Cornbread stuffing

By Katherine

Of course Katherine's stuffing is the best

Our first Thanksgiving together, I made something very clear to Greg. I didn’t care whether we had pumpkin or pecan pie, how the cranberries were made or what he did to the green beans. But there was no way, no how, I would eat white bread stuffing. I called my Southern parents to get the family recipe. My dad said to take some cornbread and biscuits, dry em out, crumble em up, add some chicken broth, some sage, salt and pepper, and onion stir ’em together and shove it all in a bird for the stuffing. Take the leftover, throw in an egg a little more broth and put it in a pan for the dressing. He didn’t have precise measurements; neither did mom. My first attempt wasn’t the greatest, but I’ve improved and Greg quickly became a cornbread stuffing convert.

A year later, we flew to Germany for Christmas to see his family. His mother, who I’d be meeting for the first time and I’d like to say upfront is a wonderful cook and a great lady, asked if there was anything I didn’t eat. I drew a blank and muttered liver and onions. Well, wouldn’t you know it, one night for dinner there was a whole bloody, mushy mess of white bread stuffing staring me in the face. I scooped up cauliflower, which I also disdain, and put some of the white bread stuffing on my plate.

Greg took a look at my plate and in his only speaking volume, loud, said “You don’t have to eat that.” Then he proceeded to tell the table how I loathed white bread stuffing. On the bright side, it’s never been featured in a family meal I’ve attended since.

When we moved into our house a few years later, we had friends over, both of whom grew up in Alabama. By then I’d really gotten the whole Southern stuffing down and was so proud to break out the cornbread stuffing. I was in the South making a real Southern dish for real Southerners. Much to his wife’s horror, our friend took one look at it and asked what those white things were. When I said biscuits, he shook his head. Stuffing and dressing should just be cornbread and some meat. He took a bite, frowned and in that thick Alabama accent of his declared the texture was all wrong. What can I say, sometimes karma’s a hick.

When I told my dad what happened he reminded me that the part of Georgia he grew up in was practically in Alabama. The South is a big place and there isn’t one right way to make stuffing, he said. I disagree. This is definitely the right way.

I say it’s Southern Stuffing

Cook biscuits and cornbread two to three days before you plan to make the stuffing. Allow to cool, then crumble the breads in a large bowl to dry out. Some large chunks are fine. (We normally put the bowl in the oven, and make sure to pull it out if we need to cook something.) Mix the breads, sage, onion, celery, garlic and three cups of the broth together. Season with salt and pepper. I tend to use less salt in this stage because we have an herb butter in the turkey and the butter has salt mixed in. The meat drippings and the butter mix with the stuffing as it cooks. The mix will be wet, but should still be a bit crumbly too. Stuff the neck and body cavities with as much of the stuffing as you can. Cook the bird as you normally would. For the dressing, add the rest of the broth and the egg to the remaining bread mix. Stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The size of the pan you need will depend on how big the bird was. You’ll want the dressing to be about an inch to an inch and a half tall in the pan, so a 2 1/2 to 3-quart casserole dish would work well for a larger bird. Make sure to grease the pan and smooth the dressing into the pan. Cook for about 45 minutes at 350. The edges should be crisp and the top golden.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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128 Responses to Cornbread stuffing

  1. eva626 says:

    o0o first comment! i wish i lived in the south…never ending thanksgiving food!

  2. Michelle says:

    Katherine: You’ve got it 100% right, Western Kentucky style. That’s the way my grandmother made it, except it was in a pan by itself and so not “stuffing” but, as we always called it, “dressing.” Plus there was always another, smaller, pan with oysters added in.

    • Katherine says:

      My mom grew up about 10 miles from Kentucky, in western Tenn. Maybe that explains it. We always have enough for stuffing and dressing.

  3. nrhatch says:

    Stuffing / Dressing . . . one of my favorite dishes for “Thanksgiving.” πŸ˜€

  4. Kristy says:

    I’ve never had a cornbread stuffing. I’m sure I’d enjoy it if I did. And I LOVE the use of buttermilk biscuits in it. I mean what’s more Southern than buttermilk biscuits?! Great recipe Katherine!

  5. k.m. says:

    I love all kinds of stuffing/dressing, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered one that wasn’t delicious. This one looks really good too!

  6. A_Boleyn says:

    Your stuffing experiences are very funny. πŸ™‚

    I grew up with one kind of stuffing … a giblet, rice and white bread one that my mother must have learned to make from the owners of the Jewish delicatessen that she worked at when we came to Canada. Cause Thanksgiving was not celebrated in the former Yugoslavia so it was something she started making when I was 9 or 10 in order to make my brother and I feel like we were sharing part of the Canadian experience. I loved it!

