Southern Cornbread


This basic, savory Southern cornbread is simply begging for a bowl of chili or a plate of ribs. Made with all cornmeal, straight buttermilk, and no added sugar (prefer it needs to be!) in a forged iron skillet, this cornbread is a simple dinner aspect dish.

Images Credit score:
Elise Bauer

Anytime you place the phrases “Southern” in entrance of a dish, it’s prone to fire up controversy, and cornbread is not any exception. It looks as if each particular person I’ve ever identified from the South has their favourite approach of constructing selfmade cornbread, and each approach is completely different.

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What Makes a Southern Cornbread

The factor that distinguishes Southern cornbread from, say Yankee cornbread, or another cornbread one is prone to eat outdoors of the southern states, is that it’s savory, not candy, and it’s made principally with cornmeal.

Northern cornbreads are typically extra cake-like, on the candy aspect, with a finer crumb on account of extra flour within the combination. Southern cornbread is flavored with bacon grease, and cooked in a forged iron skillet, an ideal aspect for barbecues, or chili. It additionally tends to be quite crumbly.

A Cornbread Experiment

With this cornbread recipe, we experimented each with all cornmeal, and with simply three-quarters cornmeal and one-quarter flour. We additionally experimented with together with or leaving out an egg.

End result: Both approach works! Although the model with among the cornmeal swapped out with flour, and together with an egg, holds collectively higher and is a bit more tender.

About this Cornbread Recipe

If you’re new to creating southern cornbread, pay attention to the next:

Sugar is optionally available

Whether or not to incorporate sugar or not in a southern cornbread recipe is a matter for debate. We’ve included as an possibility a tablespoon which simply intensifies the flavour of the cornmeal; it doesn’t make the cornbread candy.

The selection is yours as as to if or to not embody it. (See this wonderful article from Critical Eats on why conventional southern cornbread doesn’t embody sugar.)

“All cornmeal” versus “cornmeal and flour”

You may both use all cornmeal or a mixture of cornmeal and flour to make this cornbread. If you happen to go the all cornmeal route, observe that the end result will possible be very, very crumbly. That’s simply how the Southern cornbread crumbles. If you need cornbread with a bit extra construction, I like to recommend utilizing a mixture of cornmeal and flour.

Why use bacon drippings and butter

You’ll discover there are each bacon drippings and butter on this cornbread recipe. The butter provides wanted richness to the bread itself, and the bacon drippings assist brown the crust, preserve it from sticking to the skillet, and add a beautiful bacon taste to the bread.

Make cornbread in a forged iron skillet

Lastly, the tactic that works finest with utilizing a well-seasoned forged iron skillet is to preheat the skillet with the fats after which add the batter to the new skillet. This helps brown the crust and with the pan already scorching, the cornbread cooks extra shortly.

Must season your forged iron pan? Try this information to seasoning forged iron.

To our tremendous readers from our Southern states, how do you want your cornbread? Please tell us within the feedback.

From the editors of Merely Recipes

Leftover Cornbread

  • Cornbread will preserve at room temperature for a day or two. After that, it tastes stale.
  • Are you able to freeze cornbread? Sure, for as much as two months for those who wrap it nicely, although as a result of it is very crumbly, it is best to freeze it provided that you propose to make use of it as crumbs, or in cornbread dressing.
  • Talking of, leftover cornbread is great in cornbread stuffing.

Attempt These Different Cornbread Recipes, Too!

  • Jalapeño Cornbread
  • Yankee Cornbread
  • Tacky Skillet Cornbread
  • Inexperienced Chile Cornbread

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Southern Cornbread Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook dinner time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 8 servings

White cornmeal is utilized in most Southern cornbreads, however we couldn’t discover any right here in California, so we used yellow cornmeal. If you could find white cornmeal, by all means use it.

The egg is optionally available, although with out it the cornbread shall be very crumbly.


  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
  • 2 cups cornmeal OR 1 1/2 cups cornmeal and 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optionally available)
  • 1 massive egg (optionally available)
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


1 Preheat pan with bacon drippings: Put the bacon drippings in a 9 or 10-inch well-seasoned forged iron skillet and put the skillet into the oven. Then preheat the oven to 400°F with the skillet inside. (If you do not have an iron skillet, you should use an uncovered Dutch oven or a metallic cake pan.)

Butter melted in a cast iron skillet to make the best cornbread.

2 Make the batter: Whisk collectively all of the dry substances (cornmeal, baking soda, salt, sugar if utilizing) in a big bowl. In one other bowl, beat the egg (if utilizing) and buttermilk till mixed, then combine that into the bowl of dry substances. Stir within the melted butter.

3 Pour batter into scorching skillet and bake: When the oven is scorching, take out the skillet (rigorously, because the deal with shall be scorching!). Add the cornbread batter and ensure it’s evenly distributed within the skillet.

Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes, or till the sides are starting to brown and a toothpick inserted within the heart of the bread comes out clear.

Batter for homemade cornbread poured into a cast iron skillet set on a stovetop.A flexible spatula smooths the cornbread batter in a cast iron skillet to show how to make cornbread.

4 Relaxation bread in skillet, then serve: Let the bread relaxation for 10 to 30 minutes within the skillet earlier than reducing it into wedges and serving.

To retailer, let the cornbread cool, then take away from pan and wrap in plastic wrap or switch to an hermetic container. Retailer at room temp for 2 to 3 days

To keep away from burning your hand since you’ve forgotten the pan is scorching, I like to recommend inserting a pot holder on the pan’s deal with whereas the cornbread is resting, or cooling the deal with down a bit with an ice dice.