Until recently, I had very few (and always unpleasant) experiences with cornbread dressing. First: Cold oyster stuffing (made with canned oysters), actually stuffed inside the bird, sitting on the counter for several hours. So wrong on so many levels. Second: the Side Dish of Choice at Southern Thanksgiving. And it was always kind of gummy with a weird aftertaste. While I have been able to get on board with many Southern culinary traditions (hello, meat pies!), cornbread dressing has just been one I can’t appreciate. I really, really love my Dad’s version of the Thanksgiving superstar and it was always going to be my favorite.

And then I decided that if I’m going to be an honorary Southerner, maybe I should try to find a way to like cornbread dressing. When I was trying to figure out what I did and didn’t want my cornbread dressing to be, I realized that I kind of wanted my Dad’s Italian Sausage Stuffing only made with cornbread. And have it not be gross or weird. And this recipe totally delivers.

For this recipe, you’ll need a 9×13″ pan of my favorite cornbread ever (I baked a 9×13″ pan and a 9×9″ pan one night when I was feeling particularly productive and annoyed at the lack of cake-like treats in my house and then left the 9×13″ pan out on the counter for a few days to dry out. All in the name of culinary delights and not laziness in any way.) If you’re worried about the sweetness of the cornbread or if you’re used to very savory dressing, you can always make a 9×13″ pan of your favorite regular cornbread. You’ll also need a pound (give or take–I actually used a whole package, which ended up being slightly more than a pound) of Italian sausage, a couple of onions, a tart apple, some celery, butter, chicken broth, and fresh parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (I can guarantee that there was no cheesy singing from me or my husband. NONE.) You can also use dry sage, rosemary, and thyme, but herbs are cheap right now and the surprise post **cough** very first Our Best Bites Thanksgiving Turkey **cough cough** on Monday involves fresh herbs, so this is a great way to use up what you don’t use on the turkey.

Preheat oven to 375.

Crumble up the cornbread in a very large bowl. Crumble the Italian sausage (you can use sweet or spicy, but I use sweet so I can control the heat more easily) into a skillet heated over medium-high and cook it until it’s nice and brown and crumbly. Remove it from the skillet and set aside.

While the sausage is browning, finely chop the onions, celery, and peel and chop the apples.

After you’ve transferred the sausage from the pan, take a look at the drippings in the pan. If there are about 2 tablespoons of drippings, go ahead and saute the onions, celery, and apples over medium-high heat. If there aren’t 2 tablespoons, add a little olive oil before adding the chopped ingredients. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and fragrant.

Toss the onion mixture, the browned sausage, and the cornbread together. Add the chicken broth, melted butter, and chopped herbs and toss well. Press into a 9×13″ pan

and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve alongside your favorite Thanksgiving goodies. Or, if it’s like my house, this IS the showpiece and everything else is a side dish. For real. My husband ate two bowls of this and nothing else for dinner. Makes about 12 side dish servings.



  1. I once had a boyfriend whose family put hot dogs in their stuffing.

    Hot. Dogs.

    And acted although it was the best thing ever instead of a crime against humanity, Thanksgiving, and pigs of the land.

    Your version looks fabulous!! Love the addition of sausage and apples. Mmmm…

  2. I am a little confused and need clarification. When you add eggs,milk and oil, which are you using the directions for?? The cake or the cornbread??

    1. You make the cornbread according to the cornbread directions and the cake according to the cake directions and then you mix them together. OR you can combine the cake and cornbread mixes and then add all the other ingredients for both mixes in the same bowl and mix them all together. I promise, it’s not as tricky as it sounds! 🙂

      1. Where in this recipe is there cake? I’m confused by this comment and don’t want to miss anything as I plan to make this recipe.

  3. How on earth did y’all get my coveted recipe????? This is soooo very close to mine, except i add carrots and mushrooms. It is one of the few recipes that i do not share…..every southern cook worth her salt has a secret recipe or two. 😉

  4. I’m really picky about the dressing/stuffing, but this looks really amazing! The family might have to experience some pre-Thanksgiving tasting just to test it out.

    Happy Friday!

  5. I cannot wait! And perfect timing too – I was going to make the cornbread this weekend for chili feast – and this will take the other half 🙂 🙂 YEAH!

  6. My dad makes the yummiest stuffing I have ever had! And my in laws make boxed stuff. This year is in law year. I am sad I am missing it. Next year, he’ll be on a mission, so I’m thinking about making a turkey just so he’ll make some stuffing.=) He also puts mushrooms in his.

  7. Kate – you rock my socks off. I am equally in love with stuffing and think the idea of a [mostly] stuffing filled Thanksgiving sounds like the best idea ever. Keep ’em coming 🙂

  8. our branch thanksgiving dinner is tomorrow. guess what im making??? i may have missed it in the post but can i make it today and then just reheat?

  9. My great grandmother’s award winning (no really it is!) Cornbread Dressing continues to be my favorite dish at Thanksgving. And even though she is no longer with us my grandmother, mother, and now me make it EVERY Thanksgiving!

  10. HELP! I have fallen in love with the Christmas subway art posted at this address on your blog. https://3.bp.blogspot.com/_gLGOsirSkHc/TQw8QaEwnrI/AAAAAAAAN5o/HymZL49bPl0/s1600/subway+art.jpg

    The link to download it no longer works. Is there anyway you can send me a file via email so I can print them out for neighbor gifts? It is the cutest one online. I currently live in Logan and we are playing BYU tonight for basketball! GO AGGIES….hahaha 🙂 Thanks so much for all your help.