    Fast forward 25 yrs and we had 2 kinds of stuffing on the table … the traditional giblet one my mom had always made and Turkey flavoured Stove Top Stuffing which I was required to make for my nephew who insisted that that’s what REAL stuffing should be. There is a cornbread version I understand but I’ve never tried it.

    • Katherine says:

      I bet the rice really gives a nice texture. We always throw the giblets in gravy.

      • A_Boleyn says:

        The family of my best friend from grade/high school made giblet gravy which I enjoyed very much when I was invited to Thanksgiving at their house. (They made chestnut stuffing.) When I had to choose between using the giblets that come in the turkey in the gravy or the stuffing, I picked the stuffing. πŸ™‚ I actually like this stuffing more than the turkey.

  7. ceciliag says:

    This is a very new recipe experience for me Katherine, Southern Food is so interesting, I would like to try this. I will be back. Not for turkey tho, the sheer size of those birds unsettles me. How do they get that big!!? c

  8. This sounds really wonderful!

  9. Carolyn Chan says:

    This is how the best recipes evolve !

  10. Just call me a Yankee or a Westerner. Cornbread and biscuits do not belong in stuffing. White bread, chestnuts, apples, onions, carrots, celery, egg, salt and pepper. Sage if you like. Walnuts if you don’t like chestnuts. Stock to moisten — or stock and orange juice. But yeast bread only. Please.

    • Katherine says:

      Ha, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Greg and I live in the South, but aren’t Southerners by the way. I consider myself a Yankee.

      • Well, I would try cornbread stuffing once — at your house, not at mine. We are traditionalists — we have been eating pretty much the same Thanksgiving meal all my life — only the vegetables change, depending on what we get in the farm box.

  11. Oh, love your take on stuffing! Thanks so your folks for this recipe! Must admit though, I am still partial to the white bread version too.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy

  12. Good post! I grew up with cornbread stuffing also and had total disdain for plain bread stuffing. However, we didn’t add biscuits but torn pieces of toast.

  13. I have never had turkey let alone any kind of stuffing but I would take your cornbread stuffing over white bread any day

  14. Love the story behind this. IsnΒ΄t it funny that when we meet folk for the first time, we are almost guaranteed to be served one of the things we really canΒ΄t stomach but never thought to mention! Love GregΒ΄s reaction too…hysterical πŸ™‚

  15. rsmacaalay says:

    Funny story, I guess we all have our share of funny culinary experiences with lots of people, like me I had lots with my wife when we were not married yet. Anyways that’s a stuffing that I never had tried yet so that will be inside the next our roast poultry

  16. kat says:

    I love corn bread!! I can eat stuffing all week! πŸ™‚

  17. I want to make that – but what are “biscuits”? We use that word for “cookies” in Europe and I’m guessing I’m not adding sweet cookies to a savoury stuffing.

  18. Tandy says:

    what a lovely story to go with the recipe!

  19. Cornbread and sausage dressing is my favorite, and now I wonder how it would be with biscuits! What a great idea. Love all the stories you’ve had with the dressing, very funny. (On a side note, I made the molasses biscotti this past week, it was great!).

  20. Enjoyed reading your story, Katherine! Like I say, you can’t please everybody πŸ˜‰ I’m no thanksgiving expert but cornbread beats the white stuff any time.

  21. I can imagine both of my Arkansas grandmothers saying, “Well, almost….but why’d you put biscuits in it?” Other than that, it sound pretty close to theirs!

    I’ve gotta say, I seldom meet a stuffing I don’t like…wild rice, crannberries and walnuts; sourdough and rye bread with leeks, thyme and sage; and good ol’ homestyle cornbread, like yours. The only thing forbidden is Stove-Top!

    • Katherine says:

      That’s exactly what my friends reaction was. We drove through Pine Bluff this weekend and I thought of you. That drive to NOLA is not fun for a long stretch between Pine Bluff and Mississippi where the interstate picks back up.

      • I’ve been on that road…*shudder*
        You’ve gotta wonder if this recipe came about because of a cornbread shortage on a particular day. Someone looked around the kitchen, and said,”Well, I suppose we can stretch it with these biscuits…” and a new tradition was orn!

  22. My husband, too, weighs in…loud. No secrets around him,,,and his supersonic hearing. I love your dad’s extra ingredient “throw in an egg”…my mother-in-law would have loved this. My printer is printing and these lovely recipes go into a folder called “Rufus”.

  23. Love the cornbread story! “Karma is a hick” – ha!

    I’ve never had cornbread stuffing. Only the icky white bread stuff. And I don’t like it. Maybe I’ll have to give the cornbread variety a shot!

  24. egg me on says:

    Great story, Katherine! While I’m partial to “white bread” dressing (never stuffed in the bird, but loaded with sausage, onions & celery), your stuffing looks pretty fantastic.

