How To Dry Out Cornbread In The Oven

We hope your cornbread is getting stale on the counter as we speak. If not, your oven just might be the answer.

Whether you're the hostess or you're bringing this year's Thanksgiving dressing, there is a lot of pressure to perfect this Southern staple. Even when referencing a trusty passed-down recipe, making cornbread can be overwhelming. The trick to truly great dressing, though, is all in the preparation. Here's what you should know about drying out cornbread for your Thanksgiving dressing, especially if you're relying on your oven.

Grandma's Cornbread Dressing

Alison Miksch

Why Do You Dry Cornbread For Dressing?

We all know good cornbread dressing hinges on perfectly stale (but not too stale) cornbread. Without adequate drying time, the cornbread becomes sloppy once it hits the casserole dish and mixes with the broth and eggs. No matter how long you bake soggy dressing, it will never perk up the way it should. It all comes down to advice planning.

But what if you didn't plan ahead? Luckily, you can dry out cornbread quickly in your oven.

How To Dry Out Cornbread In Your Oven

You can achieve the perfect crunch by letting crumbled cornbread go stale on the counter in open, zip-top bags, but you'll need at least 24 hours. If you don't have time to spare, toasting cornbread in the oven can create the ideal texture too.

  1. Preheat your oven to a low 275 degrees.
  2. Cut the cornbread into squares.
  3. Toast in the oven for 30-45 minutes until dry, tossing throughout
  4. Let the cornbread dry completely before using it in your dressing recipe.

The result is a cornbread that's dry and crunchy, but not tough like a crouton. This texture will allow the bread to absorb more stock and seasonings than a moist, soggy bread.

How To Make Cornbread

Need a recipe to start with before you begin drying? After creating your cornbread mixture, make the perfect dressing by following our Classic Cornbread Dressing recipe, which will be easy-peasy now that the time-consuming part is out of the way.

  1. The next step includes combing the cornbread mixture with other wet ingredients and stirring until moist.
  2. Using your trusty cast-iron skillet, melt butter into your dressing batter and then pour it into the hot skillet.
  3. You'll want to bake until the cornbread is golden, which should take around 25 minutes. Let it cool for an additional 20 minutes.
  4. At this time, you can remove the cornbread from the skillet to continue cooling on a wire rack, which can take another half an hour.

Cornbread can freeze in an airtight ziplock bag for up to one month so that you can start your holiday preparations early. When it's time to serve, thaw it in the refrigerator. Let the casserole dish sit in your fridge overnight so it's ready to pop into the oven when it's nearly time to eat.

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