This traditional Southern cornbread dressing with chicken recipe combines cornbread, sauteed vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and shredded chicken.
Did you know that there is no historical evidence that stuffing was served at the first Thanksgiving? The term first appeared in the English language around 1530. However, after 1880 the term didn’t appeal to the Victorian upper crust and they began to refer to it as “dressing.” Now days, the terms stuffing and dressing are used interchangeably.
Which type of dressing do you prefer?
Every Thanksgiving, there is a great divide in my house. It is the issue over stuffing – or dressing – whatever you prefer to call it.
I grew up eating stuffing of the cubed bread variety. I love the taste of sage, the little bite of crispiness on the top and the warm gooeyness underneath. My husband refers to my brand of stuffing as “soggy bread dressing.”
He swears by his mom’s recipe for cornbread dressing, passed down by his grandmother. It has a permanent place in the buffet lineup every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any other family get-together in between.
How to Make Southern Cornbread Dressing
Before you get started, you’ll need 6-8 cups of crumbled cornbread. Go ahead and print my recipe for Southern Skillet Cornbread, used to make this dressing recipe. You will also need two hardboiled eggs and one cup of cooked and shredded chicken.
Health buffs, take note. I am aware the first ingredient is an entire stick of butter. I don’t need you pointing it out in the comments section or chastising me with an email. It’s Southern cooking. We like butter.
And isn’t it Thanksgiving? You’re going to be consuming mass quantities of calories anyway. At least make them count. Let’s get started.
Step one. If you’re going to be serving this straight out of the oven, go ahead and preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Otherwise, keep reading. This recipe can be made ahead and frozen. I’ll go into more detail later in the post.
Step 2. Take your entire stick of butter and melt it in a large skillet. Add diced celery and onion and saute until the vegetables are tende, about 15 minutes.
Step 3. Crumble your cornbread up into medium-sized pieces in a large mixing bowl. I find my hands are the best tool for this. Pour in chicken broth, then use a potato masher to get bread up the cornbread pieces even more. When you are done, the cornbread should be soupy and kind of squishy.
Step 4. If you haven’t already chopped your hardboiled eggs, do so now. Add them to the cornbread mixture, along with your two raw eggs, vegetables and shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper and stir everything up until it is well combined.
Step 5. Coat a 9 x 12 x 2 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the cornbread mixture into the casserole dish and spread it around until it’s even. Adjust your oven rack so that it is in the middle of the oven. Then bake for one hour.
Step 6. After baking, you may want to broil the dressing for a few minutes to get a nice brown crust on the top. I usually don’t need to do this, as the top of my casserole is already brown and crisp enough. The dressing is going to be pretty hot right when you first pull it out, so I suggest letting it sit for about 15 minutes before serving. This also gives any residual chicken broth time additional to get soaked into the bread.
Time Saving Tips
Making this casserole from start to finish can take a couple of hours. That’s why I like to break up the recipe into stages. A few days ahead of time, I will make the cornbread, cook my harboiled eggs and bake and shred a chicken breast. Doing this ahead of time will save you 30-45 minutes of prep time later.
How to Freeze Southern Cornbread Dressing
Southern cornbread dressing can be frozen, unbaked, for up to one year. I suggest storing it in a disposable aluminum pan covered in foil.
Once baked, the dressing should be eaten within four days. I do not recommend freezing baked dressing, as the process of freezing and thawing can affect the texture of the cornbread.
Looking for more dressing ideas? Check out my recipe for Sausage and Sourdough Dressing.
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Southern Cornbread Dressing with Chicken
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 6 - 8 cups crumbled cornbread*
- 2 slices day old bread torn
- 2 cups chicken broth plus more as needed
- 2 raw eggs slightly beaten
- 2 hardboiled eggs chopped
- 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add celery and onion and sauté for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Combine cornbread with torn bread in a large bowl. Pour in chicken broth. Using a potato masher, begin mashing the bread – adding additional broth as needed – until the mixture is slightly soupy.
- Mix in raw eggs. Add hardboiled eggs, sautéed vegetables, and shredded chicken. Stir until all ingredients are well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour cornbread mixture into a 9 x 13 x 2 inch casserole dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Place dish on the middle rack of the oven and cook for 1 hour.
- Broil for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.