Magical Southern Dressing Recipe

November 22, 2021


This recipe is so strange – almost like a science experiment, but it will be the easiest, and most delicious dressing you’ve ever made. Your guests will love you. 

I’ve had stuffing in a turkey —  once. That was enough for me to add another reason why I love living in the South. There’s nothing like a pan of cornbread dressing at Thanksgiving. 

My Grandmother Harrison made amazing dressing, and my Aunt Jo taught me how to make her delicious traditional version. They were both “Perfection in a Pyrex” and the highlight of the meal.  

When I first saw this recipe, I was a doubter. There’s no way it could work. All that soup? Really now! Let's be serious!  My mother taught me, “Don’t ever submit a recipe to the church cookbook that begins with, “open a can of  . . . “ it will haunt you for years.” BUT, this was too intriguing to not try. 

It doesn’t take the place of Aunt Jo’s traditional dressing, but it is so very moist, so very delicious and so very EASY you have to try it. I took it to the church Thanksgiving dinner, and the pan was scraped clean. 

Cornbread crumbled ready for the deluge of soups.

The name of the recipe was originally, “New Dressing Recipe” but I thought it deserved a more descriptive title, so I call it, “Magical Southern Dressing.” 

Simmer all soups together with poultry seasoning and if desired, onions and celery.

It came from my mother, who got it from David Earl Drake (my Dad’s high school friend from DeFuniak Springs) who got it from his mother, Louise Drake. The best recipes are passed down like this again and again. So . . . here you go. Magical Southern Dressing. 

The finished recipe makes a large casserole.

**I added onions and celery. You could even top it with pecans.

Magical Southern Dressing

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of onion soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of celery soup

2 cans chicken broth

2 cans of shredded chicken

2 packages of Mexican cornbread mix

1 package of plain cornbread mix

1 tsp. of poultry seasoning

Prepare cornbread mixes as directed ( the day before is good so it dries out just a bit and absorbs the soup). Crumble bread into a large bowl (I mixed mine right in the large casserole dish).

In a saucepan, mix all the soups and poultry seasoning ( add sautéd onions and celery if desired). Heat and blend. Pour this over the cornbread and mix together. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Magical Southern Dressing

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! 

Stuffing vs. Dressing? Here's the more traditional method.

  • I’ve made a similar recipe for chicken and dressing for years. It’s a family favorite. I found the recipe in a cookbook (vintage 1980’s) our sorority sold as a fundraiser. This one is a little bit different, and I am definitely going to try it. Thank you for sharing!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Oh, those sorority fundraisers! We also sold cookbooks for the Booster Club! Thanks for the note Kelli and good luck with the dressing!

  • janeinbama says:

    I helped my late MIL compile a cookbook for the family 15-20 years ago. THE dressing recipe was in it. I typed it and she proofread it. Boom, book done and given out at Christmas. A few months later she wants to edit the dressing recipe 🙂 A few more eggs, a bit more baking powder and broth. I was like – why now????? I printed some stickers for everyone’s book. I had been making her dressing for years for my family, however, when I made it for DH’s family, my sweet MIL, who at this time was legally blind and very frail, call me over and said, add a bit more broth than you think it needs and be heavy handed with the baking powder. We lost her a few months later. The next Thanksgiving my dressing was almost as good as hers. I remember that moment every year. I also make a squash dressing that uses cream soups which is wonderful with chicken added!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      That’s pretty funny about the late changes! I think it’s because good cooks always play it by ear. Whatever’s on hand – a dash of this and a pinch of that! When I make dressing the “real” way (whatever that is) it changes a little bit year to year. What a wonderful and funny memory you have. Thanks for sharing this. I may have to add your MIL to a story someday!

  • Lee Ann Smith says:

    We made “Crock Pot Southern Dressing” this year and it was delicious! It won a contest for best dressing on Good Morning America a few years ago. Emeril was the judge!
    I agree about the sage though…could have used just a titch more

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of this method. I’ll have to look it up. Such an interesting dish – made 1,000’s of different ways! Thanks for the tip.

  • Sounds perfect to me, I am a firm supporter of Campbells creamed soups, they make everything better! The name is perfect!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks Jenna. You’re so right. Where would the South be without creamy Campbell’s soups? Happy Thanksgiving!

  • I’m going to try this recipe….after Thanksgiving, of course.

    One year my mom told me it was my turn to make the dressing and she would walk me through it. She was very insistent that I needed to learn. By the next year, she had dementia and couldn’t remember anything about how to make dressing. So thankful I learned that year.

  • Carol H. Willis says:

    I’m so nervous ?. I think I can trust you…. So off to the store Don goes with his soup-er grocery list! The chicken throws me a bit! Canned, at that!! ? ?
    I would like to have your Aunt Jo’s and Grandmother’s recipes, also! Even at this point in my life, I’m still looking for the perfect dressing recipe!!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Every family seems to have a different version for dressing. My Aunt’s recipe was really me writing furiously as she grabbed this and that and a pinch and a shake. It was all in the seasonings! Try this simple soup version, then add your own spices. I think thyme and sage would be natural things to add. You’ll love it!

      • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

        And by the way . . . you can omit the chicken or use rotisserie or one you raised yourself and hand fed it candy corn!

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