Classic Cornbread Salad

Classic Cornbread Salad

My sister told me about Cornbread Salad. I mean, really, if she hadn’t raved, I never would have made it. You gotta admit, Cornbread Salad sounds a little strange. I think she MADE me promise to make it and report back once I had! And once I did, I fell in love. Hard.

Classic Cornbread Salad

Classic Cornbread Salad


So if you haven’t ever heard of Cornbread Salad, you crumble up cornbread and then add just about every delicious, wonderful thing you can to it. And there’s no doubt the ingredients in cornbread salad don’t sound so much like they go together but it’s like a small miracle. The miracle of Cornbread Salad.

About Cornbread Salad:

If you want to make Cornbread Salad “pretty” layer it in a trifle bowl, but in all seriousness, Cornbread Salad is at its best when all the ingredients are jumbled up and happy together and it sits for a while. See, I took the pic, then dumped it all in a bowl and mixed it together. Coz that’s how I’m eating it, although I know a lot of people like to serve cornbread salad at potlucks and special occasion dinners lookin’ all fancy in a trifle bowl

Of course, it’s still good served “fancy” once it’s all mingled up, the cornbread is will absorb some of the dressing and meld with the other ingredients. Think of it as kind of like a Southern Panzanella Salad. Until it’s all mingled up, IMHO, it’s just not a real Cornbread Salad.

Cornbread Salad

Cornbread Salad

Making Cornbread Salad:

I’m giving you the recipe how my Sis told me to make it, but there are so many ways this Cornbread Salad can be riffed on. It can even take a decidedly Southwestern tack with Black Beans or Pinto Beans, and some Taco Seasoning, maybe black olives and green onion and/or salsa. Some people even put iceberg lettuce in this – can you imagine? In a salad, lol?

The one thing my Sister insisted on was that no matter what else you do, you HAVE to use a packet of dry Ranch seasoning (I like to substitute my Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix in this) rather than a bottle of premade Ranch dressing. The dry mix is like THE magic ingredient. She was right, too. By using the dry dressing you get a little more intense flavor without sacrificing the texture of the salad with bottled dressing, which will be a lot thinner (and a lot more vinegary) than the mayo combined with the dry mix used in this.

I think this is best made with a Southern-style cornbread like my Southern Skillet Cornbread – it’s a little dryer and holds up better than a softer, moister, cake-type cornbread and hardly takes any time at all to make. As the ingredients mingle the dryer cornbread absorbs some of the dressing and it all becomes a kind of a cohesive mix but the cornbread stays distinct. If you use a moister cornbread, you can crumble it and set it aside overnight to dry a bit and if you use a mix, don’t go for anything fancy. Try something plain and old-fashioned, maybe Jiffy.

Note: A Pinterest commenter thought this recipe has too much mayo. I asked if she used the drier Southern type of cornbread or the sweeter, softer cake-like Nothern type of cornbread. My thought was that the dryer Southern cornbread like I use may absorb more of the dressing, and maybe if she used the moister cornbread, it didn’t absorb as much, leaving the salad with more mayo than needed. I didn’t hear back from her though. I just mention it because it might help you use good judgment about the amount of mayo in your own cornbread salad.

Classic Cornbread Salad

Classic Cornbread Salad

Update 2019:

I don’t make this salad often since it serves a crowd but as I made it for Thanksgiving 2019, I took careful note, especially, of the amount of mayo. I advise two to three cups in the recipe, and mine, using my Southern Skillet Cornbread needed every bit of the three cups of mayonnaise.  For the first time, we used a commercially made dry Ranch dressing mix and I really felt I could taste that “commercial” taste although no one else could. From now on, for me, anyway, it’s my Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix.

I also found out there is such a thing as too much bacon! I made several things with bacon prior to Thanksgiving and had a little extra cooked up and tossed it in the salad along with the usual pound. Stick with a pound! I made a little alteration, too. This time I added 2 bell peppers, a green and a yellow but will stick with 2 green from now on (better contrast of colors) and three tomatoes and just a smidge more than the original 1 1/2 cup of corn. We all loved Cornbread Salad even more with more of those veggies.

