Southern Cornbread Dressing

I didn’t grow up eating stuffed turkey at Thanksgiving. What I grew up with was southern cornbread dressing, a moist concoction baked in a casserole dish. No “stovetop” here! This is my mother’s recipe.


  • ~4 c cornbread crumbs (see note below)
  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed and 1 cup white bread crumbs (my mother used stale bread, I use toasted)
    • For a gluten-free dressing, I use 2 c of Milton’s crackers, crushed
  • 1-2 onions, chopped
    • I use sweet onions – my husband thinks there is no such thing as too much onion
  • 2-3 stalks (or more) celery, chopped
    • Put more or less veggies in the dressing depending on your preferences
  • 1 t thyme
  • 1 T chopped sage
  • 1 T poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-5 c chicken stock (the first ingredient should be chicken)
  • 4 eggs, beaten (room temperature)
  • Butter for the baking dish


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly butter a 9×13 baking dish. (If you have more than enough for one dish, put the overflow in an 8×8 square or rounded dish).

  • Mix dry ingredients, onions and celery in bowl.
  • Add the chicken stock, a little at a time; mix (I use my hands). Keep adding stock until the dressing is very soupy/wet. (In other words, 4-5 cups is a guide. This isn’t precision baking! Nothing needs to be “cooked.”)
  • Taste. Adjust seasoning if needed
  • Add eggs; mix.
  • Pour into baking dish(es). Bake until set and browned, about 30 minutes.

This is a moist dressing.

Most recipes call for cooking the onion and celery; my mother didn’t, so I don’t. This means that there is a very slight “crunch” or texture to the dressing.

Variation: add about 1 cup shredded/chopped chicken breast or turkey meat after you put the dressing in the casserole dish. Scatter across the top and press into the dressing so that it’s in the broth.

* You make the best cornbread in a cast iron pan … do NOT use sweet cornbread, which is most cornbread mixes these days.

Updated 24 November 2022


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