Dairy-free cornbread dressing may sound like a misnomer, because a classic Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe calls for cream and butter. But it CAN be done! Not only is this recipe dairy-free, but no oven is required. Thanksgiving . . . here we come!
A few years ago, Thanksgiving dinner was going to be at my house. It was Thanksgiving day morning, and my oven just stopped working. I had prepared a lot of the family’s favorite Thanksgiving side dishes like brussels sprouts, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, and all the rest. So they could be warmed in the microwave or stove.
Unfortunately, the one thing I had not made ahead was the Thanksgiving Dressing, which we ended up not having, because I had no way of cooking it—or so I thought. As it turns out, you can make cornbread dressing on the stovetop, or by using a hot plate!
Even if your oven isn’t on the fritz, using the stovetop or a hotplate won’t heat up your kitchen, so you can keep your cool.
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How to Make Dairy-Free Cornbread Dressing (No Oven Required)
Homemade dairy-free cornbread dressing isn’t a difficult recipe, but you will have to chop some of the ingredients. You’ll need cornbread, boiled eggs, dairy-free margarine (or vegetable oil), salt, pepper, rubbed sage, fresh celery, onion, green onion, white bread or biscuits, and chicken broth.
Keep scrolling down to get the full recipe, but basically, you tear up the cornbread, crumble the bread, add the spices, eggs, broth and veggies and stir. The finished mixture should be about the consistency of cornbread batter or maybe a little drier.
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Homemade Dressing Ingredients
Homemade dressing ingredients can vary greatly. Some people put oysters in their dressing, and some put bacon in it. In the southern states, especially Texas, here are the ingredients we use:
- Boiled eggs
- Butter (not melted butter, just room temperature)
- Rubbed sage
- Fresh celery
- Green onion
- White bread or biscuits
- Chicken (or turkey) broth
Sometimes we add a little parsley, thyme or rosemary. Or, if we’re feeling crazy, we might add a few bits of pulled or shredded chicken or turkey. Want to know how to make traditional dressing from scratch? Check out our Texas Cornbread Dressing Recipe for the official way to make traditional homemade dressing from scratch.
FAQ’s About Making Traditional Dressing
Here’s some frequently asked questions I get about making traditional dressing for Thanksgiving:
- What is the most important ingredient in dressing? There are no hard and fast rules for making dressing. If you don’t like one of the ingredients, leave it out. Or, if you like something that you think would make it taste better, give it a try. But start with quality ingredients like fresh eggs, fresh herbs, cream, and vegetables.
- Can I make the cornbread ahead of time and freeze it? Absolutely. Just make sure the cornbread has a good taste – and remember if your cornbread is sweet (because you put sugar in it) then the dressing will be sweet. You can use leftover cornbread if it has been stored in the refrigerator less than a week or in the freezer for less than 3 months.
- What if I don’t have stale bread for cornbread? If you don’t have any stale bread, just toast fresh bread in the toaster, then crumble it into small bits. If you have time, you can just leave the bread out overnight in a single layer on a baking sheet on the counter to make dry bread, but toasting works just the same. You can even bake sliced french bread in a casserole dish at a medium heat for a few minutes to get that crisp bread state you need.
- Should the eggs be hardboiled or soft boiled for dressing? Hard boil the eggs (you don’t want to use runny eggs). If you crack one open and find that it wasn’t hardboiled, just keep cooking the others for a few more minutes.
- Can you eat raw dressing? For this particular recipe, absolutely. I always taste the mixture before I bake it. It is safe to do that, because there are no raw ingredients, except the veggies, which are yummy raw. But to do this with a more classic stuffing recipe or dressing recipe, leave the raw eggs out until after you’ve tasted it, just to be sure you like the flavor before cooking, and that way you’re not sick the next day or anything.
Tips for Making the BEST Dressing
Here’s what I like about dressing—it has a unique flavor and texture. I prefer to use homemade, made from scratch cornbread. My cornbread may not always look the best, but it always has great flavor and texture. This is mainly because I use quality ingredients like cornmeal, eggs, and milk (or a milk substitute).
Chop the veggies and eggs into small pieces, about 1/4 inch or smaller. That way, you can get a bit of all the ingredients in every mouthful of your scrumptious homemade dressing.
The BEST dressing is always leftover—yep, that’s true. Make the dressing a day ahead and put it in the fridge overnight. Take it out of the fridge on Thanksgiving day morning and let it come to room temperature. Then, you can put the pan in the oven at about 350° for maybe 30 minutes (just until it is warm and aromatic). All the spices and flavors will be blended together, and you’ll have a baking dish of wonderfulness for your taste buds.
What is Dressing for Thanksgiving?
