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Easy Homemade southern cornbread

Homemade southern cornbread is a classic recipe that’s always worth making from scratch, with its golden crust, moist crumb, and irresistible aroma. This classic comfort food is perfect as a side dish or base for stuffing and dressing.

Freshly baked homemade cornbread in a skillet

Homemade Southern Cornbread recipe

There’s something undeniably comforting about the warm, buttery aroma of freshly baked cornbread. Cornbread is a beloved staple whether paired with a bowl of chili, served as a side with a hearty soup, stew, barbecue, or enjoyed on its own. It can even be used as a base for stuffing or crumbled into salads.

Adding Sugar to southern cornbread?

I understand that traditional Southern cornbread recipes typically omit sugar, as they lean towards a savory flavor profile. However, personal preferences may vary, and there’s no harm in experimenting with ingredients to suit your taste. If you enjoy a slightly sweeter cornbread, there’s no need to shy away from adding a touch of sweetness.

If you choose to add sugar to your cornbread, I recommend doing so in moderation to maintain a balance between sweet and savory. Start by adding a small amount, such as 1-2 tablespoons, and gradually increase if desired. Remember, the goal is to enhance the flavor without overpowering the cornbread.

Keep in mind that adding sugar might affect the texture of the cornbread slightly. Sugar can contribute to a softer and more cake-like crumb. If you prefer a denser and more rustic texture, you may want to reduce the amount of sugar or omit it altogether.

What is Southern cornbread?

Southern cornbread is a staple bread in the United States. It is a simple, savory bread made primarily with cornmeal, flour, eggs, buttermilk, baking powder, and leavening.

Southern cornbread boasts a distinct flavor that is both savory and subtly sweet, owing to the inherent sweetness of the corn. Its outer crust is delightfully crispy, while the interior remains tender and moist.

One of the defining characteristics of southern cornbread is its texture. Unlike other types of bread, southern cornbread is dense and crumbly. This is because it features a high proportion of cornmeal, which has a coarser texture than flour. For the best texture, choose a high-quality, stone-ground yellow cornmeal. This type of cornmeal has a coarser texture that results in a more rustic and crumbly cornbread.

The addition of buttermilk also adds a tangy flavor and helps to keep the bread moist, and the butter also gives it richness and depth of taste.

Traditionally, for southern cornbread, we use a cast-iron skillet for baking because it gives it a crispy crust and a fluffy interior. However, you can use a baking pan if you don’t have a cast iron pan.

Ingredients for making cornbread

  • Cornmeal: Provides the characteristic flavor and crumbly texture of cornbread.
  • Flour: Adds structure and stability to the bread, ensuring it holds together.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: These leavening agents help the cornbread rise and become light and fluffy.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavor of the other ingredients and balances the sweetness in the recipe
  • Eggs: Provide structure, act as a leavening agent, and contribute to a tender texture.
  • Buttermilk: This tangy milk product adds flavor and acidity to the bread and helps keep it moist.
  • Unsalted butter: adds richness to the cornbread and helps keep it moist.
  • Sugar (optional): Adds sweetness to the cornbread, depending on personal preference.

How to make cornbread 

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C). Place a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat up while you prepare the batter.
  • Mix the dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar (if using), baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Mix the wet ingredients: In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine the buttermilk, melted and cooled butter, and beaten eggs.
  • Combine: Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix gently until combined. Be careful not to overmix, which can result in dense cornbread.
  • Grease the skillet: Carefully remove the hot cast-iron skillet from the oven and add 2 tablespoons of butter, swirling it around to evenly coat the bottom and sides of the skillet. The extra butter will help create a beautiful crispy crust on your cornbread.
  • Pour the cornbread batter into the greased skillet, spreading it evenly with the spatula.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown.
  • Allow the cornbread to cool for a few minutes before cutting it into wedges or squares. Serve warm with butter, honey, or your favorite dishes.

Tips

  • Preheat your skillet or baking dish before adding the batter. This will help to create a crispy, golden crust on the bottom of the cornbread.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. Cold ingredients can cause the batter to be lumpy and uneven.
  • Keep the batter consistent because overmixing can make the cornbread tough and chewy. Mix the batter until the ingredients are just combined.
  • Don’t overbake the cornbread; overbaking can cause the cornbread to be dry and crumbly. Check the cornbread for doneness after 20-25 minutes, and remove it from the oven as soon as a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cornbread cool before slicing. Allowing the cornbread to cool for a few minutes after removing it from the oven will make it easier to slice and serve.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the secret to moist cornbread?

There are several ways to make moist cornbread. One way is to add ingredients such as buttermilk, melted butter, or oil. Another method is to bake the cornbread until just cooked and then cover it with a buttered lid or towel to trap the moisture. Experimenting with different combinations and adjusting the ratios of ingredients can also help achieve a moist texture.

Can I make cornbread without a cast-iron skillet?

Yes, you can make cornbread in any oven-safe baking dish or pan. However, a cast-iron skillet is preferred by many because it produces a crispy crust and helps distribute heat evenly.

How do I know when my cornbread is done?

Insert a toothpick into the center of the cornbread. If it comes out clean, the bread is done. The top should be golden brown, and the edges should pull away from the sides of the skillet.

What does buttermilk do for cornbread?

