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Treasured family recipe: Cornbread dressing

Make fresh buttery cornbread for your dressing. (credit: Will Kirk Photography, National Cornbread Festival)

Make fresh cornbread for your dressing. (credit: Will Kirk Photography, National Cornbread Festival)

Oh, cornbread dressing, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

If there’s one food that was present at every family meal of my childhood, it was cornbread dressing. It was on the supper table every Sunday and every holiday. When I met my (now) husband when I was 15, we ate cornbread dressing at his family gatherings, too.

In fact, the recipe I cook every year comes from my husband’s family, though it is similar to the one my grandmother made. This treasured family recipe was passed down to my mother-in-law from her mother, whose hand-written version was modified and adjusted over the years.

This dressing is somewhat labor-intensive since it requires both biscuits and cornbread, but many of us will be making those for our holiday meal anyway. Once you taste it and find yourself standing around the kitchen island cutting nibbles of cold dressing at midnight, you’ll realize it’s worth the effort. Make double.

Cornbread Dressing

(Makes 1 pan)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. celery, chopped
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 2 c. cornbread, crumbled (Homemade preferred since the better your cornbread, the better your dressing. But, if using a mix don’t use one with sugar)
  • 1/2 c. biscuits, crumbled
  • 2 c. hot chicken broth
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c. milk

Directions:

  • Saute celery and onions in butter and set aside.
  • Combine cornbread and biscuits and pour hot broth over mixture. Add the eggs, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Follow with celery and onion mixture.
  • Dissolve baking powder in milk and add to mixture.
  • Check the consistency of your batter. It should not run freely but should be soft enough to pat out with a spoon. (Add cornbread if too loose or extra broth if too thick.)
  • Bake at 350° until set and browned on top. Note: I typically bake this with several other items in the oven and I default to the required cooking temperatures for those items. The dressing is very forgiving. I have baked it at 375° and 400° as needed.

Enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

14 comments Add your comment

Sheila

November 22nd, 2011
7:36 am

I’ve never made cornbread dressing, but this looks so yummy I’m tempted to try it!

Joan

November 22nd, 2011
9:43 am

Cornbread dressing

Jennifer D. Harris

November 22nd, 2011
9:47 am

To make this recipe gluten free just use gluten-free cornbread and gluten-free bread and make sure your stock is gluten free. All of the other ingredients are naturally gluten free. We make a version of this recipe every year at our house and it is delicious!

RGR

November 22nd, 2011
11:08 am

Something looks off on the quantities – only 2 cups of corn bread and 1/2 a cup of biscuits to 2 cups of chicken stock. Sounds like it would be a soup mess!

Edward

November 22nd, 2011
12:23 pm

Looks a little plain. I make a dressing with a similar base, but I add a pound of bulk hot pork sausage that I brown and drain off the fat. I also add some diced dark meat from the turkey.

james

November 22nd, 2011
12:59 pm

@Edward – turkey bits in the dressing?!! That’s just wrong

Jenny Turknett

November 22nd, 2011
1:01 pm

RGR – it works. Because there is a great deal of variation in the moisture content of biscuit and cornbread recipes, this is a good starter recipe for the dressing. As noted, you may need to add more cornbread/biscuit to achieve the correct consistency.

Edward – this may look plain, but it is deceptively full of flavor. But, definitely, use it as a base to add any of your favorite ingredients (bacon, sausage, jalapenos, etc).

M. Johnson

November 22nd, 2011
4:53 pm

Sounds great. Thanks for sharing.

PapaDoc

November 22nd, 2011
10:56 pm

My grandmother, Glennie Mae, taught me this recipe and I have had the responsibility of producing the goods each Thanksgiving. I have branched out to a Cajun dressing, an oyster dressing for my sister-in-law, but have to deliver on the Grandmother’s Stuffing if I am to stay in the house. I love the process of prep. It is a highlight of my year. Thanks for giving it some attention.

Becky

November 23rd, 2011
2:39 pm

This is pretty much how I make my cornbread dressing with the exception of celery and milk, plus I add sage..Yummy..

Linda Adams Davis

November 23rd, 2011
4:55 pm

pretty much as I make my dressing, as did my wonderful Mother. I like lots of sage!!

La Tanya Moses

November 23rd, 2011
5:34 pm

I’ve never heard of authentic dressing without the diced giblets, sage, and celery… MANDATORY

Rizzeh

November 23rd, 2011
7:56 pm

I like this recipe with sage instead of poultry seasoning, I think poultry seasoning tastes too much like Stove Top. Also you can add cooked chicken to this and have it for dinner during the rest of the year. It’s really good!

Daddysgirl

November 25th, 2011
2:02 pm

How many servings? What size pan?