Thanksgiving just isn’t complete without cornbread dressing and my mother makes the best dressing, hands down! So while home learning how to make Sweet Potato Pudding, she also taught me how to make cornbread dressing (stuffing) and so of course, I have to share it with you guys. While this recipe is pretty straightforward and consistent with many traditional dressing recipes, I’m going to share some quick tips to make sure your dressing comes out perfect the first time.
First; you must make your cornbread a day in advance. This really helps to create the texture of the dressing and ensures that it’s firm and not mushy. We usually bake our cornbread the day or night before and just let it sit out for the day/night before even starting the dressing. Also, be sure to use some type of stuffing mix like the one pictured below. Again this really helps achieve a classic dressing texture.
As far as your veggies, it’s so important to dice them as finely as you can. Have you ever bitten into something soft and found yourself crunching on a piece of onion? Yeah, we don’t want that in our dressing recipe so be sure to go over the onions, celery, and peppers a few times to make sure you have small consistent pieces.
This is a taste as you go dish meaning don’t be scared to grab a spoon and taste the cornbread mixture to see if you need more or less of a seasoning. I usually taste it right before I add the liquid mixture because it’s easier to adjust seasonings at that point. Okay, let’s jump into the recipe!
How to Make Cornbread Dressing (Stuffing)
For the cornbread
Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Pour the buttermilk, oil, and eggs into the bowl and mix until the ingredients are combined and the mixture is smooth.
Melt the butter in a 9 x 13 baking dish or skillet and then pour in the cornbread mixture. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the cornbread is golden brown. Let the cornbread cool completely overnight before using in the dressing.
Making the dressing
Preheat the oven to 350°. Crumble the cornbread into a large bowl and add in the butter, ground sage seasoning, poultry seasoning, and cubed stuffing mix and set aside. The texture of the corn bread should be very fine and almost sandy-like. Do not stir.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the diced celery, onions, and peppers (if using) until tender and fragrant. Once they are tender add them to the cornbread but do not stir.
Cook the ground sausage in the same skillet and chop it into the small pieces and cook thoroughly then add it to the dry cornbread mixture and gently mix everything together. At this step you’ll want to taste your dressing and add more seasoning if needed. Salt and pepper should be added at this step.
Warm the broth and cream of chicken in a medium pot over medium high heat. Continuously whisk it until the broth and cream of chicken are combined and free of lumps. It should be smooth, as pictured. Pour the liquid mixture onto the dry cornbread mixture and mix everything together with a large spoon or you can use your hands. Be sure to incorporate any ingredients hiding at the bottom of the bowl.
Pour the dressing into a 9 x 13 pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown and firm. Let the dressing set for 10-15 minutes before serving.