Is there anything else that smells as much like Mom’s kitchen as a pan of piping hot cornbread dressing? Whether baked and served in a cast iron skillet, baking dish, or enamel roasting pan, the cornbread dressing is always placed front and center on the dinner table. You might be able to get away with making Melting Sweet Potatoes  instead of the Classic Sweet Potato Casserole or Smothered Green Beans  instead of the traditional Green Bean Casserole, but don’t even think about changing up the family cornbread dressing. The best dressing always starts with a good cornbread recipe. If making dressing with store-bought cornbread or a mix different than the one we use in this recipe, be sure that it’s more savory than sweet—3 grams of sugar or less per serving is ideal. The cornbread gives the dressing structure and goes a long way in determining the texture of the dish. For best practices, don't use fresh baked bread or you will wind up with a soggy bread soup. To make good dressing, your cornbread needs to be dried first. Crumble or cube cooled cornbread and put it in a large plastic bag. Leave the bag open so air can get in and dry the bread. You can let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Melissa Gray

Gallery

Credit: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe Summary

active:
15 mins
stand:
30 mins
bake:
1 hr
total:
1 hr 45 mins
Servings:
10
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add chopped onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 1 minute. Remove from heat.

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  • Stir together cornbread cubes, broth, eggs, salt, pepper, and onion mixture in a large bowl until well combined. Spoon cornbread mixture into prepared dish; let stand 30 minutes at room temperature to allow liquid to absorb into dry ingredients. Cover with aluminum foil.

  • Bake in preheated oven 45 minutes. Uncover; continue baking until golden brown and set, about 15 minutes. Garnish with chopped thyme.

Cornbread Dressing Stir-ins

Cheesy Bacon-and-Sage
Prepare Best Cornbread Dressing recipe, stirring 6 cooked, crumbled bacon slices (¾ cup), 1 ½ cups shredded Gruyère cheese, and 1 ½ tsp. chopped fresh sage into cornbread mixture in Step 2. Sprinkle with ½ cup shredded Gruyère; cover with aluminum foil.

Spicy Mushroom, Sausage, and Walnuts
Cook 1 lb. hot Italian sausage in a skillet over medium-high until crumbled and browned, 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels; reserve drippings in pan. Add 1 (8-oz.) pkg. sliced baby portobello mushrooms to pan; cook until golden. Prepare Best Cornbread Dressing recipe, stirring sausage, mushrooms, and 1 cup toasted walnuts into cornbread mixture in Step 2.

Cranberry, Apple, and Pecan
Prepare Best Cornbread Dressing recipe, stirring 1 cup dried cranberries, 2 cups chopped apple, 1 cup chopped pecans, and 1 ½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary into cornbread mixture in Step 2.

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