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!
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!
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 Cornbread Stuffing (Dressing)
- 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.
- 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.
- Add Broth, Egg, & Cornbread: Mix everything together.
- 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!
Meat-free? Leave out the sausage and replace with mushrooms or diced butternut squash instead. You can also substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth.
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!
More Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Green Bean Casserole
- Cranberry Sauce
- Macaroni & Cheese
- Candied Sweet Potatoes
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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).
- Stuffing: Whisk the broth and eggs together in a very large bowl. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If using to stuff a turkey, skip step 5 and allow to cool completely after step 4. Then stuff into the turkey.
- 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!