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Southern Cornbread Dressing in a white baking dish.

Southern Cornbread Dressing

My cherished family recipe for Southern Cornbread Dressing is wonderfully moist and seasoned with onions, celery, and sage.
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Southern, Vintage
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 240kcal


For the egg bread:

  • 2 cups finely ground white cornmeal sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil

For the dressing:

  • 2 onions
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 8 tbsp butter (1 stick)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Egg Bread recipe follows
  • 10.5 oz cream of chicken soup
  • 32 oz chicken (or turkey) broth or stock
  • 2 cups saltine crackers or leftover biscuits or stale bread (may need more to finish)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¾ tsp poultry seasoning
  • 3 eggs


Make the egg bread:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Sift together the cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add buttermilk and eggs, alternately.
  • Pour the cooking oil into an iron skillet and place it into the hot oven. Let the batter rest while the skillet and oil are heating (about 5 minutes).
  • Quickly pour the batter into the hot skillet and return immediately to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Allow the egg bread to cool completely before proceeding.

Assemble the dressing

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Chop the onions and celery.
  • Melt the butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the onions and celery cooking slowly until tender but without browning at all. Sprinkle with the ½ tsp. salt while cooking.
  • Meanwhile, crumble the egg bread into a large baking dish. Add the soup and broth and mix well using a potato masher or large fork to break up the egg bread to a fine texture.
  • Add the sautéed vegetables, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Taste and adjust for more salt if needed.
  • Lightly beat the eggs and add to the dressing mixture. Your mixture should be fairly “soupy.” If you think it’s too thin, you can add some additional bread, crackers, etc. to thicken it. Be sure to crumble them well and incorporate them into the mixture.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the dressing is golden brown on top and cooked throughout.


TO MAKE AHEAD: (1) Bake the egg bread one to two days ahead. Let it cool, then crumble it and store it in a container in the refrigerator, (2) Cook the onions and celery up to two days ahead and store them in the refrigerator, (3) Crush the crackers and have them ready to go. The day you're cooking, it will take you just a few moments to assemble everything and pop it into the oven.
STORING LEFTOVERS: Store in the refrigerator for up to four days. You can also freeze it for later use. To freeze, place the dressing in a freezer storage container and use within six months.
HOW TO SERVE: We always do a buffet for Thanksgiving. I make a large platter with sliced turkey on one end and mounds of dressing on the other. Serve turkey or giblet gravy to drizzle over the dressing and, of course, cranberry sauce on the side.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1479mg | Potassium: 228mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 511IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 2mg