Side Dishes

Chestnut-Apricot Cornbread Dressing

A Thanksgiving classic, cornbread dressing made with homemade cornbread, fresh herbs, roasted chestnuts and dried apricots is an easy dish to make ahead and reheat in the oven.

By Yankee Magazine

Oct 22 2018


Chestnut-Apricot Cornbread Dressing

Photo Credit : Krissy O'Shea

A Thanksgiving classic, cornbread dressing is an easy dish to make ahead and reheat in the oven. This frees up oven space on the actual day and gives you more time to enjoy your guests. For best results, bake the cornbread the day before you prepare the dressing.

You’ll find pre-roasted chestnuts in vacuum packs or jars in most grocery stores during the holidays. To roast your own, cut an X through the flat bottom of each nut, then toss with salt, pepper, and13cup oil. Roast on a baking sheet at 425° until tender, about 25 to 35 minutes. Cool and peel.


8 servings

For the Cornbread


Unsalted butter, for the pan
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg
4 tablespoons salted butter, melted


First, make the cornbread: Heat the oven to 425° and generously butter an 8-by-8-by-2-inch pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the milk and egg. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir to moisten. Add the melted butter and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the pan and bake until a cake tester comes out very clean, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. For best results, let stand, uncovered, for one day before making the dressing.

For the Dressing


1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1 bay leaf, fresh if possible
1 loaf (about 3/4 pound) cornbread, torn into bite-sized pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
3/4 cup roasted chestnuts, quartered
Butter for the pan
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup dry white wine
1 large egg


Next, make the dressing: Pour the boiling water over the chopped dried apricots and the bay leaf in a small bowl. Let stand 30 minutes, then remove the apricots and bay leaf with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325° and set a rack to the middle position. Arrange the cornbread pieces in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Set a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion, celery, rosemary, and salt and cook, stirring, until vegetables are translucent, about eight minutes. Add the chestnuts and apricots and cook, stirring constantly, for about two minutes.

Increase heat to 350°. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with butter and set aside. In a large bowl, toss the onion and celery mixture with the cornbread, sage, and parsley. In a medium bowl, whisk together the reserved apricot water, white wine, and egg; pour over the cornbread mixture and toss until cornbread is moistened evenly.

Spread the dressing mixture in an even layer in the prepared baking pan and place the bay leaf in the center. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes, then remove foil and cook 15 minutes more. Serve immediately. If making ahead, let cool, then cover and refrigerate. To reheat, bake, covered, at 350° until heated through.