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Need a recipe for really MOIST cornbread stuffing

I've decided to take a risk and make cornbread stuffing this Thanksgiving, mainly because I just love cornbread so much. I've never made it before, but have heard rumors that it is very easy to dry out. My parents - who are gourmet cooks - once tried it years ago, and it came out dry.

Does anyone have a full-proof method or recipe for a super moist cornbread stuffing? I don't like fruit in my stuffing, so if the moisture is going to come from fruit, I would prefer another recipe. Oh, and I am not stuffing the bird, this will cook separately.

Thanks!
CK

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  1. I use sauted onions and celery added to my cornbread/tosted leftover bread mixture. I use ground celery seed, sage, salt, and poultry seasoning. All of this is to taste. As you mix your cornbread mixture keep adding very warm turkey broth until it is almost swimming in broth. I cook it at 350 for an hour or more uncovered. Use a deep dish, it will stay moist longer. I check it as it cooks and may add more turkey broth as it cooks. NO EGGS. If it is too dry anyway, that is what giblet gravy is for.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Janet

      I use broth and an equal amount of vermouth, also heavy ceam, and pureed mushrooms with the sausage: if anything it's too gushy.

      1. re: Janet

        I was taught how to make cornbread dressing by my Mother. A farm gal from East Texas.
        • Make a lot of turkey stock from the giblets. She would add chicken necks.
        • Large iron skillet of cornbread cooled and crumbled.
        • Large flat pan of biscuits cooled and crumbled.
        • More cornbread than light bread.
        • 1 Large onion diced.
        • As much celery as you like.
        • Eggs as many as need to make it stick together.
        • Salt to taste.
        • Fresh rubbed sage.
        • Mix all ingredients together by eye add broth as need.
        Mom stuffed her turkey. She also had a large iron Dutch oven that she put the extra stuffing in. The dressing in the Dutch oven was floating in turkey broth. She would add broth if need. She used a hot oven 400 degrees, and when the iron got hot she drop it to about 300 and cook about 1 hour.
        Now the twist I have add is as follows.
        • Fresh cracked pepper.
        • 1lbs. Of browned sage sausage or Italian sweet sausage.[The best!]
        • Diced Pimientos [1 jar] for color.
        Last year at request I added jalapenos peppers. It was a big hit!
        I a firm beliver that you don’t make dressing you build it!

        1. re: Janet

          Your not very convincing. I use giblet gravy on all my stuffing's to have my cornbread stuffing to still taste dry.

        2. The moisture is a mater of amount of wet ingredients vs dryness of (corn)bread, so is entirely in your control. I usually don't like it soggy from broth so I add grated apple for moisture, but that won't help you I guess. I don't use a recipe for it, either.

          1 Reply
          1. re: coconutz

            The apple makes since. The part I guess I left out was the fact I no longer live in the deep south and am in a lot higher elevation and cooking my old recipes up here are a little more difficult , especially homemade cornbread stuffing. Adding more moisture just makes for soggy stuffing and even prize winning giblet gravy won't help.

          2. I used to make very moist stuffing using the Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing, adding sauteed onion, breakfast sausage, and chestnuts. I can't get the Pepperidge Farm anymore since I no longer live in the US. But I still have the recipe and I can post it if you'd like.

            As Coconutz said, you can make it as moist or dry as you want depending on the amount of broth and butter you add. Also, it will be more moist if you either cook it in your turkey or keep it covered while cooking.

            One word of advice--stuffing is not meant to be low fat and healthy. I really find that it's best if you use tons of butter. Think of it as a once-a-year splurge and don't try to resist.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Kagey

              I agree with your philosophy about holiday dishes: these are celebrations foods! Eat well throughout the year and enjoy something decadent on Thanksgiving and rest of the 'big meal' holidays. Interestingly I've married into a family where people eat garbage all year and then make a spectacle out of claiming to want healthy food for celebration meals. A little behavior management, many years, and a few really 'special' healthy dishes later and they've dropped the charade!

              But here's my point --> despite my hearty approval of decadent dishes at the holidays I've never put any butter in my stuffing. I've never even considered it. Sometimes I use butter and olive oil to sautee my aromatics, but other than that it's just the breadstuff, broth, and the flavoring ingredients. Am I totally missing something here? Are you adding melted butter or cold butter pieces?

