Vegan cornbread dressing features all of the wonderful flavors of Thanksgiving dinner but without the eggs and chicken broth! This recipe is adapted from my mom's southern-style cornbread dressing. With celery, garlic, thyme, sage, and savory vegan cornbread, in our house, it's not Thanksgiving without it!
Cornbread dressing is easy to prepare and includes gluten-free and oil-free options.
Hands down, cornbread dressing has always been my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. There's just something SO wonderful about herbs, broth, celery, and cornbread all mingled together in a casserole.
If you'd rather call it vegan cornbread stuffing, be my guest!
I was born and raised in the South and we always called this "dressing." Of course, we're also not stuffing it inside a turkey, so calling it dressing makes sense.
It certainly dresses up your plate!
This recipe is based on my mom's healthier version of cornbread dressing that she always made for our holiday gatherings.
Of course, none of us were vegan back then, so Mom's version contained eggs, chicken broth, and buttermilk in the cornbread.
After going vegan in 2011, this was one of our first family dishes I just HAD to make vegan! And it tastes exactly like the original. I hope you love it, too!
The photo above is from the original publishing of this recipe in 2018.
Feel free to make the texture of the dressing more crumbled and uniform like this, or chunkier like in the other photos (updated Nov 2020).
- cornbread - I've made this recipe with my Southern-Style Savory Vegan Cornbread (made with vegan butter) AND my Oil-Free Cornbread. Both work perfectly in this recipe.
- bread - you'll need 4 or 5 slices of a sturdy, whole-grain sandwich bread or your favorite gluten-free bread.
- mushrooms - these are optional and weren't part of Mom's cornbread dressing, but if you're a mushroom fan you'll love this addition. Otherwise, simply leave them out.
- onion - yellow onion is my top choice, but red or white are just fine for cornbread dressing.
- broth - I often use Better Than Bouillon's No Chicken Base mixed with water because it adds extra savory flavor. But this product isn't oil- or gluten-free. So keep that in mind. Any salty vegetable broth you like is fine.
See recipe card below for amounts and full instructions.
How to Make Vegan Cornbread Dressing
One thing I love about cornbread dressing is how easy it is to prepare. It may not be quick, but it is simple!
The basic process flows like this...
- Make the cornbread the day before, and leave it out overnight to dry out. (See Tips below for a quick-dry option.)
- When you're ready to make the dressing, preheat the oven and a sauté pan. Sauté the veggies and herbs, which takes about 15 minutes.
- Crumble about half of the cornbread into a casserole dish. Cube a few slices of your favorite whole-grain or gluten-free bread, and add that to the dish.
- Add the sautéed veggies, and stir to distribute.
- Add 3 to 4 cups of salty vegetable broth, just enough to soak everything but not so much that it's soupy (see photo below).
- Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for another 30 minutes or until the center is hot.
Options and Substitutions
Whether you use this buttery Southern-Style Cornbread or this Oil-Free Cornbread, use a gluten-free 1:1 baking blend for the flour called for in each recipe. You'll also want to make sure to use a gluten-free broth.
With so much flavor from the veggies, herbs, broth, and cornbread, no one will even miss the fat if you decide to make an oil-free version of this cornbread dressing!
Simply omit the oil used to sauté the veggies, and use a bit of broth or water as needed for sticking. If using store-bought broth, check labels for oil. And use my favorite Oil-Free Vegan Cornbread.
I really love the flavor of Better Than Bouillon's No-Chicken variety in this particular recipe, but any salty broth will do. Add a bit of tamari or sea salt to standard broth if you don't think it's salty enough.
You'll need a large saute pan and casserole dish for this recipe.
I bought this white Staub gratin dish specifically for Thanksgiving this year and am so glad I did! I love its smaller footprint (10.5 x 7.5 inches) and that it's deeper than a standard casserole dish. You can also bake this dressing in a standard 13 x 9 casserole dish.
How to Dry Cornbread Quickly
If you're baking the cornbread the same day you plan to make the dressing, then obviously you don't have time for the cornbread to dry overnight. But a quick toasting in the oven can help!
