Make-Ahead Cornbread Stuffing

Here's how to prepare Thanksgiving side dish cornbread stuffing ahead of time! The most flavorful blend of ingredients and herbs. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Turkey’s great and all, but Thanksgiving sides are the crown jewel on the table. And you absolutely HAVE to make this cornbread stuffing part of your feast!

I first baked it last month to test out and, as two cornbread loving freaks, Kevin and I loved it. I also gave a tupperware full of it to our friends– I literally carried stuffing in my purse. So weird.

They said it was gone within 12 hours and scraped their plates clean!

How to make make-ahead cornbread stuffing recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The soul-warming savory herb flavors completely shine through and what you’ll also love about this recipe is that it’s formulated to make your holiday easier. It’s 100% make-ahead. In fact, it even tastes better when prepped ahead of time. This means you’ll have more time with your loved ones and more time eating pie. Something we can all be thankful for, right?

This is a straightforward stuffing recipe, beginning with homemade cornbread. You can use your favorite cornbread recipe, but I have a super simple one below. Lightly toasting the cornbread ahead of time will help it absorb some of the liquid ingredients, preventing your stuffing from being soggy and creating a more cohesive dish. It’s deliciously moist with plenty of hearty texture.

How to make make-ahead cornbread stuffing recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The cornbread stuffing is bursting with the season’s favorite herbs and spices like McCormick Parsley Flakes, Thyme Leaves, Black Pepper, and Rubbed Sage. Simple and vibrant, these flavors brighten the stuffing up; just a couple shakes of each completely transforms everything!

Extras like sausage, sweet pear, and pecans round out the cornbread stuffing providing even more flavor. Salty, sweet, savory, crunchy = this stuffing has it all. Feel free to play around with these ingredients. Vegetarian? Leave the sausage out and add mushrooms or diced butternut squash instead. Use an apple instead of pear or walnuts instead of pecans. Or leave it nut free and maybe add some pumpkin seeds. (YUM!) As long as you stick to a starting line-up of cornbread, parsley, thyme, black pepper, and sage– you’re golden.

Most of the stuffing is prepped on the stove, then mixed together before baking. At this point you can refrigerate it overnight and bake before the big meal. Or you can even whip it up now and freeze it. Thaw out the night before Thanksgiving in your refrigerator, then warm it up before serving. Just one less thing to worry about!

How to make make-ahead cornbread stuffing recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Here's how to prepare Thanksgiving side dish cornbread stuffing ahead of time! The most flavorful blend of ingredients and herbs. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Is your cornbread stuffing going into the turkey? Let it all cool before stuffing. If not, let’s bake it until toasty brown and steaming hot. 🙂

Here's how to prepare Thanksgiving side dish cornbread stuffing ahead of time! The most flavorful blend of ingredients and herbs. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Here's how to prepare Thanksgiving side dish cornbread stuffing ahead of time! The most flavorful blend of ingredients and herbs. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Isn’t this so fun? I made a faux Thanksgiving plate, though there’s about 1 billion things missing like cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole from scratch, and a honey butter roll or 5 (obsessed). Is it ok that’s chicken and not turkey? Who really cares because all that matters is the glorious pile of CORNBREAD STUFFING! ♥

Make-Ahead Cornbread Stuffing

Ingredients:

Cornbread

  • 1 cup (120g) cornmeal
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons; 115g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/4 cup (60g) honey
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, at room temperature

Stuffing

  • 2 and ½ cups (600ml) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced (about 1 and ¼ cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon McCormick Parsley Flakes (plus more for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Thyme Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Rubbed Sage
  • ½ teaspoon McCormick Sea Salt Grinder
  • ½ teaspoon McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 lb uncooked sausage
  • 1 medium pear, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup (125g) Diamond of California shelled pecans

Directions:

  1. Cornbread: (Prepare 1 day in advance!) Preheat oven to 375°F (1791°C). Whisk all of the cornbread ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 9x9 square baking pan. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Set aside to cool overnight. Do not cover.
  2. Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Slice the cornbread into small 1-inch cubes. You will have about 7-8 cups cubes. Spread onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool as you prepare the stuffing. Turn the oven up to 375°F (1791°C).
  3. Stuffing: Whisk the broth and eggs together in a very large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, parsley, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Squeeze the sausage meat out of the casings into the skillet. Break up with a spoon, then add the pears. Cook until sausage is just about cooked through. Pour into the broth + egg mixture, including any liquid that may be in the skillet as well. Add the toasted cornbread cubes and pecans. Very gently fold everything together.
  5. Spoon stuffing into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until toasted on top. Sprinkle with additional parsley, if desired, and serve warm.

Make ahead tip: Prepare the cornbread (step 1) 1 day in advance. You can also chop and toast it 1 day in advance (step 2). To save time, you can also chop the onion, celery, and pear 1 day in advance as well. Cover and refrigerate them overnight. You can also prepare the entire recipe through step 4, cover and refrigerate overnight, then bake the next day.

Recipe Notes:

*If using to stuff a turkey, skip step 5 and allow to cool completely after step 4. Then stuff into the turkey.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Another must-try: creamy green bean casserole from scratch.

Creamy green bean casserole from scratch on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This recipe is sponsored by McCormick. Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction!

