This Southern Cornbread Dressing recipe is so delicious and moist, you don't need to cover it up with gravy! Perfectly seasoned with onions, celery, sage, and poultry seasoning, this holiday classic is a true Southern delight.
Serve it as a Thanksgiving side dish or during the Christmas holidays next to your turkey, ham, or roast. Just be prepared for it to steal the show!
This dressing is my family's most favorite holiday side dish. As a bonus, it's easy to make! My easy cornbread dressing has all the delicious flavors and texture that Southerners expect on their plates.
This traditional dressing contains no bread - just cornbread - and that's the way a lot of us eat it here in the South! If we added bread, then we would sometimes call it stuffing. Down here, we don't usually stuff our dressing into the turkey, only our mouths!
This post was originally published in November 2020. It was updated in November 2021.
Why This Recipe Works
As I stated earlier, this cornbread dressing is very moist and flavorful. That means there's no need to drown it in gravy, but this Southern gal won't judge if you do. It is THE ONE holiday side dish that everyone in my family always looks forward to. Heck, even the Northerners might like this version!
So, what makes this dressing so moist? I'm about to let you in on a big secret: the addition of a can of cream of chicken soup is the key ingredient! Without it, you could end up with a fancy pan of cornbread. And the best part is that the secret is something that is SO EASY to use!
Ingredients for Southern Cornbread Dressing
(see recipe card for complete details)
Baked Cornbread - First up, you're going to need some cornbread. While you are welcome to make a pan of your favorite recipe, I have two favorites: (1) Aunt Jemima Self-Rising White or Yellow Cornmeal Mix or (2) Martha White Self-Rising Buttermilk White Cornmeal Mix. I've used both brands and both turn out wonderful!
Tip: When making your own cornbread, whole milk works well. However, some of my fellow Southerners feel it's an absolute travesty to use anything other than buttermilk when making cornbread in the South. So if you feel you must use buttermilk, use it, girl! Old school tip: If you don't have any buttermilk on hand, you can fake your own by adding a tablespoon of white vinegar to each cup of regular milk. Stir it and allow it to thicken before use.
Minced Celery and Onion - Next up, you're going to need some minced celery and onion for all of that aromatic flavor. Also, this is a Southern dish, so you just know that butter is involved.
Cream of Chicken Soup and Chicken Broth - You're also going to need chicken broth (homemade or boxed is just fine!) and a can of cream of chicken (or cream of mushroom) soup. It might sound strange, but I swear the soup concentrate gives this cornbread stuffing an absolutely dreamy consistency.
Egg and Butter - You'll use one raw egg to bind the ingredients, and you'll use the butter to saute the onion and celery. Butter also adds moisture and flavor!
Seasonings - Finally, round things out with some ground sage, poultry seasoning, and freshly cracked black pepper. If you're not a fan of sage, use half the amount called for or simply leave it out.
Optional Add-in - You can add a couple of chopped, hard-boiled eggs to the dressing before baking.
How to Make This Recipe
Note: Always refer to the printable recipe card for helpful information!
Prepare 1 pan of cornbread per the directions on the box/bag (as stated above, I recommend either Aunt Jemima's or White Lily self-rising cornmeal mix). Let cool, then crumble.
Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 2.5 qt casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray (OK to double the recipe and use a 9 x 13 dish).
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the minced onion and celery. Simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, combine the crumbled cornbread, soup, broth, egg, and seasonings. Add the onion and celery mixture and mix well.
Pour cornbread mixture into prepared dish and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. The center of the dressing should be set (not jiggly). That said, be careful not to over bake the cornbread dressing, or it may get dry.
Try to make the cornbread a day in advance or at least several hours before you plan to prepare the dressing. It needs time to completely cool so that you can use your fingers to crumble the cornbread.
For this recipe, I prefer to finely mince the onions and celery for the right dressing consistency. However, some family members prefer chopped onions and celery (larger pieces). This article from Kitchn explains How To Chop, Dice, and Mince an Onion. I love my little food chopper and use it all the time for chopping and mincing.
I don't recommend using Jiffy cornbread mix because it's just too sweet. This is a savory dressing which means it is not meant to be sweet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely, this dressing can be made ahead of time! After you've mixed up all the ingredients, store it covered in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before you plan to eat it. On the day of the meal, take it out of the refrigerator, pour it into your casserole dish, and bake as directed.
Absolutely! There are 2 options:
(A) Uncooked: Prepare the cornbread dressing but don't bake it. Place into a freezer-friendly container and wrap with foil or plastic wrap and place in freezer. When ready to bake, let it thaw in the refrigerator (this may take 1-2 days to thaw). Then, pour into a casserole dish that's been sprayed with non-stick spray and bake as directed on the recipe card.
(B) Cooked: Prepare the cornbread dressing according to the recipe card (bake it in a freezer-friendly and oven-safe container). Let the dressing cool completely. Wrap the container with foil or plastic wrap and place it in the freezer. When ready to bake, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, remove the foil and/or plastic wrap and bake as directed on the recipe card.
While I have to admit that we almost never have leftovers of this delicious holiday side (I told you! It's everyone's favorite!), however, this baked cornbread dressing will stay fresh for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
For best results, store in airtight containers. I like to use BPA-free glass containers with locking lids. Check out this 18-piece set of glass food storage containers with locking lids. These containers are great for meal prep, too! Available now on Amazon.
Use your favorite cornbread recipe. I personally like to use Aunt Jemima Self-Rising Corn Meal MIX, Martha White Cornbread MIX, or White Lily Self-Rising Buttermilk White Cornmeal MIX. The flour, salt, and baking powder are already blended in, plus, it's consistently delicious (and I love how little hassle there is when you use the bagged stuff). Follow the recipe on the package label.
Of course! For a large crowd, double the recipe and use a 10 x 13 casserole dish.
Need more holiday side dish inspiration? Check out these delicious recipes!
If you tried this deliciously easy Southern Cornbread Dressing recipe, please be sure to rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below!
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Southern Cornbread Dressing
- 2.5 qt casserole dish
- Large Saute Pan
- measuring spoons
- sharp kitchen knife (or mini food chopper)
- large mixing bowl
- One pan of prepared cornbread per the directions on Corn Meal Mix (I recommend either Aunt Jemima or Martha White Self-Rising Cornmeal MIX). Let cool and crumble. Not plain corn meal. Use the "mix" because it contains flour, salt, and baking powder.
- 2-3 Stalks of celery, minced
- 1 Small yellow onion, minced
- 1 Stick butter (salted)
- 14.5 oz Can of chicken broth
- 10.5 oz Can of cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom soup)
- 1 Raw egg
- 1-2 teaspoon Poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Ground sage
- ½ teaspoon Black pepper
- Prepare 1 pan of cornbread per the directions on Corn Meal Mix. Let cool and crumble.
- Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 2.5 qt casserole dish with non-stick spray.
- Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Add the minced onion and celery. Simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat.
- Whisk together the soup, broth, egg, and seasonings in a large bowl. Add the crumbled cornbread and mix well.
- Add the onion and celery mixture and mix well.
- Pour into prepared dish and bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned. The center of the dressing should be set (not raw or jiggly). TIP: check the dressing after 30 minutes of baking. If not yet set, stir and bake for another 5 minutes and check again for doneness and browning. Add another additional 5 minutes if not set. However, don't over bake the dressing or it will get dry.
- Try to make the cornbread a day in advance or at least several hours before you plan to prepare the dressing. It needs time to completely cool so that you can use your fingers to crumble the cornbread.
- For a large crowd, double the recipe and bake in a 10 x 13 casserole dish.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.