Mom’s Thanksgiving Dressing

Mom’s Thanksgiving Dressing is classic, wonderful, and heartwarming…just like my mom.

My mom, Maudell, makes my favorite Thanksgiving dressing. I know everyone is partial to their own version, or their mom’s, or grandmother’s, and I guess I’m not different. The simple ingredients blend to compliment the most wonderful Thanksgiving feast. We’re excited to share her recipe with you!

A white plate of Thanksgiving dressing, turkey, green beans, next to gravy and a black skillet.

HOW TO MAKE MOM’S THANKSGIVING DRESSING

My mom is a wonderful cook and I learned at an early age, because of her (and my father), that there is something special about making a delicious home-cooked meal. The food is delicious, of course, but it’s the act of coming together, as loved ones, to enjoy that wonderfully prepared meal that is most special.

This Thanksgiving dressing is the perfect example of that.

Watch us show you how to make Mom’s Thanksgiving Dressing!

MAKE THE HOMEMADE CORNBREAD IN ADVANCE

What I love about this dressing is that it’s really a combination of several types of dressings that are often served on Turkey Day.

Cornbread is a key ingredient. And we love to make our own homemade cornbread. It’s easy to do and we highly recommend it. In a pinch, making cornbread from a box, or even purchased pre-made cornbread will all work perfectly fine, too.

EXPERT TIP: The various bread-like ingredients in this dressing are best when they are somewhat dried out. This allows them to fully absorb the turkey stock before baking, ensuring a really moist interior, with a crunchy exterior. This is why we recommend making the corn bread a day in advance and let it sit out until you are ready to mix in the other ingredients.

A hand crumbling in homemade cornbread into a large glass bowl.

Next, mom adds in white bread.

Again, it’s best if the bread is somewhat stale, which can be achieved by leaving the slices of bread out for a day or so.

Or, my mom’s method, which we think is even better…toast the slices!  Then cut into strips and then cube. Brilliant!

A hand using a knife to cube toasted white bread on a cutting board.

ADDING STOCK TO THE DRESSING

After all the ingredients (except for the turkey broth) have been mixed together, and then allowed to meld, preferably overnight, it’s time to add the liquid.

Place the dressing into a baking dish (9″x13″ works well or a large cast iron skillet) and gently press down with your hands. Next pour in the broth.

EXPERT TIP: You can make turkey broth ahead by simmering the giblets and the neck from the turkey in water for 45 minutes. Also, after the bird is finished roasting, strain the liquid, and pour this into the broth you’ve made from the giblets and neck.

A hand pouring a large measuring cup of turkey stock into a pan filled with dressing.

KNOWING THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF BROTH TO ADD

It’s important to get the right amount of liquid into the pre-baked dressing – not too much, and not too little.

We do what we like to call the “squish test” when making Mom’s Thanksgiving Dressing.

Simply press the palms of your hands onto the dressing after you’ve added the stock. It should feel a little squishy to the touch, but not soupy. Add a little stock, then do the “squish” test, and continue until you’ve reached a perfectly moist and squishy dressing.

Two hands pressing onto a pan full of Thanksgiving dressing.

Now, it’s time to bake Mom’s Thanksgiving Dressing!

The smell is amazing and it only takes about 50 minutes.

EXPERT TIP: The perfect dressing is moist (but not juicy) on the inside and crunchy on the top. 50 minutes should be perfect, but keep an eye on the dressing as it bakes. If the top is beginning to look too dark, cover with foil for the final 15 to 20 minutes of baking.

A large cast iron skillet filled with Mom's Thanksgiving dressing next to a wooden spoon.

Of all the traditional dishes served at Thanksgiving, this dressing has always been one of my very favorites, if not my all-time favorite.

All the components, including cornbread, white bread, seasoned stuffing, onion, celery, sage, seasonings and broth are just quintessential Thanksgiving.

Mmmm…give us a big helping now!!

A large wooden spoon in a skillet of Mom's Thanksgiving dressing.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

We hope you and your loved ones have a beautiful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate this holiday.

If you don’t, this is the perfect excuse to make this amazing dressing, and while you’re at it, go ahead and make the turkey, green bean casserole, candied yams and pumpkin pie!

And folks, set the table, bring everyone in, remind yourself what you’re thankful…and then…make a plate of the some of the best food you’ll eat all year long!

A hand holding a large spoonful of Mom's Thanksgiving Dressing over a skillet.

And don’t forget to take a picture of all the glorious food, post it on Instagram, and tag @howtofeedaloon and #howtofeedaloon!

A close up view of a wooden spoon in a pan of Thanksgiving dressing.

Mom's Thanksgiving Dressing

This is my mother's recipe for dressing. It's been my all-time favorite since I was a kid. We love it baked in the oven (not stuffed in the bird) until golden and crunch on top and moist in the middle! So good!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Classic dressing, Stuffing, Thanksgiving
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Make ahead: Cornbread: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 143kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ pan corn bread about 2 cups, save the rest for eating
  • 5 slices bread dried out, or toast3ed
  • 8 oz stuffing packaged, seasoned is best
  • ½ cup yellow onion chopped
  • ½ cup celery chopped
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 4 tbsp sage or 2 tbsp dried
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 to 4 cups broth turkey or chicken, see note

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Combine all ingredients, except the broth, in a large bowl or pot, cover, and set overnight in the refrigerator, of for at least several hours.
  • Transfer the mixture into your serving dish and pat down gently with your hands.
  • Pour enough broth into the prepared dressing until it's just juicy to the touch. Shouldn't be swimming in it, but still juicy when pressed.
  • Bake for 50 minutes. If starting to brown too much, cover with foil in the final 15 minutes of baking.

Video

Notes

Making the cornbread from scratch is great, but you can also use the boxed variety, too. 
Let the bread sliced sit out for 12 to 24 hours to dry out, or toast them (we toast them, just like mom does, and we love the toasty taste).
Make broth by simmering the turkey giblets and neck in a pot of water for at 45 minutes to an hour.  For deeper flavor, add roughly chopped carrots, celery and onion.  Strain.
After the turkey has finished roasting, remove the turkey and strain the liquid into a boil.  Add this to the giblet broth.
We usually roast the turkey, and let it sit and then carve it, which allows us to collect the delicious turkey juices, add to the broth and then bake the dressing.  

Nutrition

Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 616mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 424IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in November, 2013, but recipe was enhanced with a few new tweaks, new photography, and a fabulous new video in November, 2019!

If You Like This Recipe...You'll Love These!

3 Comments

  • I made this using the sausage from your recipie …but I only put a few chopped cranberries.I was afraid my very traditional family would find fault with fruit in the dressing.long story short…I am making a recipie card…which I hardly ever do….to put in my handed down recipie box.I found a recipie for pound cake with berry sauce my great great grandmother made .the date 1829. Sorry for my ramblings…I love trying your recipies,and Food really does taste better when it is made with love and kindness….and the pinch of fabulousness the Loon adds in!! Wishing you and your family Happy and healthy Holidays!!
    Sorry if my rating of 5 stars doesnt show up…???I tried..

    • Hi Vicky!! That is such wonderful news to hear! And we are so honored to have made it into your recipe box!!! And we couldn’t be happier that you had success with this recipe! Thank you SO MUCH for letting us know and HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and your loved ones, too!! Stay in touch! All the best, Kris & Wesley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *