3 Simple Ways to Dry Cornbread for Stuffing

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Grandma taught me two tricks for preparing the greatest cornbread stuffing: prepare your own cornmeal and use dry cornbread for the crispiest, moistest dressing. There are several cornbread recipes, but what is the best technique to dry cornbread for stuffing?

To dry cornmeal for stuffing, first cut it into cubes or crush it. One approach is to place it in an open paper or plastic bag, spread it on a baking sheet, and leave it on the counter for 24 to 48 hours to become stale. You may alternatively toast the cornmeal for 15 minutes in the oven.

Making cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving and other holidays requires forethought in order to cook the cornbread and dry it out in time to create the stuffing. The method you use to dry your cornbread is determined by how much time you have and how dry you want the bread to be.

The Best Ways to Dry Cornbread for Stuffing

You’ve made your cornbread (from scratch or from a box, we won’t tell) and it’s time to dry it out. Maybe you’re wondering what the best way to dry it out is. Perhaps you’re running out of time and contemplating skipping this step entirely.

Before we go into how to dry cornbread for stuffing, let’s talk about why this is such a vital step.

Why Do You Dry Cornbread for Stuffing?

Bread, namely cornbread, is a fundamental element in stuffing, providing structure and texture.

Whatever bread you use, it must first be dried or stale. The moisture in bread evaporates when it dries out or turns stale. The structure of the bread remains, but the texture stiffens and crisps.

Because cornbread dressing recipes call for flavorful components like eggs and stock to be added to the cubed or crumbled bread, the bread for stuffing must be dry. If you don’t remove the moisture from your cornbread, it won’t be able to absorb all of the great ingredients and get the desired custardy but crunchy texture.

If your bread is already wet, it will absorb the liquid as well, and the stuffing will be soggy and thick no matter how long you bake it.

To put it another way, your Grandma told you to dry your cornbread for stuffing because fresh, squishy cornmeal would result in a sloppy bread soup.

Soggy stuffing is a rookie mistake in stuffing and indicates that you did not dry off the bread beforehand.

There are three techniques for drying cornmeal for stuffing.

1 – Let It Go Stale

This technique of drying cornmeal requires you to be organized and bake or purchase your cornbread three days ahead of time.

After baking the cornbread and allowing it to cool fully, cut it into squares to enable both sides of the cubes to dry out or break it into coarse crumbs.

With this strategy, you are allowing your nice, fresh cornbread to get stale over the following day or two. (Remember, this is required for delectable filling.)

Place the cubed or crumbled cornbread in a paper or zip-top bag, leaving the top open, for the ideal crunch. Large baking sheets may also be used to spread out the crumbs or cubes. Allow the cornbread to dry at room temperature on the kitchen counter. Do not firmly seal the bags or cover the baking sheets.

It will take between 24 and 48 hours for the cornbread to attain the appropriate dry or stale consistency for good stuffing.

If your dry cornbread has gone stale, store it at room temperature in a closed zip-top bag or airtight container for a few days before preparing the filling.

If you’re super-organized, you can make the dry cornbread a month ahead of time and freeze it for the holidays.

2 – Oven Toasting

Another method for drying cornmeal for stuffing is to bake it. This approach requires just 15 minutes in the oven, plus cooling time.

Aside from saving time, toasting your bread in the oven offers two additional benefits.

To begin, the bread is roasted, which means it becomes brown. Browning food (such as meat, onions, marshmallows, or cookies) is induced by the Malliard Reaction, a process in which heat changes the chemical structure of food, affecting its color and taste. Food that has been browned tastes better.

Another benefit of toasting your cornbread for stuffing is that it dries up faster. Some chefs believe that storing bread at room temperature causes moisture to go deeper into the bread rather than evaporate. The water becomes trapped within the bread, resulting in a leathery texture.

Preheat the oven to 325F (165C) to dry your cornbread.

Make cubes out of the cornbread. Toast the rough cubes for approximately 15 minutes on a baking pan. The bread should be toasted and dry, not hard and crunchy like a crouton.

