An authentic Southern chicken and dressing recipe made with homemade buttermilk cornbread, shredded chicken, broth, and lots of chopped veggies. This soul food chicken and dressing recipe will be the star of your Thanksgiving dinner!
No holiday is complete in the South, especially Thanksgiving, without a big ol' pan of cornbread dressing. This chicken and dressing recipe is loaded with flavor and has the perfect texture - not too dry and not too soupy.
Table of Contents
- What Is Chicken and Dressing?
- Important Ingredient Notes
- How To Make Southern Chicken and Dressing
- Variations and Substitutions
- What Is the Difference Between Cornbread Dressing and Stuffing?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What To Serve With Southern Cornbread Dressing
- Make Ahead and Storing Instructions
- More Thanksgiving Recipes You Will Love!
- 📖 Recipe
What Is Chicken and Dressing?
Southern chicken and dressing is a delicious side dish with cornbread, vegetables, broth, eggs, spices, herbs, and shredded chicken combined to create a casserole and baked in the oven. Cornbread dressing is a quintessential Thanksgiving side dish in the South.
Important Ingredient Notes
You can find a complete list of ingredients with measurements along with detailed recipe instructions in the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.
- Cornbread. I use my classic southern buttermilk cornbread recipe for this chicken and dressing but you may use packaged cornbread mix or store-bought cornbread. Bake your cornbread the day before so that it has time to dry out a bit for the best texture in your chicken and dressing.
- Stale sliced white sandwich bread. Fresh bread is too moist and soft and does not soak up the broth properly so make sure your bread has been allowed to dry out by letting it sit out for a few days. You can also bake the bread in the oven at 225°F for about 45 minutes to dry it out.
- Spices. Sage and poultry seasoning are two iconic flavors in most dressing and stuffing recipes. I also love to add garlic powder, onion powder, a little cayenne, and of course, salt, and black pepper. Use my measurements as a guide and taste your dressing to adjust the seasonings to your liking before adding the eggs.
- Cream of chicken soup. This ingredient adds extra moisture and flavor to the dressing but some Southerners would say it doesn't belong in chicken and dressing. The cornbread dressing I grew up eating did not include cream of chicken soup in the ingredient list but I love what it adds to the dish. I recommend low-sodium soup so that your dressing isn't overly salty.
- Chicken broth. Use low-sodium store-bought broth or make your own at home so that you can better control the amount of salt in your dressing. Start with 2 cups then add more until your dressing reaches a wet but not too soupy consistency.
- Shredded chicken. You will need two cups of boneless, skinless shredded chicken from either 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 2 chicken breasts, or a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
- Eggs. Be sure to add the eggs AFTER you have seasoned the chicken and dressing to your liking.
How To Make Southern Chicken and Dressing
- Cook the vegetables. Cook the onion, bell pepper, and celery in butter until softened then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Set the veggies aside to cool for a few minutes.
- Combine the ingredients. Add the cornbread crumbles, cubed sandwich bread, shredded chicken, veggies, cream of chicken soup, 2 cups of chicken broth, and the spices to a large mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon to gently mix the ingredients until evenly combined.
- Get the flavor and texture perfect. Add more broth, a little at a time, until your dressing is wet but not overly soupy. You are looking for the consistency of thick oatmeal. Taste the dressing and add more seasoning to taste until you are pleased with the flavor. Stir in the beaten eggs.
- Bake the dressing. Pour the dressing into a buttered 9x13-inch baking dish and bake it at 350°F for 35 to 45 minutes until golden brown and set.
Variations and Substitutions
Chicken and dressing can be made with many different vegetables and other ingredients. Try adding some of these tasty ingredients to your next batch to switch things up:
- Smoked sausage
- Breakfast sausage
- Crab meat
- Corn kernels
What Is the Difference Between Cornbread Dressing and Stuffing?
The main difference between cornbread dressing and stuffing is that stuffing is typically placed inside the cavity of a bird and cooked while dressing is cooked separately in a baking dish.
Whether you refer to this dish as dressing or stuffing can also be a telltale sign of what part of the US you are from! Being born and raised in Mississippi, my family and almost everyone I know have always referred to this dish as dressing.
