Dressing unlike stuffing is prepared in a buttered pan or baking dish and baked separately from the turkey.
Some use the same recipe mixture to do both a stuffing and dressing or use different recipe mixtures for each. Some only do one or the other.
I make both using a different recipe for each. This is the recipe I use for dressing. However, this dressing recipe can be also be used to stuff the turkey if done with slight modification.
To use this dressing recipe as a stuffing:
Use only about 3 to 3-1/2 cups of broth, allow to cool completely at room temperature if required, and then — right before stuffing and roasting the turkey — stir finely diced cold butter into the mixture until evenly distributed.
Another option to dicing butter is to freeze then grate it.
Just make sure after cutting or grating that the butter is kept cold in the refrigerator until the last possible minute before adding it to the stuffing — so that it goes into the bird and into the oven while still cold.
Southern Cornbread Sage Dressing
2 batches of 12 inch skillet of cooked buttermilk cornbread, crumbled
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 to 2 Tbsp. rubbed sage
3/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 fresh slices of white sandwich bread
2 hard boiled eggs, diced, optional
giblets, cooked, diced
4-1/2 to 5 cups chicken broth OR use roasted turkey drippings mixed with the boiled turkey neck and giblet broth
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Optional: fresh herbs, paprika, bacon crumbles, chopped green onion, etc. as desired for topping the dressing with a garnish
Prepare and bake two batches of cornbread in a 12 inch skillet, cool, and crumble into a large bowl. Set aside.
Preheat/Adjust oven to 350 F degrees.
Use the stick of butter to generously grease a 13 x 9 baking dish or pan.
Melt all of the remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add chopped celery and onion, and sauté until tender and onions are either translucent (almost see through) or caramelized until lightly golden.
Add salt and pepper plus 1 teaspoon of the sage and saute for 30 seconds more.
Add the sauteed vegetables to the bowl of crumbled cornbread. Drizzle all of the remaining seasoned melted butter from the skillet over the crumbled cornbread.
Cube the white sandwich bread slices — cutting into approximately 1/2 inch cubes.
Add bread plus any remaining ingredients — except the broth — to the bowl of crumbled cornbread and toss well until evenly distributed.
Pour the broth 1 cup at a time into the cornbread mixture and stir, fold, and toss after each addition to incorporate well and to evenly moisten all of the cornbread and cubed bread.
Spoon mixture into a generously buttered 13 x 9 baking dish or pan.
Optional: May garnish as desired before and/or after baking.
Cover pan or dish with aluminum foil or lid.
Bake on the center rack at 350 F degrees for 25 minutes, covered, to help steam and distribute moisture throughout dressing well.
Carefully remove foil or lid and bake, uncovered, for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
For Sausage Dressing:
Omit the butter and giblets.
Brown ground pork sausage in a large skillet. Set the sausage aside to drain.
Then follow the recipe above except use only 2 or 3 tablespoons of sausage grease to saute the celery and onions.
If desired, top dressing with crispy fried bacon crumbles before baking.
Buttermilk Cornbread for Dressing:
Will need to double recipe to use for dressing.
2 tablespoons chopped onion
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons minced chives
Preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
Mix everything together and bake in a greased 12 inch iron skillet for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
For more about making turkey broth and turkey giblet gravy:
For roasting turkey:
For making a signature turkey stuffing: