Cornbread salad brings in savory flavors, crunchy vegetables and creamy dressing for an all in one side dish you’ll truly enjoy. Make it in a deep glass dish for everyone to see the layers or just keep it simple in a 9×13–either way it’s delicious!Jump to Recipe
What is cornbread salad?
Cornbread salad is a classic Southern dish that combines savory cornbread with fresh veggies, black beans, and bacon all tossed together in a creamy, tangy, mayo-based dressing.
The salad is most commonly assembled in layers (cornbread, beans, veggies, dressing, repeat) for visual appeal and then tossed together before serving.
It’s so tasty and the best way to use up day-old cornbread.
What kind of cornbread do you use for cornbread salad?
There are a few ways you could go here and I’ll get into all of them. But, first, I want to talk about Southern vs Northern cornbread in the context of cornbread salad. Both are viable options, but Southern cornbread takes the cake for me.
- Southern cornbread. Southern cornbread is traditionally made with little to no sugar, giving it a savory, slightly crumbly texture that pairs perfectly with the crunch of the veggies and the creaminess of the dressing in this salad.
- Northern cornbread (or sweet cornbread). This rendition, more commonly found in the Northern US, contains sugar or honey. It is sweeter and moister than Southern cornbread and, while it’s super tasty on its own, I don’t think it works well with the other savory components of cornbread salad.
Really any Southern (not sweet) cornbread will do here but here come a few options for you. Note that it’s best to use day-old cornbread. The stale bread does a beautiful job of soaking up the tangy dressing.
- Homemade cornbread. This is by far my favorite. The crumb is perfect and there is just something so satisfying about making your own. Try my Southern Cornbread Recipe.
- Leftover corncakes. Corncakes (very similar to pancakes just made with cornmeal) have a slightly denser texture than my Southern cornbread and won’t absorb the dressing in this salad quite as well. They still make a delicious choice, though. Try my Classic Fried Cornbread Cakes.
- Hot water cornbread. A unique type of cornbread made with boiling water, salt, and cornmeal. It’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, making it a delightful choice for this salad if you prefer a more textured feel. Try this Hot Water Cornbread Recipe.
- Jiffy Cornbread. This one has sugar, but if you like it, go for it. Buy a box or try this Jiffy Cornbread Recipe.
Here’s what you’ll need!
Tips for the best cornbread salad
This recipe for cornbread salad is pretty straightforward but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some tips and tricks for you that will help you get all the rave reviews.
- Use up your leftovers. Use this salad as an excuse to get rid of your day-old, slightly stale cornbread. It’s even better than the fresh stuff in this salad because it soaks up the flavorful dressing. Yum!
- Go for homemade. While you can make cornbread from a box, I really do recommend using my Southern Cornbread Recipe. Not only is it more satisfying to make it from scratch but the flavor and texture are just a million times better.
- Make your own ranch mix. Everything tastes better from scratch! If you have a little extra time, I highly suggest making your own homemade ranch dressing mix for this recipe.
- Make it ahead of time. Cornbread salad tastes best when it’s allowed to sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours but you can make it up to 2 days in advance. This resting time enables the flavors to meld together.
- Make it your own. You are also more than welcome to add your favorite veggies, a different kind of bean (black beans would work), or any other salad mix-ins that excite you. Also, feel free to rearrange the layers of this salad however you’d like.
How to assemble cornbread salad
Mix sour cream with ranch dressing mix and set aside. Keep in mind that premade packets are quite salty and contain MSG that makes the flavor more bold. 3 tablespoons of mix is plenty. If you are using homemade, you will need to use more to get an equivalent flavor–maybe 4 to 5 tablespoons.
Add half of the crumbled or cubed cornbread to the bottom of a glass trifle dish or 9×143 pan.
Layer on half of the bell pepper, beans, corn and tomatoes.
Next add half of the cheese, green onions and bacon.
Add the sour cream ranch mix, spreading it to the edges of the dish.
Repeat the layers starting with more cornbread and ending with more ranch mix on top to seal in the ingredients. Refrigerate two to four hours before serving.
How long does cornbread salad last in the fridge?
If you don’t plan on gobbling down the entire cornbread salad ASAP, transfer the leftovers to an airtight container or cover tightly with plastic wrap.
You can keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days. Anything past that and the cornbread will get overly soggy and the veggies will lose their freshness.
What to serve with cornbread salad?
This uniquely delicious salad makes an awesome accompaniment to a variety of classic Southern mains and/or other tasty side dishes. Here are some of my favorites.
- Southern Pinto Beans
- Southern Collard Greens with Ham Hocks
- Buttermilk Fried Chicken
- Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops with Herbs
- Classic Southern Catfish
- Southern Chicken Salad
More side dish recipes to try
Looking for other sharable recipes? Check out these awesome potluck recipes or give one of these a try.
- Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
- Southern Potato Salad with Mustard and Egg
- Creamy Red Potato Salad with Bacon
- Tuna Noodle Casserole
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Classic Waldorf Salad
- 8 8×8 pan leftover/day-old cornbread or one box cornbread mix made according to package directions gluten free works
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons Ranch seasoning homemade, or a 1-ounce packet of pre-made
- 1 cup red bell pepper
- 1 can pinto beans rinsed and drained
- 2 cans corn drained
- 4 Roma tomatoes seeded and diced
- 2 cups cheddar cheese
- 10 slices bacon cooked
- 1 cup sliced green onions
- If possible, cook the cornbread a day in advance and let it sit out to dry out a bit.
- When ready to assemble, mix the mayonnaise and sour cream with your choice of Ranch mix. If you are using homemade, add the mix until the flavor is bold enough to suit you.
- Crumble half the cornbread in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish or glass trifle bowl.
- Layer over half of the ingredients in this order: bell pepper, beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, bacon, green onions then add half the ranch mix.
- Repeat the layers ending with the ranch mix on top to “seal” everything in. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours before serving.