              1. re: Kater

                Honestly I forget how the recipe works--I'll have to look it up. But I seem to remember that there's melted butter involved--like a whole stick. I'll get back to you on that.

                1. re: Kagey

                  The butter also helps to promote moisture. Low-fat stuffings, in my experience, are either dry or soupy. We ate one year with a friend who, to be brutally frank, could just barely cook, and her "cornbread stuffing" was like a flavorless gruel.

                  I also always put egg in mine, and I've never had it come out dry. That may be because I never make it with ONLY cornbread, but with up to half cubed sourdough bread. Cornbread alone never works for me, but that's because I never make it with any wheat flour. Against my religion ;-)

                2. re: Kater

                  Yes, I do add butter when I mix my toasted bread to the corn bread and my sauted vegetables. In high elevations that would make a difference.

                3. re: Kagey

                  I would be interested in the recipe that you used with the Pepperidge Farm package - it is available here in Fl.

                  1. re: nannyred7

                    The first time I ever made cornbread dressing(43 years ago!), I used one bag of Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing and one bag of their herb stuffing. I used 1 whole stick of butter, 1 egg, canned chicken broth, chopped onion and celery (raw-I didn't know that I was supposed to saute it). I believe I added an extra tsp. of powdered sage. It was delicious! Maybe it was beginner's luck. I have tried many other more complicated recipes over the years that sometimes turned out and sometimes didn't. Now that I am reminded of it, I think I will make the Pepperidge Farm version again!

                4. Dot the top of the cornbread dressing liberally with butter so that it gets crispy & browned before the innards have a chance to dry out.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                    So instead of putting butter in my stuffing put it on top. I think I'll add that to the other tips of adding apple to the stuffing and not putting the butter inside the stuffing and brushing butter on top. I have a feeling this may work. Thanks for the help. I make a wonderful crouton stuffing from Mrs. Cubbison's Crouton and cornbread stuffing mix but I grew up on cornbread stuffing and for some reason (I learned it was the elevation)it came out dry no matter what I did.

                  2. I've been making cornbread stuffing in various configurations for about 20 years. The last few years I've decided to exclusively make a cornbread-sage sausage stuffing, that is everyone's favorite thing about the Thanksgiving meal.

                    The stuffing will be dry if it is dry before you bake it. Since this isn't an exact science, depending on the recipe you use, (and how much you cut the cornbread with white bread, which I think is essential), add stock or cream to get it to a consistency and tooth that you like. It should taste pretty much like stuffing before it's baked, and needs a substantial amount of moisture, though I wouldn't say it should be swimming in it. Of course having fat in the recipe, (like sausage in my case, or butter like some of the other posters have mentioned), helps enormously as well. It's the fat from the turkey, if you stuff it, that creates the difference. If you're not stuffing inside the bird, making a dressing instead, (which is what we do at our house), then you need fat.

                    1. Even though you're calling it "stuffing", I'm wondering if you don't mean "dressing"? Stuffing to me always denotes inside the bird and dressing is baked outside the bird. If you want to bake it outside the bird, I highly recommend Emeril's recipe for Cornbread and Andouille Dressing. I've been making this for several years now and it's great. What's even better is that you can make it the day before, refrigerate it and then pop it in the oven at the last minute.

                      As one of the other posters noted, you are the one that controls the moistness of the dressing. A lot of the recipes I've seen that use cornbread seem to give you an approximate measurement as to how much broth to add. Good luck!

                      http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kwe730

                        To resurrect this thread, I wonder if anyone had tried this recipe?
                        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pa...

                        I know that Paula is persona non grata around these parts, but given that most of the negative reviews were citing over-moistness I figure that it would satisfy the "MOIST" portion of the thread title. My family is definitely more of a "moist stuffing" group although due to various issues (e.g. deep fried turkey) have moved to "dressing" and never seems to be particularly happy with the results.

