My Grandmother’s Cornbread Stuffing

Southern Cornbread Dressing/Stuffing with cranberries

My Grandmother's Southern Cornbread Dressing

This recipe isn’t from one of my books (although it may end up in one someday). This is a MUST HAVE in my house for Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d share it.
I didn’t realize how much of a MUST HAVE it was until, early on in my marriage to my husband, Carlos, we spent Thanksgiving at his parents’ house. 
His mom made a white bread stuffing with green chilis. I can’t actually say whether it was good or bad. It was probably good–she’s a very good cook–but it wasn’t cornbread stuffing! It didn’t have water chestnuts, dried cranberries, or...cornbread...the three big essentials in my family’s recipe. 
I was SO disappointed! From that day forward, I vowed never to have a Thanksgiving without cornbread stuffing (or dressing, as my mom calls it).
This recipe is my grandmother’s. My mom adapted it and added the water chestnuts. I’ve since adapted it, too, by adding the dried cranberries. As you can see, exact measurements are not super important!
For all of my kids (there are 5 of them!), this stuffing is an absolute essential at Thanksgiving. It’s a non-negotiable. My three older boys often spend the holiday with Carlos’s family in Northern California. One of those boys takes it upon himself to make the stuffing so they don’t have to go without. It makes my heart so happy! ❤️
So, here is my family’s cornbread stuffing recipe. Enjoy!


  • 1-2 boxes of cornbread Follow box directions. (We use a gluten-free cornbread–celiac!–but you can use a boxed cornbread stuffing like Mrs. Cubbison’s).
  • 4-8 celery stalks rough chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2-1 stick butter (or replace with olive oil)
  • 1 lb mushrooms optional
  • 1-2 cans water chestnuts diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries Add more or less, based on your preference.
  • 1 lb sausage optional
  • chicken or veggie broth to taste and texture. Less if you prefer it drier, more if you want it wet
  • 1-2 tsp sage
  • salt to taste
  • 1 T poultry seasoning


  • Make the cornbread
  • Crumble and spread out on a cookie sheet or large pan and toast at low heat (250 degrees) for an hour, or so, until it’s pretty dry and toasty. You can do this ahead of time.

Make the Dressing

  • Chop onion and celery. Sauté in olive oil or butter until onion is translucent.
  • Add garlic, and add the mushrooms, if you’re using them.
  • Put dried cornbread into a large bowl.
  • Add onion mixture, seasoning, and broth. The amount of broth depends on the consistency you want. I usually make it pretty wet. Some people prefer it drier.
  • Add dried cranberries and sausage, if using.
  • Mix well. Add salt to taste.
  • Spread into a large casserole pan(s). Cover with foil and heat at 350 until warm all the way through, about 40 minutes (longer if it’s been refrigerated).
  • Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes to toast the top.
Southern Cornbread Dressing/Stuffing with cranberries
Southern Cornbread Dressing/Stuffing with cranberries
Southern Cornbread Dressing/Stuffing with cranberries
Southern Cornbread Dressing/Stuffing with cranberries