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!

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

Thanksgiving turkey is great and all, but Thanksgiving side dishes are the crown jewel on the table! And you absolutely have to make this cornbread stuffing part of your feast.

I baked this dressing recipe twice last week. My husband and I gobbled it up, then I brought some to our friends. (I literally carried cornbread dressing in my purse on the walk to their house.) They admitted the dressing was gone in 12 hours and they each scraped their plates clean. This is the best cornbread stuffing!

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

This is the Best Cornbread Dressing

Whether it’s stuffed into the turkey or served on the side, this cornbread stuffing recipe is completely packed with soul-warming herb flavors. The recipe is also best prepared ahead of time, which is great news considering most of us like to prep before the big meal. In fact, it tastes BEST when made ahead because the flavors have the chance to settle.

Let’s talk about the stuffing’s flavor. This recipe is similar to my original Thanksgiving stuffing, but it begins with cornbread instead of regular bread. So, we already know the flavor has a major upgrade! It’s also bursting with the season’s favorite herbs and spices like McCormick Parsley Flakes, Thyme Leaves, and Rubbed Sage. Simple and vibrant, these flavors brighten up the stuffing and taste unbelievable with cornbread. Savory sausage, sweet pear, and crunchy pecans round out the entire dish.

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

How to Make Cornbread Stuffing (Dressing)

  1. Toast the Cornbread: Lightly toasting the cornbread helps it absorb some of the liquid ingredients, which prevents your stuffing from tasting soggy. Instead, the stuffing is deliciously moist with plenty of hearty texture. You can toast the cornbread a few days ahead of time.
  2. Cook Down the Flavors & Herbs: Place onion, celery, and herbs into a large skillet. Cook until the vegetables are soft, then add sausage, sweet pear, and pecans. Salty, sweet, savory, crunchy, this stuffing has it all. You can use an apple instead of pear or walnuts instead of pecans. Or leave it nut free. As long as you stick to a starting line-up of cornbread, parsley, thyme, black pepper, and sage, you’re golden.
  3. Add Broth, Egg, & Cornbread: Mix everything together.
  4. Bake: Bake in a casserole dish or stuff into the turkey. If stuffing the turkey, allow the cornbread stuffing to cool completely before using.

This stuffing smells incredible as it cooks!

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

Meat-free? Leave out the sausage and replace with mushrooms or diced butternut squash instead. You can also substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth.

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

This is a Make-Ahead Recipe

Most of the stuffing is prepped on the stove then mixed together before baking. After mixing all the ingredients together, cover tightly and refrigerate for 1-3 days or freeze for up to 2-3 months, then warm it up before serving. This is just one less thing to worry about before Thanksgiving dinner!

Use Store-Bought or Homemade Cornbread

You have options here! Use your favorite cornbread recipe or pick up a cornbread mix from the store. I use and love the super simple cornbread recipe below and urge you to try it, too!

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

More Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

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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!

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

76 Comments

  1. Tori//Gringalicious says:

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

  2. Vivian | stayaliveandcooking says:

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

  3. Patricia @sweet and Strong says:

    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. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    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?

    1. 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 🙂

    1. 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!!

      1. 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.

  8. Dawn - Girl Heart Food says:

    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 😉

    1. Dawn, I definitely have already eaten this as a meal! It’s so good – I hope you try it!

  9. Sara @ Last Night's Feast says:

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

    1. All praise Ina! 🙂

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

  11. Adrienne Bergeron says:

    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

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

    1. I think I may even like it better than my traditional stuffing!

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

    1. Loving the wowie zowie exclamation! 🙂

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

  15. Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat says:

    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

    1. Thank you Priscilla! You could do it either way, actually. I’d bake it then freeze. Then warm up before serving.

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

  20. Katerina @ Diethood says:

    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?

    1. Typically a mild Italian sausage, but you can really make it with any kind you like best.

  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.

    1. Also, I have to omit the nuts for a couple of family members.. do you think that dried cranberries would be good in this as long as I choose a sausage that is not Italian style? Or is that a weird flavor combination? Thanks!

      1. I don’t think it’s weird at all. Dried cranberries would be delicious.

    2. Either would be fantastic! Especially that apple 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. 🙂

  24. We have a vegetarian in the family, do you think this would work without the sausage and with vegetable stock? Thanks! 🙂

    1. Hi Jenny, you can leave out the sausage and use a veggie broth/stock instead.

  25. I’m not a fan of pears, could I sub in carrots (cooked with the celery/onions) instead?

    1. Definitely.

  26. Hi Sally,

    I was wondering if you could propose a substitute for the eggs of the Stuffing mix; I have a nephew that is allergic. I love your cornbread stuffing recipe and I want to use it.

    1. Hi Christine! I’m so so so sorry, but I’m unsure. I’ve never tried this recipe without the eggs and would hate to steer you in the wrong direction.
      While I haven’t tried this, however, I know flax eggs work in many recipes: 1 Tablespoon ground flax mixed with 2-3 Tablespoons water per egg.

  27. Dressing, dressing, dressing. In the Deep South we call it “dressing”. Stuffing is what our Northern cousins eat.

  28. How could I go about freezing this if I’m making it two weeks ahead of thanksgiving?

    1. Hi Rachael! You can freeze it cooked or uncooked. Either way, let it thaw before heating up or cooking.

  29. I have two dishes I would like to prepare beforehand and bake Christmas Day. One of them is your green bean casserole. And now perhaps this one! My question is, I usually bake casseroles in glass dishes (Pyrex and an off brand). What’s the best way to go from fridge to oven? Should I leave the dishes out to come to room temperature before baking? Should I store the sides in different containers and then put them in the casserole dishes for the baking only? I have read about glass shattering and I am nervous about going from cold to hot now. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Tiff! I definitely understand your concern. I recommend storing/freezing/refrigerating the prepared dishes in different containers then spooning them into the glass baking dishes prior to baking. Best way to avoid any glass from shattering!

  30. Made this for Thanksgiving the past 2 years in a row. This year, I mixed it all together the night before and let it sit in the fridge till baking time the next afternoon (well, after letting it sit on the counter for a few minutes to let the glass warm up). And gotta say, I liked it better that way! Seemed to stick together more. Either way, super yummy salt/sweet combo. Will probably make again next year. Oh, and I also left the nuts out this year due to an allergy in the family, and I didn’t miss them!

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