This Skillet Dressing Recipe with Pear, Sage, and Bacon is just right for a smaller crowd—and it's bursting with fresh flavor!
Why is it that we only have dressing at Thanksgiving? Or is that just me? Are the rest of you eating fabulous Southern Cornbread Dressing all year long and I just don't know about it?
It's not that dressing is difficult to make—it's really easy—but for some reason, it seems to be reserved for special, holiday occasions. Maybe because one recipe for Cornbread Dressing makes A LOT of dressing.
I wanted to create a smaller version of cornbread dressing in a cast iron skillet, so I started with my Southern Cornbread Dressing and cut the quantities in half. But I also wanted to create a unique skillet dressing recipe with different flavoring so that the dressing would complement more than just traditional turkey breast, like grilled steak or pork chops, or maybe just a roasted chicken.
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I tossed in some crispy bacon, added fresh sage, and then cut up a juicy, red pear—the result is wonderful, a moist dressing with subtle sweetness from the pear and salty goodness from the bacon. We love this skillet dressing recipe!
Helpful Tools and Ingredients
- cast iron skillet - you need a good cast iron skillet for much more than this skillet dressing recipe! I use my skillet for SO MANY things. It's ovenproof and you can't beat the heat retention. I have always used a Lodge skillet and that's what I recommend. You can spend more money if you want to, but there's no reason to.
- stainless steel bacon grease container - my Granny always kept one of these on the counter. I keep my bacon grease in the fridge but I always have some on hand for flavoring!
- bacon grease (optional)
- fresh sage
- fresh thyme
- fresh parsley
- rubbed sage
- chicken stock
- salt and pepper
How to Make Cornbread Dressing in a Skillet
For this skillet dressing recipe, I used half a pan of cornbread. You could just make a smaller batch of cornbread, but I like to have the extra cornbread for soup.
Step 1. Make cornbread and then crumble half the of it into a large bowl, about 3 ½ cups. Set aside.
Cook's Tip: Cornbread can be made up to 3 days ahead.
Step 2. Chop bacon into 1-inch pieces, place in large cast iron skillet and fry until crispy. Remove bacon and reserve two tablespoons of the drippings.
Cook's Tip: If you don't want to use bacon drippings then just use extra butter.
Step 3. Preheat oven to 375. Add butter to the reserved bacon grease and place the skillet in the oven. Allow the butter to melt and get hot but not to the point of smoking.
Step 4. Mix crumbled cornbread and the other dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add two cups chicken stock and stir gently until mixed well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 5. Remove skillet from the oven and pour most of the butter/bacon drippings into the cornbread mixture. Stir to mix well. Pour the cornbread mixture into the hot skillet and bake until well browned, about 45 minutes.
What to Serve with Skillet Cornbread Dressing
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- 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp Reserve bacon grease
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons bacon grease (optional)
- 3 ½ cups crumbled cornbread
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 pear, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Bake cornbread and crumble half into a larger bowl (about 3 ½ cups crumbled). This step can be done up to 3 days ahead.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Chop bacon into 1-inch pieces, place in large cast iron skillet and fry until crispy. Remove bacon and reserve two tablespoons drippings.
- Add butter to bacon grease and place skillet in oven. Allow the butter to melt and get hot but not smoking.
- Mix cornbread and the other dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add two cups chicken stock and stir gently until mixed well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove skillet from oven and pour most of the butter/bacon drippings into the cornbread mixture. Stir to mix well. Pour the cornbread mixture into the hot skillet and bake until well browned, about 45 minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 629Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 1878mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 15g
Nutrition counts are provided as estimates only. Southern Food and Fun makes no guarantee as to the accuracy of these nutritional values as ingredients and serving sizes may vary from person to person.
Are you looking for a gluten-free recipe? Try this Sausage and Wild Mushroom Skillet Stuffing from Columbia Gorge.
Update Notes: This post for Skillet Dressing Recipe was originally published November 10, 2016, and on October 14, 2019, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.