                      2. I had to learn to make this to accommodate my husband's tradition as my family always had oyster dressing made with French bread. His family's old cook said the secret was fresh, NEVER toasted cornbread. That Pepperidge Farm stuff makes it either dry as a bone or like lead. I make the cornbread, crumble it and let it get slightly stale but not hard. I have also made it ahead and also frozen it.

                        I can't give you exact measurements because I make it like she did - winging it depending on the amount I need.
                        Saute the veggies - onion, celery, green and red peppers, garlic, in bacon drippings (or oil or butter), add whatever meat you're using (oysters, sausage, giblets)or not, with appropriate seasonings. Then gently fold in crumbled cornbread. Mix in a combo of stock with beaten egg in a proportion of 2 cups of stock to 1 egg. You want the dressing to be well moistened but NOT soggy. This is one of those recipes - "until it looks right" - sorry I can't be more specific.
                        Cook covered until heated completely through. It will puff a bit because of the egg. Removed the cover and let the top brown and crisp.
                        I usually cook a small amount of the dressing in the turkey and then mix it into the baked dressing before serving. This gives 3 textures - the soft dressing, the crunchy top, and the dripping infused dressing from the bird.
                        Cornbread stuffing is tricky because cornbread has a high fat content. Add too much butter and it's leaden. Add too much broth and you've got a pudding. You have to do either of those if you use dry cornbread. If you make it right, it dries out if you don't cover it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MakingSense

                          Fress cornbread is essential, but I let it dry out for a few days. I've long ago stopped making it from scratch, since we usually have 25 for dinner, but if you're in the vicinity of a Whole Foods, their cornbread works great. Usually my 9 year old is in charge of the crumble, which we do on Sunday, for preparation on Wednesday. We then leave it in a jelly roll pan, stirring it 2 times a day until use. About 25% of our mix is fresh dried white bread, cubed and mixed with the cornbread.

                        2. when the cornbread is on the baking sheet to dry, should it be cubed or really crumbled into 'crumbs'?
                          Also, is there a reason I should dry it for days rather than bake it at a low temperature on the day of?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: jgb

                            It's crumbed. I dry it so I can have this out of the way and not need the oven for another task. Also, I want it dry, with no risk of it being toasted. When I say dry, it's not dry like breadcrumbs. The cornbread still has some moisture in it.

                            1. re: jgb

                              Crumbled coarsely - not into crumbs. Cornbread doesn't cut evenly anyway - or shouldn't.
                              You don't want your cornbread as dry as it would get in the oven. Then you have to add too much liquid and the dressing is heavy like bread pudding or dry from not adding enough. Might as well just buy that Pepperidge Farm stuff.
                              Fresh cornbread doesn't work either. It disintegrates when you combine it with the other ingredients and absorbs too much liquid. Again, heavy dressing. Or dry dressing if you don't add enough liquid.
                              You have to hit that happy medium. A little art is involved in getting the right light moist texture. Baking it covered until the last few minutes works well for me.
                              Felixnot seems to like his cornbread drier than I do but I'll bet they aren't that far off. To each his own.

                              1. re: jgb

                                I don't dry it...I use either leftover frozen cornbread (okay, so it dries out in the freezer) or fresh cornbread made a few hours before assembling the dressing. And, I always assemble an "extra" pan of dressing (uncooked) to stick in the freezer for future use. Goes from freezer to oven beautifully.

                              2. definely add turkey broth to your stuffing - toss until its a moist enough consistency. - you can cook the stuffing covered and then uncover to get a browned, crisp surface. We mix cornbread with white bread cubes in our stuffing - that increases the tenderness. We use fresh herbs - a large amount of chopped parsley, fresh sage and thyme in the stuffing together with the onions and celery (parsley is added at end, without sauteeing), which adds moisture. That's along with pork sausage, pecans, pine nuts, golden raisins AND chopped apples. The apples are barely noticeable, but they definitely add moistness and a nice flavor background - I highly recommend to those who like fruit.

                                this is an amalgam of different recipes, obviously. It started with a capon-stuffing recipe in Ed Giobbi's first book, Italian Family Cooking. I think that recipe includes some milk added to the bread ingredients - you might want to look into that as a possibility too, as well as eggs. for us the broth works fine.

                                1. Try pulverizing a couple of peeled zuchinni, they had moisture and body.