Seafood Cornbread Dressing is a tasty twist on the classic southern side dish. Filled with shrimp, lump crab, fresh herbs, and a homemade seafood stock; traditional cornbread dressing transforms into a rich decadent main. Serve with gravy or without and watch this recipe become a staple for all of your holiday meals!
This recipe was originally seen on GRANDBABY CAKES!
Every holiday, stuffing and dressing has a designated place at the dinner table. I especially love to make seafood cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving. It's like peanut butter and jelly; can't have the turkey without stuffing or dressing! The trend in hybrid recipes is here to stay so have fun with this spin on an old-school favorite!
What is the difference between stuffing and cornbread dressing?
Although most people use the two terms interchangeably depending on the region they're from, stuffing and dressing are actually different. Stuffing is traditionally made to fill another food (traditionally poultry). Whereas dressing is prepared as a side to complement the main course.
As a true southerner who prefers dressing, the base of this recipe stays close to traditional.
I consulted with the biggest culinary expert in my family, my Uncle Reggie, to build the layers and flavors of this dish.
While there are definitely seafood cornbread dressing recipes made with Jiffy mix, I prefer to make my own. It's quick to make and tastes so much better!
- Cornmeal. This is not the same as Jiffy.
- Flour. Get self-rising flour so you can skip the baking powder.
- Sugar. White-Granulated
- Milk. Use your preferred kind.
- Butter. It should be salted and at room temperature.
- Egg. Use room temperature for easier mixing.
- Cooking Oil. This ensures your cornbread is moist with a nice crumble.
Seafood Cornbread Stuffing
- Cornbread. The foundation of this dish truly begins with cornbread! "Day Old" cornbread is key to making the best cornbread dressing.
- Shrimp. Medium-sized raw shrimp peeled and deveined.
- Crab Meat. Use snow crab or Dungeness.
- Garlic Paste. You can use minced garlic instead if necessary.
- Aromatics: I included onions and celery.
- Herbs. I used fresh mince tarragon and parsley.
- Green Onion. Fresh and minced.
- Mayonnaise. This adds moisture to the dressing and makes it easier to mix.
- Cream of Mushroom & Cream of Celery. Added for depth of flavor and creaminess.
- Seafood Stock. Veggie or Chicken Broth
- Seasoning. I used a mix of season all, black pepper, Old Bay, and smoked paprika.
- Herbed Seasoned Stuffing. It's a simple mix of white and wheat bread blended with herbs & spices.
- Celery. Roughly chopped.
- Onion. You can use shallots instead if necessary. Either way, they should be roughly chopped.
- Roasted Garlic Base Bouillon.
How to Cook Seafood Cornbread Dressing
Make the Cornbread
Cornbread, seafood stock and seafood cornbread dressing are the three separate parts to this recipe.
First, preheat the oven and place a cast iron skillet (or dish used to bake the cornbread), lightly oiled in the oven. This helps with assisting the cornbread to cook evenly. Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl then mix the egg separately and add to the dry mix. Whisk the batter until it's smooth in consistency.
After this, the oven should be close to temperature. At the same time, remove the baking dish and add softened butter allowing it to bubble and melt. Now that the butter has melted, slowly pour the butter one tablespoon at a time, into the batter. And last, give it one final mix, pour batter into the baking dish and bake.
Make the Seafood Stock
First, add the shrimp and crab shells to a medium sized stock pot and add celery, carrot, half of a roughly chopped onion (or shallot), garlic bouillon and enough water to fill just above the ingredients.
Then, bring the stock to a slow boil, reduce heat and simmer for up to thirty minutes.
Lastly, drain the rich liquid from the pot, and set aside until ready for use!
Prep the ingredients by small dicing the onion, celery, tarragon and parsley. Roughly chop the shrimp reserving 4-6 whole pieces for the topping. The crab should be removed from its shell and simmering in the stock pot, then set aside until further use.
Next, in a medium-sized pan on medium heat, saute the veggie mixture adding a ½ teaspoon of butter if needed. Season with salt, and pepper and add fresh herbs sauteeing an additional minute. Moreover, the veggies should become soft and translucent. Finally, set it aside and let it cool.
Prepare the Seafood Cornbread Dressing
Begin this step by breaking the cornbread down into small pieces in a large bowl. It's easiest to use your clean hands for this method. At this instant, add in vegetables and herbs and one cup of dried stuffing mix and stir lightly to combine.
Now add mayo, cream of mushroom, cream of celery and seasonings. Finally, pour in shrimp stock until batter becomes slightly mushy, pouring about ¼-1/2 cup at a time. To emphasize, adjust for flavor first before adding the crab and raw shrimp. Once the desired flavor has been reached, gently fold in the crab and shrimp topping the casserole dish with the whole shrimp that was set aside.
Sprinkle with paprika and bake for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees. The casserole is done with the shrimp have turned pink and the stock has evaporated into the dressing. The casserole should be soft and not hard but also slightly firm. If the dressing is a little loose after 30-40 minutes, allow it to cook longer, five minutes at a time. To clarify more, it will continue to cook once out of the oven so keep this in mind.
Remove the dressing from the oven and allow to cool at least 15-20 minutes before serving. Use any leftover herbs for garnish. The seafood cornbread dressing can be served with cranberry sauce, traditional giblet gravy or as is! Enjoy!
Additionally, if you have leftover breadcrumbs or a fresh loaf of a bread like an italian loaf, add a few extra crumbs (torn pieces) to the top of the casserole before baking. This helps to give the dish a completed look. This step is certainly not necessary but was added to the dish as seen in the photos.
Tips and Tricks
- Prepare the cornbread ahead of time. It should be completely cooled, covered, and left out on the counter in a dry space. We want this because a slightly stale cornbread will better absorb the seafood stock.
- Save the crab and shrimp shells for the seafood stock.
- The seafood stock provides a rich flavor so if you can spare five minutes of prep, make the stock!
- If not, feel free to substitute with vegetable or chicken stock.
- Use fresh crab! Splurge and by the good stuff, the holidays are here!
- If you can't locate fresh crab or prefer imitation, feel free to use what works best for you. I did test both options and it's still very tasty!
- Feel free to add more seafood: chunks of lobster and crawfish would be delicious additions!
- Oven time and temp will vary, gauge your dish as it bakes.
- Taste test each step of the recipe and add the raw shrimp last.
- For a creole or cajun seafood dressing, season with garlic, salt, black pepper, white pepper, oregano, and parsley.
How To Store Leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag in the fridge and consume within 3 days.
I HOPE YOU ENJOY THIS SEAFOOD CORNBREAD DRESSING RECIPE!
Seafood Cornbread Dressing
- 1 cup Cornmeal
- ½ cup Flour self rising
- 1 tablespoon Sugar White-Granulated
- 1 cup Milk
- ¼ cup Butter Salted at Room Temp
- 1 Egg Room Temp
- 1 teaspoon Cooking Oil
Cornbread Seafood Stuffing
- Cornbread about 4 cups
- 1 lb Medium Sized Raw Shrimp Peeled and Deveined
- 6-8 oz Crab Meat Snow Crab or Dungeness
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Paste Minced Garlic
- 1 cup Onion
- 1 cup Celery
- 1 tablespoon Tarragon Fresh and Minced
- 1 tablespoon Parsley Fresh and Minced
- 2 tablespoon Green Onion Fresh and Minced
- ¼ cup Mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Cream of Mushroom
- ¼ cup Cream of Celery
- 1 cup Seafood Stock Veggie or Chicken Broth
- 1.5 teaspoon Season All
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay
- 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 cup Herbed Seasoned Stuffing
- 1 cup Celery roughly chopped
- 1 cup Carrot
- ½ Onion (or shallot) roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon Roasted Garlic Base Bouillon
- ½-2 cups Water
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Coat the baking dish with 1 teaspoon of oil and place in the oven while it preheats.
- In a bowl, combine dry ingredients.
- Beat the egg separately and add to the dry mix.
- Add milk and whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Once the oven comes to temp, remove the baking dish, add the butter allowing it to bubble and melt.
- Once the butter is melted, slowly pour in the wet batter 1 tablespoon at a time (simultaneously whisking and pouring). Continue to temp the batter by adding small amounts of butter until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Reserve one tablespoon of butter in the baking dish.
- Pour batter into the baking dish and bake for 25 minutes until cornbread is cooked through to the center.
- Allow cornbread to cool while preparing the stuffing mixture.
Seafood Cornbread Dressing Recipe
- Mince onion, celery, tarragon and parsley. Set aside.
- Peel shrimp and deshell crab (or drain juice if using canned). Set aside.
- In a medium sauté pan on medium/high heat, sauté garlic, onion and celery in 1 teaspoon butter for 3-5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper and add fresh herbs sautéing an additional minute. Set aside and let cool.
- Once cornbread has cooled, begin breaking it apart into smaller pieces into a large mixing bowl. This will make about four cups of cornbread.
- Add in vegetables, herbs and one cup of dried stuffing mix and lightly stir.
- Add in mayo, cream of mushroom and celery and seasonings. Stir until combined.
- Slowly pour in the seafood stock ¼ cup at a time, stirring until batter becomes slightly mushy. (Batter should need the entire cup of stock)
- Taste batter for flavor and adjust seasonings to your liking.
- Fold in crab and shrimp carefully and place in the baking dish, spreading out evenly.
- Sprinkle with paprika on top and bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes uncovered.
- Remove from the oven and let stuffing rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.
- Place seafood stock ingredients in a large stock pot and fill with water just above ingredients.
- Bring ingredients to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for up to 30 minutes.
- Use a fine strainer to strain liquid from stock ingredients.