A classic Southern side dish! Follow these simple steps at home to prepare this oven-baked cornbread and biscuit dressing with stale day-old crumbles. The success secret behind this recipe is to make the biscuits and cornbread the day before. Once cooled, crumble the cornbread and biscuits into large chunks and place on a sheet pan. Leave the crumbles out in the open to dry and become stale for at least 24 hours. Do not skip this step—it's a must!
Us southerners love our biscuits and cornbread - am I right?! And while dressing is a popular dish around the holidays, it is a classic southern recipe all year around. Just like Southern mashed potatoes - sometimes you just need that comforting carby Southern-style side dish that is nostalgic and makes you feel instantly at home.
I grew up watching my mom make this Southern-style cornbread dressing and loved helping her crumble up the biscuits and cornbread in prep for it the recipe. I would secretly sneak off with bites off the sheet tray as they were drying out over the day too, but I am also pretty sure I wasn't the only one doing that either. I couldn't resist!
This recipe is super super easy to make and everyone will love it. Great for the holidays but also as a side dish all year long!
This recipe only requires a couple of simple ingredients and day-old stale bread.
- Chicken Broth
- Onion & Celery
- Day-old stale Cornbread crumbles
- Day-old stale Biscuit crumbles
- Salt, Pepper, and Sage (the secret key spice!)
Prepping Stale Bread
The secret to this recipe is day-old stale cornbread and biscuits that have been crumbled and dried out. The beauty of this is that cornbread and biscuits can be made at any time of the year. A lot of times if I make a batch of either and have leftovers, I toss them in a freezer-safe zip-top bag and put them in the freezer specifically to have on hand for this recipe or for around Thanksgiving. It is a great way to use up leftovers and have things already done.
But if you don't do that, you can just make both of these recipes 1-3 days before needing to make this recipe.
- Once both the biscuits and cornbread have cooled completely, remove them from the pan and break them into large chunks/crumbles
- Place them on a baking sheet and leave them out to become stale/dry out for at least 24 hours.
- This is a crucial part of the recipe. They must be stale, a little dried out, and hard so don't skip this step! It is important and easy to do in advance. By being a bit stale, it helps absorb the liquid so the bread just doesn't disintegrate while baking.
You can also go ahead and make the stale crumbles and then store them in a zip-top bag and pop them in the freezer until needed for the recipe. There are lots of options to make things easier here!
How to Make
- Make the liquid part. Combine chicken broth, onions, celery, and butter. Cook in a large pot on medium on top of the stove until soft. Remove and let cool.
- Prep the bread. In a large bowl, combine cornbread and biscuit crumbles, salt, and pepper. Toss slightly.
- Add eggs. To the bowl add the seasoned bread, whisked eggs, broth mix, and sage - stir together well until the bread has evenly soaked up the liquid.
- Assemble and bake. Place in a greased 13x9" baking dish. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until just set but not hard.
How to Make Homemade Biscuits and Cornbread for this Recipe
I recommend making homemade southern-style biscuits and cornbread needed for this recipe. It will yield a much better flavor in my option. Because there are so many ways you can do this and prep in advance, it should not add any extra work to your plate.
Making it around the holidays and have a busy Thanksgiving week? No problem! Have this done and ready to go in the freezer beforehand. (see "Prepping Stale Bread" above for different options for making in advance).
If you need to, you can use canned biscuits and a boxed cornbread mix like Jiffy - but just know it will result in a slightly different flavor than this recipe. Especially since the Jiffy cornbread has sugar in it and my cornbread does not. So I do not recommend doing this but it can be done.
How to Make Ahead and Freeze
This Classic Southern recipe is PERFECT to make in advance! Have it waiting in the freezer for a side for a dinner party when needed or for when the holidays roll around. You'll thank your past self for doing some work in advance when you pull it out and just pop it in the oven with no cooking involved!
TO MAKE IN ADVANCE 24 HOURS BEFORE EATING: Prep dressing all the way up until baking. Wrap airtight and place in the fridge overnight. Bake as directed before serving.
TO MAKE IN ADVANCE MORE THAN A DAY BEFORE EATING/FREEZING: Prep dressing all the way up until baking. Wrap airtight with plastic wrap and/or foil and place in the freezer for up to 6 months. When needed, remove and place in the fridge for 24 hours to thaw (must be thawed before baking). Bake as directed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Stuffing and dressing are often used interchangeably. Technically speaking, Thanksgiving stuffing is traditionally "stuffed" inside something, like a turkey, and baked together. Whereas a dressing is typically the same sort of carrying food but baked separately by itself in a baking dish and served alongside the turkey and other sides at Thanksgiving.
No worries - it happens! Just break up the biscuits and cornbread into large crumbles on a baking sheet and place in an oven at 200 for 30ish minutes to stale and dry out and then proceed with the recipe. Do not skip the step of the bread needing to be stale - it is important! See the "Prepping Stale Bread" section under ingredients for different ways to make this ahead of time.
More Southern-Style Side Dishes
- Slow Cooker Green Beans
- Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad
- Southern Cheesy Corn Casserole
- Easy Broccoli Casserole
- Watergate Salad
- Creamed Corn