Southern Cornbread Dressing

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My Southern Cornbread Dressing is jamming with layers of flavor in every bite. The homemade cornbread, fresh chopped seasonings, herbs, and spices make this dressing one your family will enjoy even when it’s not Thanksgiving dinner.

Southern Cornbread Dressing

One of the first recipes my mom ever taught me was her cornbread dressing recipe. She taught me how to add tons of great flavor throughout.

This cornbread dressing recipe is all my mother’s fault. I probably would never have shared this recipe with the world. If it wasn’t for my mother making this incredible dish to bless our Thanksgiving table. She learned from my grandma’s cornbread dressing. She added her twist to it, and now you’re about to learn how I put my twist to mine.

Southern cornbread dressing isn’t difficult to make, but I will admit there are some steps to take to create this culinary magic, but once you smell it baking in your oven, set it on the dinner table and take your first bite. You’ll know what I know, and that is it was worth the time and effort.

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What is Southern Cornbread Dressing?

Cornbread dressing is popular in the Southern United States, where it is often referred to as “dressing” or “stuffing.” Cornbread dressing is made by baking cornbread, crumbling it, and mixing it with ingredients such as vegetables, meats, or poultry. It is usually served as a side dish during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The exact ingredients and preparation for cornbread dressing vary from the household. I know for a fact my mom and all her siblings make it different from each other. Some recipes call for cubed cornbread, while others call for crumbled cornbread. Some recipes include eggs, milk, butter, or broth, while others do not. The vegetables used in cornbread dressing vary as well, with some recipes calling for chopped onions, celery, and green bell peppers and others calling for dried herbs and seasonings.

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Key Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for your Southern cornbread dressing recipe.

Chicken Gizzards

The flavor of chicken gizzards is what makes this cornbread dressing special. The depth of flavor this expensive organ meat adds to a dressing is undeniable.

Fresh Sage

Most cornbread dressings recipes you’ll find may call for poultry seasoning. Those are good, but fresh always beats dry.

Ground Beef

An uncommon ingredient for sure but ground beef will get nice and crispy and add a layer of flavor you never knew was missing from your dressing.

Cornbread

I only use homemade buttermilk cornbread in my dressing.

Seasonings

In New Orleans, seasonings can be fresh vegetables like onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic.

Chicken Stock

You do not need to buy any chicken stock because we’re going to make our own with the chicken gizzards.

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How to Make Southern Cornbread Dressing?

I want my Southern Cornbread Dressing recipe to be fun, taste good, and not as hard as you thought. Your dressing should have a golden brown crust, moist interior, and bursting with flavor!

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400°F. In a medium pot, cover gizzards with water, bring to a boil, skim off any waste that floats to the top. Strain the broth and set aside 1 cup. Remove the sinew, add gizzards to the food processor, and blitz for 1 minute; it should be chopped into medium pieces.

Step 2: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until brown for about  7 minutes. You want to chop with a spoon, so the ground beef breaks down and gets crispy. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery, and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne, and Worcestershire(secret ingredient), cook until fragrant.

Step 3: In a large bowl, crumble cornbread, add the ground beef mix, gizzards and add ½ cup of gizzard stock; stir to combine, and add another ¼ cup if dressing is a little dry. Cornbread should be moist and stick together when pressed on the side of the bowl with a spoon. No extra liquid should be at the bottom of the bowl.

Step 4: Pour the cornbread mixture into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking dish, bake for 20 minutes until top is brown and crusty. Cool for 15 minutes before serving hot.

Here’s a link to my easy cornbread recipe.

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Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks

Here are the best practices, techniques, substitutes, and flavor builders you’ll need for Southern cornbread dressing.

  • You can use store-bought cornbread if you want; you’ll need 8 oz. boxes to make enough cornbread.
  • When you make homemade cornbread, you want a thick batter. Thick batter equals fluffy, moist, and tender cornbread.
  • For a lighter version, use ground turkey instead of lean ground beef.
  • Do NOT skip the step of using chicken gizzards. This one ingredient will make yours 10 times better than anybody else’s cornbread dressing at the potluck dinner.
  • Gizzards are made of meat and sinew. It’s easier to cut after boiling.
  • Worcestershire sauce is the secret ingredient because it adds more depth of flavor to the ground beef and gizzards.
  • You can use frozen seasoning mix (onion, celery, and bell pepper) instead of fresh; just thaw before using.
  • If you’re a fan of poultry seasoning, feel free to add it to the dressing.
  • Dressing is properly moistened when it holds together when pressed on the side of the bowl with a spoon.
  • Feel free to use chicken stock, vegetable broth, or turkey broth instead of gizzard stock.
  • You can make dressing in a casserole dish, deep baking dish, or cast iron skillet.
  • You can make the dressing ahead of time and finish in the oven. Once you add dressing to the baking dish, cool, wrap with foil, and refrigerate. On the day of cooking, take it out 15 minutes before popping in the oven and continue following the recipe.
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FAQs

Here are the top questions readers have about making southern cornbread dressing.

Do you put eggs in Southern cornbread dressing?

Personally, I have never heard of adding eggs to dressing. Theoretically, that would make a cornbread souffle and put too much air in the dish. Most people use eggs to add moisture and to act as a binder in their dressing. However, your cornbread should already have eggs in it, and when combined with the stock should hold together just fine.

Is cornbread dressing a Southern thing?

