Our family’s favorite Thanksgiving Cornbread Dressing! This dressing has tender, sweet cubes of cornbread tossed with crusty sourdough and the perfect combination of fresh seasonal herbs.
As you plan your Thanksgiving menu, this cornbread dressing is a must-have on the table! We love this wild rice salad, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, and roasted Brussels sprouts to go alongside it as other sides.
The BEST Cornbread Dressing
This is our absolute favorite dressing recipe and a must-have on our Thanksgiving table every year. If I’m honest, I’d even pick this over the turkey!
The cornbread adds such a great depth of flavor and slight sweetness to the dressing; it perfectly complements the sourdough bread. The veggies are slowly sautéed in melted butter and tossed with myriad fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano and parsley. This combination of herbs not only makes your cornbread dressing smell incredible; it makes your entire home smell amazing!
Cornbread Dressing Tips
- Buy good bakery cornbread. While you absolutely can make your own cornbread for this dressing, I recommend picking freshly baked cornbread from the bakery instead. This dressing is already fairly time-consuming, so save yourself some work here. If you want to make your own cornbread, then by all means do so (this cornbread recipe is our favorite).
- Cut the bread into equal-sized pieces and dry it out. The secret to avoiding soggy dressing is to use completely dry bread. We ensure the bread and cornbread are completely dried out by baking for 45 minutes. Make sure to cut all the sourdough bread and cornbread into equal-sized 1-inch pieces so they can dry out and bake evenly.
- Take your time sautéing the onion and celery. We want both to be very tender before tossing with the pieces of bread since they don’t soften up too much more in the oven.
- Use unsalted butter. There is a lot of butter in this recipe (so you know this is going to be good!), but this cornbread dressing will end up overly salty if you use salted butter. Pick unsalted, instead, so you can perfectly control the seasoning.
- Season to taste. Don’t forget the power of salt and pepper in such a simple dish; a little goes a long way! The amount you’ll need will certainly vary depending on the saltiness of the cornbread, sourdough bread, and chicken stock/broth you use.
- Finely dice the herbs. While it takes more time, it is important the herbs are very finely diced. This helps them disperse more evenly so you don’t get an overpowering bite of one specific herb in the dressing.
Buying individual packages of each of the fresh herbs called for in this recipe can be pretty costly. Around Thanksgiving time, many grocery stores offer a fresh “poultry” herb blend that you can use and it typically contains rosemary, sage and thyme. This leaves just buying fresh parsley and oregano. If you don’t want to grab an entire package of oregano just for this recipe, use 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano instead, or simply leave it out.
Make sure to get flat-leaf Italian parsley, as opposed to curly for this recipe. Flat-leaf parsley has a more robust flavor and curly parsley is used more commonly as a garnish.
Homemade Cornbread Dressing does require a good amount of time in the oven. This particular recipe requires well over an hour of cooking time (between drying out the bread/cornbread and baking the dressing), so you’ll want to plan in advance if you have limited oven space.
To cut down on overall oven time, you can dry out the bread and cornbread in the morning or even a day before. If you bake the bread/cornbread ahead of time, store it in an airtight container at room temperature.
Cornbread Dressing a great recipe to make ahead of time. To do this, completely assemble the dressing right up to the point of baking it and stop there. Cover it tightly and refrigerate. The next day, remove the dressing from the fridge, allow it to come to room temperature and then bake in a preheated oven. You will likely need to add an additional 5-10 minutes to the cooking time; just watch for the top to lightly brown and bread cubes to feel crisp on top.
I don’t recommend making Cornbread Dressing more than one day in advance.
Cornbread Dressing Storage
Cornbread Dressing is one of those recipes that is best hot out of the oven; it’s not a great candidate for freezing or storing past a couple of days. You can reheat leftovers in the oven, but with a loss of texture. The cornbread especially becomes mushy after the initial serving of this recipe.
More Thanksgiving recipes
- Thanksgiving Saladwith roasted butternut squash
- Sweet Potato Casserolewith marshmallows and pecans
- Turkey & Cranberry Saladusing leftover turkey
- Roasted Carrotstwo ways!
- Thanksgiving Cookiesmade to look like a cornucopia
- 6cups (269g)good-quality sourdough bread,cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4cups (311g)day-old cornbread,cut into 1-inch cubes
- 11tablespoons (155g)unsalted butter
- 2 and 1/2cups (326g)finely diced yellow onion(~2 medium onions)
- 1 and 1/3cups (171g)thinly sliced celery,(~6-8 stalks)
- 2teaspoonsminced garlic(~3-4 cloves)
- 1/2cup (25g)flat-leaf parsleyfinely diced
- 2tablespoonsfresh sagefinely diced (See Note 1)
- 1 tablespoonfresh rosemaryfinely diced
- 1 and 1/2tablespoonsfresh thymefinely diced
- 1teaspoonfresh oreganofinely diced
- Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 1 and 1/4cups (290g)chicken stock
PREP: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Generously grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
CORNBREAD AND BREAD: Cut the sourdough and cornbread into equal one-inch-wide pieces (1/2-inch thick); place both on a large, rimmed baking sheet (15×21 inches). Bake for 45 minutes, gently stirring the bread and cornbread cubes every 15 minutes, or until completely dried. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Now, increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
BUTTER AND VEGGIES: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the diced onions, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to lightly brown and the veggies are tender, about 10-15 minutes. While veggies are cooking, finely chop the herbs.
HERBS: Add all of the fresh chopped herbs (1/2 cup parsley, 2 tablespoons sage, 1 tablespoon rosemary, 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, and 1 and 1/2 tablespoons thyme) to the butter and veggie mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste (I use about 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper). Remove pan from heat and let it cool slightly.
EGGS AND CHICKEN STOCK: In a separate bowl, whisk the 2 eggs with a fork until smooth. Pour in the chicken stock and whisk again until smooth. Pour this mixture into the slightly cooled pan with the butter and herbs and gently stir to combine. (If the pot is super hot, you’ll scramble the eggs!)
COMBINEEVERYTHING: Add the cornbread and bread cubes to the pan. Stir very gently until all ingredients are combined and the bread/cornbread is well coated.
BAKE: Transfer this mixture to the prepared 9×13-inch baking dish. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until browned and crisp on top. Remove and serve immediately.
Prep ahead: Bread cubes can be baked up to 1 day in advance. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Make ahead: Completely assemble the ingredients according to the recipe right up until baking it. Instead of baking, cover the casserole dish tightly and refrigerate. The next day, remove the dressing from the fridge, allow it to come to room temperature, then bake in a preheated oven. You may need to add some additional baking time to the dressing. I don’t recommend making this Thanksgiving dressing more than 1 day in advance.
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