Complete your Thanksgiving spread with our favorite cornbread dressing. To make it truly perfect, we opted to make the cornbread from scratch using stone-ground cornmeal, buttermilk and just the right amount of sugar. The result is a perfect base that's buttery and moist. Classic holiday flavors like onion and celery, plus fresh sage, thyme and parsley hit all the right notes.
For the cornbread: preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish generously with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl until combined.
Put the butter in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup or a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool slightly, then whisk in the buttermilk, whole milk and eggs until smooth.
Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just combined with no lumps remaining. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish. Bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (The cornbread can be made one day in advance. After cooling completely, wrap the pan tightly with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.)
Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
Once the cornbread is completely cool, run a small offset spatula around the edges of the pan, then invert it onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch cubes. Transfer to 2 rimmed baking sheets and spread into an even layer. Bake, rotating the trays halfway through, until the cornbread cubes are crisp at the edges and almost completely dried out, about 40 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. (This step can be done up to 24 hours in advance. Store the cooled cornbread cubes in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag until ready to use.)
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish generously with butter.
For the dressing: melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, sage, thyme and poultry seasoning and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add the cornbread cubes, chicken broth and eggs to the bowl and toss gently until the vegetables are evenly dispersed and the bread is very moist (do not overwork or the cornbread will fall apart). Transfer to the prepared baking dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake until warmed through, about 30 minutes. Uncover, then return to the oven and bake until lightly browned and crisp at the edges, about 20 minutes more. Let sit for 10 minutes, then top with chopped parsley and serve.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)