Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cornbread Salad

A delicious salad made using crumbled cornbread and a variety of vegetables, mixed with a mayonnaise and sour cream Ranch dressing and garnished with a little crumbled cornbread, bacon, tomatoes, green onion and parsley. A great addition to your next potluck or party!

Cornbread Salad

I confess. Cornbread salad is not something that many of us grew up knowing about here in South Mississippi, but ever since learning about it a couple years back from Tommie, a dear friend from Oklahoma, I have wanted to give it a try. While I do think it's more common over that way, Cornbread Salad seems to be making its way across the south as a whole these days. I admit, it does come off sounding an odd contrast of textures, but so many people who are familiar with it seem to love it, so hey, I'm game for anything!

I recommend a full batch of skillet cornbread set aside for this recipe, though I've used about 3/4 of a skillet very successfully after preparing cornbread for supper. I'll be honest with y'all. I really didn't know how I was gonna like this dish, and it took me a few bites to get past my own judgment. Once I did, this salad absolutely grew on me and every time I took another serving of it from the fridge, I loved it more and more.

The first time I made this, I decided to use a deep bowl and layered the salad, making a nice presentation if you're taking this to a party, potluck or a church supper.

Cornbread salad, layered in a clear bowl, makes a beautiful presentation. Simply toss before serving!

I started with Tommie's basics, and added my own touches, though in truth, this is a very versatile salad, both in the way that it is presented and the ingredients. You can use many different things in it to personalize it to your tastes. Pintos seem to be more common in Texas and Oklahoma when a bean is added, but for here in The Deep South, I like purple hull or black-eyed peas better. I love both Vidalia and purple onions, and I also found that I really liked the addition of sweet pickles and juice, or even chow chow, as well as a protein of some kind. My favorites are a Cajun fried turkey breast or ham from the deli.

I've also included some additional add-in suggestions and variations that both Tommie and the readers on our Facebook page shared with us, showing the true versatility of this salad. As shown here, presentation can easily be adapted too - in a shallow dish, layered in a glass bowl (don't forget to toss) or mixed up and garnished as above. Frankly, I'm a little undecided yet whether I prefer this salad layered, or simply mixed up and left to marinate that way because I've liked it every way I've tied it!

For the layered version, I top it with the dressing and let it sit in the fridge for several hours, then toss it just before serving. Even better is to layer this whole salad in a 9 x 13 inch clear baking dish instead of a deep bowl. The more shallow oblong pan allows for the flavors to meld together better without having to mix the salad up. Simply layer it as indicated, let it marinate in the refrigerator, and then, serve it as-is, without mixing. When I've mixed the salad, as it sat in the fridge a couple of days, it actually really developed its flavor and tasted better and better each time I had a serving out of it.

This is a perfect summertime salad at home, or for your next party, church supper, or potluck. If you've never heard of it before, I know it sounds different, but why not give it a try? The amounts given in the recipe are relative - use more or less to your own liking and adjust the dressing to the consistency that you like. Here's how to make it.

Recipe: Cornbread Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min | Total time: 24 hours| Yield: About 6 to 8 servings


For the Dressing:
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1 envelope of Ranch dressing mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • 2 teaspoons of sweet pickle juice, optional
For the Salad:
  • 2 (6 to 8 ounce) packages of cornbread mix or fullpan of homemade skillet cornbread
  • 2 cans pinto beans or black-eyed peas, rinsed and well drained
  • 2 cans of whole kernel corn, well drained
  • 1 cup of chopped Vidalia or red onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pickles, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeño
  • 1 cup of chopped turkey, chicken or ham, optional
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or other fresh herbs
  • 10 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Mix dressing ingredients; set aside. Prepare cornbread and let cool completely and once cooled, crumble and set aside a pinch for garnish, if desired.

Combine the crumbled cornbread with the remaining salad ingredients, reserving some for garnish. Add the dressing, toss, cover and refrigerate overnight, 24 hours is even better. Garnish with reserved crumbled cornbread, chopped tomato, parsley and chopped bacon.

Cook's Notes: Buttermilk may be substituted for the sour cream. Blend, then refrigerate until thickened. May also substitute plain mayonnaise or a small bottle of any commercial ranch dressing in place of the homemade dressing above. All amounts given in the recipe are relative - use more or less to your own liking, adjusting dressing to your liking. May also layer in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan, or if you prefer, this also makes a pretty presentation in a glass bowl. You'll need about a 4-quart bowl. Layer half of the ingredients in the bowl, then repeat. If layering in a deep bowl, toss before serving.

Optional Add-ins: Chopped or shredded romaine lettuce, chopped boiled egg, drained English peas, drained Mexicorn, sliced green onion, drained pimentos, chopped dill pickles, black olives, other drained beans (white, kidney, black) or southern peas (field, purple hull), sliced summer squash, chopped celery, chopped nuts.

Southwestern Variation: Use Mexican cornbread, or add a can of Mexicorn, green chilies and/or jalapeños to your regular cornbread batter. Add 2 teaspoons of chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin to the dressing, add black beans and use a Mexican blend of cheeses.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on May 22, 2011
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  1. This is one of our favorite salads. It is so good. Every time I fix it the family slicks it up. We like a little Slap Yo Mama seasoning in it to give it a bit of a kick.