Buttermilk adds a tangy flavor and acidity to cornbread, helping it rise and become fluffy. It also tenderizes the gluten in the flour, resulting in a more tender and moist crumb. Finally, it activates the leavening agents in the recipe, resulting in a lighter and airier texture.

How do I prevent my cornbread from being dry?

Don’t overmix the batter to avoid tough and dry bread. Also, be sure not to overbake the cornbread, as this can cause it to dry out. Finally, adding additional melted butter can help keep the cornbread moist.

Can I make Cornbread ahead of time?

Yes, you can make cornbread ahead of time and store it in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. It can be stored at room temperature for up to two days, in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to three months.

What pairs with cornbread?

Cornbread is a versatile meal that can be paired with a number of dishes. Some options are: 

  • Greens: You can pair cornbread with spinach, kale, collard greens and more. This can balance out the meal and add some nutrition.
  • Soups and stews: Chicken noodle soup, beef stew, The Ultimate Hearty White Bean Chicken Chili, or any other hearty soup or stew can be enjoyed with a side of cornbread for a satisfying and flavorful meal.
  • Butter and honey: A simple but delicious topping, spreading butter and honey over warm cornbread adds a touch of sweetness and richness.
  • Cheese: Whether sliced, shredded, or melted, adding cheese to cornbread can enhance its flavor and texture.

How do you keep cornbread from drying out?

Do not overcook the cornbread! This is very important so the cornbread doesn’t become crumbly and dry. The best timeframe to bake cornbread is 25 minutes. 

Wrap your cornbread in aluminum foil to keep air from entering the cornbread and drying out. Also, make sure to keep away from sunlight so that the moisture in the cornbread is preserved. 

How to store cornbread

  • Room temperature: you can store cornbread at room temperature for up to two days. Place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
  • Refrigerator: You can store it in the refrigerator and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or in an airtight container. Cornbread stored in the refrigerator can last for up to a week.
  • Freezer: you can also freeze cornbread for up to three months. To thaw frozen cornbread, let it come to room temperature before reheating it in the oven or microwave.
Cornbread with a slice of butter served in a plate

Troubleshoot: Why is my cornbread crumbly? 

There are several reasons why your cornbread may be crumbly:

  • Too much cornmeal: Cornmeal is the main ingredient in cornbread, but if you use too much, it can make the bread dry and crumbly. Reduce the cornmeal in your recipe and increase the flour or egg to help bind the ingredients together.
  • Overbaking: overbaked cornbread becomes dry and crumbly. Ensure you check your cornbread for doneness.
  • Not enough liquid: If the cornbread batter is too dry, it can create a crumbly texture. Follow the recipe instructions carefully and use the right amount of liquid. Adding a little extra buttermilk or milk to the batter can help to moisten it.
  • Too much leavening agent: Measure the leavening agent precisely and use the amount specified in the recipe.
  • Not enough fat: If there’s not enough butter in the recipe, the cornbread can become dry and crumbly. Try adding a little extra fat to the recipe to help keep the cornbread moist.

How to use leftover cornbread 

You can use leftover cornbread in various ways, so you don’t have to waste any delicious bread. You can make the following:

  • Cornbread croutons
  • Cornbread stuffing
  • Cornbread breakfast casserole
  • Cornbread pudding
  • Cornbread French toast
  • Cornbread chili bake

Storage and Reheating Tips

How do I store homemade cornbread?

First, allow the cornbread to cool completely before wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

You can store your cornbread at room temperature for up to 2 days. Alternatively, cornbread can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

If you want to freeze the cornbread, wrap it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and store it in a freezer-safe container. It can last up to 3 months.

Equipment needed

  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cast-iron skillet
  • Dutch Oven
  • Oven mitts

More Delicious Southern Recipe

Homemade Cornbread served in a plate

The Best Homemade Cornbread Recipe

Cornbread is the true definition of delicious and fluffy with a difference. You don’t need to break the bank to make this. You need to try this sweet cornbread recipe out!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 174.9kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar optional for a slightly sweet cornbread
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • cup unsalted butter melted (plus 2 tablespoons for the skillet)
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C). Place a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat up while you prepare the batter.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar (if using), baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine the buttermilk, melted and cooled butter, and beaten eggs.
  • Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix gently until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in a dense cornbread.
  • Carefully remove the hot cast-iron skillet from the oven and add 2 tablespoons of butter, swirling it around to evenly coat the bottom and sides of the skillet. The extra butter will help create a beautiful crispy crust on your cornbread.
  • Pour the cornbread batter into the greased skillet, spreading it evenly with the spatula.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and the top is golden brown.
  • Allow the cornbread to cool for a few minutes before cutting it into wedges or squares. Serve warm with butter, honey, or your favorite accompaniment.

Notes

  • Southern cornbread is traditionally made without sugar, but we recommend adding a little for that balance of sweetness if you want. If you prefer sweeter cornbread, feel free to increase the sugar in the recipe.
  • The key to authentic Southern cornbread is heating the fat in a skillet and pouring the batter into the sizzling hot skillet. Don’t skip this process!
  • Do not overmix the batter so you don’t have a tough bread.
  • For a more rustic and slightly crunchy texture, consider using stone-ground cornmeal.
  •  

Nutrition

Calories: 174.9kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 4.1g | Fat: 7.5g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2.1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 46.8mg | Sodium: 177.3mg | Potassium: 144.4mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 5.4g | Vitamin A: 235.6IU | Calcium: 53.3mg | Iron: 1.1mg

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