Saving Money on Cornbread Salad:

While most of the ingredients for cornbread salad are inexpensive, a few can run on the pricey side.  I just about died when I was in a hurry one day and thought I’d pick up a premade pan of cornbread at the store bakery! I think it was $4.99! Don’t do that! And don’t buy a mix, either, if you want to save money. Cornbread is incredibly cheap to make.

I don’t eat a lot of bacon (although I managed to eat most of the bacon I reserved to garnish the top of the bowl, lol) so I look for it on sale, especially around holidays and toss it in the freezer. It takes up very little room. It’s usually around 1/2 price on a great sale. If you’re not brand loyal you’ll find more opportunities to save. Cheese, when it is at a low is a great item to stock up on; it keeps for weeks unopened in the fridge and can be frozen in a pinch, It won’t be great for a recipe like this because it will get crumbly but is fine for things like casseroles. Make sure to know the regular price, the regular sales price and the bottom low so you know when it’s a good time to buy.

Buy your condiments like mayo during the summer holiday sales when it drops to a low. Stock up for the year, and stock up on items like canned corn in the late summer. When the warehouses are full, the price is usually lower. Bell pepper and tomatoes are on sale sporadically throughout the summer. Since peppers keep well, I usually pick up some for the current week and a few extra to use the following. With tomatoes, I’ll pick up ripe ones for the current week if on sale and extra of any that aren’t quite ripe to put in the windowsill.

Classic Cornbread Salad

Classic Cornbread Salad


Classic Cornbread Salad

  • Author: Aunt Liz
  • Total Time: 20 minutes plus chill if desired
  • Yield: 8 to 12 1x
  • Category: Sides
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 packet dry Ranch dressing mix (homemade or commercial, although homemade is preferred, see links on site)
  • 23 cups mayonnaise (see notes on site; I personally use the dryer Southern-style Cornbread and the full three cups of mayonnaise)
  • 1 pan Southern-style cornbread, crumbled
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced (some reserved for garnish)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (try two or try one or two red bell peppers as a variation)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (try three as a variation)
  • 15 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained (about 1 1/2 cups corn) (try two cups frozen, thawed and drained as a variation)
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled, some reserved for garnish
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated large (reserve for garnish if making into a trifle, add to the ingredients if making in a bowl)
  • a green onion, sliced for garnish if desired


First, choose how you wish to put the ingredients together. There are two ways this can be assembled: an easy mix-in-the-bowl option or a more dramatic presentation as a layered trifle. For both options, first mix together the mayonnaise and the dry ranch mix to form what I’ll refer to as the Mayo/Ranch mixture. Set aside.

To make easy option in a bowl:

After the Mayo and dry Ranch mix are mixed together to form the Mayo/Ranch mixture, simply crumble the cooled cornbread into a large bowl. Add the red onion (may reserve some for garnish), bell pepper, tomatoes, corn, crumbled bacon (may reserve some as garnish), and cheddar cheese. Toss ingredients together and mix in the Mayo/Ranch mixture. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. To serve, garnish with reserved bacon, red and green onion, if desired.

To layer in a trifle bowl:

After the Mayo and dry Ranch mix are mixed together to form the Mayo/Ranch mixture, three full layers of ingredients are used, with 1/4 of the Mayo/Ranch mixture used to garnish the top, along with the cheese, the reserved bacon, the reserved red onion, and the green onion.

Layer one: Add about 1/3 of the crumbled cornbread on the bottom of the trifle dish. Over that, dollop about 1/4 of the Mayo/Ranch mixture. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the red onion (make sure to reserve a bit for the top before dividing into thirds), bell pepper, tomato, corn, and bacon (make sure to reserve a bit for the top before dividing into thirds). Do not use the cheese or the green onion in this layer.

Layers two and three: Simply repeat the first layer.

For the top of the trifle: Add the remaining Mayo/Ranch mixture on top of the last layer in a big dollop in the center. Sprinkle grated cheese around the outside edge. Sprinkle the bacon in a circle where the cheese and Mayo/Ranch mixture meet. Sprinkle the green onion and red onion over the Mayo/Ranch Mixture.

