The Best Southern Cornbread Stuffing Recipe for Thanksgiving (2024)

By Kaleigh McMordie -

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This is THE best Southern cornbread stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving. It's rich, savory and full of flavor without using a pound of butter. This traditional stuffing recipe needs to be on your holiday table! Plus, I'm sharing a make-ahead option! (vegetarian, gluten-free option)

The Best Southern Cornbread Stuffing Recipe for Thanksgiving (1)

Favorite holiday food of all time? Mine is stuffing, hands down. What could be better than a pan full of carbs? Bread AND cornbread with a rich, savory, buttery, herby flavor that only comes around once a year? Pass me a fork!

Southern cornbread stuffing is one of those Thanksgiving dishes that never seem to have a recipe when our family makes it, but it always turns out absolutely delicious. Like, the best. And I have always wanted to share the absolute best ever cornbread stuffing with you for Thanksgiving, so I set out to find (or build) our family recipe. Turns out, there's not one. But I've finally recorded my favorite recipe for traditional Southern cornbread stuffing without using obscene amounts of butter.

Why You'll Love This Stuffing

This is the quintessential cornbread stuffing recipe that comes to mind with mentions of Thanksgiving (at least for me!). It's homey and savory, full of flavor from herbs, aromatic veggies, broth, and butter. It takes a little bit of time and prep work, but it's not difficult to make. And the results are SO worth the effort, especially for Thanksgiving dinner. And a little bonus? It's a little healthier than many recipes!

What Makes This Stuffing Healthier?

Not that I think stuffing for the best food day of the year needs to be healthy, but this stuffing is a little bit better for you without sacrificing flavor or coziness in the least. This stuffing uses just a bit of butter (3 tablespoons for a whole pan, which is not much comparatively) and derives a lot of the delicious savory flavor from broth and aromatics. It can be made even better for you by using my homemade cornbread, which uses whole wheat flour.

The Ingredients

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  • Cornbread - IMO, homemade is best! You'll want to make sure you have some made at least the day before you plan to make stuffing. I use my healthier cornbread recipe.
  • Bread - Really any type of bread is fine. Sandwich bread, whole wheat bread, french bread, whatever you have. I typically save the butt ends of my bread loaves and any bread that I won't eat before it goes bad in the freezer to use for things like stuffing later.
  • Onion, Celery and Garlic - Classic flavoring elements in any good stuffing recipe.
  • Parsley, Thyme and Green Onion - Lots of herbs for so much flavor! You can also add any other you like, such as sage or rosemary.
  • Butter - Not too much, just enough for a classic rich flavor.
  • Eggs - They help bind everything together.
  • Broth - I use my homemade chicken broth, or low sodium store-bought broth.

How To Make It

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  1. Cube the bread and cornbread and let it get stale, either by leaving it on the counter overnight, or by toasting in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  2. Chop the parsley, thyme and green onion. Add the stale bread and cornbread to a large bowl with the chopped herbs.
  3. Chop the onion, celery and garlic.
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook until slightly softened.
  5. Add most of the broth the saucepan with the onion mixture (reserving about ½ cup). Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour the onion and broth mixture into the bowl with the bread and gently stir to coat.
  7. Whisk the eggs with the remaining broth, salt and pepper. Pour into the bowl with the bread and stir to coat everything evenly. If the bread still looks dry, add a little more broth.
  8. Spread the stuffing mixture into a lightly greased baking dish. Cover and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.
  9. Remove the cover and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.

Can Stuffing Be Made Ahead?

While I wouldn't bake the stuffing ahead, you can do a lot of things ahead of time. You can absolutely make the cornbread a couple days ahead and the cube the bread and cornbread a day ahead to let it stale. You can also chop all the veggies and store in an airtight container 1-2 days ahead. If you like, you can also do everything up until the baking step and store the assembled stuffing in the refrigerator, covered, overnight.

Can It Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze stuffing! Place cooled stuffing in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up the 3 months. Thaw stuffing in the refrigerator before reheating.

The Best Southern Cornbread Stuffing Recipe for Thanksgiving (4)

Recipe Variations

  • Gluten Free: To make this stuffing gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free bread and cornbread (like my polenta cornbread).
  • You can add any additional herbs you like, such as sage or rosemary. If you only have dried herbs, you can absolutely use those too! Reduce the amounts by half if you're using dried herbs.

