Cornbread Stuffing Recipe

A couple shakes of dried parsley, thyme, sage, and pepper add unbelievable flavor to this cornbread stuffing recipe. Savory sausage, sweet pear or apple, and crunchy nuts add unbelievable texture. Follow my make ahead or freezing instructions so there’s one less dish to worry about on Thanksgiving.

This post is sponsored by McCormick.

overhead image of cornbread stuffing in a glass baking dish with a serving spoon

Thanksgiving turkey is great and all, but Thanksgiving side dishes are the crown jewels on the table. And whether it’s stuffed into the turkey or served on the side, you absolutely have to make this cornbread stuffing part of your feast. Salty, sweet, savory, crunchy, this stuffing has it all. Plus, it smells incredible as it cooks.


Tell Me About this Cornbread Stuffing

  • Texture:  Light and moist with bite-size pieces of tender sausage, celery, pear or apple, and crunch pecans. I love the playful textures.
  • Flavor:  Light and buttery with savory, sweet, and nutty notes. The recipe is a more flavorful version of my classic sausage and apple stuffing, because I use cornbread instead of regular bread as the base. Seriously, it is packed with so many soul-warming herb flavors.
  • Ease: This dish is like 2 short recipes in 1. The cornbread comes first with all the ingredients prepared in a large bowl before being transferred to a baking pan. The stuffing is next and can be made in 3 easy steps. Make it in advance for ease and convenience!
  • Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes to make both the fresh cornbread and the stuffing (plus overnight cooling time for the cornbread). You can shave off 40-45 minutes by using store-bought cornbread.

cornbread stuffing on a white plate with a baked potato and turkey

Spotlight on Some Cornbread Stuffing Ingredients

  • Cornbread: When it comes to cornbread, you can choose either homemade or store-bought. Use your favorite cornbread recipe or pick up a cornbread mix from the store. I love the super simple cornbread recipe below and urge you to try it, too. It’s just like my regular cornbread recipe.
  • Herbs: Use your favorite dried herbs and spices like parsley, thyme, and sage to brighten up the stuffing and add heaps of flavor.
  • Sausage: This adds savory richness to the dish. For a vegetarian option, replace the sausage with mushrooms or diced butternut squash. You can also use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Pear: The fruit’s sweetness adds a nice contrast to the rich sausage and an additional textural layer. You can also use an apple instead of a pear.
  • Pecans: Pecans add just the right amount of soft crunch. I like to use pecan halves, but they can be replaced with chopped walnuts if you wish. Or leave it nut-free. 

Overview: How to Make Cornbread Stuffing (Dressing)

The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through it so you understand each step before you get started.

  1. Make the cornbread. Preheat the oven. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, then transfer the mixture to a baking dish and bake until golden brown. Cool completely.
  2. Cut cornbread into cubes + lightly toast. Slice cornbread into 1-inch cubes. Spread them out on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes to toast them. Lightly toasting the cornbread helps it absorb some of the liquid ingredients, which prevents your stuffing from tasting soggy. Set aside to cool.
  3. Prepare stuffing. Whisk broth and eggs together in a large bowl. 
  4. Cook down the flavors and herbs. Place onion, celery, and herbs into a large skillet. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Add sausage, pear or apples, and pecans. 
  5. Add broth + egg + cornbread. Mix everything together.
  6. Bake. Bake the stuffing in a casserole dish or stuff it into the turkey. If you’re stuffing the turkey, allow the cornbread stuffing to cool completely before using.

2 images of toasted cubes of cornbread in a glass bowl and spices in containers

ground sausage with vegetables in a skillet with a wood spoon

cornbread stuffing mixture in a glass bowl with a wood spoon

cornbread stuffing in a glass baking dish with a serving spoon

Make it Ahead: The cornbread stuffing is best prepared ahead of time, which is great news considering most of us like to prep before the big meal. In fact, it tastes even BETTER when made ahead because the flavors have the chance to settle. Make and store in the refrigerator a few days ahead of time or freeze for up to 3 months. This is just one less thing to worry about before Thanksgiving dinner!

More Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

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cornbread stuffing in a glass baking dish with a serving spoon

Cornbread Stuffing Recipe

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 hours, 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Toasting the cornbread adds a delicious texture. To save time, toast 1 day ahead of time. Flavored with herbs, savory sausage, sweet pear or apple, and crunchy nuts, this cornbread stuffing is always the star of the Thanksgiving meal. See notes for freezing instructions.


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 1/2 cups (600ml) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced (about 1 and 1/4 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon McCormick parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 lb uncooked sausage
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped pear or apple
  • 1 cup (125g) pecan halves or chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Cornbread: (Prepare 1 day in advance!) Preheat oven to 375°F (191°C). Whisk all of the cornbread ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 9×9 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 9×13 baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until toasted on top. Sprinkle with additional parsley, if desired, and serve warm.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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. For long storage, freeze the baked stuffing up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, allow to come to room temperature, then reheat it in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 20-25 minutes, or until warmed through, before serving.
  2. If using to stuff a turkey, skip step 5 and allow to cool completely after step 4. Then stuff into the turkey.
  3. Buttermilk: Buttermilk is required in the cornbread recipe. If you don’t have any, you can make a DIY sour milk by adding 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to make 1 cup total. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes before using. Whole milk is strongly recommended for moistest, richest texture, but you can use lower fat or nondairy milk in a pinch.

Keywords: cornbread, Thanksgiving, stuffing, dressing

This recipe is sponsored by McCormick. Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction and the brands I choose to work with!

92 Comments

  1. When the cornbread is done, the instructions say to take out of oven & set aside. I cook mine in an iron skillet. Do we set aside while still in baking container or remove & set aside?

    1. It can stay in the cast iron skillet.

  2. Hi Sally, will it take away the integrity of the recipe if I omit the pecans.

    Thank you,
    Antoinette.

  3. Help! Do you use fine or coarse cornmeal? I know it doesn’t matter too much but I’d like it to be as nice as possible and I’m planning on making this for Thanksgiving 🙂

    1. Hi Natalie! I usually use fine cornmeal.

  4. Hi,
    If I want to replace the sausage with mushrooms as you suggest, what amount of mushrooms would you recommend?
    Thank you.

    1. One 8-ounce package of mushrooms would be perfect.

      1. Thank you so much!

  5. The recipe says there are notes for freezing ahead, but I do not see the notes(only for making day ahead and putting in refrigerator). Can you provide freezing and reheating directions, please? Will the pecans become soft if they are mixed in ahead of time and then refrigerated or frozen?

    1. Hi Keri! I’m sorry about that– that sentence seemed to have disappeared. I added it back. The pecans become a little soft, so you can always add those right before baking after freezing/thawing.

  6. Hi! What type of sausage do you use? Breakfast or …? Thank you.

    1. You can use your favorite– sweet Italian, spicy, or breakfast sausage are all great.

      1. What about the Bob Evans sage variety?

  7. I bought an 8 oz. box of sliced mushrooms to be used instead of the sausage. Do I use the entire box and do I chop them up before cooking them with the onion, celery and pear? Also, do I still use all the same spices such as sage, etc.?

    1. You can chop the mushrooms into bite-size pieces if desired or leave whole– I usually leave whole when I use mushrooms instead of sausage here. I don’t change anything else in the recipe. Keep the spices etc the same.

  8. You mention the onion, celery and pear can be chopped 1 day in advance and then refrigerate them overnight. Can you refrigerate them all together in one bowl or should they be in individual bowls?

    1. I always refrigerate the celery and onion together since they go into the pan at the same time. Refrigerate the pear separately since that’s added later in the recipe instructions.

  9. Hi sally,
    Is the cornbread recipe you posted the equivalent of one store bought box approximately?
    And if I’m making the day day before, should I combine everything and refrigerate until the next day?
    Thank for your help!
    I’m making this, your butternut squash Mac n cheese, and white choco chip cranberry cookies for thanksgiving!!

