Southern Cornbread Dressing: A Traditional Recipe


I get my foodie nature honestly, from generations of women who enjoyed cooking and eating both for reasons of necessity and economy as well as the desire to nurture friends and family around the table.  My maternal grandmother actually had her own cooking show, teaching a generation of war brides in El Paso, Texas how to cook simple, inexpensive meals for their families.

But my paternal grandmother was no slouch in the kitchen, either. My Granny grew up with a slightly different food education, learning the secrets and recipes at the elbows of the other matriarchs in our family. She measured flour with a teacup and her recipes were all by feel — a pinch of this and a dash of that. It drove my mother nearly crazy trying to learn to fix the things her new husband liked to eat from his mother’s table.

I wish I had learned more of her recipes and techniques while she was still able to teach them.  I’m lucky that my mom learned as much as she did from my Granny so that she can pass them on to me.  One of them I haven’t mastered? Frying things. Not my strong suit.  Maybe someday…

But one recipe I have mastered is my Granny’s cornbread and her famous (infamous?) cornbread dressing.  My Poppy, my dad and I all love the stuff.  Other people seem to be able to take it or leave it.  But it is pretty much a necessity to my mind at my Thanksgiving table.

It’s kind of like a savory bread pudding, thick and dense, not fluffy little cubes like the stuffing that comes from a box. I love the richness of the corn and custard, the savory flavors of sage and celery.  If there’s one dish that represents the holidays for me, this is it.

Southern Cornbread Dressing: A Traditional Recipe


  • 1 batch Granny's Corn Bread
  • 1/2 loaf dry white bread (ie: French or Italian)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T dried sage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 C celery, diced
  • 1 C onion, diced
  • 28 oz chicken broth
  • 2–3 T melted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Crumble cornbread and white bread into small crumbs. Look for a ratio of 2:1 cornbread to white bread. (You can do this stage up to 2 days in advance and allow the bread to get stale.)
  3. Whisk eggs, sage, salt, pepper, and dry mustard together and pour over bread mixture. Mix with hands until all bread is moist. Then add celery, onions, and chicken broth and stir until mixture resembles the thickness of cake batter. Add melted butter and stir just to combine.
  4. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 inch casserole.
  5. Bake for 30–40 minutes or until dressing is golden brown and firm.

Whatever your holiday traditions, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week. I’m so grateful for this community that has built up around this blog and for the opportunity to share with you all!

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