Carefully cover and refrigerate for several hours.

Keywords: Bacon, Bell Peppers, cheddar, Cheese, Corn, cornbread, ranch dressing, ranch mix, Red onion, Salad, Salad Dressings, Side, side salads, Tomatoes

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I’ll be bringing Classic Cornbread Salad to Fiesta Friday #198, hosted this week by two women of great taste; both well-seasoned bloggers: Judi @ and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas and Spoons. This is going to be a fun party with all kinds of Holiday foods!



My sister's Classic Cornbread Salad; it's going to go first at any party, potluck or barbecue! Easy to make in a bowl or layered for a gorgeous presentation. #CornbreadSalad #ClassicCornbreadSalad #SouthernCornbreadSalad

61 thoughts on “Classic Cornbread Salad

  1. Allison

    I’m from Mississippi and this is a salad you can get at a few restaurants. It’s typically taken to most church salad luncheons as well. We usually have pinto beans in ours. I’m making it for a ladies luncheon in Arizona, I’ve already been given a few incredulous looks for saying I was bringing cornbread salad 🤣

    • FrugalHausfrau

      When I first got it from my sister I was flabbergasted… And I don’t even think there were any recipes for it on the internet at that time. 😕

    • FrugalHausfrau

      I wanted to say more, but I was on my phone and pushed the wrong button l o l!! My sister was living in Grorgia at the time she gave it to me. And she doesn’t really like beans that much I wondered if she just left them out??? I am seen a lot of Recipes these days that have full on southwestern flavors, too! I don’t think you could hardly ever go wrong no matter how the recipe is varied… It’s just that good!! Thanks for stopping by Allison and Commenting! Mollie

  2. Michelle

    Sorry another question – in the trifle building you mention not to use cheese or green onion on layer 1 – i get that, you need all of the green onion for garnish and some of the cheese. BUT for layers 2 and 3 you say repeat the first layer. At the end you sprinkle cheese on top but in the mixed one you add some cheese to the body and use the rest to garnish. SHould I assume that you don’t use cheese on the first layer, but you do on layers 2 and /or 3? If not, then it’s all on top right? Sorry, I’m sure I’m making it complicated but I couldn’t tell from the pic if there was cheese on layers 2 and or 3. Thank you

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Michelle when I make it in a trifle bowl I always add all the cheese to the top. Just the way I do it no rhyme or reason other than I feel like that she gets a little weird if it sits.

      I hope that helps and I hope everyone loves it as much as we do!

  3. Michelle

    I’m making this for Neighbor Night out – very excited! I made the cornbread and the mix. How big should the crumbled pieces of cornbread be?

  4. Donna

    I have made this many times. Love it. Can I make it the night before and refrigerate? I usually make it the morning of my dinner but I will not be able to do that this time. Will it be ok for me to put it together the night before!? Will it be too soggy?

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Donna sorry I missed your comment earlier today but I think it would be fine me the night before especially if it’s layered and It would be best if the corn bread is on the dryer side rather than the moisture side to start. Anytime I have ever had leftovers I enjoyed it just as much the next day. Hope that helps! Mollie

  5. Sue

    I was given this recipe years ago by a soccer mom. I have probably made enough of this to go around a block several times. I always take copies of the printed recipe because it never fails that many ask for it. This is by far my favorite recipe and I have thousands. It’s a big hit every time. This one is definitely a keeper.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Sue I would have never made it if it weren’t for my sister and we just love it!! I love how the best recipes get passed around by generous cooks like you!! And my Sister! 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season. 🙂

  6. Melissa

    We make a recipe like this at the deli I work at and it sells out every time we make it. Our recipe is a lot like the one you use except we add a jalapeño to the mayo/ranch.

  7. Angie Todd

    This sounds so good & planning on making it. I’m confused about a couple of things….it says to mix the ranch/mayo with the cornbread & refrigerate, but also says layer with cornbread then ranch/mayo mixture??? Also, how would you make this southwestern with taco seasoning, mix it with the mayo instead of ranch dressing seasoning?

