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World’s Best Cornbread Dressing

By popular demand, this great recipe from Christopher Kimball’s The Cook’s Bible. It is a staple on our Thanksgiving table:

Toasted Cornbread-Pecan Dressing (or, Stuffing, for Yankees)


6 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread
3/4 cup pecans
1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon minced fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried 
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup minced flat leaf parsley

1. Heat over to 350F. Spread crumbled cornbread onto a baking sheet. Coarsely chop pecans and add to cornbread. Toast in oven for 25-30 minutes or until cornbread is golden, tossing the crumbs once or twice during toasting. Cool and place in a large mixing bowl.

2. Cook bacon over medium-high heat in a saute pan of skillet. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to bowl with cornbread and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of drippings. Add butter and olive oil to skillet and when butter has melted add onion and saute for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add celery and saute another three minutes. Stir in thyme and sage and salt and pepper to taste. Add to cornbread.

3. Turn up heat under saute pan and add bourbon. Stir vigorously for 2 minutes with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add chicken stock, cook for 1 minute, and add mixture to bowl. Add parsley to bowl and adjust seasonings.

Makes about 10 cups, and it tastes even better if you make it the day before Thanksgiving and let it sit overnight.

UPDATE: I left out the sage from the list of ingredients by mistake; I’ve added it in, and boldfaced it. Sorry! Also, I have nodded to the fact that not everyone in America uses the proper name for this dish, “dressing”; some people sadly call it “stuffing.” In a spirit of diversity, I acknowledge their existence in this update. Also x 2, my wife says to increase the chicken stock, because it’s too dry as is.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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