I ain’t gonna lie. I missed cornbread dressing. Specifically, my Granny’s cornbread dressing.
Every Southern family has their own little twist on this classic, and Granny is no exception. Over time, and through some stroke of genius, she started adding canned diced green chilies to her recipe. I have no idea why, she just does, and it’s amazing. But, as I’ve noted before, I like spicy, zippy food with a little Tex-Mex flare. Granny’s dressing isn’t spicy, but there is just a hint of that flavor profile that I just adore.
So, when I went keto, I have to confess that the first holiday sans Granny’s dressing was tough. I could do without just about everything else, but holidays just weren’t without a good pan of dressing.
For those not in the know, dressing is what we make instead of stuffing. Stuffing goes inside the bird. Dressing is baked up in a pan, and it very regularly features roughly crumbled cornbread instead of cubed wheat bread.
Over the years, I’ve tried a few “Ketofied” variations on dressing- including some versions that were cauliflower based- but, to be perfectly frank, none of them hit the spot. No offense is meant to my cooking counterparts in the community, but dressing is one of those things that it either nails it, or it’s just plain wrong, and the recipes I’ve tried have fallen into the latter category. The flavor was wrong, or the texture was off. I’ve mentioned before that keto flours don’t absorb moisture in the same way as starches do, and so many recipes are at one extreme or the other; too dry or too soupy.
So, this Thanksgiving, on a whim, I decided to give it just one more go, and try my hand at making my own dressing from scratch. I already have a great cornbread, so I converted a sweet muffin recipe of mine into a savory one, left it all out to dry overnight, and assembled as normal.
The result was a dressing that is unmistakably dressing.
None of the usual “good for a keto version” caveats were required. This dish just came out darned good. And because I’m nice, I’m now bequeathing it to you.
Now, for the notes: I left the green chilies out of this recipe, because I know it’s an odd ingredient, even in the South. If you like shredded or chunked chicken, ground and browned sausage, or chopped up hard-boiled eggs in your dressing, feel free to add that into the mix. This is basic enough that you can absolutely make it your own. Trust me when I say I’m not even remotely offended. Different strokes for different folks, and all that jazz. Season it how you like it, and it will still turn out amazing (which is the hallmark of a really good recipe, BTW).
The other important thing to note is that when you are adding your broth, resist the temptation to add a lot and make it soupy. Remember that keto-friendly flours do not behave as starches and will not absorb all that extra moisture. You want it wet but not- I repeat, not– soupy. Trust me, the collagen that’s naturally in the pork rinds (yes, pork rinds) goes a long way to keeping this moist without being wet with relatively little added liquid versus that used in a traditional, starchy dressing or stuffing. I also recommend using a higher-sided, but shorter (length-wise) casserole dish. I’ve found, over the years, that even with regular dressing a deeper dish that’s not as long helps retain the desired moisture in your dressing. Dressing made in the longer pans tends to be dry, and dry dressing ain’t what you want.
Southern Cracklin’ Cornbread Dressing
- Prep Time: 12 hours
- Cook Time: 60 mins
- Total Time: 13 hours
- Yield: 18 servings
- Category: Side Dish, Holidays
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Feel free to throw in any traditional additions your family likes (ie, chicken, egg, or sausage). This recipe is one of the few on the site that doesn’t use a lot of weight measurements. That’s because this works best in volume ratios.
- 1 recipe Savory Cheddar Muffins, prepared, cooled, and left out, uncovered, on the counter overnight to dry
- 1 recipe Cheesy Cracklin’ Cornbread, prepared, cooled, and left out, uncovered, on the counter overnight to dry
- 1/4 cup (2 oz/ 57 g) salted butter, plus a little extra for preparing the casserole dish
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried rubbed sage
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups (8 to 12 fl oz/ 237 to 355 ml) chicken stock
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and rub the sides of a tall (high-sided) casserole dish with butter.
- Break the dried muffins and cornbread into rough crumbles and chunks.
- Melt the butter over medium heat and saute the celery and onion until just translucent.
- In a large bowl, mix together the broken up muffins and cornbread and the cooked vegetables (pour any butter in the pan right in there, too).
- Sprinkle in the seasonings and mix.
- Pour in one cup of the chicken stock and the beaten eggs and mix until it’s all incorporated and distributed evenly throughout the mixture. If it looks too dry, you may add up to another 1/2 cup stock, but I recommend doing it 1/4 cup at a time and only if absolutely needed. Remember, this should be wet and moist, but not soupy.
- Spoon the mixture into your prepared casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes.
Baking in a higher-sided casserole dish that is a little shorter (length-wise) helps to let the top get crisp without losing too much moisture in the rest of the dressing. Stir in any additional desired ingredients when adding the seasonings.
Per 1/18 recipe: 285 cal, 12.2 g protein, 24.1 g fat, 5.9 g carbs, 2.6 g fiber, 3.3 g NET carbs
- Serving Size: approximately 1/3 cup
Keywords: Holiday, dressing, stuffing, cornbread, cornbread dressing, southern
Thank you, Jaime. Made my day.
Tiffany Bailey says
I’m very excited to try this as it looks almost exactly like my husband’s grandmother’s dressing which was always out of this world amazing.
My only question though is, with both of the bread products containing a cup of cheese each, does the dressing itself taste cheesy?
Mandy Pagano says
I don’t think it tastes cheesy at all. You could leave the cheese out, if you’re concerned. It wouldn’t make a textural difference.
I have always stuffed my turkey in the past.
Could I use this recipe and stuff my bird?
Mandy Pagano says
Certainly! As with all stuffing, you’ll need to make sure you take the internal temperature so you know it’s safe to eat. Don’t want any cross contamination nasties getting ya!
This stuff is LEGIT
Mandy Pagano says