Grandma's Homemade Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe (2024)

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My grandma aka the Royal Granda, makes the best Thanksgiving Dressing recipe. I finally sat her down and got her to share this timeless family favorite with all of you.

Grandma's Homemade Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe (1)

Grandma's Homemade Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe

Every year it's a tradition for our family to gather at my grandmother's small house. I don't know how she manages to squeeze us all in but this lady has it down to an art. Traditionally my grandmother would cook the entire meal. That's just the way she wanted to do it but as she has gotten older some of us ladies have finally convinced her to let us help her out.

For many years I have been trying to get her Old Fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe but she would always just tell me, “Melissa, I don't have a recipe, I just throw it together.” So last year I made it a point to get there much earlier and write down everything as she walked me through the process because I think her cornbread stuffing or dressing is the best stuffing recipe I've tasted, besides being a family tradition of course.

If you ask the family–yes, even my husband– they will tell you that no-one makes turkey and dressing like my grandma, keeping us all happy on Thanksgiving Day with our favorite holiday meal.

Oh and she has a secret to her Turkey. You are not going to BELIEVE IT! You can find it here.

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STUFFING VS DRESSING:

When it comes to time for Thanksgiving, people are scouring the web for a good stuffing recipe for Turkey or a good traditional Thanksgiving dressing recipe but many don't know the difference between the two.

Grandma's Homemade Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe (3)

Stuffingis typically made and cooked inside the cavity of your turkey, meaning the stuffing and the bird cook together. Stuffing the turkey cavity means adjusting cook time. This method is one of the tried and true ways of making adelicious Thanksgiving side.

However,food safety issues have brought about some controversy in recent years about whether or not it's a good ideato cook anything along with your poultry. I am not going to go into the debate, but just remember if you do decide to make actual stuffing, be sure to follow all food safety rules including not stuffing your turkey ahead of time! Do your homework and find a good recipe, rather than guess on this one. No one wants to end up sick due to bacteria in food- on that we can all agree!!

Dressing on the other hand, is made in a separate pan and separately from the turkey. You might not have all the authentic turkey flavoring that comes along with a stuffing, but you don't have to worry about any risk of salmonella or other bacteria from the raw turkey. I do recommend this personally. Especially for anyone new to cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner, it's one less thing to worry about! You could start a new family tradition by starting a family cookbook, with all of your familyrecipescompiled. If you need help you can also try using canva or contact aaprofessional food photography editing serviceto enhance them.

This recipe is for an actual dressing, not a stuffing. 🙂

GRANDMAS TIP:My grandma said she does make her cornbread ahead of time and then crumbles it up and mixes in the sage, salt, pepper, onion and celery the day before and stores it in the refrigerator. This gives the flavors time to incorporate into each other. This really helps with the flavor. I've heard people say the best bread for dressing is day old cornbread that has had a few slices of sandwich bread or wheat bread set on top to help it dry out some. My grandma didn't say to do that, but you may give it a try if you want a drier bread to start with for your old fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe.

Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe FAQ”s

Can I make this dressing recipe ahead of time?

Absolutely! You can prepare the Old Fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe in advance, up to a day before Thanksgiving. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and then bake it just before serving. However what I normally do is just bake the cornbread a day ahead of time. This saves time and keeps my stuffing at it's freshest taste.

Can I use store-bought breadcrumbs or stuffing mix?

While you can use store-bought breadcrumbs or stuffing mix, we recommend making your own breadcrumbs from stale bread. This gives the dressing a more authentic texture and flavor. Not the bread cubes like croutons, that makes a classic stuffing recipe or dressing recipe different from the box mix made on the stove. Your bread crumbs can be from homemade cornbread, French bread, sandwich bread, white bread, sourdough bread or any kind of bread you want to experiment with or old bread you want to use up. We love old fashioned bread stuffing made in that classic large casserole dish made with crumbled cornbread that was baked to golden brown perfection. But your family favorite may be different.

Can I make this dressing gluten-free?

Yes, you can make gluten-free dressing by using gluten-free bread or bread mixture or cornbread for the breadcrumbs. You'll also want to double-check that your other ingredients, like broths and seasonings, are gluten-free. Traditional stuffing is not, so make sure you have everything gluten-free for the perfect side dish for the gluten-free family members! You don't always need a separate dish if you find a good recipe. When you find the right one people won't even notice it is gluten free! All you are doing is swapping out a few cups of bread and checking ingredients.

Can I substitute chicken broth for turkey broth?

Yes, you can substitute chicken broth if you can't find turkey broth. It may result in a slightly different flavor, but it will still be delicious. The savory flavor from a roast turkey is unique for a homemade stuffing recipe you put on your Thanksgiving table. The dry stuffing mix from the grocery store with the flavor of chicken stock is good but to me isn't the same I want for my Thanksgiving meal. Use whatever you like best.

Do I have to use celery and onions?

While celery and onions are traditional in dressing recipes, you can customize your dressing by using other vegetables or seasonings. Some folks like to use a large saute pan, and put it on medium heat. Melt butter and add your vegetable mixture to about a half cup butter. Whatever veggies you want can be sautéed and added to different types of bread if you so choose. Feel free to get creative and make it your own! Fresh herbs or dry poultry seasoning can be a preference or family favorite as well. Feel free to try it according to this recipe or adjust to fit your Thanksgiving menu. Whatever veggies you decide to go with, chop them into small pieces, they are simple ingredients but you want them to get done. Chopping is a key step for the vegetables in the Southern cornbread dressing.

