There are so many things to love about this holiday classic! In addition to the taste, which is divine, you can make this old-fashioned, southern-style recipe ahead. And it’s simple to make.
In the South, cornbread dressing recipes have been passed down through generations, and there are almost as many variations as there are Thanksgiving turkeys. This classic recipe, which includes hard-boiled eggs, is reminiscent of the dressing or stuffing you probably remember as a child.
Besides eggs, the one constant in most of these old-fashioned recipes is butter! And, this recipe calls for, hold on to your hat, two full sticks of butter! And butter is what makes this dressing so moist and flavorful! I know what you’re thinking, but it’s only once a year.
Why you will love this recipe:
- Besides being easy, you can make both the cornbread and the dressing over a month ahead of the big day and freeze it. Or you can make both a day or two before, either way, works.
- This dressing has a crispy crust over a fabulously moist, savory, and flavorful filling.
- This recipe is versatile; depending on your family likes, you can add dried fruit like cranberries, fresh fruit, like apples, or nuts, like roasted pecans to make it your own.
Here’s what you will need:
- Cornbread: homemade or purchased.
- Butter: unsalted; if you use salted butter, reduce the amount of salt you add.
- Onion: I like Vidalias, but any sweet onion works.
- Green bell pepper: adds color and a touch of sweetness.
- Celery: it wouldn’t be dressing without celery.
- Hard-boiled and raw eggs: the raw eggs bind everything together, and the hard-boiled eggs make it a classic.
- Poultry seasoning: is full of sage and thyme. You can substitute one teaspoon of sage and one-half teaspoon of either thyme or marjoram. To use fresh herbs, double the amounts.
- Chicken stock: You can use purchased or homemade chicken stock. If you wait to make the dressing on the big day, add your turkey drippings to the stock.
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper: two flavor enhancers that make everything better. I have listed a suggested amount of salt, but how much you will need depends on how salty your stock is, whether you use unsalted butter or not, and your personal preference.
How to make it:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add the butter to a large skillet over low heat. Stir in the onions, celery, and green bell pepper.
Saute the vegetables for ten minutes or until they are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
While the vegetables are cooking, crumble the cornbread in a large bowl and add the hard-boiled eggs, two cups of chicken broth, and the poultry seasoning.
Add the cooked vegetables and mix until everything is well combined. You can use a spoon, but your hands work best for this task.
Add the kosher salt and ground black pepper. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
Add the beaten raw eggs and mix well.
Don’t be alarmed if the mixture is soupy. If it’s not, add up to one more cup of chicken broth, a little at a time, until it is just this side of soupy. It should be about the consistency of a very thick cornbread batter.
Pour the mixture into a well-greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish or a two-quart baking dish.
Bake uncovered 45 to 50 minutes, or until the dressing is set and golden brown.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the difference between stuffing and dressing?
These days the terms are used interchangeably. Whether it’s called stuffing or dressing mostly has to do with where you are from. In the south, we usually refer to it as dressing.
Originally, dressing referred to a bread mixture that was cooked outside the turkey in a separate dish. If the bread mixture was stuffed inside the turkey, it was called stuffing.
Today folks rarely stuff their birds anymore because the stuffing has to come up to 165 degrees to cook correctly. By the time this happens, the turkey is overdone.
Can you make it ahead of time?
Why, yes, you can! It’s even better if it sits overnight before baking. You can make it up to two days ahead and store it in the refrigerator before baking. Or, you can freeze it for up to two months. Let it thaw completely in the fridge overnight before cooking.
Is this recipe gluten-free?
If you need to make a gluten-free dressing, I recommend that you either purchase gluten-free cornbread or use my easy gluten-free Old-Fashioned Southern Buttermilk Cornbread recipe to make your cornbread.
If you get in a bind and run out of time to make cornbread for the dressing, around the holidays, most grocery stores and bakeries sell pre-made cornbread or corn muffins, which you can use instead of making your own. Just try to avoid cornbread with sugar added.
My easy Traditional Southern-Style Cornbread recipe is perfect for this recipe.
To make this dressing gluten-free, use my recipe for gluten-free Old-Fashioned Southern Buttermilk Cornbread. It doesn’t contain any flour and is made with just cornmeal.
If making ahead, cover and refrigerate the unbaked cornbread dressing for up to three days or freeze for up to two months. Let it thaw overnight before baking.
It’s best to make or purchase your cornbread two days or so ahead of making the dressing to allow it to dry out.
Be sure to taste the dressing before adding the raw eggs to see if you need to add more poultry seasoning, salt, or pepper.
Check your dressing about halfway through the cooking time. If it starts looking dry, sprinkle a few more tablespoons of chicken stock evenly over the top.
I almost always make two types of dressing for Thanksgiving; here are links to two other of my favorite recipes:
Make-Ahead Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Pecans, and Sourdough Bread with Apple and Pecan Dressing.
Just as Thanksgiving and the holidays wouldn’t be the same without dressing, it also wouldn’t be the same without these delicious side dishes:
- Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Bourbon
- Ultimate Broccoli Cheese Casserole
- Southern Cheesy Corn Pudding
- Green Bean Pie with a Ritz Cracker Crust and Onion Ring Topping
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Apples and Oranges
- Southern Sweet Onion Casserole
If you need more menu inspiration, check out my roundup posts Top Ten Thanksgiving Sides and Menu Ideas, 42 Best Savory Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes and Menu Ideas, 35 Best Sweet Potato Recipes, or 25 Best Thanksgiving Dressing and Stuffing Recipes.
And, if you are looking for a special dessert, check out my two recipe roundup posts: 40 Best Desserts for Thanksgiving and 50 Best Thanksgiving Desserts You Need to Make Now.
And finally, if you need more recipes or ideas for the best turkey ever, check out all of my Thanksgiving recipes here.
★ If you make this dish, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thanks so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Traditional Cornbread Dressing Recipe
- 9 inches round of cornbread purchased or homemade
- 1 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 sweet onion medium, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper medium, seeded and chopped
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 4 hard-boiled eggs peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 3 cups chicken broth divided
- 2 raw eggs beaten
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add butter to a large skillet over low heat. Stir in onions, celery, and green bell pepper; saute vegetables for 10 minutes or until softened.
- While the vegetables are cooking, crumble cornbread in a large bowl. Add hard-boiled eggs, two cups of chicken broth, and poultry seasoning.
- Add the cooked vegetables and mix well to combine everything. You can use a spoon, but your hands work best for this task. Taste and add kosher salt and ground black pepper.
- Add beaten eggs and mix well. Don't be alarmed if the mixture is soupy. If it's not, add up to one more cup of chicken broth, a little at a time, until it is soupy. It should be about the consistency of thick cornbread batter.
- Pour the mixture into a well-greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish or large baking dish.
- Bake uncovered 45 to 50 minutes, or until the dressing is set and golden brown.
*This recipe was originally published on October 29, 2017. It was republished on October 17, 2020, to add new images, and expanded directions and tips.