Well, that sort of sounds like a trick question to me! First off, I would guess the question “What is Dressing for Thanksgiving?” would depend on the context. One person might interpret the question to relate to what someone will be wearing to the Thanksgiving dinner. Another person might interpret the question to relate to one of the main dishes at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
Our family doesn’t consider Thanksgiving to be a formal dinner, so dress is always casual. However, dressing is another matter entirely. Our family recipe for thanksgiving dressing has been handed down from generation to generation for over 100 years.
According to my mom, she made Thanksgiving dressing just like her mom, who made it just like her mom. I make it just like my mom, almost. My mom always cooked the turkey, and used the broth from that to make the dressing. I usually buy a smoked turkey, and the broth from that just doesn’t work in my dressing, so I buy chicken and boil it for the broth or use chicken bullion or prepared chicken broth.
Can You Make Dressing the Day Before Thanksgiving?
Absolutely. In fact, I believe that leftover dressing is the best! You can leave it in the pan and cover it with cling wrap or foil, and pop it in the refrigerator. The flavors of veggies, spices, and other ingredients will combine, and that’s when dressing tastes best.
How to Freeze Dressing for Thanksgiving
Freezing dressing for Thanksgiving is simple. You can put it in an airtight container like a plastic bowl with a lid, or even a plastic bag, and just pop it into the freezer. It will keep well for about 3 months in the freezer.
What is the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing for Thanksgiving?
Normally, a traditional stuffing recipe is cooked inside another food item, such as the turkey for Thanksgiving. Sometimes the stuffing is the same recipe as Thanksgiving Dressing (see below). But this is not always the case. Some people like to cook a Tur-Duck-En for Thanksgiving. That’s a chicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey. I suppose you could also stuff the chicken with stuffing! LOL!
Dressing is cooked in a separate pan (or in this recipe in a large skillet) away from other foods, and can consist of whatever ingredients the recipe calls for. Our family’s favorite is cornbread dressing, where the main ingredient is cornbread.
Why Do You Put Eggs in Dressing?
Putting eggs in dressing helps to keep it moist, and also acts as a binder. That means that it will help to keep your dressing from falling apart. Usually, my dressing doesn’t fall apart, and it doesn’t need to be more moist. I believe that if you put in the right amount of broth, you don’t really need eggs.
If you want to add eggs, add a couple after you’ve got all the other ingredients stirred in, and have tasted the mixture. The most important thing about dressing is the taste. You will undoubtedly have to cut it up to eat it, anyway!
Dairy-Free Cornbread Dressing Recipe
If you’re loving this recipe, but aren’t quite ready to make it, be sure to pin it to your favorite thanksgiving recipes board on Pinterest so you can find it again when you’re good and ready!
This Cornbread Dressing recipe contains no dairy products, and can be cooked on the stove top or on a hot plate (as can most dressing recipes, I think).
- 1/4 Loaf of Stale Bread – must be stale, or you need to toast it
- 1 Batch of Dairy-Free Cornbread, baked thoroughly, hopefully crumbly – can also be stale
- 4-6 Green Onions, chopped
- 1/2 Large Yellow or White Onion, chopped
- 4-5 Stalks of Celery, chopped
- 2-3 Boiled Eggs, peeled and chopped
- 2-3 Raw Eggs, optional
- 2 cups Chicken Broth, cooled
- 1 cups water
- 1/8 cup Ground Sage
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 1/2 stick Dairy-Free margarine
- Crumble cornbread into a large bowl.
- Toast bread, if necessary. Crumble or tear into small bits in the same bowl as the cornbread.
- Chop the green onions, yellow or white onion, celery, and boiled eggs Add to the cornbread and bread.
- Add the sage, salt, and pepper.
- Melt the Dairy-Free margarine.
- Add the water, and butter to the bread and vegetable mixture. Stir to combine.
- Add about half of the chicken broth and stir to combine.
- Add more chicken broth and water, if necessary to achieve a consistency a little more stiff than cornbread batter (almost like cookie batter). You want everything to stick together, but it doesn't need to be runny or soupy.
- Taste the mixture and add more spices, as you prefer.
- Add raw eggs, beaten, if desired.
- Pour mixture into heavy, preheated and oiled pan (8 or 10 inches would work well). The pan size and batch size will determine the thickness of the finished dressing.
- Cook for about an hour, until it is browned on the bottom, and no longer jiggly if the pan is shaken.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 96Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 347mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g
How to Double the Dairy-Free Cornbread Dressing Recipe
If you would like to double the recipe, the ingredients are:
1/2 Loaf of Stale Dairy-Free Bread – must be stale, or you need to toast it
2 Batch of Dairy-Free Cornbread, baked thoroughly, hopefully crumbly – can also be stale
1 Bunch Green Onions, chopped
1 Large Yellow or White Onion, chopped
1 Buch of Celery, chopped
3-5 Boiled Eggs, peeled and chopped
3-6 Raw Eggs, beaten, optional
4 cups Chicken Broth, cooled
2 cups water
1/4 cup Ground Sage
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Pepper
1 stick Dairy-Free margarine
The instructions will be the same.