A Southern Favorite: Oyster Dressing

Granny’s oyster dressing! My Thanksgiving memories would not be the same without it. She did not always make her dressing with oysters, true, but on occasion she would surprise my family with this briny addition to the dish.

Seriously, I don’t think any dressing on earth compared to my Granny’s. I love the fact that during her later years, she would come to my home for Thanksgiving and watch me cook the dressing. She would taste it as I prepared it and correct my seasonings and make little changes here and there. This was a tremendous help. Not just everyone could get away with that, but throughout her life she let me get away with many, many things. So about cooking, I always listened, and I am certainly thankful that I did. 

To this day, I can hear her telling me how to add a piece of white bread to the dressing give it the right consistency or to add more chicken broth. Isn’t it amazing what a difference one little change to a recipe makes?

Oyster Dressing
Oyster Dressing

What Is the Difference Between Dressing and Stuffing?

In the South, dressing is a must for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Many people say that dressing and stuffing are the same thing, but not to me.

Dressing seems a bit thicker than stuffing (perfect with giblet gravy) and it does not have the “crunch” that stuffing usually seems to have. Stuffing also tends to taste sweeter than dressing, in my experience.

In fact, there are as many variations to dressings as there are to Bolognese in Italy. But the base of this dressing, whether you use oysters or not, remains my family’s favorite.

Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving Dinner

When and How to Serve Oyster Dressing

Not only is this dish a favorite for the holidays, but for Sunday dinner special occasions as well. Sometimes I like to keep leftover turkey in a freezer zip-top bag and mix it into the dressing mixture in place of the oysters. The turkey gives it a very nice texture and flavor.  

I love serving oyster dressing with coleslaw with mustard and apples and fried wild turkey.

Oyster Dressing

Oyster Dressing

Not only is this dressing recipe a family favorite for the holidays, but it's great for Sunday dinners as well.
5 from 2 votes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American


  • 6 cups cornbread crumbled
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 3 cups oysters shucked and roughly chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 pieces white bread cubed
  • 1 Tablespoon poultry or Creole seasoning
  • 1 can mushroom soup
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray or grease a 9 X 11 casserole.
  • Prepare cornbread and crumble in a large bowl.
  • Melt butter in a skillet and sauté onions, celery. and oysters until vegetables are translucent and oysters are cooked through, about 8 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk eggs.
  • Add eggs, onions, celery, oysters, broth, white bread, poultry or Creole seasoning, mushroom soup, salt and pepper to the cornbread. Mix thoroughly and spoon into prepared casserole. Place in pre-heated oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden.


Courtesy of Game and Garden.
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  1. I want to try this, never made it before, but don’t want to mess up a main side dish on turkey day.

    1. Stacy Harris says:

      Mona, I think you will really like the dressing, but if you are afraid of the oysters, you can leave them out and just have a fantastic dressing to go with your turkey. I make with oysters and sometimes just alone. Try it this weekend and see how you like it. Let me know and God Bless!

      1. I’ve been making southern dressing (without the oysters) for at least 60 years and never heard of a recipe that didn’t call for sage. Are you omitting sage because of the oysters or you just don’t ever add it to your dressing? Just interested.

  2. 6 cups of cornbread: Would this be sweet cornbread or “regular” cornbread? Or does it make a difference? 🙂

    1. Stacy Harris says:

      It does make a difference Alicia, but no matter what you will get a great dressing. I use Martha White packages (the yellow, not sweet, cornbread). I have done the recipe with outer cornbread recipes and it works well too. The white bread makes this dish great. Don’t leave it out. I hope you love the recipe. Let me know.

    1. Stacy Harris says:

      Thanks for your comment! I hope you enjoy the recipe.

  3. I made this for my oyster loving Hubby and he loved it! Thank you so much for sharing your family recipe!

    1. Carla, I am so happy that you made it for your husband! That is what I am here for and you have no idea how I love hearing that you are using the recipes!! Awesome!!

  4. Melody C. says:

    My grandmother made oyster dressing, but used regular seasoned bread cubes rather than cornbread. It was my absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, no one else in my family is a big fan, so I don’t make it anymore. I sure do miss it.

    1. my great great mother kept the stale plain bread we had left over or buy plain bread and leave it open to get hard before she made the stuffing

    2. I normally don’t eat bread but at Thanksgiving and Christmas I make a small pan of oyster dressing along with regular. I normally wind up eating it myself but over a few days so don’t feel guilty. I love oysters, they are expensive and this is my treat to look forward to.

  5. How many packages of cornbread do I need for all the cubes?

    1. I use my homemade cornbread recipe. The packets are fine to use for the cornbread and I would guess to say it would take around 3 or 4 packets.

  6. Steven Bowser says:

    How do u cook the Oysters

    1. They cook in the dressing once you put it on the oven. Hope you’ll give it a try.

      1. Is it necessary to sauté the oysters since you will be baking the stuffing anyway?

        1. No, since they will bake, you can just put them in the dressing. I believe that will work just fine.

    2. The oysters cook in the dressing so you don’t have to cook them beforehand.

  7. Donna Oliphint says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe! My aunt made oyster dressing years ago, and I absolutely loved it. She doesn’t know what recipe she used, but this looks like it.

  8. Stephen Deaton says:

    do you use regular sandwhich white bread or somthinl like a french bread

    1. Regular white sandwich bread. You could use a French loaf though if you have it.

  9. Can this be prepared ahead of time, cooled in the refrigerator and then re-heated on Thanksgkving?

    1. Yes, it can!! It will be fantastic. The oysters will be cooked and the dressing will be excellent on reheating.

  10. Bahareh Williams says:

    Is it a can of cream of mushroom soup? I have never made oyster dressing but trying to make it for my husband and came across this recipe

    1. It is can of mushroom. I think you will love this!!

    2. my great great mother kept the stale plain bread we had left over or buy plain bread and leave it open to get hard before she made the stuffing

      1. That makes sense!! I sure know you must have loved it!

  11. Elizabeth Chrisman says:

    Is it Cream of mushroom or just mushroom?

  12. Anne Medlin says:

    We always have oyster dressing for the holidays. If someone new comes to eat, they never know it has oysters because I put them in a blender or food processor then add them in. You get just a slight flavor but not a chunk of oyster.

    1. You know, that would really be good. That’s a great idea. I’m going to try that!! Thanks!

  13. Helen Durgin says:

    This oyster dressing recipe is now our new favorite! It is truly delicious whether you’re serving it for Thanksgiving, dinner, or as a side dish, to complement a great dinner!

  14. Helen Durgin says:

    5 stars
    Fabulous recipe! Delicious! Recipe is easy to follow

    1. I’m so happy you like it!! That means so much to me. And thanks for commenting. I love knowing who’s reading and making the recipes!

  15. 5 stars
    I have a very picky sister in law who calls this the best thing she’s ever eaten. And I love it. I tried many recipes before this one, and this is the absolute best!

    1. Wow!! Thank you Vicki! This is so good to hear. I do love this recipe. It has been in my family for many years! Thanks for giving it a try and letting me k own here you (and she) like it!

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