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Angie, it can be made either way, as a layered salad which makes for a great presentation or as a mixture, which I prefer because it melds together better. If you want to go Southwestern, just mix in the taco seasoning with the mayo to taste! A whole packet can be pretty strong and then it’s your choice if you want just the taco flavor or want a taco/ranch combo. Personally, i’d go with just the taco and leave out the ranch. I’d also use some more of the standard Southwestern ingredients and use things like black olives, maybe some green chilis, black beans, rinsed and drained and so on!! Happy Holidays, and i hope that helps, Angie!

    • Daina

      I did the crumbled cornbread as one layer, then the bacon/cheese/veggie mixture and then the ranch mayo. I was confused about that as well but I went by the pictures provided.

      • FrugalHausfrau

        Hi Daina, sorry for the confusion. This can be made two ways, just mixed together but there are also instructions to layer it. I will reword so it’s clearer. Hope yours was still delish and met your expectations!


    • FrugalHausfrau

      When my sister first told me about this I thought it sounded crazy but it is sooo good! And great party food, for sure! 🙂

  8. Laura Lee Smith

    So delicious… I just had this over my son’s house. His step mom made this delicious dish and I came straight home and looked up the recipe. You might wanna double the recipe…. Yes, it’s that good!!!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks Laura!! I appreciate it and darn it all, now it’s late and I’m thinking about cornbread salad, lol!!

  9. great holiday recipe!…i am definitely making green bean bundles this Christmas!…here are some more ideas for holiday foods……bj, author, near a river

  10. I’ve never heard of cornbread salad, but I’m a big fan of all the different ingredients, so I’m guessing I’d love the end result. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  11. The first time I had this salad was on a bus trip with some quilters on a shop hop. One of the quilt shops offered us lunch and this was one of the dishes that went with the lunch. The shop owner refused to give us the recipe so I am tickled to see this post. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Wow, I have had that experience with people refusing to share – which is something that i think is so odd. I’m always excited when I go through my Grandma’s or Mom’s or my recipe box and see notated on the upper right corner where the recipe came from – I mean those people, even when long gone, are immortalized in a small way, right? I can take a minute to remember Great Aunt Gladys, for instance.

      I hope this lives up to your expectations. It’s very easy to tweak. 🙂

  12. I have Quinn’s recipe for this salad and still have not made it. (I actually made his salad one of my features and Angie chose it).Your recipe is giving me the incentive to try yours as I know it would be terrific with all those great ingredients. Thanks for bringing your cornbread salad to Fiesta Friday Mollie 🙂

  13. I have to say that does look pretty darn good and sounds wonderful!! Now you have me tempted. For some reason anything you post with cornmeal in it makes me want to make it and I basically never use cornmeal otherwise. It makes no sense, but I’m ok with it!

    • Haha! It’s funny because I think I like cornmeal more now than when I was younger. Shall we just say our tastes have become more sophisticated? *g* Have you gone through your huge bag of cornmeal yet?

  14. Whoa Mollie– I never even imagined such a thing as cornbread salad!! But that’s what sisters are for– passing on good recipes (among other things). It looks so fun– What do serve it with?? I’m imaging with burgers, or something bar-b-qued?? thanks for the recipe (and thank you sis!). hugs!

    • Nancy, I usually go a little closer to the 2 cup amount = but you are absolutely right. This salad is an abomination and I can hardly believe it’s even on my blog but it is just so darned good.

      This is normally the kind of old school down home type of recipe that I would try to add a bit of sophistication to, healthify or as I sometimes say “fabulously frugalize” but in this case, Nancy, it would be sacriledge, lol!

    • Exactly, Suzanne. I can’t tell you how good it is, all those flavors just mingle together. Funny thing is, I’m not a “Ranch” person, I’m pretty iffy about cornbread, I could take or leave the corn in it, especially since it’s canned and it’s cold, I rarely eat bacon, and the whole thing is strange…but I absolutely love it. There’s just something magical about it.

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