My grandmother’s Southern Cornbread Dressing is the one thing the whole family scrambles to get on Thanksgiving Day. This moist dressing is chocked full of cornbread, turkey drippings, seasoning vegetables, and herbs!
Everyone’s grandma has a signature dressing or stuffing recipe, and mine was no different. Grandma’s Southern Cornbread Dressing is like no other. Like most grandmas, ours didn’t write down many of her recipes, they were “a little of this and a little of that”, so one of my aunts worked with her to get it all on paper, and I’m so glad that she did!
This recipe has been passed down to my mom, and now to me and my sister. We make it several times a year, usually for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
There are a couple of things that make this Southern Cornbread Dressing very moist: the addition of cooked chicken or turkey, cream of chicken soup, and the turkey drippings. It doesn’t even need gravy to make it better, but of course, we add it to the turkey on our plates!
As I said, this recipe has been made for generations, so it’s almost foolproof! This dressing isn’t stuffed into the bird, it’s made in a casserole dish and we like it best that way!
Tips for the best Southern Cornbread Dressing:
- Gather, chop, and measure all of your ingredients and have them ready to go.
- Bake the cornbread a day or two ahead if time permits. Cool and crumble it into a large bowl and cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel. Allow it to sit on the counter to dry out. Stale cornbread is ideal for making the dressing. If you don’t have this kind of time, crumble the cornbread onto a sheet pan and dry it in the oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes.
- It’s important to follow the directions and make sure to saute the vegetables so you don’t end up with crunchy pieces in the dressing.
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Southern Cornbread Dressing
- 2 9x13 pans cornbread (non-sweet cornbread)
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced green bell pepper
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup chopped Italian parsley (about 1 bunch)
- 1 sleeve saltine crackers crushed
- 2 (26-oz) family-sized cans cream of chicken soup
- 2 cups roasted turkey drippings (or chicken broth)
- 2 turkey wings
- 2 turkey thighs
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Two to three days in advance, bake cornbread, cool, crumble and let sit at room temperature, covered loosely with a clean kitchen towel, to dry out.
- Season the turkey wings and thighs generously on all sides and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Roast at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and continue baking for an additional hour.
- Cool completely. Pour off drippings and reserve. Remove the meat from the bones and discard skin and bones. Coarsely chop meat and set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter and saute onions, celery, and bell pepper until tender.
- Once tender, stir in garlic and saute for about 30 seconds; do not brown.
- In a very large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, sauteed vegetables, parsely, crushed saltine crackers, cream of chicken soup, 2 cups of drippings and chopped meat. (If you are short on drippings, add chicken broth.)
- Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Pour dressing into 2 large greased baking dishes.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown on top and heated through. If browning too much, cover loosely with foil.