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Kamala’s Southern Cornbread Dressing

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Politics move aside for this best Thanksgiving side.

Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or other, everyone wins with this deeply tasty Thanksgiving dressing casserole. This is Vice-President Kamala Harris’s Southern cornbread dressing recipe

Cornbread sausage dressing baked in casserole from Kamala Harris

Meet This Thanksgiving Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe

There are many things that can go wrong with a Thanksgiving dressing: gummy texture, dry texture, blandness, and more. And given the importance of the stuffing or dressing on Thanksgiving dinner, it’s great to find a dressing recipe that works.

Luckily, Vice President Kamala Harris shared her family recipe for cornbread sausage stuffing.

This is a classic Southern cornbread sausage dressing recipe, made with a loaf of cornbread, spicy sausage, apple, celery, onion, butter, and herbs. Baked until golden brown, this dressing is moist, deeply flavorful, and perfectly seasoned.

cornbread, onions, apple, sausage, and herbs

Background on Kamala Harris’s Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe

No matter what your politics, Kamala Harris deserves respect for love of cooking and talent and experience in the kitchen. (The recorded clip of the vice president talking about turkey brining before a MSNBC interview is classic.)

So it was no surprise when two days before Thanksgiving 2020, Ms. Harris shared her family recipe for cornbread sausage dressing on Instagram, a Southern-style casserole that may become your favorite Thanksgiving side dish of all.

Kamala’s Southern cornbread dressing recipe calls for boxed cornbread mix (more on that later) and a combination of spicy Italian sausage, vegetables, apple, herbs, butter and broth. This is a fairly standard recipe for old fashioned Southern cornbread stuffing, but the proportion are right, and the seasoning is perfect.

Kamala Harris's Cornbread Dressing Recipe Instagram post on social media

How I Adapted and Clarified This Southern Cornbread Sausage Dressing Recipe

This Southern cornbread dressing recipe, as written, leaves a few gaps in the steps. I also prefer homemade cornbread instead of boxed mix. Box cornbread mix can taste dry and have some chemical off-notes.

So I have adapted this Thanksgiving stuffing recipe to call for any not-too-sweet cornbread of choice, and give some more details about how to make this dressing recipe, step by step. I also specified a specific amount of salt and pepper.

ingredients for kamala harris's southern cornbread sausage dressing recipe

What Kind of Cornbread to Use for Dressing

Cornbread can range from savory to very, very sweet. For this cornbread dressing recipe, the best options are:

  • An unsweetened cornbread, or
  • A mildly-sweet cornbread (my preference)

I actually prefer a lightly-sweetened cornbread for this Thanksgiving side dish. The sweetness perfectly complements the savory Italian sausage, herbs, and vegetables. But don’t use anything too sweet; dessert comes later!

What’s the Difference Between Cornbread Dressing and Stuffing?

Dressing and stuffing can have the exact same ingredients; the difference lies in the cooking. The ingredients and method are the same up to the point of baking it.

Stuffing is (you guessed it) stuffed inside the cavity of the bird. Dressing is baked on its own in a casserole pan.

unbaked old fashioned Southern cornbread sausage Thanksgiving dressing in casserole

Should Kamala Harris’s Cornbread Dressing Be Baked Covered or Uncovered?

This recipe for Kamala Harris’s cornbread dressing should be baked uncovered. The dressing has enough moisture added that it will not dry out when baked. Instead, baking uncovered allows the dressing to bake to a perfect golden brown.

This Thanksgiving cornbread dressing will be a big hit on your Thanksgiving dinner.

Southern Cornbread Sausage Dressing Recipe: Kamala Harris's Recipe

More Thanksgiving side dish recipes you’ll love:

Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe with sausage:

Kamala's Southern Cornbread Sausage Dressing

This adaptation of VP Kamala Harris's family Southern cornbread dressing recipe bakes up moist, golden-brown, and comes loaded with apple, spicy sausage, onions, and herbs.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Course: dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keywords:: cornbread dressing recipe, cornbread sausage stuffing, easy, Kamala Harris, Thanksgiving dressing, Thanksgiving side dish
Servings: 1 9" x 13" casserole
Print

Ingredients

  • 1 standard loaf cornbread, preferably a day or two old and not too sweet (about a 1.5 lb. loaf or 2 boxes Jiffy mix)
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 2 medium apples, cored and diced (no need to peel)
  • 4 stalks fresh celery, diced
  • 3/4 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  • 24 turns fresh-cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a standard 9" x 13" casserole pan.
  • Use your hands to break the cornbread into chunks and crumbles, and place in a large mixing bowl.
    PRO TIP: The cornbread will break apart a little more when mixed with the other ingredients, so don't make the crumbles too small.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Italian sausage, breaking the sausage into pieces with your spoon or spatula. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned and cooked through.
    PRO TIP: The easiest way to remove sausage from its casings is the slice each link horizontally with a serrated knife (as you would split a hotdog). The sausage will come out easily.
  • Drain the crumbled, cooked sausage on a paper towel-lined plate, and discard about half of the cooking grease.
    PRO TIP: Never pour grease or fat from meat into the sink. It will congeal in your pipes! Instead, pour into a heat-proof bowl or jar and let cool until solid. Then discard.
  • Return the skillet to the stove. Cook the onion, apples, and celery over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the celery and apples are lightly softened.
  • Add the sausage, celery/apple/onion mixture, chicken broth, melted butter, herbs, salt, and pepper into the large mixing bowl with the crumbled cornbread. Mix just until fully combined. Taste for seasoning.
  • Pour the cornbread dressing mixture into the casserole pan and bake, uncovered, for around 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

8 comments

  • 5 stars
    Everyone loved this, with my picky eater son proclaiming it “good AF”. I added a bit of cinnamon to compliment the apples. (A teaspoon, roughly). Can this be made in advance and cooked the day of? Want to know for this year.

    • Unpeeled

      Awesome! I’m so glad it got such great reviews–haha. I love the idea of the cinnamon. As for making in advance, due to the chicken broth, I would not let this stand overnight without cooking. I think the cornbread could get gummy. I suggest either 1) cook the dressing all the way through, chill overnight, then reheat, covered. Or, just get all the components prepared: cook the apples, onion, celery, the sausage; prep the herbs; crumble the cornbread in advance. Then, you just have to add the liquids, assemble, season, and bake on the day of. Hope this helps!

  • Kay Hudson

    Does it matter what type of apples to use? What do you suggest?

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Kay. Great question. I’d use Honeycrisp or Pink Lady, nothing overly tart. You want a little sweetness to complement the savory sausage.

  • 5 stars
    Sausage and cornbread combo tasted just about perfect. The spicy Italian sausage did not overwhelm the other flavors. I love the apple. A good mix of a little sweet and a little salty. I make this again.

  • Dan Delaney

    5 stars
    This is an excellent recipe for cornbread dressing. I bought a loaf of ready-made cornbread at the supermarket and just used that so I didn’t have to make my own first. Thank you for the trick about how to get the sausage out of the casings. I always wondered the best way! Worked great. Thanks.

  • 5 stars
    This is an excellent recipe. I thought it might be dry but it was not and the sausage and other “stuff” like the onions and apple was very good. I baed this for an even 45 minutes, and it came out just right. Do you have a homemade cornbread recipe that you would recommend? I would prefer not to use box mix but always like a simple cornbread recipe from scratch. Thank you.

  • 5 stars
    Made last year and highly recommend.

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