fall favorites, holiday meals, side dishes

Spicy Tamale-Cornbread Dressing

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My mother’s cornbread dressing is the highlight of all holiday meals for me. It has always been my  favorite holiday dish she makes… besides her giblet gravy which, of course, gets slathered all over my plate every year!

I’m going to publish a general disclaimer here (before she reads this post and flips out) even without considering my special add-ins, this recipe is not my mom’s cornbread dressing recipe exactly. She “eyeballs” most things and she uses a lot more dried sage (Southern tradition to use lots of sage in the dressing!) and she uses a combination of turkey drippings from the roasting pan and canned broth to moisten the dressing.

This is my spin on my mom’s cornbread dressing and I’ve given it some spicy little twists. I like to throw in some chopped, fresh jalapeno, bell pepper and some sliced, store-bought tamales for an extra-special flavor kick. The smoky spices from the tamales infuse through the cornbread dressing as it cooks, and the jalapenos add their special flavor too. Evan and I think it’s really good stuff.

Just to be fair… my mom probably won’t like this twist on cornbread dressing for herself. In fact, she really hates spicy stuff so, I’m alone and completely unendorsed by the boss lady herself in this little recipe venture! However, I’ll bet she’ll try a bite anyway, because she loves to try new things. (…as long as they’re not spicy!)

I do know that she’ll love that I continue to try new dishes and work to create new traditions so that holidays special are for my little crew.

I am ever so thankful for my family, friends and loyal readers who come visit me here at this blog, not just at this time of the year, but always! You all help to keep me inspired and I hope to do the same for you by posting fun recipes.

From my family to yours, sincerest wishes for Happy Thanksgiving!! xoxo – Marcelle


Spicy Tamale-Cornbread Dressing                    printable recipe
Servings: 8                            Prep Time: 40 minutes                 Cook Time: 60 minutes


  • 2 packages (6 oz each) yellow corn bread mix, prepared by package direction (use a 9 x 13 inch baking dish to bake them together and set the baking dish aside to re-use it)
  • 1large stalk celery, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeno(s), seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 3 large eggs, hard-boiled, cooled, shelled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5-6 store-bought tamales, steamed according to package directions, cooled and sliced into 1/2 – 1/3 inch pieces (I always use beef, but pork, chicken or cheese varieties will work fine)
  • 4 cups (32 oz container) of chicken broth (I usually warm mine slightly in a pot on the stove top, before I use it to soak the dressing… you don’t have to this… but that’s what I do.)


1.  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Crumble the cornbread into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the chopped vegetables, spices and hard-boiled eggs.  Fold in the sliced tamales.

2.  Lightly coat the same 9 x 13 baking dish you used to bake the cornbread with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer the dressing mixture to the baking dish and spread it evenly to the pan with a spatula.

3. Using a ladle, to pour the chicken broth, one ladle-ful at a time, evenly over the dressing.(It will be soaked and that is how you want it to be!)

4. Place dressing into the oven and allow it to bake for 45 – 60 minutes or until the top and sides of dressing are lightly browned and appear done.

5. Allow the dish to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Be sure to follow me by email so you’ll never miss a post! xoxo -M!
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  1. Hi Greg! She was okay with this after all LOL Thank you 🙂

  2. It really is the highlight for me, Susan! Thank you and I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

  3. LOVE cornbread dressing. Stuffing. Whatever. 🙂 In fact we made some this year — first time in ages. We'll be making it again, soon. Although probably I should make this next — it looks awesome. Thanks!

  4. I'm sure your mother approves. We sure do. GREG

  5. It's funny how the dressing or stuffing is always the highlight of the Thanksgiving meal 🙂 And, there are so many delicious variations! Hope you had a wonderful holiday, Marcelle!

  6. what a neat idea! hand-me-down recipes are good, but they're the best when we put our own spins on them. 🙂

  7. Hi Liz! thank you!! Hope your Thanksgiving was a great one too! :0)

  8. I've never had a cornbread dressing, but your version of your mom's recipe looks terrific! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  9. Hi David, thank you! Happy Thanksgiving to you all too!! 🙂

  10. What a creative stuffing – using tamales is brilliant! And they are so readily available now sold by families in the grocery store parking lot. I have to try this! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Marcelle!

  11. Thank you, Cheri! Happy Thanksgiving to you too!!

  12. Nice to meet you too, Tandy! Thank you 🙂

  13. Love your spicy twist on a holiday classic Marcelle, saw this first on Instagram and have been thinking about it ever since;) Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday!

  14. I am with your mom in that I don't like things too spicy. But I can always leave the fresh jalapeno on the side for my hubby to add 🙂 Nice to meeet you Marcelle 🙂

  15. So comforting and yummy! I have never had anything like this…wish I could taste some of yours!

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