Cornbread Dressing Recipe

There are no telling how many cornbread dressing recipes out there.  I think we all have our own little twist on making dressing but here’s how I make mine.

Start with cornbread and make it a couple of days before you’re going to make dressing.  I use my regular cornbread recipe with the following changes:

  • I use half as much salt because even using low sodium broth, there’s still salt in there.
  • I double the recipe for dressing
  • Leave out the sugar
  • I use whole grain cornmeal so I add a little more milk than the recipe calls for

This is the exact recipe so if you’re making it for dressing, do what I listed above.  If you’re making cornbread to serve to your family with beans and greens . . make it just like it’s written below.

1-1/4 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
3/4 c. milk
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 T. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 T. sugar
3 T. melted shortening

Preheat oven to 450.

Melt shortening in the skillet in which you will be baking the cornbread. Make sure the bottom is coated well with the melted shortening.

In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour and salt. In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk and buttermilk. Stir the liquid into the flour mixture. Stir only til barely mixed. Add the baking soda, baking powder, sugar and melted shortening.

Use a paper towel or brush to brush oil on the sides of the pan. (This is just from the oil left in the pan after you’ve melted it and poured it into the cornbread mixture.)

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the dressing, I kinda play it by ear and don’t really have a recipe that I follow so I hope what I write makes sense.

1.  Start with the bread.  I use about 2/3 cornbread and 1/3 white bread.  For the white bread, I like to use leftover biscuits, French Bread and Ciabatta bread, but if I don’t have one, I’ll just use the other two.  A couple of days before Thanksgiving, shred the bread and leave it out.  Several times a day, turn it over with your  hands and crumble more.  The more dried out the bread gets, the more broth and seasoning it will absorb before baking.

2.  I’m guessing at the amounts but I usually use about 1 cup of chopped onion and 2 cups of chopped celery.  Saute the onions and celery in one stick of butter til the celery is completely tender. It doesn’t get softer with baking!

3.  Mix the onions & celery into the cornbread mix.   Begin pouring chicken broth over it.  The amount of broth used will depend on how dry your bread crumbs are.  Have 4 or 5 cans of broth on hand.  You may not need it all.  I’ll try to pay attention when I’m making the dressing on Thursday and then update this post.

4.  Seasonings – it’s mostly to taste.  I add a little basil (maybe 1/2 tsp.), probably 1 tsp. each thyme and sage and then add 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley.

Stir everything together and taste.  It may need salt.  You may think it needs more sage or thyme or whatever.  Add it now.

The dressing will dry out a lot when baking so you need for it to be way more moist than you think it should be.  When you stir it, it should look right but when it sits just a second, you should see a little broth pool around the edges.  If you don’t see this, stir in more broth or else the dressing will end up being too dry.

Bake at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on how thick the dressing is in your dish.  If you have a very thin layer of dressing,  you may need to bake it only 25 – 30 minutes so take into account the depth of your dressing.

It all sounds much harder than it is.


  1. 1


    I’m surprised – with all the scratch cooking you do, you use a prepared chicken broth? I try to cook from scratch, but don’t manage it near as much as you do, but I usually have enough broth in the freezer for all my needs. I don’t tend to salt the chicken much when cooking it and never when making stock, so I just add salt as needed to recipes when using (still not much – we don’t like salt much).

    • 1.1


      I can’t come up with enough homemade broth for all I use. We use a lot of it and while I do can as much broth as I can generate, it’s never enough since we use so much broth.

  2. 2

    Sandra Neel Hutchins says

    Your dressing recipe is almost like the one I have in my head. (It was passed down from my mom and grandmother just by word of mouth). It is made like you do: just put in what you know needs to be there! I also add a chopped apple. I cook turkey breasts often during the year and save all the broth from cooking those. That gives me lots of rich turkey broth for dressing and gravy. I also pour about a half cup of buttermilk directly into the dressing along with the turkey broth. The buttermilk gives it an extra rich moistness. Oh Judy! Your post has made me hungry! Have a beautiful Thanksgiving Day.

    • 3.1

      Kathy C says

      Thats how I make mine too 2/3 cornbread and 1/3 regular. Like Shirley I add a chopped apple, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, but I also add a pound of browned breakfast sausage and the drippings. My local supermarket makes their own bulk sausage and it is wonderful. I use some apple cider in place of some of the broth.
      Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.