My Favorite Cornbread Recipe

I was never a fan of cornbread until this recipe. After lots of recipe testing, I found the perfect ratio of ingredients for soft, moist, and buttery cornbread with crisp-crunchy edges.

Cornbread cut into squares

If I’m being honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of cornbread. However, my husband and I went out to lunch the other day and I was quickly converted. I had the best cornbread EVER. We’re talking thick slices of buttery yellow cornbread with sweet honey served on the side. From the delicious corn flavor to the moist texture and crunchy crust, this was a recipe I had to recreate at home.

Cornbread was never my thing UNTIL NOW.

piece of cornbread with honey

My Favorite Cornbread Recipe

Cornbread is like coconut macaroons. Random comparison, but I promise it’s true. Both classics are very easy, but their success depends on the ratio of ingredients. When done wrong, cornbread (and macaroons!) is dry, crumbly, and flavorless. But when done right, this comfort food staple is rich, tender, moist, flavorful, and very buttery.

I used my mom’s cornbread recipe as a starting point. I played around with butter vs oil, regular milk vs buttermilk, and the ratio of flour to cornmeal. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Butter: Butter is one of the main flavors in this cornbread recipe. While oil leaves the cornbread luxuriously tender, I find the bread lacks flavor if butter isn’t present. Since butter doesn’t make the bread as moist as oil, I pair it with buttermilk.
  2. Buttermilk: Buttermilk makes cakes, muffins, and breads extra moist. It adds so much flavor and you’ll notice that flavor in my no yeast bread recipe, too.
  3. Cornmeal: Cornmeal is another main flavor. Equal parts fine cornmeal and flour makes the BEST cornbread. With 1 cup of cornmeal, you get lots of flavor and mega crunchy edges.
  4. Brown Sugar: A little brown sugar and honey complements the corn flavor. Regular white sugar is fine, but why use flavorless white sugar when you can used molasses-spiked brown sugar? Because it makes a difference.

squares of cornbread

What is Cornmeal?

A lot of readers ask about cornmeal. What is cornmeal? Is cornmeal the same as cornstarch? What about polenta? It can certainly be confusing. Cornmeal is dried and ground corn. It’s found in the baking aisle of grocery stores. If you’re curious, here’s what I found. You learn the differences between many corn products including cornmeal, polenta, and cornstarch.

Why You’ll Love This Cornbread

Let us count the ways!

  • Easy to make
  • 10 simple ingredients
  • No mixer required
  • Sweet corn flavor
  • Crunchy crisp edges
  • Moist, not too crumbly
  • Extra buttery

After 1 taste, you’ll wonder why you don’t make homemade cornbread more often. And try it in a cast iron skillet! My skillet cornbread is a forever favorite recipe too.

Cornbread muffins

What to Serve with Cornbread:

And here’s my cornbread muffin recipe. I love adding jalapeño for heat!

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Cornbread cut into squares

My Favorite Cornbread Recipe

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 9 servings
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

I was never a fan of cornbread until this recipe! After lots of recipe testing, I found the perfect ratio of ingredients for soft, moist, and buttery cornbread with crisp-crunchy edges. I guarantee this is the best cornbread recipe you’ll try!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120g) fine cornmeal
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 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 or dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) honey
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Grease and lightly flour a 9-inch square baking pan. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and honey together until completely smooth and thick. 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 over-mixing.
  3. 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, or whatever you like.
  4. Wrap leftovers up tightly and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Buttermilk: Buttermilk is required for this recipe. If you don’t have any, you can make a DIY sour milk by adding 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to make 1 cup total. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes before using. Whole milk is strongly recommended for moistest, richest texture, but you can use lower fat or nondairy milk in a pinch.
  3. 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
  4. Skillet Cornbread: Baking cornbread in a skillet gives it an even heartier, crunchy crust. Bake this cornbread in a 9-inch or 10-inch oven safe greased skillet at the same temperature for the same amount of time.
  5. Cornbread Muffins: Here is the same recipe as cornbread muffins!

