Lucy Buffett’s Oyster Dressing Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Lucy Buffett

Adapted by Kim Severson

Lucy Buffett’s Oyster Dressing Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour 15 minutes
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Lucy Buffett and her famous brother, Jimmy, grew up in Mobile, Ala., where seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is a key player in the culinary canon. Mr. Buffett went on to a giant career in music. His sister Lucy opened the freewheeling LuLu’s restaurant in Gulf Shores, Ala. When they were children, oyster stuffing was always on the Thanksgiving table. And it still is. “Usually, it’s all gone by the end of the day because the kids go back for thirds and fourths, just digging directly into the pan,” she said.

Ms. Buffett likes to use cornbread with a little sugar in it, often relying on a box mix. But any cornbread recipe will do. The best bread is an inexpensive white loaf from the grocery store that will break down into a smooth texture. The oysters don’t have to be from the Gulf of Mexico, but fat Gulf oysters are best for conjuring the brackish low tides and sunsets of the Buffett family youth. —Kim Severson

Featured in: The United States of Thanksgiving

Learn: How to Cook a Turkey

Learn: How to Make Stuffing

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Yield:8 to 10 servings

  • 12tablespoons/1½ sticks unsalted butter, divided, plus more for baking dish
  • 1(8-inch-square) baked and cooled cornbread, preferably on the sweet side
  • 15slices white or wheat bread, toasted and cooled
  • ½large white onion, finely chopped
  • 2celery ribs, finely chopped
  • ½large green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 2dozen freshly shucked or jarred oysters, preferably Gulf oysters, drained and coarsely chopped (reserve the oyster liquor)
  • ¼cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1tablespoon hot sauce, preferably Crystal
  • ¼cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped, or 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • teaspoons truffle salt or sea salt
  • ½teaspoon ground white pepper

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (10 servings)

282 calories; 16 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 1 gram trans fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 27 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 4 grams sugars; 7 grams protein; 349 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Lucy Buffett’s Oyster Dressing Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by 13-inch baking dish.

  2. Step


    Crumble cornbread into a large bowl. Tear toasted white or wheat bread into very small pieces, add to cornbread, and toss to combine

  3. Step


    Melt 8 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and bell pepper; sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Cover pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are almost translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove cover, add broth, and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, for 2 to 3 minutes. Continue to cook mixture for 1 more minute, then remove from heat, add to bread mixture, and stir to combine.

  4. Step


    In a medium bowl, stir together oysters, lemon juice, hot sauce, parsley, sage, salt and white pepper. Add to bread mixture and stir well to combine. If dressing seems too dry, add a little oyster liquor and up to ½ cup more chicken broth; mixture should be very moist.

  5. Step


    Pour dressing into greased baking dish. Cut remaining 4 tablespoons butter into small pieces and scatter over top of dressing. Bake until top and sides are browned, 40 to 45 minutes.



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Cooking Notes

John Spray

We have a real crew at Christmas and do two in the oven with sage dressing and the resultant gravy and my bird in the Green Egg with oyster dressing. This results in a smoked oyster dressing...think about it. I start my stuffing in a roux of bacon drippings, cultured butter and 00 flour and cook my onions, celery and peppers in same. I use fish stock rather than chicken and lots of oyster juice. Low and slow on the Egg lets that bird juice melt with the bivalves. Yum!

Margaux Laskey, Staff Editor

I'd say complete the recipe through step 3 then refrigerate overnight. Complete steps 4 and 5 on Thanksgiving day. As my colleague Julia Moskin says, "Oysters will not improve with age." Good luck!


Yum - I made this last year and here was no question that this was officially my go-to stuffing for this year and many more.

I used challah instead of regular white or wheat bread since I love the baked texture of it so much; it soaks up liquid like a sponge though so I had to add broth (on top of the oyster juice) to keep the stuffing from being overly dry. The hot sauce is a brilliant touch - the sweet, savory and spicy all work together so well.


Can this be assembled the night before cooking?? Or would you suggest cooking and warming the next. Don't want to overlook the oysters.Thank you


Native Deep Southerner here - who grew up on oyster dressing. This recipe is quite different from any I've tried before, so I made a test batch. Fabulous!!! I was skeptical of using sweet cornbread but gave it a shot - good call. I ended up folding in a couple of lightly beaten eggs before baking - the mixture seemed a bit too dry (even after adding the 1/2 cup of extra chicken broth). I like my dressing on the richer side, so the eggs will probably stay in when I make it for Thanksgiving.

Paula La.

Very similar to our South La. family Cornbread dressing with oysters, however, we start with a base of turkey debris, necks, giblets, sausage roll, and stock. Add vegetables and seasoning, cook down, then cornbread and lighter on the addition of wheat bread. Eggs folded in and high oven to fluff and finish. You cannot effectively put cornbread dressing in a carcass. It does not prove out this way, and oven finish separate is the best way. Beautiful plump raw oysters at the end of bake.


Good lord, man, I AM thinking about it...and can hardly type for drooling. Lacking a smoker at home, I just may be reduced to adding in some canned smoked oysters this time; thanks for all the excellent additional descriptive detail as well.


Magnificent!!I only bought 2 8oz cups of prepared oysters that maybe yielded 10 or 12 good sized oysters so I supplemented with a small can of mushroom stems and pieces.We used 50% more hot sauce as it was fairly mild Louisiana brand.It was subtle and lightly sweet.Tops supermarket in store made stuffing bread, Jiffy brand corn muffin mixOh, and fresh herbs.I'm not much of a cook and Thanksgiving was foisted at us last minute but this dressing was brilliant. Enjoy

Paige Love - Atlanta, GA

I disagree with Nora. I think dressing made inside the bird tastes awful. If you have one oven, cook your dressing the night before you serve it.

