With a 60/40 ratio of cornbread to Italian bread our Cornbread Stuffing Recipe is the perfect combo of sweet and savory. We stud the base with salty Italian sausage, sweet dried cranberries, fresh herbs and alll the buttery onion, garlic and celery. A classic done right!
Cornbread Stuffing Recipe
Stuffing is personal and people are very finicky concerning it. Some like it more on the dry side and some prefer it moist, almost soggy.
There are long-standing family recipes never to be diverted from and those that love to shake it up and tinker with new and exciting ways to prepare it each year.
There’s cornbread stuffing versus white bread stuffing. Artisan bread versus sandwich bread.
I’ll say it again. Stuffing is personal.
Me? I worship stuffing all the ways. I love traditional stuffing made with white bread. Southern stuffing made with all cornbread. I love my late Grandmother’s soup-like dressing my husband not-so-lovingly calls – Mother’s dressing.
I love it with butternut squash. Apples. Cheese. Nuts.
However, if I had to pick only one it would be today’s hybrid Cornbread Stuffing Recipe. While I’m very fond of the taste and texture of cornbread, I tend to think stuffing made with 100% cornbread is too sweet for my personal taste, so I’ve settled on an approximate 60/40 ratio of Italian bread to cornbread. It’s a true winner.
Let’s get started.
Ingredients in our Cornbread Stuffing Recipe
Bread. I like to use Italian bread or ciabatta. Also you do need to make sure it’s at least a day old OR you can dry it out in the oven.
Cornbread. I’m store bought cornbread all the way. Again, make sure to buy it in advance, cut it up and let it dry.
Butter. All good stuffing recipes start with lots of butter. I like to use salted butter but unsalted works as well.
Veggies. Onion and celery are my picks. I like an even ratio of the two.
Herbs. Fresh herbs are the keys to our cornbread stuffing recipe. We use sage and fresh parsley. Thyme would be nice as well!
Chicken broth. Aside from the butter, you will need something to moisten the stuffing. Low-sodium chicken stock is my pick but you can also use turkey stock if that’s what you have.
Egg. I always use one or two eggs to bind the stuffing together.
Let’s make Cornbread Stuffing
Dry the bread. If you remember, set the bread out a day or two ahead. I dice everything into 1/2-inch cubes prior to drying it out and then spread it all on a large baking sheet. IIf you don’t have time to dry it out ahead of time, bake the breads in a 325 degree oven for about 15 minutes until fairly hard – without this step the mixture will just become a soggy mess when the chicken stock is added.
Cook the sausage. Brown one pound of Italian sausage – sweet, original, or spicy will do. Drain and set aside.
Cook the veggies. Melt bit of butter in a large sauté pan, add veggies, herbs, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook over a medium heat until softened, about five minutes.
Toss. Add breads to a large bowl or stock pot. Toss to combine. Add warm cooked veggies, sausage, cranberries, and remaining salt to the bread mixture.
Add in 1 cup of chicken stock and egg to a liquid measuring cup, mix until combined. Pour over the bread. Toss. Pour the rest of the chicken stock in and toss again. If you like stuffing to have a little bit more liquid, add the extra 1/2 cup of chicken stock, if you prefer it on the dry side, leave it out. Totally a personal choice.
Bake. Transfer to a greased 9×12 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown.
Can I make stuffing in advance?
In short, yes. For best results bake the same day and serve right away. If you want prep it fully the night before, add the extra 1/2 cup of chicken stock and transfer to prepared baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap. 15 minutes before baking remove from the fridge. Bake as instructed.
- Use ciabatta, french or any other sturdy bread
- Swap out your favorite sausage
- Add in any dried fruit or swap fresh apples or pears
- Chicken stock or turkey stock both work
- Fresh thyme would be lovely!
Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Don’t be tempted to add less stock than listed. It may seem wet at first but will dry up during the baking process.
- Make sure your bread is dry. Again if you forget the day ahead simply pop it into the oven.
- Don’t over bake. Once it’s golden brown, it’s good to go.
- 8 cups cubed day old Italian or ciabatta bread see notes
- 5 cups cubed day old Italian cornbread see notes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 1/2 cups diced celery
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
- 3 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 large Eggs
- The day or two before: Cube day old or fresh Italian bread and cornbread. Spread on two large baking sheets and let the bread sit out at room temperature for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours. IF you don't leave the bread out and need it dry the day of, preheat oven to 325 degrees. If you haven't already, cube bread. Transfer cubed bread to two large baking sheets, bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5-6 minutes until the bread is toasted and dry. Similar to stale bread. Let cool completely, then transfer to a very large mixing bowl or stock pot. Increase the temperature on the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a 9×12 baking dish.
- Add sausage to a large skillet. Brown sausage in a over a medium high heat, remove to a plate and set aside. Add the butter to the same skillet. Once the butter has melted, add the onion, celery, sage and 1 teaspoon salt. Sweat the veggies over a medium heat making sure they don't brown. Sweat just until they start to slightly soften, about five minutes.
- Add veggies, sausage, cranberries, and remaining salt to the bread mixture. Mix until combined.
- Add one and half cups chicken stock to a large measuring cup or small bowl. Add eggs and whisk until combined. Pour the chicken stock and egg over the bread mixture. Toss until combined.Pour another cup of chicken stock over the bread mixture and toss. If you like a more dry stuffing leave the next ½ cup out, if you like a little bit more liquid add the remaining chicken stock. I always add the full 2 1/2 cups.
- Transfer to a buttered 2.5 – 3 quart casserole dish and bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown.
The bread MUST be dried. If you don’t have time to leave it out.