To quickly dry cornbread, cut it into large cubes and spread on a baking sheet. Bake in a 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until dry like stale bread.
What to Serve With Cornbread Dressing
Here are some of our favorite mains, sides, and desserts for a vegan Thanksgiving:
- Vegan Turkey Roast
- Healthy Harvest Chickpea Loaf
- Vegan Yogurt Mashed Potatoes
- Easy Vegan Mushroom Gravy
- Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Perfectly Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- The BEST Healthy Pumpkin Pie
- Vegan Sweet Potato Pie
- 25 Vegan Pies for Thanksgiving
This Vegan Cornbread Dressing is simple, irresistibly delicious, and we love that it's so easily adapted for different dietary needs. I hope you love it as much as we do.
If you try this vegan version of my mom's cornbread dressing be sure to comment below and let us know! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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Vegan Cornbread Dressing
- 1 batch Oil-Free Cornbread, left out overnight to dry (tap for recipe) or ¾ batch of our Southern-Style Vegan Cornbread (linked above)
- 4 to 5 slices sturdy whole-grain bread, crusts removed, cubed - or your favorite gluten-free bread
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, optional - omit for oil-free
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 to 6 ribs celery, chopped - should equal about 1 ½ cups
- 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped, optional
- 5 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground sage
- freshly cracked black pepper
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Base dissolved in 4 cups warm water or 4 cups salty vegetable broth (oil-free option) - for strict gluten-free, Better Than Bouillon does not claim to be GF, so substitute suitable veg broth
- The day before you plan to make dressing, cut the cornbread into squares and leave out overnight to dry. I like to place the cornbread in a large storage container with the lid slightly askew, not closed tight. Tip: see tips in post above for same day quick-dry instructions.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil a 9 x 13 (3 Qt.) or 10 ½ x 7 ½ (2.5 Qt.) casserole dish. Also preheat a sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add the oil and onions to the sauté pan and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the thyme, sage, black pepper and a generous pinch of salt, and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
- Crumble about half of the cornbread into the prepared casserole dish (texture can vary from crumbs to some larger chunks). Add the bread cubes, sautéed vegetables, remaining cornbread, and pepper (if using) and carefully stir to combine. Add just enough vegetable broth so that everything is well-soaked but not overly soupy, 3 to 4 cups.
- Cover the dish tightly with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on top and hot in the center. Cover again if the top begins to look too brown before the center is done.
- Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes. Serve hot.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.
Love love love. Thank you for this. Turned out perfectly.
I recently tried to adapt my family’s cornbread dressing recipe and it was a complete fail. My binder didn’t work and the dressing never set ? how dense would you say this is? I noticed you didn’t use a binder and I know my family likes a slightly dense dressing.
I really only have my mom’s non-vegan cornbread dressing to compare it to, and it’s similar in texture to hers. I wouldn’t call it dense necessarily, but it does hold together! The whole grain bread and cornbread work together to bind everything, and any excess broth moisture evaporates during baking.
Maybe your family would like the addition of something “meaty” for added texture, like chopped vegan sausage or beefy crumbles.
Hope that helps!
Hi! I’m making this for thanksgiving this year. I made your oil free cornbread yesterday. I just cut it up to dry it out. I was wondering, do you also dry out the wheat bread the day before? Or is that not necessary?
Hi Jessica, you could let the bread sit out for an hour or so, but it's fine either way. Hope you enjoy it!
This sounds like a great recipe! Do you think it would be okay to make the dressing and bake half of it one day (in an appropriately sized pan) and half of it the next? My mom does this with her traditional dressing so I think it would be okay, but wanted to know your thoughts 🙂
I haven't tried that, but since it works with your mom's recipe it would probably be okay here, too!
The only concern I have is whether the broth would cause the breads to break down (could be affected by differing amounts of fat in the recipes). So if you wanted to play it safe, another option would be to add the breads and sautéed veggies to the casserole dish and cover it well, then wait until the next day to pour on the broth, right before baking.
Thanks for being here! Let me know how it goes. 😀
That's a good point - I think I'll play it safe and just prepare everything, but wait to combine it until shortly before baking it. Thanks for the advice and I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks so much, Mary. You, too!