Cornbread Dressing with Fresh Herbs

When I was growing up, we always had stuffing and dressing on our Thanksgiving table.  Same recipe, but two completely different dishes.  If you would have asked me back then if I was a stuffing or dressing gal, without hesitation I would have responded-- "Stuffing, for sure!"  The stuffing was always super moist, almost to the point of being gummy.  Every bit of turkey drippings was soaked up by the dried bread.  The dressing, on the other hand, always seemed a bit dry, or I should politely say, a good reason for another spoonful of gravy.  

Times have changed and my preference for food textures has changed as well.  If you are a reader, you probably know by now that I like to go homemade whenever I can.  It is fresher, it tastes better, and I know where it came from.  True, it does take more time, but the end result is worth it.  Mom always made the stuffing/dressing recipe using Pepperidge Farm bags of bread cubes, a box of Jiffy mix, and poultry seasoning.  It was good and well received, but like I said, times have changed.  That is where my homemade white bread and sweet cornbread recipes come in to play.  Great for sandwiches and dinner bread, they also give this dressing great flavor.  Using fresh herbs, like thyme, sage, and parsley, instead of the powdered poultry seasoning also helps to bring this much loved dish into the twenty-first century.

Along with the updated flavor, I knew the texture needed a makeover as well.  I wanted the tenderness of the stuffing with the crispness of the dressing.  A mixture of chicken broth, half-and-half, and eggs serves to bind the mixture of bread cubes.  Once baked, the dressing stays moist and tender on the inside while the top is golden brown and crunchy.  It is a food marriage of stuffing and dressing.  

If you are up for baking from scratch and using my recipes for white bread and cornbread, you will need about 12 slices of white bread and 1/3 of the recipe for the cornbread.  Save the ends of the bread for toast or sandwiches and the leftover cornbread for soups or stew.  If you are pressed for time or just not a baker, then purchase a good quality white bread and cornbread for tasty results.

Cornbread Dressing with Fresh Herbs
serves 10-12

1 1/2 pounds (about 9 cups) good white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 pound (about 3 cups) sweet cornbread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 Tablespoons (3-ounces) unsalted butter
2 medium onions (about 2 cups), finely diced
3 medium celery ribs (about 1 1/2 cups), finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 Tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
2 cups chicken broth, divided
1/2 cup whole milk or half-and-half
3 extra large eggs
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4-1/3 cup turkey drippings, reserved from roasted turkey

Preheat the oven to 250º F.  Place the white bread and corn bread cubes on a large baking sheet.  Bake until the edges are dried but the centers are still soft, about 45 minutes.  (If two baking sheets are needed, adjust racks in upper-middle and lower-middle position and rotate halfway through baking).  Bread can be dried a day in advance.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish, set aside.  Preheat the oven to 375º F.

In a large bowl, toss together the white bread cubes and the corn bread cubes; set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the onions and celery; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the garlic, thyme, and sage and sauté for 1 minute.  Add 1/2 cup broth to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Pour the vegetable mixture over the bread cubes and toss to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining chicken broth, half-and-half, and eggs.  Pour the broth mixture over the bread mixture; add the parsley and toss to combine.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.  Pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup turkey drippings over the dressing.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Mom


  1. What a great recipe - I always struggle with stuffing - but this sounds a total winner - thanks for this - it will grace my Thanksgiving table! happy Thanksgiving to you and yours
    Mary x

  2. Mary-
    Thank you:) I do hope you enjoy the recipe. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

  3. Looks sooo delicious! Thank you so much sharing this.

  4. That's my Mom's Cornbread Dressing Recipe as well handed down to her from my Grandmother. It is actually what I look forward to most at Thanksgiving time. Thanks for re-affirming the memory. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

    1. Gotta love those family recipes☹. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

  5. Is it okay to stuff the Turkey with this recipe?

  6. What can I sub for the turkey drippings since I will not have any when I prepare the stuffing? Do I bake the extra stuffing for the same amount of time as the full recipe?

    1. You won't need to sub anything for the turkey drippings for the stuffing since it is stuffed inside the bird. As far as the dressing, you can use some drippings after the turkey is roasted. Yes you will need to reduce the cooking time, but it will depend on how big the turkey cavity is and how much dressing you have to bake. Start checking after 30 minutes and look to see when it is golden brown on top.

  7. If I'm making this dressing separately and won't have turkey drippings, can I substitute chicken broth?

    1. Yes. It will lose that deep turkey flavor, but it will still be good.

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