  25. spicegirlfla says:

    My ex in laws were German and while I liked many of their dishes, there were some I just didn’t like. It’s funny how families, traditions and nationalities all have their own comfort foods that just don’t feel the same to others. I’ve made my stuffing in so many different ways; cornbread too and this is so very classic with the flavors of sage, onion, garlic and celery. Great recipe!

    • Katherine says:

      Thanks, Linda. Greg’s got some German in his family too, but you wouldn’t know it by what he chooses to cook. Although he loves kraut.

  26. katherine I must say you just spoke to this southern girls heart. straight up this looks like the best stuffing ever (don;t tell my grandmother I said that:)). I love it and can’t wait to make my own next week

  27. ChgoJohn says:

    I envy you your stuffing. (I hope Greg doesn’t mind.) I’m the type of cook that needs practice to perfect a dish and making stuffing once a year just won’t cut it. “Karma’s a hick.” Who knew?

  28. Amy says:

    Hehe, I love this post. So funny πŸ™‚ We don’t do cornbread stuffing at our thanksgiving. But I may have to try this out sometime to see what all the fuss is about. It does look good!

  29. Rachel says:

    “Stuffing” at our table is absolutely “white bread” but that means challah, and anyway it is my bro-in-law’s grandmother’s recipe so… no options about it! Love your story… and it looks divine!

  30. Forgot to say, what wrecks white bread stuffing is overworking it. The bread needs to be dry before hand and when you add stock and egg, you just moisten it and toss it lightly: this avoids the heavy, dense character of bad white bread stuffing. Treat it like a souffle and you’ll be alright.

  31. I think it’s rare that people ever agree on the stuffing, simply because it can be prepared some many different ways. I like the idea incorporating old biscuits into cornbread stuffing though. πŸ™‚

  32. Sissi says:

    I have never had a stuffed turkey, so your post was really interesting to read (and hilarious, as all of your posts!). I can very well imagine your face when seeing the stuffing you disliked. It reminds me of a dinner I had at Spanish friends’ house. They had asked me what I hated and I said I eat everything apart from horses (it was in Switzerland and the Swiss eat horses…). I haven’t even suspected they would serve me… rabbit. I used to have a huge rabbit pet for several years when I was a student, it was more intelligent than all the cats I knew and I simply couldn’t touch it… I have simply forgotten that the Spanish eat rabbits all the time.
    I think we should all have a small list of hated/impossible to eat food somewhere in our bags ready to be read aloud just in case.

    • Katherine says:

      Sissi you are too kind and also a genius. I love the quick reference guide idea, because when asked you never think of everything. I hate cauliflower. Greg hates walnuts. Two perfectly fine ingredients!

  33. Loved the in law story! There is nothing better than cornbread stuffing at Thanksgiving or during the holidays. This looks wonderful.

    • Katherine says:

      Thanks, Judy. I should look up your recipe. Down here, it’s popular to just do cornbread, but also have some chicken or turkey in it. So many different ways to do it.

  34. Corn bread and biscuits mixed together? WOW!!!! I am a California Girl through and through and I’ve never had the pleasure of eating cornbread stuffing BUT I think I will make my own “re-do” Thanksgiving for my own family once my kitchen is all back together and this will be the first thing I put on the menu. It sounds to die for! Thanks so much for sharing such a family favorite!

  35. Caroline says:

    I do like white bread stuffing, but I tasted cornbread stuffing for the first time last year when I worked/cooked at Williams-Sonoma and remember it being absolutely delicious. I’m not sure if I’d have much luck convincing my dad to stray from his famous (white bread) stuffing to make a different version though. He’s all about tradition, ha! This looks great, Katherine.

  36. Katherine.. seriously you are the best lol. I LOVE this recipe. Our cornbread stuffing recipe is similar. We use cornbread only and use the same ingredients above. But there is a secret ingredient we use to make it more wonderful.. well its my grandmothers trick. I might have to try it with biscuits way one day

    • Katherine says:

      Thanks, Kay. I had never heard of cornbread only until we moved down here. I bet your grandma’s recipe is amazing.

      • My mother is now game to try it with biscuits this year.. so I will tell you h ow it turns out. And she is trying your ham glaze recipe as well.. yes she took a liking to your blog πŸ™‚

  37. peasepudding says:

    I have some food horror moments too when I first lived in Germany, the food is so different. The one that sticks out the most is Lebeknockelsuppe (think it’s spelt that way) It’s a liver dumpling floating in a broth so you can imagine what it looks like. But it is truly delicious once you get over the visual

  38. Katherine, I must admit I love stuffing period. Cornbread is good, biscuit is good, white bread is good. Or any combination! If the broth is rich, the sage is in the forefront – you can’t go wrong with the bread! Yours sounds delicious!

