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Cornbread Stuffing

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Truth: Not everyone likes classic Thanksgiving stuffing. However, it’s hard to be mad at sweet, crunchy-yet-tender cornbread stuffing. We're okay with this. Also known as cornbread dressing, this dish is a classic in the South, where you’ll often find it mixed with sausage, bacon, jalapeños, nuts, even chopped oysters. We kept ours simple with flavors you’d find in classic stuffing, but don't let us stop you from jazzing up your own version with extras.

What's the difference between cornbread stuffing and dressing?

It's up for debate. Stuffing usually implies that it's stuffed and baked inside the bird, while "dressing" is a proper casserole side dish, baked separately. Nowadays, the terms can be used interchangeably. (We usually call it stuffing, but don't usually stuff it in the turkey during the bake.) 

What is the history of cornbread stuffing?

It has roots in the South African couscous-like dish called kusha, which evolved in America, where enslaved people swapped cooked cornmeal as the grain. Cornbread dressing recipes written by the enslaved have been uncovered in the South. 

Do I need to make my own cornbread?

No. We like to use our classic (and best) cornbread recipe, and we highly suggest you do the same. To make things easier, bake it the night before; by allowing it to cool completely and drying out a bit overnight, it'll be easier to break the cornbread into bigger, heartier hunks rather than small crumbles. You can also start with store-bought cornbread or a classic mix like Jiffy—just make sure that it will yield enough for this recipe.

Should I start with stale cornbread?

We like to! It reduces the risk of soggy stuffing and helps ensure the top gets super crispy. If you only have access to fresh cornbread, all is not lost: break up the cornbread into bite-sized pieces, spread on a sheet pan, and dry out the bread in a 200º oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Technically, you can use freshly baked, fully cooled cornbread, but your stuffing will be quite moist, closer to a corn casserole than a tender stuffing. (Or, if you like your stuffing super moist and only have stale bread, whisk in an extra cup of broth! This recipe can handle it.)

Why do I need eggs in cornbread stuffing?

Cornbread stuffing is inherently crumbly—the eggs help bind everything together. Otherwise, you've just got cornbread croutons mixed with sautéed veggies, which doesn't super appealing. 

How do I prevent gummy cornbread stuffing?

A gummy stuffing texture is due to the amount of stock (liquid) that you use. Too much and you'll have an overly moist, often gummy cornbread. Too little and you could risk a very dry bake. We think 1 cup is the perfect ratio for this recipe. A good rule of thumb to follow: Add liquid gradually. You want your cornbread to absorb the liquid; you shouldn't have a pool in the bottom of your mixing bowl.

How do I store leftovers of cornbread stuffing?

Keep leftovers covered or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can turn them into leftover stuffing waffles for a quick Thanksgiving sandwich, or use 'em up in a Thanksgiving stuffed pepper!

If you've made this recipe, drop us a comment down below and let us know how you liked it, as well as variations you made to your own stuffing (or is it dressing?)! 

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Save Recipe
Yields: 8 servings
Prep Time: 0 hours 20 mins
Total Time: 1 hour 50 mins
For the cornbread

Cooking spray, for pan

1 1/2 c.

yellow cornmeal

3/4 c.

all-purpose flour

1/4 c.

packed brown sugar

2 tsp.

baking powder

1/2 tsp.

baking soda

1 tsp.

kosher salt

1 c.

whole milk

1/2 c.



large eggs

3 tbsp.

melted butter, cooled slightly

For the stuffing
3 tbsp.

butter, plus more for pan


large onion, chopped


stalks celery, chopped

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper


cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp.

freshly chopped sage

2 tsp.

fresh thyme leaves



1 c.

low-sodium chicken broth

Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 400° and grease a 9"-x-13" baking pan generously with cooking spray. In a large bowl whisk together cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In another large bowl, whisk together milk, buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a fork until just incorporated. 
  3. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake until top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely then crumble into large pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Grease a large baking dish with butter and reduce oven temperature to 375°. 
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in onion and celery and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 8 minutes, then stir in garlic, sage, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and toss with crumbled cornbread. Season with salt and pepper. 
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and chicken broth. Pour over cornbread mixture and toss to coat, then transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake until toasted on top and hot throughout, about 30 minutes.

Parker Feierbach
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