Many northerners call the bread, vegetable, broth, and herb mixture that is served at Thanksgiving dinner stuffing. I've seen stuffing made with an array of different ingredients, ranging from fruit, nuts, squash, pumpkin, and even quinoa.
Southern cornbread dressing keeps the add-ins to a minimum while delivering maximum flavor and comfort!
Frequently Asked Questions
Eggs are needed to give cornbread dressing structure and keep it from turning into a mushy mess. While you can still make chicken and dressing without eggs, you will end up with a much less sturdy dish. While I have not tried this myself, I have read that you can add heavy cream to dressing to help it bake up sturdy in place in place of eggs.
If your cornbread dressing turns out mushy, you may have added too much broth or you may have underbaked it. Be sure to add a small amount of broth at a time until you get a thick, wet texture, and bake the dressing until the center is set.
If your dressing turns out dry you may not have added enough broth. A wet but sturdy texture is what you are looking for, similar to thick oatmeal. Be careful not to overbake your dressing as this can also cause it to dry. Bake the dressing just until the center no longer jiggles and the edges are browned.
What To Serve With Southern Cornbread Dressing
If you're looking for a down-home Southern Thanksgiving spread, serve this chicken and dressing with some of these delicious dishes:
- Creamy Sweet Potato Soup
- Southern Smothered Chicken
- Authentic Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- Hot Honey Chicken Thighs
- Easy Chicken Spaghetti with Rotel
- One Pan Apple Cider Chicken
- Brown Sugar Glazed Chicken
- Southern Chicken Salad
- Cajun Dirty Rice with Smoked Sausage
- Homemade Creamed Corn
- Southern Fried Cabbage
- Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
- Southern Squash Casserole
- Southern Deviled Eggs
- Sweet Potato Biscuits
- Sweet Cornbread Muffins
Make Ahead and Storing Instructions
This dressing can be assembled the night before, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Just allow it to set out at room temperature for about 30 minutes before placing it in the oven or add more baking time.
Leftover chicken and dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat the dressing in the microwave or oven.
More Thanksgiving Recipes You Will Love!
- Chocolate Gravy
- New Orleans BBQ Shrimp
- Cranberry Meatballs
- Southern Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
- Louisiana Red Beans and Rice
- Cajun Shrimp and Grits
- Cajun Potato Salad
- Maple Glazed Carrots
- Southern Green Beans
- Southern Cheese Grits
- Southern Spoon Bread
- Hot Water Cornbread
- Sweet Potato Cornbread
- Skillet Peach Cobbler
- Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- Southern Sweet Potato Pie
- Apple Cider Donut Cake
- Southern Pecan Pie
- Pumpkin Tart with Meringue
- Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pie
- The Best Bread Pudding
Southern Chicken and Dressing (+Video)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for greasing pan
- 1 cup yellow onion chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- ½ cup green bell pepper seeded and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 recipe for Classic Southern Buttermilk Cornbread 1-2 days old, crumbled
- 5 slices stale white sandwich bread two end pieces included, cubed
- 1 tablespoon ground sage
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 ,10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup
- 3 - 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken from 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 2 chicken breasts
- 2 large eggs beaten
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish and set it aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the veggies soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the veggies to cool for a few minutes.
- Place the crumbled cornbread, cubed sandwich bread, cooked vegetables, shredded chicken, cream of chicken soup, 2 cups of chicken broth, and the spices in a large mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon until combined.
- Add more chicken broth, about ¼ cup at a time, until the dressing is wet but not very soupy. You are looking for a texture similar to thick oatmeal. Taste the cornbread dressing and add more seasoning if needed until you are pleased with the flavor. Mix in the beaten eggs.
- Pour the chicken and dressing into the buttered baking dish and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until golden brown and set in the center. Allow the dressing to cool for about 15 minute and enjoy!
- Fresh bread is too moist and soft to properly soak up the liquid and can throw off the texture of your dressing. Be sure your cornbread is at least 1 day old and allow your sandwich to dry out for a few days before your dressing.
- You can alternatively dry your bread out by baking it in the oven at 225°F for about 45 minutes.
- Chicken and dressing can be assembled the night before and stored in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Take it out of the refrigerator about 30 mins before baking or add more oven time to ensure it cooks through.
- Leftover chicken and dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.