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!
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Welcome to My Kitchen Serenity! 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.
The following statement may cause some Southern feathers to get ruffled, but here goes: This is true Southern cornbread dressing. It contains no bread – just cornbread – and that’s the way we eat it here in the South! If we added bread, then it would be called stuffing. Down here, we don’t stuff our dressing into the turkey, only our mouths!
Old Fashioned Southern Cornbread Dressing
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. It’s the perfect Southern comfort food and a wonderful Thanksgiving recipe.
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 You Need for Southern Cornbread Dressing
(see recipe card for complete details)
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) White Lily Self-Rising Buttermilk White Cornmeal Mix. I’ve used both brands and both turn out wonderful!
TIP: Whole milk will work fine for this recipe. 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! 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.
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.
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.
Finally, round things out with some ground sage, poultry seasoning, freshly cracked black pepper, and an egg to help bind everything together.
How to Make Southern Style Dressing
NOTE: Always refer to the printable recipe card for helpful information!
STEP 1: 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.
STEP 2: Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 2.5 qt casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray (OK to double recipe and use a 9 x 13 dish).
STEP 3: Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the minced onion and celery. Simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat.
TIP: I prefer to dice or either finely mince the onions and celery for the right dressing consistency. 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 mixing. It makes a perfect mince with less time, and it saves my tender eyes from the beastly onion. Pictured above the regular size chopped onion and celery for those who may prefer a more chunky consistency.
STEP 4: In a large bowl, combine the crumbled cornbread, soup, broth, egg, and seasonings. Add the onion and celery mixture and mix well.
STEP 5: 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.
Frequently Asked Questions + Pro Tips:
What’s the difference between stuffing and dressing??
Around these parts, dressing is made with cornbread. Stuffing is made with bread or a combination of bread and cornbread. Dressing is baked in a casserole dish, while stuffing is baked inside a turkey (or in a casserole dish).
Can I make this cornbread dressing in advance?
You sure can! 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.
How about freezing the dressing?
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 in 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.
How long will baked cornbread dressing last?
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.
I don’t like sage. Have any tips?
Leave it out! Problem solved. 🙂
What kind of cornbread should I use?
Use your favorite cornbread recipe. I personally like to use either Aunt Jemima Self-Rising Corn Meal 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 provided.
Finally, remember 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.
Can I double this recipe?
Of course! For a large crowd, double the recipe and use a 10 x 13 casserole dish.
Need more holiday side dish ideas? Check out these other delicious recipes:
- Creamy Cheesy Cabbage Casserole
- Southern Sweet Potato Casserole
- Easy Baked Beans with Ground Beef
- Asian Cabbage Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing
- Easy and Delicious Southern Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- Creamy Corn Salad
- Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
- Mexican Cornbread
If you tried this deliciously easy Southern Cornbread Dressing recipe, please be sure to let me know how it turned out in the comments below!
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 White Lily 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 Egg
- 1-2 tsp Poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp Ground sage
- 1/2 tsp 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.
A look back in time. Pictures from my first photoshoot back in November 2019.