This is the best recipe I got. It’s all here, folks. I may turn out the lights on this blog after sharing this.
I saved this recipe for years to put in my second cookbook. There’s a ‘Thanksgiving for Two’ feast in the book, and this cornbread dressing is in it, albeit in a small pan for two. Here, I doubled it to serve 4-6 for our small Thanksgiving series we’ve got going on.
Like all good things, this recipe is first my Mama’s. She says she clipped it from a Southern Living magazine decades ago, and quite frankly, it’s the only type of dressing or stuffing I’ve ever tasted in my life. I don’t need to try any other dressings; this is as good as it gets. I just know it.
This cornbread dressing is the reason people drive for hours all over Texas to descend on my parents’ house for Turkey Day. Once you taste it, you will beg for an invite.
The thing is, I think this dressing recipe addresses every problem that can happen with other recipes. The crumbled cornbread and bread cubes are left out overnight to dry, so the dressing is never too wet. There’s milk, eggs, and chicken broth to make sure it’s never too dry. While other dressings might bake up flat and dense, this one has eggs for lift and fluff. Any potential set-backs to enjoy this carb-loaded, best-part-of-Thankgiving, I-might-skip-the-turkey-for-this-recipe have all been precariously planned for and diverted.
The spices are doubled and tripled what they used to be in the original Southern Living recipe, and still, I manage to amp them up every time I make the recipe. It just keeps getting better. Come to my house in 10 years, and I’ll be adding an entire cup of sage.
If you make this, you can address all fan mail to my Mama. I understand that no other dressing recipe will ever grace your table after you taste this one, so if you want to start a social media revolution and send me snaps, instagrams, and tweets of you burning the recipe card with your previous stuffing recipe, we can totally do that. You can find me anywhere in social media with the name ‘dessert for two.’ I’ll be waiting for you.
The recipe first starts with a batch of cornbread. You can use packaged mix like my Mama does, or you can use my small batch of cornbread, doubled. I baked it in 12 muffin cups, but you could also do an 8×8″ pan.
First, combine the dry ingredients: flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Oh, and sugar. Cuz where I’m from, cornbread has sugar. Glory be!
Stir in the buttermilk and egg.
And the butter! Don’t you dare forget the melted butter. See all the bubbles starting to form in the batter? That’s because buttermilk is magic.
Divide the mixture into 12 muffin cups, or use an 8×8″ pan. Your choice.
Now take all the pretties and crumble them up! Some large chunks are fine.
Now cube 4 slices of white bread. This is literally the only time I ever buy white bread. Ever.
To the crumbled cornbread and bread cubes, add the spices and salt. It’s supposed to be 1 1/2 teaspoons of rubbed sage and 2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning, but I’m clearly adding an entire tablespoon. You just can’t over-spice it. Also, don’t skimp on the salt: 1 1/2 teaspoons is perfect.
So, this is the part that is ideally done the day before. My Mama leaves her bread and spice mixture out overnight on the counter to go stale. If you didn’t plan ahead, dry it in the oven to 10 minutes while the oven preheats.
Now, this next step is a bit weird, but stay with me. We’ve come this far. You’re going to saute 2/3 cup of onions and celery in 6 tablespoons of butter plus 2/3 cup of water. I know it’s weird to saute in water, but trust. Saute for about 5 minutes to soften the veggies.
Pour this golden mixture over the bread. (My butter is so golden yellow because I use Kerrygold!)
Add 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Or turkey broth. Whatever ya got.
Add 1/2 cup of milk.
And two beaten eggs. I suppose you could beat the eggs into the milk and add them, but then you’d miss out on another blurry photo opp.
When you stir it all together, it will be very moist. Don’t worry your pretty little head over this.
Scrape it all into a dish. I used this oblong one, but it’s equivalent to an 8×8″ square pan. Perfect dressing for 4-6 people! Don’t smoosh and flatten the dressing. The craggy top develops a great crust.
Bake at 400-degrees for 20 minutes. Taste. Tell me it’s the only Thanksgiving dressing recipe you’ll ever need in life. Amen.
1 hrPrep Time
30 minCook Time
1 hr, 30 Total Time
- Cornbread Muffin Recipe:
- 1 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 recipe of corn muffins (above)
- 4 slices of white bread
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
- 2 teaspoons dried poultry seasoning
- 2/3 cup chopped celery
- 2/3 cup chopped onion
- 2/3 cup water
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 400. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with 12 liners, or have ready an 8x8" square dish.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a glass measuring cup, beat the eggs into the buttermilk and add to the dry ingredients.
- Stir until combined, and then stir in the melted butter.
- Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake for 12-13 minutes. The muffins are done when the tops spring back when pressed on.
- Let the muffins cool completely.
- Keep the oven at 400.
- Now, make the stuffing: crumble the cornbread muffins into a large bowl. Large chunks are okay.
- Dice the bread into 1" cubes, and add it to the bowl.
- Stir in the salt and spices. You can do this a day ahead of time, and let it sit out on the counter to go stale overnight. Or, you can dry it in the oven while it preheats.
- Next, in a small sauce pan, add the celery, onion, water, and butter. Saute over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, just to soften the veggies. There will be a lot of liquid in the pan.
- Pour the liquid over the cornbread and bread cubes. Stir well.
- Stir the chicken broth into the bowl.
- Next, beat the eggs into the milk, and it to the bowl, too.
- Stir everything together very well.
- Pour into an 8x8" pan (or equivalent). Do not smooth the top--rough edges are desirable.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.