My Favorite Cornbread.
With its full flavor, tender texture, and crunchy/honey/buttery edges, it’s easy for me to say that this is my favorite cornbread recipe!
Aka the cornbread of my dreams.
Let me explain.
Kevin and I had lunch at the cutest little cafe the other weekend in Philly. It was one of those few and far between weekends where you have no plans, the weather’s perfect, and the hardest decision to make all day is craft beer or wine with lunch?
Life is hard today.
The waitress brought out a basket with warm slices of raisin walnut oat-y bread and thick pieces of golden cornbread. Ordinarily I would choose the hearty looking raisin bread (c’mon, you know me), but the smell alone of that sweet cornbread had me reaching for a slice faster than you can say pinot noir, please.
It was so full of flavor and texture. From the unmistakable corn flavor and the subtle notes of honey to the moist interior and slightly crunchy texture, this was a recipe I had to recreate at home. Cornbread isn’t usually my thing, but I am now converted FOREVER.
My cornbread is kind of like my recent coconut macaroon recipe. Both classics are extraordinarily simple, but it really depends on the ratio and combination of ingredients in order for the baked goods to impress. When done wrong, cornbread can be dry, blah (technical terms), and flavorless. When done right, this comfort food staple can be rich, tender, moist, flavorful, crunchy-edged, and buttery. In other words, this favorite cornbread is a side dish that will steal the show at your table.
I got to work in my kitchen and churned out 4 different batches of cornbread. I used my mom’s trusty recipe as the base and I played around with butter vs oil, the ratios of cornmeal to flour, regular milk or buttermilk, white or brown sugar, honey? no honey?, 1 egg, 2 eggs, and should I add more salt? Is that cornmeal in my hair? What?
My entire day was…that. Here’s what I learned.
Butter is key for flavor. While oil left the cornbread luxuriously tender, I found the bread was lacking flavor. Since melted butter won’t make the bread just as moist as oil, I paired it with buttermilk. It’s my little secret weapon in cakes, muffins, breads, and other baked goods. I found that my ideal cornbread texture comes from equal parts cornmeal and flour. Not more flour than cornmeal or vice versa. With this amount, you get so much corn flavor and little bites of crunch here and there. And don’t get me started on the slightly crunchy, honey buttery edges. (!!!!)
It should come as no surprise to you that I preferred the batch of cornbread made with brown sugar as opposed to the batch made with granulated sugar. Why use flavorless white when you can used molasses-spiked brown? That 1/3 cup of brown sugar adds a small touch of molasses in every piece. Likewise, a very scant 2 Tablespoons of honey adds even more flavor. I loooooove honey and cornbread.
Oh! And stay tuned for my cornbread muffin recipe!
Oooooh! And check out all of my optional add-ins listed in the recipe like cheese, jalapeño, cranberries, blueberries, and more. And the notes for SKILLET cornbread.
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My Favorite Cornbread
With its full flavor, tender texture, and crunchy/honey/buttery edges, it's easy for me to say that this is my favorite cornbread recipe.
- 1 cup (120g) cornmeal1
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/3 cup (67g) packed light brown sugar2
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) honey
- 1 large Eggland's Best egg, at room temperature
- 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, at room temperature3
- optional add-ins: 1-2 chopped jalapeño peppers, 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup total dried cranberries and walnuts, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or 1/2 cup bacon crumbles
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Grease and lightly flour an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan. Set aside.
- Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the cooled melted butter, brown sugar, and honey together until completely smooth and thick. There should be no brown sugar lumps. Then, whisk in the egg until combined. Finally, whisk in the buttermilk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Avoid overmixing.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top and the center is cooked through. Use a toothpick to test. Edges should be crispy at this point! Allow to slightly cool before slicing and serving. Serve cornbread with butter, honey, jam, whatever you like. Wrap leftovers up tightly and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Make ahead tip: For longer storage, freeze baked cornbread for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up in the microwave or bake in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes.
- My preferred cornmeal is Indian Head Stone Ground Yellow Cornmeal.
- For less sweet cornbread, reduce brown sugar to 1/4 cup. You can use dark brown sugar instead, for a slightly stronger molasses background.
- Buttermilk is required for this recipe. If you do not keep it on hand, you can make a DIY version by adding 2-3 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a large liquid measuring cup. Then add enough regular room temperature milk (whole, skim, 1%, 2%-- whole milk is strongly recommended for moistest, richest texture) to make 1 cup total. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. This soured milk can be used in the recipe.
Skillet Cornbread: Baking cornbread in a skillet gives it an even heartier, crunchy crust. Bake this cornbread in a 9-inch oven safe greased skillet at the same temperature for the same amount of time.
Here is the same recipe as muffins!
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Eggland’s Best provided me with eggs to bring you this recipe.
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