Southern Cornbread Recipe (2024)

Is cornbread an issue of true debate? That depends on where you live. But for those of you who love a no-sugar, crispy skillet version this southern cornbread recipe is spot-on.

I have a theory about cornbread.

If you grew up north of the Ohio River or had a family member who taught you to cook who did, you will put sugar in your cornbread.

If you grew up south of the river, you don’t. You never realized I was so wise did you?

I grew up south and so did the cooks in my family so we don’t put sugar in our cornbread. In fact, the only thing sweet cornbread is good for to me is a corn dog.

I’ll just pass if I have to eat it with sugar in it. Isn’t it funny how we get used to something tasting a specific way?

So I say that to say this: you CAN put sugar in my recipe and I will still work for you. I don’t know how much to tell you to put in though–you may just have to wing it.

And speaking of winging it, that’s what I realized that I do when I make this. Even when my mom taught me as a little girl, it was all by eye.

If it’s too thick, add more milk. If it’s too thin, add more cornmeal mix.

I’m going to try to give you measurements, but just remember it should be just thicker than pancake batter. Get that down, and you’re good.

I kept wondering if this recipe was just too easy to share with you. Then I heard my friends talking about it one night–they use a (gasp) bagged mix that you just add water to.

Oh. We have a problem.

We need real cornbread.

If you’re gonna get out a mixing bowl and dirty a spoon, you might as well make it taste better than a bagged mix–that’s just my opinion.

My secrets to crispy southern cornbread

I use a self rising cornmeal mix. You can find self rising mix in your baking aisle with the flour. Don’t just buy a bag of cornmeal. You will call me mean names if you do. White Lily makes a good one.

If self rising cornmeal mix isn’t available where you live, try this homemade version.

And for the best crust–that golden crispy crust, you’ll need a cast iron skillet.

You can make yours in another dish, but it just won’t be the same.Mom taught me to turn the cornbread over when it’s done (flip it out of the skillet while its raging hot) onto an oven mitt and put it back in the pan with the pretty, crispy side up.

I didn’t for this picture, but it does make it really pretty.The key to that crispy crust is to have your skillet screaming hot and plenty of oil in it when you pour in your batter.

I heat mine on the stovetop, or you can heat your pan in the oven.

You can also skip that step if you don’t have cast and just lightly grease an 8×8 baking pan and bake it up that way.

Serve it warm with pinto beans and mashed potato cakes, chicken pot pie, or just butter and jam.

Southern Cornbread Recipe (2)

Southern Cornbread Recipe

Southern cornbread is crispy outside, tender inside and ready for all of your favorite cold weather dishes.

Prep Time 7 minutes minutes

Cook Time 25 minutes minutes

Total Time 32 minutes minutes

Servings 8 people

Author Rachel Ballard

Print Pin


  • 2 cups self rising cornmeal mix not just plain cornmeal
  • 2 eggs or 1 extra large egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or an equivalent amount of refined coconut oil, bacon grease or lard
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil for the skillet if using cast iron; an equivalent amount of refined coconut oil, bacon grease or lard will substitute
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk or regular milk Start with 1 cup of liquid if you are using regular milk and add the rest as necessary


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  • If you are using cast iron, place the 1/4 cup oil in the bottom of a 9″ skillet and place over high heat on your stovetop while you make the batter.

  • Pour the cornmeal into a bowl and add the oil, egg, and buttermilk.

  • Mix until combined and drop a small amount into your skillet.

  • If it sizzles immediately, go ahead and pour in your batter to within 1 inch of the top. If you want a thinner cornbread, just don’t pour in as much.

  • Transfer the skillet from the stove top to the hot oven.

  • Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden and set.


If you are not using cast iron, grease your pan with nonstick cooking spray and do not preheat the pan.
Bake as directed.

Nutrition information based on the use of refined coconut oil in place of the vegetable oil.


Calories: 255kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 7gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 631mgPotassium: 174mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 268IUCalcium: 194mgIron: 2mg

Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm

Course Side Dish

Cuisine American

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Southern Cornbread Recipe (2024)


What is the difference between cornbread and southern cornbread? ›

She notes that Northern cornbread is sweeter, lighter, and more cake-like than Southern cornbread. Not surprisingly, it includes sugar (or molasses, in the earlier centuries), unlike traditional Southern cornbread.

