Easy Thanksgiving Cornbread Stuffing Recipe

by Brett & Kate McKay on November 20, 2009 · 26 comments

in Cooking, Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure


Thanksgiving Day in the United States is next week. Last year, we had our friend Karl Engel teach you how to cook and carve a Thanksgiving turkey like a man.  But a man needs stuffing to go along with that bird, so we brought Karl back to show you how to make a killer stuffing that will please any Thanksgiving crowd. Karl heads up Pigcasso, an award winning BBQ team. He’s been featured on the Travel Channel and Food Network, so Karl knows his stuff. Today Karl gives us a rundown on how to give a traditional Thanksgiving staple a twist with his Manly Cornbread Stuffing. Thanks Karl!

Manly Cornbread Stuffing

By Karl “The Pigman” Engel

(Very large batch, serves 12 to 15)


  • 2 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 1 package Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Dressing Mix
  • 1 head or bunch of celery
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • Chicken stock or broth (I use Swanson, but it can be homemade or any brand)


The day before you cook and serve the dressing: cook the Jiffy cornbread mix according to package directions and let cool. Clean and chop celery, including leaves of the heart. Chop onion and wilt or sauté it in a tablespoon of butter, let cool. When the cornbread is cool, crumble it into a large bowl, add most or all of the package of Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Dressing Mix, stir to combine. Next add the celery and onion and stir to combine. Cover and let sit in a cool dry place overnight to allow flavors to develop.

When you are ready to cook it, add chicken stock or broth and beaten eggs to the cornbread mix, then stir to thoroughly combine. There is not an exact amount of broth, but add enough so that the mixture resembles a very course and thick cake batter.

Heat oven to 375. In a very large, heavy pan or two iron skillets, add enough oil or shortening to cover the pan. When the oven is ready, melt shortening or heat oil in the oven till it is smoking (watch carefully). Remove and immediately pour the dressing batter into the hot pan or pans. This helps to create a tasty crust. Bake 45 minutes or until it is cooked through and a tester comes out clean.

Note: because the Pepperidge Farm Dressing Mix is pre-seasoned with herbs, this adds just the right amount of traditional sage and “Thanksgiving” taste to the mix, eliminating the need to add further seasonings. This is a traditional recipe handed down through several generations of our family. Enjoy!

What are your favorite stuffing recipes? Are you a cook the stuffing inside the bird or outside the bird kind of guy? Share your tips with us in the comments!

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 David November 20, 2009 at 12:31 pm

I never stuff my bird. (See Alton Brown Thanksgiving Special which they re-run every year as to why.) Of course not stuffing the bird gives you the manly option of deep frying it. This is a recipe I created a few years back and is now a family favorite and I now always in charge of making the stuffing.

Saugage Stuffing, (I make this for a dinner with 6 to 8 adults and some kids who generally don’t eat stuffing. We also serve potatoes so there is usually stuffing left over. If you have a really big group then double the recipe.)

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 12-ounce package bulk pork sausage, crumbled
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups coarsely cut crustless French bread (about one loaf)
8 ounces chopped walnuts
3/4 cup canned low salt chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons crumbled dried sage leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 ounces dried apples, chopped

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and onion. Cook until sausage is cooked¬through, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.

Place all of the stuffing in a baking dish, cover and bake at 375°F for 45 minutes. Check after 15 minutes, stir things around and make a judgment call if you need more chicken broth. The exact amount varies based on the bread you use.

2 Jonathan Frei November 20, 2009 at 12:32 pm

The stuffing is my favorite part of the season

3 Michael November 20, 2009 at 2:03 pm

There’s nothing manly about Jiffy cornbread mix. Sorry

4 Charles November 20, 2009 at 2:15 pm

On the contrary, Michael, Jiffy cornbread mix tastes awesome and costs only pennies. A man knows how to get the most bang for his buck!

5 Scott November 20, 2009 at 3:06 pm

I’m with Michael. Someone featured on Food Network should know a better recipe than boxed cornbread and pre-herbed mix. YECH! My grandmother made scratch conrnbread in advance and added other bread then froze it until ready for use. Then she let it dry out for a day or two. Use carrots, celery and onion as the holy trinity of aromatics and use fresh sage or dried rubbed sage. From there if you like sausage, mushrooms, chestnuts or whatever, go for it. Manliness is not wussiness. Cook from scratch. It’s healthier, cheaper and tastes better and you can add your own creativity.

6 Seth Q. November 20, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Hahaha. People really take their stuffing seriously. :)

I thought this stuffing recipe sounded really good. I’ll have to give it a try. Just because it comes from a box, doesn’t mean it’s bad. And “made from scratch” can be overrated. I’ve had plenty of made from scratch meals that ended up underneath the table for the dog to eat. There’s a reason why Stove Top Stuffing has been a Thanksgiving tradition in most homes in America for the past 50 years. It’s consistently good (and easy).