  2. P.S. I put "Mama" in the cornbread not with the veggies.

  3. This sounds yummy.....will have to try next time the family gets together!!!

  4. Looks delicious. I'd never seen this before this Spring/Summer, and now I'm seeing it everywhere. Crazy!

  5. Oh my gosh so flavorful and colorful. It looks like the perfect addition to a great summer meal!

  6. Good Morning Mary,
    What a pretty salad! I'm a big fan of cornbread.

    Stop by my Blog Hop when you get a chance and share a recipe with us!

  7. We make this for family reunions and its a big hit! (I'm an Okie, lol) We use topping such as pinto or ranch style beans, jalapenos, black olives, etc..

  8. Made this Cornbread Salad quiet different that's for sure. It was served with bbq chicken and sausage with grilled zucchini and squash. What a refreshing change from the normal potato salad and baked beans!!!!

  9. Yeah it is Michelle - but it grew on me the more I ate of it. Sounds like a nice meal y'all had!

  10. I made this on 11/7/12, and was the first time I had ever had a cornbread salad. All I can say it wow. I followed the recipe to a "T", and it was nothing but perfection. I couldn't be happier with the initial turnout of the salad. Its in the fridge now getting all happy. This even I'm hoping it will even be better than now.

    1. Oh good Tim! It is an unusual salad isn't it & I think it's one of those dishes that when you taste it the first time, it's very unexpected. People generally either love it or don't care for it at all. I suspect it's a texture thing. I brought it to a potluck where half of the group knew exactly what it was, the other had never tried it, but thought it was good! I hope that you also enjoy it after it settles & thanks so much for taking the time to stop back by and let me know you enjoyed it!

  11. Your version is a bit different from my LA (lower Alabama) version. Layer of homemade cornbread, layer chopped vine ripe tomatoes, layer chopped Vidalias, layer crumbled crisp bacon, layer sharp Cheddar cheese, then mix half to half mayo and dill pickle juice. Don't forget salt and pepper over tomatoes. Goes over real well with grilled ribs, baked bean casserole, baked potato salad and a 7 layer salad.

    1. Yep, my recipe there from little old ladies. The dill and mayo dressing is what gives it a kick. Wonder if your baked tater salad is like mine? And my aunt made a baked bean casserole to die for.

  12. Hi, Mary,

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe! I made this yesterday for some friends' celebration -- their son and daughter recently grafuated! The cornbread salad was a huge hit -- I got lots of compliments!

    This recipe is very versatile, as you mentioned! I used kidney beans as well as Mexican corn, and for the ranch dressing, a vup each of lowfat milk and lite mayo. Dee-licious! Thanks again!

  13. Hi, Mary,

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe! I made this yesterday for some friends' celebration -- their son and daughter recently grafuated! The cornbread salad was a huge hit -- I got lots of compliments!

    This recipe is very versatile, as you mentioned! I used kidney beans as well as Mexican corn, and for the ranch dressing, a vup each of lowfat milk and lite mayo. Dee-licious! Thanks again!

  14. I grew up in North Mississippi, Corinth area, and there is a restaurant, The Dinner Bell, that has been serving their version of this for years. I have lived in SC for the last 27 years but I love this salad. One thing I do if there isn't going to be a big crowd and all of it may not be eaten, is to put each ingredient in separate bowls and make individual salads. That way there aren't any soggy ingredients the next day. :) Love your blog and am always checking you out.

  15. I've never heard of it in Louisiana or west of us. I always thought it originated in Georgia or around the east coast. I've had the recipe for years but never made it. It may just be time to taste test.

    1. Not sure about the southeastern regions but I'm pretty sure it's always been a popular dish around the further western states of the south central region of the country - especially places like Texas and Oklahoma. I have discovered via Facebook that there are folks in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who never heard of cornbread salad, while some families in those same states have been making it for years! Truthfully, I guess like everything else when it comes to cooking and especially southern cooking, it just really depends on the region of the South we grew up in and the foods our Mama's cooked.

    2. Hi Mary, my husband worked all over TX, OK, LA and AR. I cannot imagine how anyone would want to use anything other than dill pickle juice. Gives a nice bite. But I wanted to say, used your recipes for hot corn dip and hot bbq chicken dip along with little smokies and bbq meatball recipes at a recent baby shower. Made fruit and vegetable platters also. Glad I had a notebook and pen handy cause I had to copy the recipes several times. Especially the corn dip. And I also made cornbread salad. Had to copy that recipe several times too.

    3. I guess it's a personal preference, but Southerners over this way tend to lean toward sweet pickles a lot more than over your way. Still, I haven't met a pickle I didn't like!! I love sweet pickle in a lot of salads, but I do eat a kosher dill just about every day because I love them!

      I'm so glad to hear that everything was a hit - thanks so much for taking the time to let me know!!

  16. Mary, I have been eyeing this salad for a while and wondering what I would serve with it. I've never even tasted it before.

    I've decided on hot fried fish and green beans and potatoes seasoned with ham. That sounds pretty good to me.

    1. That sounds perfect! This is definitely a different kind of salad for sure. It's really good though & I hope that you enjoy it too Toni!


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