Prize-Winning Country Cornbread Dressing

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Country Cornbread Dressing

When Meigs County 4-H member Justin Crittenden entered his Country Cornbread Dressing in the 2008 National Cornbread Festival’s 4-H cook-off in South Pittsburg,Tennessee, he didn’t think he would actually win. He was doing it mostly for the experience.

“I thought some of the other people would cook better than me – there were about 100 others who entered, and a bunch were from out of state,” says Crittenden, who turns 13 in September.
But win he did, much to his surprise.

“I about passed out when I heard I won,” he recalls. “The prize was $400, so I bought a [Nintendo] Wii and a new dirt bike.”

Crittenden’s mother, Penny, taught him how to make the prize-winning dressing when he was only 5 years old. Since then, he’s been making it for family gatherings at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. Their family typically eats it with turkey or chicken.

“It’s pretty easy. I like the taste of it when it’s all put together,” he says. “It’s not dry like some dressings. It’s always soft and moist.”

The recipe has been passed down for generations in Crittenden’s family. “Part of the recipe we keep secret, just between me, my mom and my granny,” he says proudly.

Crittenden enjoys cooking a variety of foods, including a mean eggs and bacon. But he doesn’t aspire to be a cook someday – he plans to be an archeologist.

“I’m interested in ancient history of places like Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia,” he says.

Crittenden has been active in Meigs County 4-H for the past three years and will enter the eighth grade this fall.

Justin Crittenden’s Country Cornbread Dressing Recipe


  1. joan courter

    August 25, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    “Pass the Dressing”–Was the cornbread mixture supposed to be self-rising cornmeal? There was no mention of baking soda or powder. Unlike my mother and grandmother, I use stone ground, all natural cornmeal.

    • Jessy Yancey

      August 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      Hi Joan,

      Thanks for asking. We just checked with Mrs. Crittenden, and the recipe DOES call for self-rising cornmeal. We’ve updated the recipe at the link above (which goes to our sister site, Farm Flavor).

      Jessy Yancey
      editor, Tennessee Home & Farm

  2. Margo Ownby

    December 30, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    I don’t see the recipe, can’t find it attached to any links either. I have the book, I just wanted to copy and paste it into my recipes without having to type it all out.

  3. Michelle Demarchi

    November 26, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    so I’m just curious which would be better half and half or evaporated milk??

    • Jessy Yancey

      December 2, 2013 at 8:23 am

      Hi Michelle,

      My thought is that half-and-half would result in a slightly creamier version, but evaporated milk should work just fine, since they can be used interchangeably in this recipe. Sorry for the delay in response, and we hope your recipe turned out well!

      Jessy Yancey
      Tennessee Home & Farm

  4. Treva

    March 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    This is great! My son likes to cook and learn recipes too.

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