I served Paula Deen’s cornbread dressing at my family’s Thanksgiving celebration several years ago. It was such a hit that it has since become a holiday staple.
When it comes to Thanksgiving, turkey is of course the star of the feast. But in my household, so is this cornbread dressing.
This moist, creamy, and hearty casserole is an excellent accompaniment to turkey.
Served with gravy and a dollop of sweet cranberry sauce, this is the epitome of all holiday sides.
With Paula Deen’s cornbread dressing, you’ll give your loved ones something more to thank for this Thanksgiving.
Paula Deen’s Cornbread Dressing
Cornbread dressing is the perfect Thanksgiving side dish, and here’s why.
It’s delicious. It’s rich and creamy with a subtle sweetness.
Its unique flavor tastes great with other Thanksgiving staples – turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, you name it.
The recipe uses a mix of cornbread, white bread, and saltine crackers, which yields the most amazing consistency. It may be corny, but it’s a guaranteed hit.
One recipe makes a huge batch. I’m talking three 9×13-inch dishes! If you’re feeding a crowd, there’s nothing more fitting than this dressing.
It’s easy to make. Sure, it calls for several components, but they’re all a breeze to prepare!
How Do You Make Paula Deen Dressing?
If you don’t have cornbread on hand, start by baking one. It’s easy.
First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a baking dish with butter.
Then, in a bowl, stir together self-rising cornmeal, self-rising flour, buttermilk, eggs, and oil until it forms a well-combined batter.
Pour it into the greased dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Now comes the hard part. You’ll need to wait for the cornbread to cool and dry out. Two hours is ideal, but overnight is better.
While leaving your cornbread to dry, oven-dry your white bread.
Slice them up into cubes and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake them at 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours.
Finally, you’re ready to make cornbread dressing!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter. This recipe can make about three dishes.
In a large bowl, crumble the cornbread, white bread, and saltine crackers. Be sure to use an extra large bowl as this recipe makes a lot.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt a stick of butter. Stir the celery and onions for 5 to 10 minutes, or until soft and transparent.
Pour this mix over the crumbled bread.
Pour the chicken stock, a little at a time, into the cornbread mix, until you get your desired consistency.
For a moist cornbread, add approximately 5 to 6 cups. For a fluffy cornbread, add about 4 to 5.
Season with salt, pepper, sage, and poultry seasoning. Taste and add more seasonings as needed.
Mix in 5 beaten eggs. The dressing will be soupy, and that’s okay. It’ll turn into a soft, solid mixture once baked.
Pour the dressing into the greased dish and bake for 45 to 60 minutes.
If you want a moist dressing, cover the dish with aluminum during the first 45 minutes of baking. If you want a crunchy crust, leave it uncovered.
Serve the dressing with turkey slices, gravy, and cranberry sauce. Happy Thanksgiving!
What is the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?
Do you find it confusing how some people call it stuffing, while others say dressing? I feel you!
So what’s the deal? Are they referring to two different things, or are these terms interchangeable?
As it turns out, the two are actually very similar, to the point of being almost identical.
The only difference is, the dressing is baked outside the turkey, while the stuffing can either be cooked inside or out.
It’s also kind of a geographical thing. Southerners call it dressing, while up north, the word stuffing is used more often.
No matter what you call it, this delicious side dish is a must-have at every Thanksgiving feast.
How Do You Keep Cornbread Dressing from Being Gummy?
If your dressing turns out too wet or gummy, don’t fret. Just bake it for several minutes longer and it’ll dry up nicely.
If the dressing is too dry, just add more stock and bake for several more minutes as well.
Tips for the Best Dressing
- No buttermilk? Make your own! Here’s a simple DIY recipe for 1 cup of buttermilk:
In a 1-cup measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Fill up the cup with milk. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture starts to curdle.
- No self-rising flour? Don’t worry, it’s easy to make at home, too! Here’s how to make 1 cup of self-rising flour:
Sift 1 cup of flour into a bowl. Take out 3 tablespoons and replace it with equal parts cornstarch. Sift the mixture at least twice.
Sifting will make the mixture light and airy, which also means the yield will exceed 1 cup. For accuracy, measure it again.
- Just like self-rising flour, you can also DIY self-rising cornmeal. Here’s an easy recipe that makes 2 cups:
Blend 1 3/4 cups finely ground cornmeal, 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- When making your own self-rising cornmeal, be sure the baking powder is potent. If the baking powder is expired, or no longer active, no matter how much of it you put in there, your batter won’t rise.
To check, mix 1 cup of hot water with 2 teaspoons of baking powder. The mixture should fizz right away. If nothing happens, it’s time to throw it out.
- To oven-dry white bread, preheat the oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, or whatever your oven’s lowest setting is. Cut the bread into smaller slices – about 2.5×1.5-inch thick. Arrange them in a single layer onto a baking sheet and bake for 2 hours.
- Besides white bread, you can also use wheat bread or baguette.
- Crumble the cornbread, bread, and crackers into larger pieces – they’ll crumble even more during mixing.
- Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays of the year, so I totally get if you want to make the dressing in advance.
But here’s the thing: cornmeal is super absorbent. The longer it sits, the more liquid it soaks up.
If you assemble your dressing in advance, chances are it’ll be all dried out because the cornmeal would’ve already soaked up all the liquid.
Here’s what you should do instead: prepare the ingredients in advance.
- Bake and crumble the cornbread, place it in an air-tight container, and refrigerate.
- Saute the celery and onions and refrigerate.
- Crush the bread and crackers and leave them overnight to dry.
This way, all the components will be ready to go on the day of.
- This dressing makes a LOT, so be sure to use an extra large bowl or pot when combining the ingredients. You’ll want to have enough room to mix them all together.
- Allergic to eggs? Use a flaxseed substitute. Combine one tablespoon of flaxseed meal with three tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 5 minutes and it’ll turn into a gooey, egg white-like mixture. This recipe is equivalent to one egg.
- This cornbread dressing uses Paula Deen’s cornbread recipe. You can also substitute it with your own recipe or store-bought cornbread. I’ve tried it with savory cornbread and it turned out super tasty!
- For better dressing texture, make the cornbread in and leave it out for several hours (better if overnight) to dry.
- The recipe calls for 7 cups of chicken stock, but don’t put all of it in! You’ll need a bit of eyeballing here.
For instance, you’ll need to add more stock if using day-old than fresh cornbread and bread.
It also depends on your desired dressing consistency. A moist dressing requires more stock than a fluffy one.
The best way to do it is to add just a little bit of stock at a time. I usually end up using 5 cups, but again, this will vary depending on your preference.
- Taste the dressing before adding the raw eggs. This way, you can adjust it accordingly without the risk of salmonella.
- If you want a soft and moist cornbread all throughout, cover the dish with aluminum foil for the first 45 minutes of baking. For a crunchy outer crust, bake the dressing uncovered.
- Serve cornbread dressing with sliced turkey, gravy, and cranberry sauce.
- Again, this recipe makes a lot, so you’ll likely have leftovers, no matter how tasty it is. Cover the dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Or, freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 6 months.
- Mix in some sausage or bacon crumbles to the dressing for a meaty, smoky, and savory twist.
- Add more veggies for more substance. I like mushrooms and fennel in mine.
- For a sweet dressing , throw in cooked apples, dried cranberries, or cherries to the mix.
- Give your dressing an extra pop of flavor with fresh herbs. Try rosemary, marjoram, and thyme.
Other Thanksgiving Recipes You’ll Love
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