Cornbread Stuffing Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder

by | Nov 1, 2019

“We would have roast goose for Thanksgiving dinner! ‘Roast goose and dressing seasoned with sage,’ said sister Mary.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder in These Happy Golden Years

As we get ready for the holiday season, it’s time to start thinking about our holiday dinner menu. Will you serve a Christmas ham, wild turkey or a juicy game hen? Regardless of the meat, a good stuffing recipe is needed to accompany this feast. In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s These Happy Golden Years, (and mentioned in other books), cornbread stuffing plays a big role at dinner, especially since it’s topped with bacon.

This recipe is part of Barbara Walker’s cookbook, The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories. We adapted the original recipe by adding a few more ingredients to it for color and flavor, such as red and green peppers and onion. The recipe also calls for adding seasoning and sage to the cornbread mixture after it’s baked. We decided to sprinkle the sage on top of the cornbread mixture before baking it.

Our adaptation of Laura Ingalls’ Cornbread Stuffing would pair well with our Christmas Country Ham.

Cornbread Stuffing Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder


  • 6 cups of cornmeal, stone ground
  • 3 tsp of salt
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 pound bacon, cut into several pieces
  • Dried Sage
  • Salt + Pepper
  • 1/2 cup of chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup of chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup of green onion


Cornbread Stuffing Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Crisp the bacon in a skillet over medium high heat. Break it into several pieces and save the drippings to grease your baking pan.

3. Chop green onions, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, celery, and onions.
4. Mix the cornmeal, along with 3 teaspoons of salt into a bowl. Slowly pour in 2 cups of boiling water and stir. (Note: add the water slowly until you have a stiff dough).

Cornbread Stuffing Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder
5. Use the bacon drippings to grease the baking pan or skillet.
6. Mix chopped veggies into the cornbread dough mixture. Spread the cornbread dough mixture into the baking pan or cast-iron skillet, pressing it evenly from edge to edge.

Cornbread Stuffing Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder
7. Bake cornbread until it browns around the edges for 20-30 minutes.
8. Cool for 10 minutes before removing the cornbread from the pan.

Cornbread Stuffing Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder
9. When the cornbread is cool, you can break it up into fine pieces into a mixing bowl.
10. Stir in the pieces of bacon, sage, and season with salt and pepper to taste. (Note: in our version of this recipe, we sprinkled the sage on top of the cornbread stuffing before baking it in the oven.)

Cornbread Stuffing Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder
11. I would also add to season it to taste. Back in Laura’s days, seasonings could have been rare and used as needed. For my taste buds, I added enough sage, pepper, and salt to my liking, and by adding the onion and peppers gave the flavor more to savor.

This recipe is relatively simple to try, so I would encourage you to try it as Laura and her family would have made it, then go back and try it again, adding vegetables and additional seasonings for texture and flavor.

Cornbread Stuffing Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Leave me a comment below and let me know how it turns out, and be sure to subscribe to the newsletter for more Little House on the Prairie-inspired recipes!

Tatanisha plays a Super-Fun Mom to three active & handsome boys. A Foodie at heart and Wife to an awesome Chef.
When she's not blogging about ways to save money or about autism, she loves to travel and try new food. You can find her creating new tablescapes over at A Worthey Read, as well as saving you money on A Mitten Full of Savings.


  1. Josie

    Finally! A recipe that does not call for flour or expensive gluten-free flours. Nice.

  2. Beverly Warsop

    Can I add apples, raisins, and mushrooms?

  3. Perrin Larton

    I think I’ll make it with boiling chicken broth rather than water. Seems like there would be more flavor. No one in the family likes cooked bell peppers, so I’ll be leaving those out as well. Onion, celery, and green onions will make the cut though! I’m going to try this over the weekend to see how well it’s received by a small sampling of the family. I’ll let you know!

  4. Virginia

    I’m a vegetarian. Can I omit the bacon and it still taste good? Thanks!

    • Jen Shinn

      Yes! It will still have lots of favor.

  5. Ina Gribbins

    Has anyone made this and what did you think of it. I’m a little skeptical about using water and no milk in cornbread dressing. Would love to read a review from someone who has made it. Thank you in advance!

  6. Laura Strnad

    Looks good but you do not say how many servings it is.

    • Tatanisha

      Hi Laura, this would feed a family of 4-6 people. If you are planning on making this, and expecting a large crowd , I would make a few batches of it, or double up the ingredients.

  7. Jan

    This is the first stuffing recipe that I’ve been excited about in a long time. Test recipe will be November 1. I’ll let you know how it goes over with the family.

    • Tatanisha Worthey

      Awesome to hear Jan! Keep me posted on how it turns out for you and your family! Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Dawn

    You didn’t say when to add the peppers and onions.

    • Liesel

      Step #6



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