More Traditional Thanksgiving Favorites

  • Easy Herb Roasted Bone In Turkey Breast
  • Lower Sugar Cranberry Sauce
  • Basic Rustic Mashed Potatoes
  • Healthy(ish) Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans
  • Healthy Green Bean Casserole From Scratch

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating in the comments!

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THE Best Southern Cornbread Stuffing

The Best Southern Cornbread Stuffing Recipe for Thanksgiving (5)

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★★★★★4.7 from 3 reviews

This is THE best Southern cornbread stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving. It's rich, savory and full of flavor without using a pound of butter. This traditional stuffing recipe needs to be on your holiday table! Plus, I'm sharing a make-ahead option! (vegetarian, gluten-free option)

  • Author: Kaleigh
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: one 13x9" pan 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: Southern

Ingredients

Scale

  • 1 8x8-inch pan prepared cornbread, about 7 cups cubed
  • ½ loaf bread (sandwich, French, whole grain all work), about 7 cups cubed
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut cornbread and bread into roughly ½-inch cubes. Place on a baking sheet and let sit overnight on the counter covered loosely with a towel, to stale, or toast in the oven at 350°F for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add stale bread to a very large bowl with green onion, parsley and thyme.
  2. If it isn't heated already, heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking dish.
  3. Place butter in a large skillet. Heat over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic and celery. Cook, stirring, until onion and celery is slightly softened, 5-10 minutes. Add 1 cup of the broth and let simmer about 5 more minutes.
  4. Add onion and celery mixture to bowl with the bread. Gently stir to coat.
  5. Whisk together eggs, remaining broth, salt and pepper. Pour over bread mixture and stir gently again. If bread appears too dry, add more broth as needed. Pour mixture into prepared pan and cover with foil.
  6. Bake 45 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes.

Notes

  • Gluten Free: To make this stuffing gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free bread and cornbread (like my polenta cornbread).
  • You can add any additional herbs you like, such as sage or rosemary. If you only have dried herbs, you can absolutely use those too! Reduce the amounts by half if you're using dried herbs.
  • While I wouldn't bake the stuffing ahead, you can do a lot of things ahead of time. You can absolutely make the cornbread a couple days ahead and the cube the bread and cornbread a day ahead to let it stale. You can also chop all the veggies and store in an airtight container 1-2 days ahead. If you like, you can also do everything up until the baking step and store the assembled stuffing in the refrigerator, covered, overnight.

Keywords: southern cornbread stuffing, the best cornbread stuffing, cornbread stuffing

This post was originally published November 2018 and has been updated.

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About Kaleigh McMordie

Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, LD, is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian in Abilene, Texas, as well as a member of the Baby Led Weaning Dietitians Network. Kaleigh can be found at kaleighmcmordie.com.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. leslie gerson says

    this looks delicious! how would it taste with chicken sausage?

    Reply

    • Kaleigh says

      I bet it would be great with sausage!

      Reply

  2. Rachel says

    This was delicious!!! So sweet and flavorful!

  3. Nico says

    What type of parsley does this recipe call for?

    Reply

    • Kaleigh says

      Fresh parsley, flat leaf or curly are both fine!

      Reply

  4. Barbara Pauline Rubio says

    Can I use bread croutons for the white stale bread

    Reply

    • Kaleigh says

      Yes, you should be able to.

      Reply

  5. Kristina says

    I made this for Thanksgiving and it was amazing! Perfectly flavored with just the right amount of moisture and crunch.
    Definitely my go-to stuffing recipe now.

    Reply

    • Kaleigh says

      I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for leaving a review.

      Reply

  6. Allison says

    Can you make early and heat. ASAP

    Reply

    • Kaleigh says

      Hi Allison, Yes you should be able to. I’d suggest reheating in the oven covered with foil, and remove the foil at the end to crisp the top a little bit.

      Reply

  7. Farrah says

    If I don't make our own cornbread, how many cups store bought cornbread can I use?

    Reply

    • Kaleigh says

      Hi Farrah,
      You'll just use one full pan of cornbread from the store (an 8-inch pan or so). I'm not sure how many cups it comes out to, but my estimate is roughly 6 cups.

      Reply

    • Chef Mitch says

      2- 12oz bags of store bought cornbread like Pepperidge Fram ...that'll work fine

      Reply

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