This seafood cornbread dressing is just like my Black grandma used to make made even more indulgent with lobster, shrimp, and crab as an ode to the Third Coast's southern, creole, and cajun cuisines. Soul food seafood dressing is the perfect side dish for special occasions because it's made with lots of love and quality ingredients.
- What's the Difference Between Dressing and Stuffing?
- What You'll Need for this Recipe
- Substitutions & Variations
- How to Make Old Fashioned Cornbread Dressing with Seafood
- Seafood Dressing How-to Video
- What to Serve with Dressing
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Favorite Side Dish Recipes
- Holiday Dinner E-Book
- Seafood Cornbread Dressing
What's the Difference Between Dressing and Stuffing?
Authentic cornbread dressing from The South differs from Thanksgiving stuffing in ingredients, preparation, and how it's served. Dressing is baked and served as a standalone side dish as opposed to stuffing which is sometimes served in the bird--whether that be turkey, chicken, or something else.
Stuffing can either be cooked on the stove top or baked in your turkey as it roasts but dressing is cooked on the stove top and then baked. And dressing uses crumbled cornbread while stuffing primarily calls for cubes of dry wheat or white bread. Both are kind of like a savory bread pudding in my opinion.
Also my opinion: dressing is superior to stuffing. Just saying. And if you enjoy this seafood recipe, you'll love my Okro Soup made with shrimp and crayfish!
What You'll Need for this Recipe
Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix - I make my cornbread dressing with Jiffy because it's simply easier but it also tastes great and I'm standing on that! Jiffy adds a touch of sweetness and saves a bit of time in the kitchen, which I can always use when cooking holiday dinner.
Spices and Dried Herbs like bay leaf and parsley get cooked in butter for deeper flavor. Don't skip this step for the best tasting cornbread seafood dressing!
Lobster, Lump Crab, and Shrimp - take this from typical southern cornbread dressing to proper Third Coast cuisine. Shelled crawfish meat is also a great addition here.
Holy Trinity which is bell pepper, onion, and celery is key to Third Coast cornbread dressing. Add garlic and you're in business.
Hot Sauce is my secret ingredient for the best Soul Food dressing. Start with just a couple drops, if you're unsure, then adjust to taste.
Check out the recipe card below for full ingredients list, measurements, nutrition facts, and step-by-step instructions!
Substitutions & Variations
Lobster Meat - I use lobster tail in the recipe but feel free to use leg, knuckle, and claw meat, too.
Seafood Stock adds richness that takes homemade Thanksgiving dressing over the top to make it even more indulgent for the holidays. Consider trying it in place of vegetable stock.
Cornbread - If you prefer to use homemade cornbread, you're more than welcome. You can also use another brand of cornbread mix.
***And just to clarify, raisins do not belong in dressing. That seems to be a running joke these days but just don't do it, ok?
How to Make Old Fashioned Cornbread Dressing with Seafood
Step One: Bake the cornbread and allow it to cool then crumble it into pieces.
Step Two: Meanwhile, chop the celery, bell pepper, onion, and garlic. If needed, peel and devein the shrimp and de-shell the lobster meat.
Pro Tip: Bake the cornbread in an oblong roasting pan then use the same pan to bake the dressing in for easier cleanup!
Step Three: Cook down the spices, herbs, and prepped vegetables.
Step Four: Add vegetable stock and hot sauce.
Pro Tip: I recommend using a good deep stock pot to prevent splatter and easily accommodate all the ingredients for this big batch dressing. If you use too small of a pot, you won't be able to mix all the ingredients well.
Step Five: Add eggs, crumbled cornbread, and evaporated milk then stir well to combine.
Step Six: Stir in seafood at the last minute then spread mixture into a pan and bake until golden brown.
Seafood Dressing How-to Video
What to Serve with Dressing
Cornbread dressing is a classic Thanksgiving side dish so it is typically alongside your main turkey or ham with other sides like baked mac & cheese and southern candied yams. Be sure to include some veggies like easy roasted carrots and my autumn kale salad. And don't forget bourbon sweet potato pie for dessert.
The holidays call for special recipes that the family looks forward to all year and we typically eat this dish for Christmas dinner, too. But you can enjoy my grandma's cornbread dressing recipe with shrimp, crabmeat, and lobster for any special occasion or year-round. Serve it at Friendsgiving, too!
Check out my top soulful holiday dishes all in one post!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. And I highly recommend making two pans because your friends and family will definitely ask for more and the chances of leftovers are slim to none.
You want to get a golden crust on the top of the dressing so don't cover it while baking unless the top starts to burn.
Dressing is done when the top is golden brown and firm to touch. The inside should be moist (but not soggy) and dense. To test doneness, gently press the top of the dressing to make sure it's firm then use a fork or knife to cut through to the bottom of the pan and separate a small piece. There should be no liquid in the pan.
Store homemade cornbread seafood dressing in an airtight container refrigerated for up to four days.
Yes. When freezing cornbread dressing, cool the dressing to room temperature then wrap in plastic wrap then again in aluminum foil. Freeze for up to one month. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight before reheating and serving.
You can reheat cornbread dressing by the pan or in individual servings. To reheat a whole pan of dressing, allow it to come to room temperature then place it in the oven at 350 degrees, uncovered, with a splash of broth, stock, or milk over top until heated through for about 30 minutes. This will ensure that the dressing doesn't dry out AND does not come out soggy. Reheat individual portions in the microwave with a small spoonful of broth or milk over top for about two minutes on high. Temperatures and heat times will vary by appliances, altitude, etc.
More Favorite Side Dish Recipes
I hope you and your family will enjoy my family's southern seafood dressing soon and very soon. And sharing is caring so make sure you pin this Thanksgiving recipe for later and follow me over on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
Holiday Dinner E-Book
Seafood Cornbread Dressing
- 1 oblong baking dish
- 1 cutting board
- 1 knife
- 1 stock pot or deep saucepan
- 1 kitchen spoon
For the Cornbread
- 34 ounces cornbread mix I use 4 boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix
- 11 eggs divided
- 1 ⅓ cup milk
For the Dressing
- 1 cup butter
- 2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup dried parsley
- 1 dried bay leaf
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 3 stalks celery
- ½ onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 green bell pepper
- 2 ½ cups vegetable broth or seafood stock
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce or to taste
- 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 pound raw shrimp peeled and deveined with tails removed
- 5-6 ounces lump crabmeat
- 6 ounces lobster meat chopped, roughly what would come from one lobster tail
- 1 lemon optional garnish
For the Cornbread
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix corn muffin mix, four eggs, and 1 ⅓ of milk until uniform and free of any large lumps. Transfer batter into a 13x9-inch pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool a bit for safe handling then crumble and set aside.
For the Dressing
- Reset oven heat to 350 degrees. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add cayenne, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, sea salt, and black pepper to pot. Cook until fragrant (about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, chop celery, onion, and bell pepper, and mince garlic.
- Add celery, onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pot. Cook until tender and translucent (about 8 minutes).
- Add veggie broth or seafood stock and hot sauce to pot and stir to incorporate. Meanwhile, beat remaining seven eggs and set aside.
- Bring mixture to a boil then remove from heat and stir in cornbread, evaporated milk and eggs until smooth and uniform.
- Add shrimp, crabmeat, and lobster meat to dressing and mix in thoroughly until well incorporated.
- Spread dressing into a 13x9-inch pan and bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes to an hour or until dressing is golden brown and firm to the touch.
- Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.