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Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Pecans

Rich and savory with a touch of sweetness, this Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Pecans is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving feast. Make with day-old cornbread to pull this together quickly before dinner!

A wooden spoon serving cornbread dressing in a white casserole dish

Savory Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe

This Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Pecans is the perfect Thanksgiving side dish!

The sausage and pecans offer great flavor and texture with the cornbread, and I love the fresh herbs and touch of cider vinegar tang. It’s mostly savory, with just a touch of sweetness.

Perfection on the Thanksgiving table!

My only regret with this recipe? It’s that I was well into my 30’s by the time I ate my first bite of dressing made with cornbread. And what a game changer for this Midwesterner – I was sold.

Cornbread dressing forever and ever, AMEN!

Cornbread dressing in a casserole dish with a wooden spoon next to it

With savory turkey, cranberry coleslaw, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green bean casserole on the menu, I like to include a couple Thanksgiving dishes with a touch of sweetness.

I think the sweet is what draws our kids to this dressing, too. Well, the sausage doesn’t hurt, either. We’re big sausage fans here.

A few more sides that our family really likes, that include some sweetness, are Cheesy Skillet Scalloped Corn and Honey Garlic Carrots – both delicious recipes that always disappear quickly.

Did you grow up with dressing or stuffing? I grew up with both, actually. Mom typically used bread or croutons, and often included raisins in the mix.

Cornbread dressing ingredients

What You’ll Need

All you need for this recipe is day-old cornbread, sausage, pecans, and a handful of other simple ingredients.

  • Cornbread – You’ll want to use day-old cornbread to make the stuffing, so bake the cornbread the day before. I just use a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix.
  • Pork sausage – Use bulk ground pork sausage, or remove the casings from link pork sausage.
  • Unsalted butter
  • Yellow onion – chopped
  • Celery – sliced
  • Apple cider vinegar – Balances out the rich, savory flavors and adds a little tangy fun – this unexpected flavor is wonderful in the dressing!
  • Chicken broth – I always use low-sodium broth, so I can control the saltiness.
  • Toasted pecans – Add a delightful bit of crunchy texture and another layer of savory flavor.
  • Herbs & seasonings – Italian parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper add the classic savory flavor you’d expect in a Thanksgiving dressing.
  • Eggs – Helps hold everything together.

How to Make Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Pecans

This Thanksgiving dressing recipe comes together easily – no need to stuff it inside a turkey for great flavor!

  • Dry out the cornbread. Scatter the cornbread on two rimmed baking sheets, making sure the pieces are in a single layer. Bake for 40 minutes to an hour, stirring often and rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  • Brown the sausage. Cook the sausage, breaking it into 1/2″ to 1″ pieces until browned. Transfer to the bowl with the cornbread, but do not combine.
  • Saute the veggies. Cook the onions and celery in butter until softened and just beginning to brown. Add to the bowl. Add vinegar to the skillet and scrape the browned bits from the bottom. Drizzle mixture over the cornbread.
  • Add the remaining ingredients. Fold in half of chicken broth, pecans, and herbs. Let cool.
  • Bake. Whisk the remaining chicken broth with eggs then fold into the cornbread. Transfer to the prepared dish, cover with foil and bake until the center reads 160° F, about 40 minutes or so. Remove the foil and place until the broiler if you want a crisp top.
Cornbread dressing in a white casserole dish

Tips for Success

For the best cornbread dressing, keep these few tips in mind:

  • Use day-old cornbread. When making cornbread dressing, you want to use cornbread that’s had a chance to cool completely. You’ll continue drying it out in this recipe but you want it to have some time to cool completely first to give the best stuffing-like texture.
  • Don’t overmix. Wait until the ingredients are added to the bowl before folding everything together, instead of doing so after each ingredient. Overmixing can lead to the cornbread breaking down too much or becoming mushy.
  • Watch the topping carefully. The dressing needs just a little time under the broiler to crisp up the top. Keep a close eye on it to ensure that it doesn’t burn and remove if quickly when it’s browned to your liking.
A white casserole dish of cornbread dressing with a serving mising

Serving Suggestions

This recipe began as a Thanksgiving side dish and it definitely fits in well with freshly roasted (or smoked) turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and all the other good Thanksgiving fixings.

But that doesn’t mean Thanksgiving is the only time you can make this savory dressing recipe!

It’s an easy way to make a simple dinner a little more special. Add it to the table with a gorgeous pork loin, this delicious grilled turkey, or some super easy pork chops.

Can I Make Thanksgiving Dressing in Advance?

Yes, this cornbread dressing can be made a day in advance.

Bake as directed, then uncover and let cool. Coverage and refrigerate.

The next day, let the dressing sit on the counter while the oven preheats to 350° F. Bake the dressing covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until thoroughly hot and the top is crisp.

If you put it directly in the oven without allowing it to come to room temperature, you may need to bake it slightly longer.

