: 9.9gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1.4gCholesterol: 126.9mgSodium: 667.7mgFiber: 1.5gSugar: 3g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Grains, Winter
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