Keywords: cornbread

352 Comments

  1. Hi! I was wondering if I can use an 8×8 square baking pan instead of a 9×9 pan?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lily, You can but your cornbread will be extra thick and may change the baking time so just keep your eye on them!

  2. My mom used to make corn bread and it was flat and kind of gooey. As a consequence I wasn’t a fan. This recipe is exceptional! I used masa fine corn flour and made buttermilk at home but it was excellent! Light and crunchy outside and light and puffy in the middle. It was the perfect side for a big mess of jambalaya!

  3. I have been making this recipe for four years. It’s outstanding. I use it for days I make my hearty chili and also for my cornbread sausage stuffing on Thanksgiving. For the stuffing I reduce the brown sugar by half.

  4. I’m sorry try if I missed this advice, but if using a cast iron skillet, would I preheat the skillet in the oven prior to adding the batter? I have read this in other recipes, but wondering what you suggest. Thank you!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karen, it’s not necessary but you certainly can!

      1. it’s so soft and fluffy, but my broke into pieces when taken out of the pan. Was that because I need to bake longer? Still delicious! Thanks. Wenchi Shang

  5. Happy Thanksgiving.
    OMG…so good. My husband said this is the best corn bread he ever ate. I will be making this recipe again. Thank you for sharing this soft, moist, and flavorful corn bread recipe.

  6. Excellent recipe! I used my own homegrown, ground, glass gem corn and substituted 1 cup of sour cream for the buttermilk. I used an 8×8 pan so it took 27 minutes to bake. It turned out delicious!

    1. Doreen Beinart says:

      Could you use mini loaf pans?
      Doreen

      1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Absolutely!

  7. I’ve never been a cook, but just had a hankering for corn bread. My only problem apart from not being a cook, is that I only have a Ninja hot air cooker to use presently, what advice can you provide if any??

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi George, we haven’t used an air fryer/cooker to make this bread, so unfortunately we can’t offer any advice here. If you do any experimenting, we’d love to know how it goes!

  8. Hi Sally, thanks the recipe looks exciting! But unfortunately I’m in Hong Kong and can’t find cornmeal. Only corn flour is available. Can I just substitute that or any other adjustment would u advise?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dan, that substitution should likely work but we haven’t tested it to be certain.

  9. Hi Sally,

    Would this be able to be made in a bread maker?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Yudi, We have never tried making this in a bread machine. It doesn’t have to rise like a yeast bread, so if your machine has a quick bread setting it may work.

      1. Yes it does. I’ll give it a try. Thank you Stephanie!

  10. Hi,
    This is a great cornbread
    I’m wondering if I can make it in a 9×13 glass baking dish? Any idea how that would affect the baking temp or time in the oven? Can I make it a few days ahead and keep in the fridge?

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kris, you can double this recipe for a 9×13 inch pan. We’re unsure of the exact bake time, but use a toothpick to check for doneness.

  11. Hi, I don’t have whole milk, is it okay to sub with half and half?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jill! We haven’t tested that sub, but it should be OK.

  12. Hi Sally, This is a great corn bread recipe! I made this bread exactly as per the recipe for the first time. Tastes so much better. Could this bread go well with vegetarian recipes? please let me know.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely! We love it with this vegetarian pumpkin chili.

  13. Hi, Sally,
    Will powdered Cultured Buttermilk Blend (The Saco Pantry) be successful in this recipe for cornbread. We find it difficult to use a bottle of buttermilk before it expires. Thank you for your blog!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Patricia, the powdered buttermilk should work just fine. Follow the directions on the back of the box/package to get the correct yield for the recipe. Hope you enjoy the cornbread!

  14. I made this cornbread last night for my hubby, and it was by far one of the best he’s ever had. It was smooth, not very crummy. So moist and tasty! I only put half of the honey in it because he doesn’t like it very sweet, but I regret this. It would’ve been okay to do it exactly the way Sally designed it! I can’t wait to make it again! Thx Sally!!!

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