    1. That’s right! It makes 1 batch of cornbread. Enjoy!

  10. I’ve never made cornbread stuffing but the house smells amazing just made your cornbread. Can’t wait till it cools down a bit so I can taste it. Looking forward to making the stuffing. May have to make another batch just for breakfast and snacks. Thanks for your website and sharing your recipes.

    1. I hope you enjoy it!! Happy baking, Vivian 🙂

  11. MONIQUE Crowley says:

    Made this for Thanksgiving and it was amazing. Everyone loved it and we’ve almost finished the double batch I made. I added ginger because I may or may not have been doing 2 recipes at once and gotten confused but it was still amazing. As always, you’re the best. I can always trust your recipes to work and make me look great.

    1. Monique, did you bake your cornbread in one pan to double it? I was thinking of tripling it to share and baking corn bread in a half-sheet pan, but I’m thinking it won’t be deep enough.

  12. Your recipe was amazing! I never made homemade stuffing before and it was so much fun. I substituted onion broth for the chicken broth and it was delicious! Thanks!

    1. Hi there! If using butternut squash instead of sausage, should it be cooked ahead of time of can it be cooked with the onions and the celery?

  13. Could this BE anymore delicious? Yum! Made this for Thanksgiving and the taste was so familiar… It genuinely took me back to having dinner at my Grandmama’s house and I haven’t lived in the States for 26 years! Its safe to say that I will not be waiting til Thanksgiving to make this again 🙂

  14. I made this for Thanksgiving using bagged cornbread cubes. It was quite a hit! I will plan ahead next year and make the cornbread from the recipe to get the full yummy effect!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Lisa!

  15. Does it matter what kind of pear to use… Thank you!!!

  16. I really love it.
    hummmmm

  17. Hey Sally! Love your blog and all of your amazing recipes! Can I omit the honey from the cornbread recipe? We are not a “sweet” cornbread house 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Absolutely!

  18. Carolina Medina says:

    Hi Sally – what kind of pear you think perfectly fit for this this recipe?

    1. Hi Carolina! I usually use a Bartlett pear.

      1. Carolina Medina says:

        Thanks! I’m going to do this recipe for this Thanksgiving dinner! This year is my daughter and I and 2 cousins because of the pandemic, but we are keeping the spirit hight so, I’m going to do a whole dinner just for us. Remembering our dinners back in Puerto Rico with a touch of your creations! you are one of my go-to blog for desserts and more! I admire your commitment to all of us and your amazing work! Blessings!!

  19. Kolina MacRury says:

    Hi Sally,
    I love using pears in stuffing but I seem to always have trouble getting flavorful ones. They can be too hard and never ripen, or they get mussy and flavorless. Do you recommend one type of pear over another? Any advice on how to select them? I’m looking forward to using this recipe, I know it will be delicious.
    Happy Holidays!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kolina, For baking we often use Anjou (red or green), Bartletts (red or green), or Bosc pears. Look for pears that are slightly firm. Your best bet is to purchase your pears, then let them sit in a paper bag for 1-2 days to slightly ripen. Much longer than this and they’ll be too soft.

  20. This recipe sounds delicious. I do not use any dairy products when serving a meat meal so my cornbread is made with applesauce. It is still a pretty good tasting corn bread, and with almost all of the non-dairy ingredients included, it should be delicious. I’ll let you know how it turns out, Sally. Thanks.

  21. Hi Sally,

    I notice the cornbread part is different than your favorite cornbread recipe (more honey, no brown sugar). Is there a reason for that in this recipe (flavor? Texture?)

    1. Hi Shira! The cornbread recipes are pretty similar. I reduced the sugar (left out the brown sugar) in this one so that it’s more of a savory cornbread to pair with our dressing. I added 2 Tbsp honey for flavor and moisture, too– since we’re baking it twice. Hope this helps explain things!

  22. Can I use ground sausage instead of sausage links? Thanks!

    1. Sure can. 1 lb of sausage links (sliced/chopped) works.

  23. Seriously amazing stuffing. We are typically a stovetop family, but this is worth the extra effort!

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