Before putting the toasted cubes in your filling, let them cool fully.

3 – Buy Stale Bread

Buying dry bread in this manner is the easiest method to get it. Many retailers put day-old or older bread on the discount rack because it is less expensive since it is no longer fresh. This bread is great for stuffing.

If you want drier bread, let it out at room temperature or toast it in the oven.

What If You Don’t Dry Cornbread for Stuffing?

Your Grandma, recipe books, and even this site will tell you that drying the bread is an important step in creating dressing since it ensures the ideal taste and texture.

This is true whether you use wheat-based bread, such as sandwich bread, French loaf, crusty Italian bread, or gingerbread. Gluten-free bread retains moisture in the form of water, which evaporates when dried, allowing you to add a more tasty beverage.

Cornbread, on the other hand, is not gluten-free. The fats in the batter, such as butter, eggs, milk, cream, or buttermilk, provide the majority of the moisture in cornbread. When you dry cornbread, just the water evaporates, not the moisture.

As a result, the texture of cornbread will not change in the filling in the same way as wheat-based bread does.

After multiple studies, the overwhelming conclusion is that it doesn’t matter how dry your cornbread is, whether it’s just barely stale or as crisp as an eggshell. The texture and taste of the filling are unchanged.

It’s a touchy subject to advise you not to dry your cornbread. However, those in a rush or who are sluggish in the kitchen might take heart: the drying process may not be as important as your grandmother imagined.

Final Thoughts

Most stuffing gurus believe that drying your cornbread before preparing stuffing is an important step in attaining the finest taste and texture. Allow your fresh cornbread to dry out or get stale at room temperature for a few of days if you’re very organized.

Otherwise, cornbread will dry out in the oven in only 15 minutes. Buy expired bread from your local store’s clearance rack for a quick fix. You, your family, and your friends will love the excellent result of your work and effort regardless of how you dry your cornbread.


What is the best way to dry out cornbread for stuffing?

To dry cornbread for dressing, cut it into bite-size chunks and place it in a single layer on a baking pan. Then, either let them dry for 1-2 days (if you were planning ahead) or bake them for 30-45 minutes at 250 degrees F.

How do you dry cornbread quickly?

If you don’t have time, toasting cornmeal in the oven may also provide the desired texture.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
Make squares out of the cornbread.
Toast for 30-45 minutes, tossing halfway through, until dry.
Allow the cornbread to dry fully before incorporating it into your dressing mixture.

Do you need to dry out cornbread for stuffing?

While practically any bread — cornbread, bagels, or even frozen waffles — may be used to create stuffing, it must be dried or “staled” first. Any efforts to prepare stuffing with soft, newly baked bread will end in a mushy bread soup. Follow this advice: The greatest stuffing is made with stale, dried-out bread.

How do you dry bread for stuffing overnight?

Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow them to dry at room temperature for a few days. If you don’t have time, you may use the oven to speed up the drying process.

How long does it take to dry bread out for stuffing?

It will take 45-60 minutes to make a hearty white bread. It takes 50-60 minutes to make a more substantial corn bread. You may dry your bread for up to two days ahead of time! When the bread cubes have cooled, put them in a zipper-lock bag on your counter.

Can you leave cornbread out overnight for dressing?

Allow ample time since the cornbread has to hang out overnight to firm somewhat before making the dressing.

What makes cornbread dry?

When you over-mix your cornmeal batter, it releases extra glutens, which might break down the batter’s structure. As a consequence, you’ll get a loose, crumbly cornbread that might be dry and brittle.

Is cornbread better with milk or water?

Is it possible to make cornbread without using milk? You can, but the finished cornbread will be drier and crumblier since there will be no extra fat. If you must make this substitution, use around a tablespoon of vegan butter or coconut oil for every cup of water.

Why is my cornbread dressing still wet in the middle?

This indicates that there are too many liquid components and little dry bread. Try adding extra dry cornbread to the mix and baking the dressing for a few minutes longer.

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