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This handed-down, old fashioned recipe for homemade Chicken and Cornbread Dressing is wonderfully moist, savory and loaded with celery, onion and chicken. It’s an absolute must as a holiday side dish, especially Thanksgiving, but don’t be surprised when it’s served for Sunday dinner, special occasions or any time a little touch of home is needed!
How Is Cornbread Dressing Different from Stuffing?
People love to make use the Mason Dixon line as the divider between those who eat dressing for the holidays and those who have stuffing instead, and well… sometimes that can be true, but not always.
The real difference (technically) between cornbread dressing and stuffing is where it’s cooked. Stuffing is stuffed inside (hence the name…) the turkey, chicken or quail and cooked as the bird cooks, soaking up all those good juices and flavors while it, in turn, also lends lots of flavor to the bird. Additionally, stuffing is usually chunkier, more bread based and drier than a pan of cornbread dressing.
Dressing, on the other hand, is prepared mainly from cornbread, as a side dish in its own pan and served on the plate beside (or on the side of) a meat “to dress it.”
Ingredients for Homemade Chicken and Dressing
- cornbread- This recipe uses a 12 inch skillet or pan of cornbread. You can make your own from scratch or use a cornbread mix. It usually takes 2 mix packets to make a 12 inch pan or, if making your own, double your 8 inch pan recipe.
- 3-4 slices stale white bread– The heel pieces of bread work really well for this.
- yellow onion
- chicken broth
- salt, pepper, poultry seasoning– Poultry seasoning is a common spice blend containing SAGE, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and other spices. It is easily found on the spice aisle of your grocery store.
- chicken– You can boil your own chicken, but I really like using the shortcut of a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. It is well seasoned and eliminates some prep. I use the whole chicken, even the dark meat. Dark meat is more moist than white meat and adds a ton of flavor. Even if you are not usually a dark meat fan, you will love what it does for your chicken and dressing.
How to Make Old Fashioned Chicken and Dressing
Prep. Mix together cornbread batter according to your cornbread recipe or mix instructions. Add diced celery and onions to the batter and bake the cornbread as directed. Remove cornbread from oven and allow to completely cool. Shred rotisserie chicken or chicken you have boiled. Set aside.
Assemble. Finely crumble up cornbread and stale bread. Add salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and shredded chicken. Toss to mix it all together. Mix in the eggs next. I find my hands are the best tools for this, so roll up your sleeves and get in there. Mix in butter and 1.5 cups broth the same way. Spoon cornbread dressing into a greased 9×13 pan or 5 quart casserole dish. Pour remaining chicken broth over the top.
Bake. Bake covered with foil or a lid for 25 minutes and uncovered for 20 minutes. You know your Chicken and Dressing is done when the top is browned and the edges are bubbling.
Make Your Chicken & Dressing Ahead of Time
This dish is ideal to make ahead of time, which really helps out during the holidays when so many things are being prepped and cooked! You can make your chicken and dressing well in advance and freeze, bake it completely the night before your big meal and simply reheat it or you can assemble the dish without baking it and bake it fresh before your meal. No matter what, this recipe delivers delicious dressing every time!
If you choose to bake it the night before, allow the dressing to cool after baking, cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. Mix in 1/2- 1 cup of extra chicken broth before reheating for 20-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
If you just assemble the dish the night before, simply cover uncooked dressing and store in the fridge until about 30 minutes before you are ready to cook it. Remove dish from refrigerator to let it lose its chill. Cook in a preheated oven according to the recipe instructions.
How To Freeze Chicken & Dressing
Chicken and cornbread dressing can be frozen before or after baking. To freeze before baking, simply assemble the dish in a freezer proof 9×13 pan or casserole dish, cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for 2-3 months. To bake, remove from the freezer, allow to defrost in the fridge overnight and then bake according to the recipe.
To freeze after baking, make sure dish is completely cool. Wrap with plastic wrap and freeze for 2-3 months. To reheat, allow the dressing to defrost in the fridge overnight. Mix in an extra 1/2 -1 cup chicken broth to freshen everything up and keep the dressing from drying out during reheating, and then bake in 350 degree oven until warmed through- usually about 20-30 minutes.
More Thanksgiving Side Dishes To Love
- Fluffy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Southern Cornbread Pudding
- Homemade Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce
- Ambrosia Fruit Salad with Whipped Cream Dressing
- Garlic Honey Glazed Carrots
- Louisiana Dirty Rice
- Slow Cooker Black Eyed Peas & Ham
- Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon & Mushrooms
If You Make This Recipe, I Can’t Wait To Hear About It!
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- 12 inch pan of cornbread (2 cornbread mixes)
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3-4 slices stale white bread (heel pieces are good)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
- 6 large eggs, beaten
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 small chicken (rotisserie chicken works well)
- Mix together cornbread batter according to your cornbread recipe or mix instructions. Add diced celery and onions to the batter and bake as directed. Remove cornbread from oven and allow to completely cool. Shred rotisserie chicken. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
- Finely crumble up cornbread and stale bread. Add salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Mix together well. Toss together with shredded chicken.
- Add eggs. Mix well with fork or hands. Mix in butter and 1.5 cups broth with hands or fork
- Spoon cornbread dressing into a greased 9×13 pan or 5 quart casserole dish. Pour remaining chicken broth over the top. Bake covered with foil or a lid for 25 minutes and uncovered for 20 minutes. Chicken and Dressing is done when top is browned and edges are bubbling.