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Southern Cornbread Recipe

Southern Cornbread is light and buttery with a little crispiness around the edges. Easy to make, cornbread is the perfect accompaniment for soups, chilis, or a fried chicken dinner.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

DIFFICULTY:
EASY

YIELD:
10 SERVINGS

TIME:
40 MINUTES

A slice of southern cornbread with melting butter on a white plate.

Southerners are known for loving homemade bread in any form, and one of our favorites is cornbread. Sometimes you need biscuits to go with your meal, and sometimes you need cornbread. It's a delicate balance!

This Southern cornbread recipe goes great with chili, almost any kind of soup, or your favorite meatloaf dinner. Best of all, it's quick and easy to make, with ingredients that you probably have on hand.

You'll need these ingredients

  • finely ground white cornmeal
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • buttermilk
  • egg
  • bacon grease or shortening
  • butter

How to make Southern cornbread

It takes about 15 minutes to put together this Southern cornbread recipe, and most of that is just the oven and skillet preheating. The cornbread can bake while you're getting the rest of your dinner ready.

  1. Place the skillet in the oven while it's preheating. After about 5 minutes, remove the skillet and place the bacon grease (or shortening) and butter in the skillet and place back in the oven.
  2. Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together until well mixed.
  3. Add the buttermilk and egg and stir gently just until mixed.
  4. Remove the hot skillet from the oven, and carefully pour most of the grease into the batter, leaving about a tablespoon in the skillet.
  5. Stir the grease into the batter and then pour into the hot skillet and place in the oven.
  6. Bake cornbread for about 20 minutes until it's golden brown and crispy around the edges. Remove the skillet from the oven and turn the cornbread out onto a platter.

Cook's Tip: The bacon grease or shortening and butter should melt and be hot but not smoking. Keep an eye on it while you're mixing the other ingredients.

Quick tips

  • you can use yellow cornmeal but I prefer white
  • if you use cornmeal mix, omit the flour, baking powder, and salt

Southern cornbread faqs

Is cornbread gluten free?

If you omit the flour and use plain cornmeal, then your cornbread should be gluten free.

Can dogs eat cornbread?

I kid you not, this is a frequently asked question regarding cornbread! The answer is that while there's nothing in cornbread to cause harm to your dog (unless they have a grain sensitivity), there's also no nutritional value for your dog.

Can you freeze cornbread?

Absolutely! Wrap your cornbread tightly with parchment paper and then cover that tightly with foil. Place the wrapped cornbread in an airtight container or just a freezer bag. Then place in the freezer for 3-4 months.

How do you store cornbread?

Cornbread is fine stored just like any other bread, on the counter or in a bread box. Southern cornbread does not need to be refrigerated.

What to do with leftover cornbread?

Make cornbread croutons! They are great on a caesar salad.

Can you make cornbread without eggs?

Yes, but you would need to add another binding agent like sour cream or yogurt.

A loaf of Southern cornbread baked and turned out on a cutting board.

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Southern Cornbread is light and buttery with a little crispiness around the edges. Easy to make, cornbread is the perfect accompaniment for soups, chilis, or a fried chicken dinner.

Southern Cornbread Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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The perfect Southern cornbread recipe that turns out slightly crispy, buttery cornbread every time.
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prep time: 15 mins
total time :35 mins
servings :10 servings
author: Lucy Brewer

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups plain cornmeal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups full-fat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup bacon grease or shortening
  • ¼ cup butter

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450. Place skillet in the oven to preheat. 
  • Whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add buttermilk and egg and stir until well mixed.
  • Remove hot skillet from oven and put the bacon grease or shortening and butter in the skillet. Place skillet back in oven for a few minutes until butter is melted and grease is hot. Watch carefully and don't let it start smoking!
  • When the bacon grease-butter mixture is melted and hot, pour most of it into the batter, leaving about a tablespoon of hot oil in the skillet. Stir to mix well and then pour the batter into the hot skillet.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top. Remove skillet from oven and turn cornbread out onto platter.

Equipment We Use

wooden spoon
mixing bowl
oven mitts
iron skillet

Notes

If you use a self-rising cornmeal mix, omit the flour, baking powder, and salt.
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Nutrition
Serving: 1sliceCalories: 248kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 5gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 532mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3g
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UPDATE NOTES: This post was originally published October 31, 2011, and on March 22, 2022, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

Recipe Rating




Sue

Saturday 20th of November 2021

Can you use box cornbread mix as I already have that? Thank you.

Lucy Brewer

Saturday 20th of November 2021

If you use a mix, just don't use the leavening agents as they would already be in the mix.

Eremias

Thursday 29th of July 2021

This is the BEST cornbread I've had in 22 years... Since I last had this style cornbread at my grandfather's. All us kids liked his the best, I've no idea why sweetened yellow cornbread is so popular. It's a crumbly mess! Thank you so much!!!

Lucy Brewer

Monday 2nd of August 2021

Thank YOU! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Jan Giesige

Saturday 18th of January 2020

Step #2 says if using plain cornmeal, add "11 teaspoon baking powder" . Is that a misprint? 11 seems like a lot of baking powder. Thank you for all your recipes. I am new to the South and I have learned much about southern cooking from you,

Lucy Brewer

Saturday 18th of January 2020

Hi Jan, YES, that was a misprint! I have corrected it now to 1. Thank you for your sweet comments! Happy cooking xoxo

Shawn

Monday 31st of October 2011

Sorry to the husband...Yours is definitely my kinda cornbread!

Lucy

Monday 31st of October 2011

I know, right? How does he call himself a Southerner when he wants sweet cornbread?! It just ain't right!