Yes, cornbread dressing is a Southern specialty. Everywhere else, they serve stuffing with white bread, but in the South, cornbread dressing is a one-of-a-kind side served with Thanksgiving dinner.

Is cornbread stuffing the same as cornbread dressing?

Yes, cornbread stuffing and cornbread dressing are the same.

What is the difference between dressing and stuffing at Thanksgiving?

The difference between dressing and stuffing is in the name. Traditionally dressing is a side dish made with cornbread on the Thanksgiving tables.
 
While stale bread, wheat bread, or bread crumbs are used in stuffing. Also, stuffing is placed inside the turkey and baked. Stuffing a turkey can be a challenging technique to pull off because the turkey takes 6-8 hours to cook while the stuffing only takes 20-30 minutes. Several families experience food poisoning because of this.

What is the best way to dry out cornbread for dressing?

The best way to achieve dry cornbread for dressing is to make it from scratch and make it the day before. If you have a dependable recipe, your cornbread should be the perfect density for your dressing.

Why is my cornbread dressing gummy?

There could be a few reasons why your cornbread dressing turned gummy. One reason might be that you used too much chicken stock, which made the bread absorb too much moisture and caused it to become soggy. Another possibility is that you didn’t bake the cornbread long enough, resulting in a dense final product.
 
Finally, it’s possible that the ingredients you used didn’t mix well together, which created a clumpy texture. If you want to avoid a gummy texture in your cornbread dressing, try using less liquid, baking the bread for longer, or mixing the ingredients more thoroughly.

How to store Cornbread Dressing?

Cornbread dressing is best 3 days after baking but will be fresh for 7 days in an airtight container in the fridge. You can freeze it by placing it in a freezer-safe container for 3 months.
 
Reheat dressing in a 350°F oven for 10-12 minutes or until hot.

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More Southern Recipes

If you’re looking for more great dishes to add to your table this holiday season, here are a few recipes that are sure to please everyone at family gatherings.

Latest Recipe Video:

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Before You Begin

Here are my steps for getting organized before I start anything.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°F before pulling the ingredients out for your cornbread dressing.

Step 2: Measure everything out.

Step 3: Start following the recipe and get ready for the most amazing southern cornbread dressing recipe you’ve ever had.

I hope you’ll give my southern cornbread dressing recipe a try. It’s one of my family favorites, and I know your family will love it too! If you do make it for a holiday meal, please leave a comment and star rating below. I always love to hear from you.

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Southern Cornbread Dressing

Kenneth Temple
My Southern Cornbread Dressing is jamming with layers of flavor in every bite. The homemade cornbread, fresh chopped seasonings, herbs, and spices make this dressing one your family will enjoy even when it's not Thanksgiving dinner.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 38 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern
Servings 8 persons
Calories 514 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lbs. chicken gizzards boiled, sinew removed, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground chuck
  • 1 medium onion chopped medium
  • 1 bell pepper chopped medium
  • 2 celery stalks chopped medium
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb. cornbread
  • 1 cup gizzard stock
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter room temperature

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. In a pot, add gizzards and cover with water, bring to a boil, skim off any waste that floats to the top. Strain liquid and set aside 1 cup. Remove the sinew and add gizzards to the food processor, and blitz for 1 minute, should be chopped in medium pieces.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, add ground beef and cook until brown for about 7 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery, and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne, and Worcestershire, cook for 15 seconds.
  • In a bowl, break up cornbread, add the ground beef mix, gizzards and add ½ cup of gizzard stock; stir to combine, add another ¼ cup if dressing is a little dry. Cornbread should be moist with no extra liquid at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Butter a 9 x 13 pan, add cornbread dressing, and bake for 20 minutes until the top is brown and crusty. Cool for 15 minutes before serving hot.

Notes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks
Here are the best practices, techniques, substitutes, and flavor builders you’ll need for Southern cornbread dressing.
  • You can use store-bought cornbread if you want; you’ll need 8 oz. boxes to make enough cornbread.
  • When you make homemade cornbread, you want a thick batter. Thick batter equals fluffy, moist, and tender cornbread.
  • For a lighter version, use ground turkey instead of lean ground beef.
  • Do NOT skip the step of using chicken gizzards. This one ingredient will make yours 10 times better than anybody else’s cornbread dressing at the potluck dinner.
  • Gizzards are meat and sinew. It’s easier to cut after boiling.
  • Worcestershire sauce is the secret ingredient because it adds more depth of flavor to the ground beef and gizzards.
  • You can use frozen seasoning mix (onion, celery, and bell pepper) instead of fresh; just thaw before using.
  • If you’re a fan of poultry seasoning, feel free to add it to the dressing.
  • Dressing is properly moistened when it holds together when pressed on the side of the bowl with a spoon.
  • Feel free to use chicken stock, vegetable broth, or turkey broth instead of gizzard stock.
  • You can make dressing in a casserole dish, deep baking dish, or cast iron skillet.
  • You can make the dressing ahead of time and finish in the oven. Once you add dressing to the baking dish, cool, wrap with foil, and refrigerate. On the day of cooking, take it out 15 minutes before popping in the oven and continue following the recipe.
Storage:
Cornbread dressing is best 3 days after baking but will be fresh for 7 days in an airtight container in the fridge. You can freeze it by placing it in a freezer-safe container for 3 months.
Reheat dressing in a 350°F oven for 10-12 minutes or until hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 514kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 26gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 200mgSodium: 1239mgPotassium: 444mgFiber: 5gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 781IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 71mgIron: 5mg
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