Here's how to prepare Thanksgiving side dish cornbread stuffing ahead of time! The most flavorful blend of ingredients and herbs. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

38 comments

  1. Yes, yes, YES!!! How perfect for the holidays and just in time for my menu planning!

  2. Mmmmmm looks delicious! I love make ahead dishes, so much less stress on the evening itself.

  3. YUM, this sounds amazing!  I love stuffing but I only make it once a year on thanksgiving.  I love that you can make this ahead of time.  It’s always crazy in the kitchen the last hour before thanksgiving dinner is ready so I love anything I can do ahead of time.

  4. Thanksgiving sides are the best! I’ve never had cornbread as a stuffing before and it sounds sooo good. I just might have to test this out soon to try before Thanksgiving. Is rubbed Sage the same as ground sage?

    • Hey Andrea! Rubbed sage is a little more coarse than ground sage, though you can absolutely use ground if it’s easier.

  5. Stuffing is easily my favourite part of Thanksgiving dinner (along with pie – sorry turkey). Especially cornbread stuffing (I too am a cornbread must-have-with-chili-always fiend). Fun fact (I think?) stuffing is actually technically called ‘dressing’ when you bake it in a separate dish outside of the turkey. And when you do stuff it into the turkey, then it’s called stuffing. Maybe that fact wasn’t as fun as I hoped (cooking nerd here lol). Can’t wait until the Christmas season to make all these holiday recipes! Less than 50 days to go until Christmas 🙂

    • I don’t know why, but I have just always called it stuffing no matter what. 🙂 Just how I was brought up I guess! But wait, less than 50 days until Christmas? Where did 2016 go!!

      • I know! I’ve always just called it stuffing too. Dressing makes it sound like a salad and well, salad it is not 😉

  6. Thanks for some wonderful side dishes for the Thanksgiving Holiday. I cannot wait to make them.

  7. Any ideas how I can make the cornbread dairy free.

    • I usually substitute coconut oil for butter, or since this is stuffing, olive oil should work if you don’t like the coconut flavor. In place of buttermilk you could try coconut milk or even just plain water. Since the cornbread will be used as stuffing it really doesn’t need to be creamy. (I have not tried this recipe with these substitutions, though.)
      By the way, I use coconut milk instead of evaporated milk in my pumpkin pies and they taste great! Also french toast made with coconut milk and coconut oil for cooking is the best!

  8. Stuffing is where it’s at! And yours looks delish! I could literally make a meal out of just that, especially when there’s gravy involved…hehehe 😀 Carrying stuffing around in your purse? That ain’t so bad….if you get hungry bringing it to your friends, you’re set 😉

  9. “Make it ahead” is my Thanksgiving motto (thanks to Ina). That is the key to a successful day =)

  10. I need to make this for Thanksgiving! This looks like the best stuffing!

  11. Oh this looks amazing! Do you have a great recipe and easy directions to follow for making your first turkey? I love reading your recipes because they just make sense and don’t coat the hard stuff! I need more guidance for my first Turkey Day turkey! :-O

    • I wish I did! I’m still searching for that *perfect* easy to follow turkey recipe + instructions. If you find anything before next weekend, let me know!

    • An easy way to do your turkey- use soft/ partially melted butter under the skin as much as you can get without tearing the skin, cut an onion in half and throw it in the cavity, then rub the outside with mustard and cajun seasoning (like Tony Chacharie’s or Slap Ya Mama) It sounds strange but it is dynamite!

      Make sure to cover the turkey with foil until the last 30 minutes.

  12. I love, love, love cornbread dressing! I was converted a few years back after a Thanksgiving in Georgia.

  13. Wowie zowie! This has become a “must do” for me this Thanksgiving! Thanks so much Sally!

  14. Love the recipe of the above mentioned dish. I’ll must try this at home.Thanx for sharing..

  15. I love the idea of making my own stuffing from scratch. My mom has always used a mix, but if you can make it ahead, it sounds just as easy! Definitely want to try this recipe out!

  16. Hi Sally,
    This stuffing looks wonderful. I’ve been making the same stuffing for the past decade, but this year I will try this. And carrying stuffing in your purse?! That’s not weird; that’s awesome!

  17. Stuffing, for me, is the best part of Thanksgiving. I usually make my mom’s recipe but I think this year I’ll be making this one. It looks delicious and easy to make.

  18. If I wanted to make this weekend and freeze would you recommend going ahead and baking first, then freeze? Or freeze after Step 4 and bake after thawing? Thx…I love every one of your recipes!! Especially your PERFECT scones! I have converted many-a-scone haters with those. And now I cannot eat them anywhere else — you’ve ruined me! (In a good way

  19. Love the cornbread twist and that this is make ahead! Such a great Thanksgiving recipe! 🙂

  20. If there was ever a need for taste-o-vision, THIS would be the time! I’d take that spoon + the entire dish, hide in the closet and your stuffing will be history in my happy tummy. haha 😀

  21. Hi, think I’ll make this for Friendsgiving this weekend! What type of sausage do you use?

  22. So making this for Thanksgiving! Do you think it would be good with apple chicken sausage? Otherwise I was thinking about country style chicken sausage.

  23. Made this for Thanksgiving and even my husband who isn’t a big stuffing fan liked it! Made the cornbread Tuesday. Mixed it all together Wednesday night and cooked it Thursday morning. It was delish. 🙂

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