What does adding an extra egg to cornbread do? ›

The extra egg which is increased protein and binder makes the cornbread denser and heavier in texture.

Why do Southerners not put sugar in cornbread? ›

Sugar in the cornbread interferes with the flavor of the vegetables. Don't put sugar in your cornbread! Traditional cornbread isn't sweet, but many favorite recipes have sugar in them. The amount of flour vs.

What ingredient keeps cornbread from crumbling? ›

Cornmeal gives cornbread its classic color and flavor, but too much can make your bread crumbly. Try replacing a little bit of cornmeal with flour. The specific measurements will depend on how much cornmeal and flour is in your recipe, but you should try to have more flour than cornmeal in your batter.

What is the difference between New England and southern cornbread? ›

Northern cornbread isn't very sweet and is made with fewer eggs and yellow cornmeal to achieve a crumbly texture. Southern-style cornbread can be made with white or yellow cornmeal, has a buttery finish and calls for more eggs, which produces a cakelike texture.

What state makes the best cornbread? ›

You will be pleased to know that based on my taste test, New Jersey gets my vote as the state with the best cornbread.

Can you put too many eggs in cornbread? ›

If there isn't enough egg, your batter or dough may not be able to hold its structure or could end up overly dry or dense. On the other hand, if there is too much egg, your baked goods could lose their shape due to excess liquid, or have a rubbery (or even overly cakey) texture depending on the recipe.

What happens if you use 2 eggs instead of 1? ›

Eggs are responsible for giving baked goods structure, which means the amount you use directly affects the resulting texture. Using too few eggs will make your desserts dense, but using too many will make them rubbery. The explanation for this lies in the fact that eggs are made up of protein.

What makes cornbread rise more? ›

What does baking soda do for cornbread? - Quora. It makes the batter rise a bit so your cornbread will be light and a little fluffy. If you omit some sort of leavening agent, and baking soda is just one kind, your finished cornbread after baking will be about an inch high, and shall we say, pretty dense.

Why is cornbread not healthy? ›

The exact nutritional profile of cornbread can vary depending on the specific recipe and ingredients used. However, cornbread generally contains high amounts of carbs, phosphorus, and sodium in each serving. One piece of cornbread prepared from a commercially prepared mix contains ( 2 ): Calories: 198.

Is cornbread good or bad for diabetics? ›

Cornbread can help you control your blood sugar levels.

Cornbread is made with whole grain cornmeal, making it an excellent choice for people trying to control their blood sugar levels as eating whole grains has been linked to better blood sugar control.

What do Southerners eat cornbread with? ›

In the Southern Appalachian Mountains, people are crazy for their Cornbread and Milk, a concoction made by crumbling leftover cornbread into a tall drinking glass and topping it with milk. It's usually buttermilk, although some people prefer "sweet milk", a vernacular term for regular fresh milk.

Should you let cornbread batter rest? ›

Let the batter sit before baking.

We found that if you leave the batter to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before baking it, the cornmeal has some extra time to absorb flavor from the other ingredients and the leaveners (baking powder and baking soda) get a head start.

Should you soak cornmeal before making cornbread? ›

Soaking the cornmeal in buttermilk for a few hours, or even overnight, tenderizes the large grains of cornmeal, making the bread more moist and tender. This step is optional, however, and the bread is still delicious without the soaking step.

Why is my cornbread jiggly in the middle? ›

Since these questions have been merged (one about falling, one about doming), there are two answers. Cornbread, or any baked good, will fall in the middle if it is not completely baked, or if you add too much leavening, which causes it to rise more than the structure of the batter can sustain.

What is different about southern cornbread? ›

Northern cornbreads tend to be more cake-like, on the sweet side, with a finer crumb due to more flour in the mixture. Southern cornbread is flavored with bacon grease, and cooked in a cast iron skillet, a perfect side for barbecues, or chili. It also tends to be rather crumbly.

What is Southern cornbread made of? ›

In a large mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients: cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. Take the cast iron skillet out of the oven and pour the batter into it.

Is Southern cornbread sweet or not? ›

Real, traditional, Southern-style cornbread is savory, not sweet, and always has been.

What's another name for Southern cornbread? ›

What is another word for cornbread?
spoonbreadcorn bread
cornmeal breadSouthern cornbread
corn muffincorn pone
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