Can I add meat to this dressing?

Certainly! Many people add sausage, bacon, or even ground turkey to their dressing for added flavor and protein. Just make sure to cook any meat thoroughly in a large skilletbefore incorporating it into the recipe. I know someone who boils the neck and other parts from the Thanksgiving turkey to make a fresh broth for dressing and giblet gravy. Those bits of meat can be added but it is a personal preference, many people I know don't eat the neck or organ meats.

How can I make the dressing less dry or more moist?

Adjusting the moisture level in your dressing is easy. To make it less dry, add a bit more broth. To make it more moist, use less broth or bake it for a shorter time. Be sure to monitor it while baking to achieve your desired consistency. Too much liquid can make it need longer to bake, depending on the type of bread you use and how dry it was to begin with. This simple stuffing is a family recipe that has stood the test of time. If you don't like the texture you can adjust as needed to make sure you have a happy Thanksgiving and your leftover stuffing isn't too dry for eating the next day.

What's the best way to reheat leftover dressing?

To reheat dressing, place it in an ovenproof dish, cover with foil, and bake at 350°F (175°C) until heated through, usually 20-30 minutes. You can also microwave individual portions, but the oven method is preferred for retaining the texture.

Can I freeze leftover dressing?

Yes, you can freeze leftover dressing. Store it in an airtight container or zip-top bags, and it should keep well for up to 2-3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating. Make sure it cools to room temperature before packing up any leftovers. You can also freeze your traditional turkey too so you can have leftovers whenever you want! This is the best Thanksgiving stuffing recipe so you will want it more than once a year!

Essential Cookware for a Great Pan of Dressing!

One thing I want to include before the recipe is a recommendation for a good pan or baking dish. If this is your first time cooking, make sure to borrow or purchase a good pan, big enough to hold all the Dressing for everyone attending.

Also, don't overfill or under fill the pan. This recipe makes a LOT of dressing. My grandmother uses a good-sized roaster. She even told me that I could have her dressing pan when she passes away. It's funny the things that be sentimental to you like a dressing pan, but I will always have memories of our Thanksgivings every time I use it.

You can find one onAmazon similar. If you don't have aroaster, a large stoneware pan works well. For a dressing or any bread-based recipe, I like a pan that will hold in heat so no-one ends up finding cold food when they come back for seconds! 🙂

Grandma's Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe:

Yield: 6

Grandma's Homemade Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe (4)

This traditional cornbread based dressing is made entirely from scratch!

Prep Time45 minutes

Cook Time1 hour

Additional Time30 minutes

Total Time2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • Cornbread:
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Cornmeal
  • Pinch Salt
  • 3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk, either 2% or whole. (Not Skim)
  • Dressing:
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of sage (more to taste, if desired)
  • Dash of salt (Be careful not to add too much- broth adds salt)
  • 1 tablespoon of pepper (more to taste, if desired)
  • 4-6 cans Chicken Broth, 14.5 oz each

Instructions

  1. Prepare cornbread first. Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2-3 pie pans. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, adding egg and milk afterwards. Combine and divide into 2-3 large pie pans. (I use three). Cook until golden brown on the top. Allow to cool to touch.
  2. After cornbread is cooled, crumble into a large bowl. Cover and set aside. (This can also be done the day before).
  3. Prepare Cornbread. Dice celery and onions on a cutting board.
  4. Add the sage, salt and pepper, and then finally your onions and celery to your cornbread and mix well.
  5. Spray a large pan or 9x13 with non-stick spray.
  6. After your dressing is seasoned, empty bowl into a large roasting pan and gently press down the mixture into the shape of the pan.
  7. Open your chicken broth cans and pour over the mixture. Chicken broth will soak into the mixture. Slowly coat the entire pan until the dressing is covered and moist.
  8. Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until hot throughout and browned on top.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per ServingCalories 239Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 35mgSodium 549mgCarbohydrates 47gFiber 3gSugar 11gProtein 7g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment if you love this recipe!

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I had to include this lovely picture of the Royal Grandma prepping dinner rolls for our Thanksgiving Dinner. I hope you can enjoy her recipe and make it your own, for lots of Thanksgiving holidays to come. Happy cooking!

If you are looking forward to the holidays and trying this old fashioned Thanksgiving dressing recipe you may wan to check out our other recipes for main dishes, sides and even pumpkin pie! What other sides are a must have for your Thanksgiving dinner?Mac N Cheese,Brussels sprouts, orGreen Bean casserole? You might need to make a double batch of the green bean casserole to hang out beside the traditional Thanksgiving stuffing, thank me later.

More Thanksgiving Recipes:

  • Grandma's Secret Turkey Recipe
  • How to Prep a Turkey
  • Air Fryer Turkey Breast
  • Slow Cooker Ham with Pineapple
  • Homemade Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
  • Canned Green Beans with Bacon
  • Not Your Mama's Green Bean Casserole
  • Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes with Maple Glaze
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Loaded Mashed Cauliflower
  • Homemade Yeast Rolls
  • Pecan Pie Cobbler
  • Homemade Pecan Pie
  • Mini Chocolate Pies
  • Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
  • Guiltless Pumpkin Pie
Grandma's Homemade Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe (6)

Planning your Thanksgiving dinner? Take a look at my Homemade Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes!

Grandma's Homemade Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe (2024)
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