Close-up of cornbread dressing with stuffing

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • How to store leftovers. Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days. Tightly cover the dish or transfer the dressing to an airtight container.
  • How to reheat leftovers. If reheating the entire casserole dish, follow the same steps as the make-ahead instructions above. If you’re just reheating a single portion, you can easily reheat in the microwave until warmed through.
Cornbread dressing in a white casserole dish

More Thanksgiving Side Dishes:

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cornbread dressing in a white baking dish, with a wooden spoon digging into it

Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Pecans

Yield: 10 servings
prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 1 hour 40 minutes
total time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Rich and savory with a touch of sweetness, this Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Pecans is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving feast. Make with day-old cornbread to pull this together quickly before dinner!
4.6 Stars (5 Reviews)
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound day-old cornbread torn into 1.5” to 2” pieces (I baked two 8.5-ounce boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix in a 9”x13” pan for about 20 minutes.)
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • ¾ cup 1.5 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for coating the baking dish
  • 2.5 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1.5 cups sliced celery
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth divided
  • 1.25 cups chopped toasted pecans
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 250° F. Butter a 9'' x 13''  baking dish and set aside.
  • Scatter cornbread in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake, stirring often and rotating sheets halfway through, until cornbread is dried out, about 40 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool. Transfer cornbread to a very large mixing bowl.
  • Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up into 1/2'' to 1'' pieces with a wooden spoon until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with cornbread, but do not stir to combine.
  • Return skillet to heat and add the butter. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add to bowl with cornbread.
  • Return skillet to heat. Add vinegar. Cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, for 1 minute. Drizzle mixture over the bowl with cornbread.
  • Gently fold in 1.5 cups of the chicken broth, plus the pecans, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Add salt and pepper. Let cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F. In a small bowl, whisk remaining 1.5 cups chicken broth and eggs. Fold gently into cornbread mixture until thoroughly combined, taking care to not mash the cornbread. The mixture will look wet. Transfer to prepared dish, cover with foil, and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of dressing registers 160° F, about 40 minutes. If you want to brown and crisp up the top, remove the foil and place dish under the broiler for a few minutes.

  • Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Bake as directed and then uncover and let cool. Cover and refrigerate. To reheat, let dressing sit on the counter while oven preheats to 350° F. Then bake the dressing, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until top is crisped. If dressing is fully chilled when going into the oven, it may take an additional 10 to 15 minutes to get thoroughly heated.

Video

Notes

Adapted from bon appetit magazine, November 2012.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 Calories: 425kcal Carbohydrates: 31g Protein: 17g Fat: 27g Saturated Fat: 7g Polyunsaturated Fat: 19g Cholesterol: 97mg Sodium: 1201mg Fiber: 3g Sugar: 4g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles or tag @farmgirlsdabble!
cornbread dressing in a white baking dish, with a wooden spoon digging into it

This post was first published in 2013, and then updated in 2021.

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26 comments on “Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Pecans”

  1. I’ll admit I don’t really care for dressing. Our family is known for some pretty bland mush when it comes to this dish. My brother-in-law asked that I be the one to prepare it this year and I was pretty frustrated because of all things…really?! I immediately turned to Pinterest and spotted your gorgeous pic and then read through the ingredients and was hooked. This is, by far, the BEST dressing I’ve ever tasted. My family agreed, and this is now what I’ll be bringing to Christmas, as well. Thanks so much for an incredible recipe.

  2. I grew up on southern cornbread dressing – it was good but never my favorite. So when I began hosting my own holiday dinners, I typically made classic bread dressing. However, every few years I get a hankering for cornbread dressing at Thanksgiving so I made your recipe this year. It was THE BEST and everyone LOVED it! Corn bread, sausage, fresh herbs, buttery… YUM! Very possibly the best dressing I’ve ever made. Thank you, Brenda, for a fabulous recipe and for making a cornbread dressing convert out of me/my family!

  3. Hi Brenda- I just made a similar recipe last night, I cut my cornbread into chucks and toasted the corn bread at 400 for 10 minutes. I also added a chopped apple cooked in a little butter and brown sugar for some sweetness. IDK if it will turn out but I’m hoping for the best! Thanksgiving Blessings…Melanie

  4. Lana @ Never Enough Thyme

    Of course I grew up eating cornbread – a lot of cornbread – and I always make cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving. But our south Georgia cornbread dressing is much, much different. It doesn’t have cubes of bread in it, the cornbread is completely broken down and combined with onions, celery, broth, and seasonings. The recipe is on my blog if you’d like to have a look :-)

  5. Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen

    I love cornbread dressing. My family loves it so much that we have it several times a year. This looks amazing.

  6. Jennifer | Bake or Break

    This looks so, so good! I have had cornbread dressing for every Thanksgiving I can remember. I make a very traditional version, but I’m more than tempted by this one. I really like the idea of sausage added to it!

  7. I grew up eating stuffing that my Mother and Grandmother both made and it was tasty stuff! The stuffing was made with day-old bread my mom would set out on a tray table for a day so it would dry out. I have been looking for a cornbread stuffing for several years to make for Thanksgiving, but I haven’t found one that appeals to me. This one looks non-stop delicious! Love the fresh herbs you put in this! Making for Thanksgiving and will stop in later to let you know how we liked it. God Bless Brenda. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your beautiful family!