  39. zestybeandog says:

    Yum! I love cornbread stuffing, I’ll be stuffing my bird this year with cornbread πŸ™‚

  40. Courtney says:

    I swear stuffing is a very devisive dish. Hubs made cornbread stuffing one year and you would’ve thought he’d committed a horrible crime. I personally love it, but have never seen it with biscuits. I admit I’m intrigued.

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  42. Kelly says:

    Oh, this is such a cool recipe Katherine – I can’t wait to try it at Christmas… ‘no way, no how’ too funny – I like a woman who knows her own mind ;0

  43. Liz says:

    I have never eaten cornbread stuffing, but since I seem to have a love of carbs, I know I’d LOVE it!

  44. TasteFood says:

    Great story and great recipe!

  45. Kiss The Chef says:

    OMG!!! This is sooooo the scenario around here. The recipe above is almost identical to the one I grew up on and am still trusted to make for the holidays every year. Mimaw (God rest her soul) added 1 can of either cream of mushroom or celery or chicken condensed soup to the mix. She also only used poultry seasoning instead of sage, but I add dried and fresh sage to my mix. I have, in a serious pinch, used the Pepperidge Farm bread stuffing cubes in place of biscuits when the stash I “was sure” I had in the freezer disappeared. (I normally keep leftover biscuits and cornbread in the freezer during the year to make the dressing.) My mother in law makes her “dressin” with only cornbread, but it isn’t the same.
    I know the sodium is a scream, but try adding the soup and using a reduced sodium broth (or my favorite, homemade turkey stock). You’ll love the creaminess….

    • katherine says:

      Wow, you just made my day. We freeze cornbread a lot, but biscuits. They go so fast. We keep low-sodium broth on hand because even though we always have fresh, on Thanksgiving it goes fast. I’ll have to try the soup trick when we stuff Cornish hens.

  46. Christy says:

    Wish we have Thanksgiving here, with all those festive mood and food around! Then again, who am I to complain, when our calendars are pretty much filled with lots of cultural holidays all year long; with the diversity of races and religions in my multi-racial country πŸ™‚ We do have our fair bit of share of exotic and colorful dishes too πŸ˜‰
    Cornbread stuffing sounds so interesting and mysterious to me at the same time, I am sure it tastes very good πŸ˜€

    • katherine says:

      I love that you call it exotic, because I’d probably think the same thing about many of the dishes you make. Your blog is so colorful and fun by the way!

  47. Lisa says:

    Oh, this is the good stuff! Now all you need is the giblet gravy recipe to go with this.

  48. Oh yesyesyes!!! This is just like my nan’s version πŸ™‚ perfect-o!!

  49. JamieAnne says:

    Looks like a great stuffing to me. I never cared for stuffing made with white bread. I usually make mine with corn bread, I’ve never added biscuits. It sounds like a great addition though.

  50. I love cornbread in a stuffing, but the biscuits would be divine!

  51. That’s very interesting. Dried cornbread and biscuits in stuffing. Very Southern!

  52. You are singing my song! There is no way I want to eat “stuffing or dressing” without cornbread. White bread stuffing is gummy, soggy and has no inherent texture. Cornbread stuffing/dressing on the other hand has texture, flavor and body. Great recipe you have shared and I love your story. I have converted many folks to cornbread based stuffings and with this simple recipe I shall continue my campaign! Happy Holiday to you.

  53. Joanne says:

    I LOVED reading the story…too funny! Can you believe I’ve never tried cornbread stuffing? I’m so intrigued now. I’ve only ever had the white bread stuffing but I LOVE cornbread so I can only imagine how amazing it is. I’m going to try this for Thanksgiving!

    • katherine says:

      Thanks, Joanne. It’s definitely something you see in the South more. I had it growing up in Maryland, but none of my friends did! My parents were transplants.

  54. Karen says:

    I think your favorite stuffing or dressing is the one you grew up with. Everyone makes it different and I hadn’t heard of biscuits in it but it sounds good. We go to friends for the holidays and their stuffing is all bread. Different again from what I grew up with.

  55. I want me some of that cornbread fo real. Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  56. I love southern style anything and this sounds great!

  57. Charles says:

    Haha, great story – I have no problem with white bread stuffing, although I abhor “bread sauce”… some nasty British slop which they always serve with turkey… it’s just so filthy. Great looking stuffing… using cornbread sounds delicious πŸ™‚

  58. needtotaste says:

    πŸ˜€ My mom’s cornbread dressing is the best too, and very similar to yours! In fact, I believe the ingredient list is exactly the same except for garlic. Lots of sage! This is the Thanksgiving best!

  59. nancyc says:

    This sounds like a great recipe-will be trying it!

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