Since I'm from inland Alabama, I have never had oysters in dressing - and it sounds @@bleah@@ to me, but it's whatever you grew up with, I suppose. Our dressing has chicken breasts baked into it.

Regardless of how you like your dressing, the important thing is to share it with family.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Nora Mackenzie

I only have one oven. When am I supposed to bake the stuffing. I'd rather put it in the turkey. And I always have and always will. Separately baked stuffing is never as good as the one in the turkey.


I guess it was edible, if you were hungry enough. Can not even compare to classic oyster dressing though!


Oh myyyy. Bought jarred oysters from local fish monger. They were huge so I cut them up. Amazingly enough (to me), the briny oyster flavor persisted thorough out the cooking. This stuffing is delicious and is now added to the roster of dishes for thanksgiving. YUM!Now I just need a recipe for oyster po'boys to use the extra oyster. :-)


Been wanting to make this. Bought jumbo canned oysters at Whole Foods, Red Mill cornbread (followed recipe on bad and baked in 8x8.) Made stuffing as written. Better than I dreamed. Leftover it’s fantastic.

Nicola Lagonigro

Far too sweet. I was pushed for time, so I bought cornbread instead of making my own non sweet version.That , and using sliced white for the rest of the bread lead to a barely edible sweet disaster. Next year I'll trust my instincts and make a savory oyster dressing with my homemade jalapeno cornbread and sourdough. Now if only I could get those beautiful Gulf oysters in NYC...


Always wanted to make oyster dressing and so glad I used this recipe for my first ever attempt. Perfection. Made day before (steps 1-3). Used cornbread and white bread - toasted pretty dark for taste and color. Bought fresh container (16 oz) of oysters and I did double the hot sauce. I also added 2 beaten eggs once everything was mixed together before putting it in the oven. Added a bit of stock to keep it on the moister side. Huge hit!


Great! Made without modifications with jarred oysters, except added xtra oyster liquor and chicken stock for moistness. Assembled in advance and cooked several hours later. Browned up great in 45 mins. Served with a seafood boil. Everyone loved it. Even better the next day. Do it.

Julie A.

This dish is amazing! I’ve made it twice and it’s been requested again for this Christmas dinner. I took another reviewer’s advice and completed thru step 3 the day before and it was a big time saver. Thank you whoever suggested that! I followed the recipe exactly; first time used all white bread, second used half brioche and half white and if possible it was even better.

Angela Kelley

I’ve never been a fan of dressing, I find it too heavy, but I’ll eat oysters all day long if given the option. I decided to give this as a try with our Thanksgiving dinner. The recipe was delicious, super light and very flavorful. The leftovers are fantastic. I used King’s Hawaiian rolls in place of the white/wheat bread, I cut them in half & toasted them in the oven. We used fresh NC oysters. Thanks for the new traditional dish & changing my mind about dressing!


The pepper gives the stuffing a bitter taste. Most of the stuffing was left uneaten by our Thanksgiving guests. Not one I would recommend without some modification.


Our family really loves seafood and I was shocked that none of us enjoyed the oysters and the addition of sweet peppers seemed a bit off as well. However, everyone enjoyed the cornbread. I will use this as a base for next year's Thanksgiving stuffing.


I used Famous Dave’s cornbread mix. It’s a fairly sweet cornbread product. End result was the stuffing was so sweet it was inedible. I won’t make this again - fool me once/shame on me - but I would recommend using a much less sweet cornbread.


A big hit at the thanksgiving table. I was told it reminded my MIL of her late mother’s oyster dressing, which is extremely high praise. I didn’t use as much white bread as the recipe called for. I also added about 1C of oyster liquor at the end to moisten it instead of broth. I roughly chopped the oysters. Very delicious.


I would suggest putting an oz. measurement for the oysters. Particularly because they come in such different sizes. It’s hard to tell how many oysters are in that little container. I bought two and I think three would have been better. Also, as a time saver, I tried the bags of bread cubes, so again, measurements in oz. would be a great help. Thanks.

Ray Griffin

Don’t. Add oysters until the last t5minutes of baking .Skin top of dressing back,add oysters, cover with dressing ,continue cooking`Oysters won’t be dried -out marbles as in the 45 minute baking.


I was looking forward to this recipe - however the boxed cornbread I used (Trader Joe's) was much too sweet and masked the oyster flavor. Test the sweetness of your cornbread first.

Margie Neal

Awful! I could have choked On the amount of bread in this recipe. Nothing special seasoning. My husband agrees. We’ll stick with South Louisiana oyster dressing.


No, no and no. I don't get the five stars. First - the amount of stuffing was twice what would fit into a 9 x 13" dish (how does that get past the editor?). Fortunately, I figured that out before adding the oysters, and only used half. I used turkey broth and oyster liquor, and left the beautiful Chesapeake Bay oysters (some very large) whole. The overall flavor was weird, verging on unpleasant. But 45 minutes in the oven left those oysters plump and beautiful -the only good thing about it.

Julie BC

We loved it but made some adjustment. We omitted the peppers. Used one and a half 8x8 pans of cornbread (Martha Whites buttermilk mix, not sweet), half loaf of white sliced sourdough. Added extra broth and all the oyster juice. Chopped the oysters. The next time I make it, I am going to heat oil in the dish to hasten a crusty bottom, and use a bit higher heat in the oven.My sister and I have been eating cornbread dressing since the beginning, and we both think this one may be the new one!

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Lucy Buffett’s Oyster Dressing Recipe (2024)


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