  11. Ok I’m a southerner and I truly dislike dressing of course we always have my MIL’s oyster dressing and since I hate oysters I can’t bear ro eat it. She says you can’t taste the oysters! Seriously? Anything with ome oyster in it is going to tase exactly like oyster and nothing else.

  12. This is the same recipe I have been using for 30+ years, which I learned from my mother-in-law. The only difference is I add some (not too many) sliced, toasted pecans just because I like the way it looks. I stuff the bird and also fill a large pan with stuffing, and it’s always the first thing to go.

  13. I’ve been making a recipe like this one for years because I have the same problem with gummy, pasty-textured stuffings. One addition that I make is toasted pine nuts. They’re delicious and it gives an additional Italian flavor to the dressing to compliment the sausage! Yummy!

  14. Wow, this looks great. We’ve never been a cornbread stuffing family. I grew up with the standards white bread with celery and onion with lots of sage. Now I like to toss in cranberries and apples. I’m definitely open to the southern fave though. I can’t imagine cornbread and sausage being bad, at least if it’s outside the bird w/o oysters. 🙂

  15. Can this be made a day in advance and then baked just before we eat it? I don’t want to mess with too much on Thanksgiving morning.

  16. Another question for you: Can mild Italian sausage be substituted for sweet? I could only find hot or mild — opted for the mild. Am going to be making your recipe except to use a gluten free cornbread mix (Bob’s Red Mill) and a gluten free yellow cake mix so my daughter can have some. She’s been a trooper about her recent gluten-intolerance diagnosis and I’m trying to help it be a delicious Thanksgiving. (The rest of the family can have the gummy, sticky stuffing. lol)

  17. Just have to say I made your sweet cornbread yesterday and only added the liquids from the cake box(didn’t realize I was also supposed to add the cornbread part) and it still came out yummy…maybe a bit more crumbly, but GOOD. Wish me luck on making your stuffing tomorrow for my first Thanksgiving without help.

  18. Recipe is in the works! (the cornbread is yummy!) I am excited for something new this year. My husband always makes his family recipe which involves a whole box of saltine crackers. I feel like we are growing up! And he is nervous. But this is what he gets for deciding to make duck instead of turkey for Thanksgiving.

  19. Since this was adapted from Allrecipes… I am sure it was the same I used. I absolutely REFUSED to eat stuffing and/or dressing for 27 years. ANYONE could tell you how bad it was… Last year I decided to “try” a corn bread stuffing… OMG I was in love. I am sure pregnancy had NOTHING to do with it… I had to go home and make another batch after Thanksgiving dinner. For Christmas I made two pans hoping there would be plenty to take home… yeah ummm NO. It was ALL gone. I like the addition of the apples and fresh herbs so this year I am going to give this one a spin! I will update to see if it replaces my other one!

  20. I made this dressing tonight and I have to say I was a bit disappointed. Looks exactly how I want it to look but it was way too sweet. I kind of thought it would be but thought I’d give it a shot. Back on the hunt for the perfect dressing.

  21. Made this dressing for Thanksgiving and although we did love the texture it was WAY too sweet. The spiciness and heat of the sausage and Tabasco sauce couldn’t cut through sweetness. My husband and I are considering ways to alter the cornbread recipe to make it less sweet. We prefer dressing with a better balance of the sweet and savory. Ended up throwing most of it out 🙁 We’ll try again for Christmas to see if we can turn this into a winning recipe.

  22. I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a hit! We’re still enjoying the leftovers. Earlier my husband got playfully angry with me and told me I was lucky I made good dressing! Thanks for saving my marriage! 

  23. I have to admit…I made this stuffing, even though, the thought of putting in the cake mix in the cornbread did not sound good….and, I was quite disappointed! The stuffing tasted too sweet and cake-mixey to me. Maybe I did something wrong…I probably will not make this again.

  24. I have a question! Do you add BOTH dry herbs and fresh herbs or is it one or the other? I think you are saying to add both, so that is what I will do. I can’t wait to try this! We were at the in-laws for Thanksgiving and now I am making something for us to have at home. I have been craving leftovers ever since last Friday! :0)

  25. Definitely delicious! Its more of a sweet dressing, which I loved, and the fresh herbs make all the difference. Thanks for making my Turkey Day yummy!

  26. I am trying this recipe out. But I don’t like cooked celery and my kids won’t eat it if I put the onions in it. Suggestions? do I just leave it out? Thanks!

  27. I made this and honestly found it a bit strange with the cornbread that had a cake mix in it. I liked it better than I thought, but think I would like it a lot if made with regular cornbread. Haven’t decided if I’ll make it again.

  28. I am feeling very cooking challenged after making this. Just a question…. the sausage that you reommended to buy, its in a casing right? I got it out of the package to crumble up in the fying pan and had to squeeze it out of the casing and then crumble up in the pan. Did I buy the right sausage? We will be eating this in about an hour and I can’t wait. It smelled so good!!
    Thanks for your help.

  29. I made the stuffing Christmas Eve and cannot get enough! I love it and have been calling people to tell them how awesome it is 🙂 Thank you for making my Christmas tastier!

  30. I made this for Thanksgiving, and it was hands down the best stuffing I’ve ever had. My 11 year old daughter that loathes stuffing had seconds. Thank you! This will be our stuffing recipe from now on.

  31. I have mixed feelings about this recipe. I found it too sweet. My friend said it was the best cornbread stuffing she ever ate. The cornbread was just too sweet for my taste.


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