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Cornbread and Sage Dressing Recipe

Cornbread and sage dressing is the root of just about any southern table and this version uses the ingredients your grandma had on hand that warmed your heart every year. Perfect when made ahead, frozen and rewarmed on the big day. 

Looking for that classic southern cornbread dressing for your holiday table? Because here it is. Bake them as individual balls or in a casserole dish. Freezes great and can be rewarmed for your big meal.
When I made this stuffing for the blog, I realized I hadn’t had any in about 7 years. I guess that would explain why I ate two of these balls when they came out of the oven. Don’t hate.

I missed it so much. Sure we’ve had plenty of Thanksgiving meals in that 7 years, but my husband’s family eats some sort of a dressing/custard concoction that I can’t seem to swallow and by the time we make it to my family we’ve had so much turkey and sides we don’t want any more–so we have smoked pork loin and anything but mashed potatoes, dressing, and gravy.

So I lost this experience. If you can have an experience with dressing.

Yesterday I made this batch and put them into the oven then I headed out to handle the chores. That means:

  • put on your bulky Carhartt coveralls and all the accessories that  smash your good hair day
  • feed the chickens
  • water the chickens
  • get the eggs
  • feed and water the dogs
  • unload firewood in the garage
  • take the big cart to the barn and gather new firewood (smash your finger multiple times while you’re doing this if you want the full effect)
  • bring the big cart back to the house
  • bring the firewood in

In case you’re wondering, that takes me about 20 minutes.

When I came back in the house, I almost cried. The smell. It smelled like my childhood home and I could almost see myself at 12 years old watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade and waiting for my family to eat with us. It was hard and nice all at the same time.

Tips for the best cornbread and sage dressing

I know it may seem odd to make dressing into balls–and you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Just spread it into a greased baking dish and bake it for the same amount of time. Balls are just how we did it.

This dressing is moist and just classic–cornbread, sage, and perfect with your holiday dishes. Make your cornbread a day ahead so you don’t feel like you’re working too hard. You can learn how to make cornbread or make a mix, either is fine. I also use Better than Bouillon Chicken Base in the place of traditional store bought stock (no one paid me to say that). You can find it in your grocery store in a glass jar just below the regular stock. Mix it in water according to the package directions. Of course regular stock works fine, I just like the flavor better from the base.

And of course if you can use homemade stock, that’s the absolute best and always what I favor most.

Looking for that classic southern cornbread dressing for your holiday table? Because here it is. Bake them as individual balls or in a casserole dish. Freezes great and can be rewarmed for your big meal.

Cornbread and Sage Dressing Recipe

Cornbread and sage come together with other classic flavors for a moist holiday dressing everyone will love.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 balls
Author Rachel Ballard


  • 4 cups crumbled cornbread crumble it and then measure
  • 4 slices white bread torn into 1 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth 12 ounces, you can add a bit more if your mix seems dry


  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • In a large bowl mix all the ingredients except the broth and toss well.
  • Add the broth and mix. If it seems dry, add a little more. Dressing should be wet but not have standing liquid in the bottom.
  • Form baseball size balls or spread in a greased 8×8 baking dish and bake 20-25 minutes until heated through and lightly brown on the top.


Calories: 289kcal
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Looking for that classic southern cornbread dressing for your holiday table? Because here it is. Bake them as individual balls or in a casserole dish. Freezes great and can be rewarmed for your big meal.

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  1. Do you know if these could be baked and frozen? We are traveling to the beach this Thanksgiving and I would love to include these in my menu!!

    1. Yes they freeze beautifully. Just bake them and then freeze wrapped well. To reheat, you can thaw them on the counter or bake from frozen. I add mine to a cookie sheet and tent with foil and place in a 300 degree oven until heated through then serve. –Rachel

  2. Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for posting this! Do you use fine ground sage, ground sage flakes or fresh sage? I have a jar each of the ground sage and the flakes, but if you recommend fresh sage, I’ll have the hubby run to the store and buy some. 😉
    Merry Christmas!

  3. Sounds wonderful, and it so does bring back warm family memories. Actually, I use a large ice cream scoop and plop it on a large sheet pan. Makes just the right size serving, and browns up great!

  4. 5 stars
    I was always taught to cook the onion & celery first before adding to the mixture because the celery won’t be done & will tend to be a little crunchy.what is your opinion to this?

    1. Hey Rara, the celery in this does still have some body but it’s not crunchy. I think it depends on the size of the celery. You are welcome to sautee yours in advance if you would like to though. –Rachel

  5. 5 stars
    My mother made something similar to this. Such good memories. She didn’t use sage. You either like it or you don’t. She also used Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing mix. Then plopped then on a sheet pan like a drop biscuit. You get extra crispy bits that way

  6. 4 stars
    These are great and solve the problem of fighting over who gets the crispy part at the top! My daughter’s mother in law taught me to do this…she lives in KY …but they always do turkey hash (yuk) rather than the whole bird~

  7. 5 stars
    This is just like my grandmother’s dressing, made into balls and everything. It is so good! I’m going to make it for Christmas, even if I’m the only one who eats it. The tast, the smell, it takes me back to my childhood and the beast holiday memories.

  8. Dressing/stuffing is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving… and I’m so happy you made this because it sounds absolutely delicious. My family doesn’t do cornbread dressing, as my mom is from “up north,” but I’ve come to enjoy it over the years. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was intrigued by the assembly of these into balls — I bet they’re delicious!

    Happy almost Thanksgiving!

    1. Rachel Ballard, I don’t put white bread or celery in mine. I make the cornbread the night before. Mix with salt, pepper, sage, poultry seasoning, onion. I cover it and let the flavors blend till I’m ready to put it in the oven. When the turkey is done the next day I add the egg, and turkey broth, make my balls but not baseball size. Yummy. Mom probably never had celery so I never developed a taste for it. Either way letting it set and absorb the flavors into the bread is key for me.

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.