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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!

Print
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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 1x
  • 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

Scale
  • 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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I made my first cornbread from scratch using this recipe as a base and it was moist and delicious!!!… I added a half teaspoon of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup of whole kernel sweet corn!!!!…. When the bread is just about finished and warm, rub butter all over the top and let it seep through… amazing flavour!!

  2. I’m English and I’ve never eaten or baked cornbread before so this was a voyage of discovery!

    I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out beautifully. I used fine white corn meal (U.K. readers do not use cornflour it is not the same thing as US cornflour, our cornflour is American ‘cornstarch’).

    The resulting cornbread was delicious, soft, moist and with crisp edges.

    However, on a cultural note as a British person I would not eat this with savoury food. It tastes as sweet as cake (my 5 year old was thrilled about that!) and I will be keeping this as a recipe for a sweet treat. I’m curious to know what it would be like without sugar, a savoury cake

    I have some corn meal left so that might be my next experiment!

    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I made this with just 1/2 cup of sugar and no honey to have with savory food. With full sugar I’d prefer it only as a sweet food as well. When I was a kid we made a sweet corn cake called Johnny Cake and ate it with butter and syrup for breakfast, that is what the original recipe reminds me of.

  3. This recipe is really good, not that sweet. I used to love a blueberry cornbread from
    Whole Foods when I visited FL. This recipe comes close. I added about 1 cup of blueberries to the recipe at the end.

  4. The review on Eat This Not That says the recipe has no flour. “This cornbread features cornmeal, water, and salt—no flour, baking powder, or sugar required.” Being gluten-free, I was really excited. Better let the ETNT folks know.

    1. Hi Patti, We have no affiliation with that website but are sorry they sent you in the wrong direction. If you’d like to search our site directly, here are all of our gluten free recipes.

  5. Love this recipe but take out the butter the 1/2 cup that u had written down then cross off. I was doing 4 things at one time so didn’t notice it. It’s my fault. So hope it will taste good. I added corn to mine. Next I’ll add chilis and cheddar cheese. Thank you for all your hard work.

    1. Hi Cheryl! Our recipes are set up online to be like checklists that you can check off (cross out) as you bake. Is it possible you tapped the butter? Let us know how it goes!

  6. Excellent cornbread (and I’m a southern grandmother so I’ve had lots of cornbread)! I was out of cornmeal so used polenta—gave the inside crumb extra little bits of crunch. So good. Thank you!

    1. Hi Dianne! Did you wait for it to cool before cutting? Was the texture dry and crumbly? How did you measure the flour? Make sure to spoon and level (instead of scooping) to avoid packing in too much flour into your measuring cups – or use a kitchen scale. You can read more about properly measuring baking ingredients in this post.

  7. Wow, this cornbread is so good. Incredible flavor and texture. You can’t go wrong when a recipe calls for brown sugar, buttermilk, butter, and honey – yum!

  8. Love, love, love the flavour and tenderness of this recipe. My one question, how do I stop it from crumbling? Did I cook a tad too long maybe?
    But OMG best recipe I’ve found thus far! Thank you!!

    1. Hi Christine, Dry and crumbly cornbread could simply be from over-baking. Keep an eye on it in the oven and start checking for doneness a little earlier next time. Also make sure to spoon and level your flour to avoid over-measuring (which would also result in dry cornbread). Thank you for giving this recipe a try!

      1. Great thank you! Definitely did the spoon and level of the flour. It wasn’t dry.. why I was a tad confused. Haha. Will definitely make again and bake less!! Thank you!!

  9. Made this to go with beans for supper. Had good taste but a biscuit like texture. DEFINITELY NOT what we are use to. I think next time I’ll half the flour.

  10. I make this recipe without sugar and it is just as delicious

  11. Superb recipe! Moist, fluffy, with just the right amount of sweetness. I added a cup of frozen blueberries and 1 tsp vanilla extract to mine. I’ve devoured the whole thing!

  12. Came out perfect!! I’m from Trinidad but I just wanted to try it, no regrets!

  13. Hi! I’m a big fan and love every recipe of yours I have tried so far! Any chance you have tested this recipe with white whole wheat flour? I want to make this for my son who is a student athlete. He loves cornbread but is very dedicated to healthier eating as well. I was going to substitute the sugar for honey like in your skillet recipe. (He really likes your low calorie Greek yogurt bars with lime).

    1. Hi Rebecca, we recommend trying the recipe with half white whole wheat flour and half all purpose to see how that goes. Hope your son loves it!

  14. Smells delicious! I subbed half the butter for applesauce and cut down on the sugar – excited to try this

  15. I have my own small business milling fresh flours, cornmeal, spices, etc. i used this recipe with fresh-milled organic hard red winter wheat and freshly ground organic cornmeal. I added a tad more homemade buttermilk, a little extra molasses, and 2 TBS sour cream. It is amazing!!! The only thing that could make it better is cast iron cookware! Thanks, lady, for leading the way!

  16. I made this exactly as written, weighed my flour as usual. Added a can of roasted, chopped green chilis. It came out perfectly and delicious, moist and not crumbly at all, slightly dense, very yummy. Love this recipe

  17. I have made this recipe at least twice, once being today. I did four things different from the recipe. I only had corn grits (#1) so I made a buttermilk substitute with lemon juice and milk (#2) and soaked the cornmeal for about 10 minutes (#3) then added the rest of the dry then the wet ingredients. Also, I baked them in 6-XL muffin tin (#4), in a toaster over, for 20 minutes. Texture is a little grittier than fine cornmeal would be but works for me and the taste is fantastic. Ingredients are things I always have on hand. Just needs a bowl or two to mix so it’s easy to prepare. It’s a sweeter cornbread than some. Delicious. Having with BBQ spareribs and oil and vinegar coleslaw.

  18. I plan on making this to feed 30 people on an upcoming camping trip (pairing with Jambalaya). Can the recipe be doubled and baked in a 9×13 or am I better off with making multiple batches?

    1. Hi Donna, Yes, 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.

  19. The cornbread turned out really well! We had coarse ground cornmeal on hand, so we used that. I personally like the coarse texture. it turned out very crumbly, but we just used a spoon to get it out of the pan. Overall, a really good recipe!

  20. Loved this recipe so much it has become a family favourite. I baked it in my cast iron skillet. Delicious!
    I love your recipes and have tried many with perfect results. Thanks for all the tips and thorough instructions.

  21. What proportions would you recommend if I made this recipe with oil? I’m dairy free and I’m willing to forgo a little flavour!

    1. You may want to try using a dairy free buttery stick instead, but if you want to test it with oil you can use the same amount as the melted butter. It will of course taste different. Let us know what you try!