- Cornbread stuffing is more popular in the southeastern United States than elsewhere in the country, as is typical of most cornbread recipes. Cornbread was once a staple of southern households, so there usually was plenty on hand. Cornbread was turned into stuffing to bake inside chicken, turkey, or wild fowl, or to provide a side dish for a stew such as seafood and sausage jambalaya.
- Stuffing made with cornbread has a more dense texture compared to that made from wheat bread. It can be cooked up in very small batches or in amounts big enough to feed the largest families. Stuffing should be slightly on the dry side if used to stuff a bird, and kept moister if used as a side dish. One popular traditional Thanksgiving cornbread stuffing recipe features chopped onion and celery sauteed in a cup of butter, with crumbled or cubed cornbread added, along with salt, pepper, sage, and thyme.
- Many variations on the basic recipe are easy to try, most continuing Southern traditions. Including sausage or bacon in the stuffing adds great flavor. Substitutes for the crunchy ingredients might be apples, water chestnuts, carrots, or green or red bell peppers. Try adding walnuts to the apples, or create a completely different twist with pears or cranberries with pecans. A Creole recipe calls for numerous spices including cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, basil, and garlic. Add jalapeno peppers for a super-spicy cornbread stuffing.
- If you don't have cornbread on hand and want a quick way to make some, boxed mixes are available. You also can buy cornbread muffins and use those for the crumbled bread, which will add a sweeter flavor. Packaged cornbread stuffing can be purchased as well, and you can try adding extra ingredients if you prefer.
- Cornbread typically is gluten-free, but if using a boxed mix, you'll need to check the ingredients to be sure. Although it seems like an oxymoron, basic cornbread stuffing is a vegetarian dish. It can be eaten on the side or stuffed into large mushroom caps, bell peppers, and in blooming onions or tomatoes. Cornbread stuffing makes a great after-holiday breakfast simply by serving two over-easy eggs on top.