Bottom line: Good food is good food.

With that said, I’ll give most stuffing a try. But I’m not a fan of stuffing that was cooked in the bird. It always comes out soggy and gross. Plus it prevents the turkey from cooking all the way through.

7 Doug Stewart November 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm

If it doesn’t go in the bird, it’s “dressing”, not “stuffing”. (According to my Texas-born and -raised wife, that is…)

Her recipe for cornbread dressing is fairly similar to yours, minus the walnuts and apples and subbing in biscuits for the French bread and a whole 2-3 round 10″ pans of homemade cornbread. Also, several hardboiled eggs chopped roughly make an appearance and give the affair some texture.

We’ve found that the sage ends up being the biggest determiner of just how good and “Thanksgiving-ish” the whole affair tastes.

I don’t have the recipe sitting next to me, but I’ll try to look it up later.

8 Mitchel November 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm

I don’t really have anything to add about stuffing, but it was last year when I did a search on carving turkeys that I came across the art of manliness website and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Keep up the good work as I keep suggesting your site to all my man friends.

9 Helen November 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm

I love dressing! Mine is pretty good or so my family tells me.

10 Chemical Erik November 20, 2009 at 6:52 pm

I stuff my bird with an apple, an onion, a few cloves of garlic, and a dozen whole cloves. Apple and onion are sliced to fit easier. Cook covered (either covered roasting pan or a bag) so the flavor of the stuffing adds flavor to the meat. If you want to eat the skin, uncover the last 20-30 minutes and turn up to 450 F. If you don’t eat the skin, keep it covered the whole time and the skin just falls off.

11 Chris November 20, 2009 at 9:46 pm

My wife saw Jacques and Julia cut the back out of a chicken and spread it out over stuffing mix in the pan. They then roasted the whole thing. This gets the chicken’s juices into the stuffing, while actually reducing the total cooking time because the bird was splayed out. We tried it and it was amazing, as one would expect from Jacques and Julia. The skin of the chicken came out very crisp and the stuffing was the best I’ve ever had.

We’re going to use the same trick with the turkey this year. For her stuffing, she tosses together some bread cubes (different loaves and textures), onions, celery, herbs, apple chunks, and dried fruit of some sort. I’m pushing for cranberries this year, as the apricots were great but not very tart. Add a little broth and put the bird over it.

12 Thad November 21, 2009 at 6:30 am

I was excited by the post title … but very disappointed by the recipe. Okay, I could accept one pre-made ingredient in the recipe (say the Jiffy because many people don’t know how to make real cornbread) but not multiple ones.

Also, I have a huge question about the origins of this recipe. I doubt that it could have been passed “through several generations” – the original Jiffy mix was introduced in 1930 but it was not the cornbread mix and, more importantly, Pepperidge Farm did not open its first modern bakery until 1947 (only after which, did the company expand beyond bread). Make what of it you may, but it appears questionable how many generations of his family used this recipe (or more precisely, how long each generation actually used the recipe).

13 Jerry T. November 21, 2009 at 11:10 am

This looks good. Dressing is always a matter of opinion. For the comments from our historian, cornbread is cornbread. The Jiffy Mix is actually better than homemade cornbread in my opinion. As far at the the pepperidge farm mix is just bread crumbs and seasoning. I am sure someone did it by scratch at one point but this just makes the same ingredients more simple. My theory is try it once before you just jump in and trash something.

14 Karl November 21, 2009 at 11:56 am

Dressing or Stuffing is something that is very personal to everyone. Everyone has a special recipe or technique that makes thiers the “best”. My advice to everyone is to experiment with a lot of recipies and take something from the ones you like and make one that you and your family can pass on for years to come. Thanksgiving and all holidays are about family traditions and flavors. I love the debate and I love Thanksgiving. It has become the forgotten holiday.

15 Chris November 21, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I’m sorry, but any stuffing recipe that doesn’t include use of the giblets isn’t manly enough.

16 David C. November 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Men aren’t food snobs! Just because something comes in a box, doesn’t mean it’s not good. I’ve made both homemade cornbread before and Jiffy cornbread and my family actually preferred the latter. Men are efficient.

I hope Doug comes back and shares his stuffing recipe. Hardboiled eggs? Consider me intrigued.

17 Nik November 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm

The stuffing my mother makes has probably always been my favorite food. I can barely even imagine eating other stuffings. I, like many others, was a little put-off by the boxed cornbread mix and cornbread dressing mix, especially because a particular brand was recommended. (Nothing I have tried matches Penguin Natural Foods cornbread mix, so I’m a little suspicious of Jiffy). Otherwise, the concept of the recipe certainly intrigues me.

Here’s the recipe my mother uses, courtesy of good old Betty Crocker (for a 12 pound bird):
3/4 c. minced onion
1 1/2 cups chopped celery (Stalks & leaves)
1 cup butter or margarine
9 cups soft bread cubes (cheap white bread)
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp crushed sage leaves
1 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp pepper
Giblets (simmered 1-2 hours with 1/2 tsp salt, 2 peppercorns, 2 cloves, a small bay leaf and a little onion)
In large skillet, cook and stir onion and celery in butter until onion is tender. Stir in about 1/3 of the bread cubes. Turn into deep bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss. Stuff in your bird and cook.

The manly things to notice about this recipe: 1) giblets (here’s looking at you, Chris) 2) cooking the stuffing in the bird (optional, but highly delicious)

18 Ed Hickcox November 22, 2009 at 10:36 am

Remember guys, if you’re deep-frying a turkey – which makes an amazingly moist bird, by the way – the stuffing has to get cooked separately in a casserole dish. You can pack it into the bird after the fact for presentation, but you don’t want to try deep-frying a turkey full of stuffing. Bad things will happen all around, starting with the bird not cooking properly. To counteract the loss of flavor from cooking the stuffing in the bird add some chicken stock to the stuffing recipe in place of other liquid.

Happy holidays!

19 Andrew Spiehler November 23, 2009 at 1:19 pm

The first time I made cornbread dressing, I used Jiffy instead of baking my own cornbread. Huge mistake. The sweetness in the Jiffy clashed with the savoriness of the rest of the recipe. Here’s my recipe (handed down from my mother) done right:

2 pounds of pork sausage, browned in a dutch oven
1 container of chicken livers, chopped, cook in brown sausage and sausage grease. Drain oil from mixture after cooking.
2-3 green bell peppers, chopped
4-6 ribs of celery, chopped
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
add peppers, celery, and onions to sausage and livers. Cook until soft
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of chopped Italian parsley (flat leaf, the curly stuff is decoration)
add garlic and parsley and cook for a few minutes to soften the garlic.
Two skillets of dried cornbread (you did cook your cornbread in a cast iron skillet, didn’t you?), crumbled and added to mixture.
Add enough chicken stock to get any easily pourable/scoopable consistency.
Add salt, black pepper, sage, and thyme to taste.
Pour mixture into a baking dish (or several). Bake at 350 until the top is a golden brown and the interior has set.

20 Jerry November 24, 2009 at 5:31 am

Easy Man Recipe for Great Thanksgiving Side Dish
Southern Cabbage

1 Head of Cabbage, cut into 1-inch strips
Half of onion, cut into 1-inch strips
4 slices of bacon
1 cup of water

Cut 4 slices of bacon in half and fry in 12 inch skillet. After frying bacon, dump cabbage strips in pan and stir thoroughly, add onion and water, cover. Stir every five minutes but keep it covered so cabbage can soften, and yes leave the bacon in the pan. 20 to 25 minutes later you got a can’t miss side dish. Salt and pepper to taste

21 Michael November 25, 2009 at 9:16 am

Charles, Charles, Charles. You must be from up north somewhere. Real cornmeal, a couple of eggs, and a little buttermilk cost less and it much more manly. Saying jiffy is real corn bread is like saying cream of wheat is the same as grits. It’s just not so. Happy Thanksgiving.

22 Alonzo November 26, 2009 at 4:37 am

Stumbled upon this site. All of you. Get a grip and get over your superficial illusions of manhood. Manly this and manly that. Real men don’t have to continue to remind themselves that they’re men. Jiggle your balls if you’re in doubt. Jiffy works great but to each his own. Some don’t like the sweet taste of it and some do. You guys are funny.

23 Brodie November 30, 2009 at 10:36 pm

so i actually used this recipe for thanksgiving and it was a HUGE hit…..so doubt it not, as “unmanly” as some of it might sound, it was fantastic…..

24 Al December 15, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Plain cornbread, made with buttermilk, please. Celery, onions and seasonings, salt, pepper sage, parsley. Saute the celery and onions in a stick of butter. Add to crumbled up cornbread with seasonings, toss in a few crumbled buttermilk biscuits (homemade) if desired. Moisten with chicken broth (canned if you must) or to be really rich use broth from a cooked pork butt roast or backbone. Put in pan or casserole dish (greased), bake at 350 F covered with foil about 30 minutes, uncover and finish off for an additional 15 minutes or until browned,

Never ever stuff it in the bird!
If you must go beyond the basic you can throw in some chopped chestnuts or pecans (roasted of course).

25 Shereeta Stroud November 15, 2012 at 10:49 am

I absolutely love this stuffing.

26 Chuck S. January 7, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Alonzo, methinks your balls must get jiggled a lot then.

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