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 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
  • 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) 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 an 8 or 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

270 Comments

  1. Hey Sally! It’s Amy again! I’m allergic to honey, can I take that out? Oh and also what kind of cornmeal did you use?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amy, you can simply leave out the honey if desired. We don’t recall the exact cornmeal brand, but whatever brand you can find in your grocery store should work great. Enjoy!

  2. Delicious! Turned out great. Didn’t try any additions, but jalapeño sounded good.

  3. Cheryl Dumais says:

    Very tasty but was sweeter than expected. I think more of a muffin taste but yummy just the same. Next time going to do as a muffin.

  4. Michelle Kalinoski says:

    Something is wrong with this recipe.
    I’ve been making cornbread for years, and never had this happen.
    The edges and top were lightly browned, and edges pulled away.
    The toothpick came out clean but yet the whole middle part was partially doughy.

  5. I have a cornbread recipe I am known for. This recipe might be better. It’s the crunch. Texture is wonderful. Bravo.

  6. Patricia Finney says:

    I have the same comment as Michelle on Apr 22. I JUST had the same failure with at 20 min.baked, the toothpick came out clean so pulled it from oven. 15 min later when i went to remove from 9″ alum pan, the whole center was RAW. Now making again as I promised to bring for a potluck. Going to bake it at least 30 min. Please comment as to why this happened. Otherwise, love the flavor.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Patricia, We are so glad you loved the flavor! If the center wasn’t cooked thought you can bake it longer next time. If you notice the top browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil and continue baking.

  7. So, sooooo good, but not at all heart healthy. Next time I will make some adjustments and though it won’t be quite the same I’m sure it’ll still be great. Sub. healthy oil/applesauce for the butter, 1/2 whole wheat flour/1/2 white, non-fat yogurt thinned slightly with whatever…and a bit of lemon juice added to replicate the acidity of buttermilk. For tonight, though, I’m going to enjoy the version that contributes to coronary artery disease.

  8. Amy Wonder says:

    Can I skip the sugar or reduce it to 1/5 cup?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amy, feel free to leave it out and/or reduce the brown sugar. Without all the brown sugar, though, the cornbread will be extra crumbly.

  9. Fantastic. I too put most of the butter in the skillet and the crust was perfect with the bread nice moist inside. Used almond milk with lemon as a substitute but everything else per the recipe. I love that it lifted right out without a bit sticking. Cooked 25 min at 375 convection but we are at 7000ft.

  10. I made this in a 9 inch square pan and baked it about 15 minutes longer. It was so delicious. Thank you!!

  11. Sheldon Fisher says:

    Really love it the result was fantastic .

  12. Delicious! Came out absolutely perfect and so moist! Will definitely make again.

  13. I been making this amazing recipe for months. The best one I have found as well as simple. I never buy butter milk. It would go to date. I use the milk and lemon or milk and cream of tartar (11/4 tsp) . only issue I had is when I made it with added cheese it tasted funky after a day on counter, I had to toss it out. Next time it will go in frig. Sally your my go to baker so ty. Wish I could leave review for your. Chewy chocolate. Chip cookies. I replace that yolk with half mashed ripe banana. it’s perfect less cholesterol

  14. Linda Green says:

    This was a good recipe, a hit at a potluck and with my husband. I added jalapeños which he likes.

  15. Goddess Greer says:

    My husband doesn’t fancy cornbread at all. I decided to try this because I love trying your recipes. He ate it and said it’s the best cornbread that he has had but…still a no to cornbread. My kids and nephew devoured it. I put the sugar in with the other dry ingredients because I just assumed it was dry too… it still came out amazingly!!!!!! It almost tasted like cake. I love it!

  16. I just made this and it is insanely good. I am really into cornbread and have tried basically every recipe from Jiffy to Martha Stewart’s skillet cornbread. This is the BEST. It is so soft and moist and lovely. I followed the directions to a T. Yum!

  17. Cathy Armstrong says:

    Can you double this, and what size pan should I use?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cathy! You can double this recipe for a 9×13 inch pan. I’m unsure of the exact bake time, but use a toothpick to check for doneness.

  18. Stacy Roach says:

    I really liked this. I did make it in a cast iron, so that decreased the time quite a bit (about by half in my oven, because it spreads it out more). I also took the recommendation from a comment, to not add the butter to the batter and instead melted it in the cast iron. You have to watch the butter as it melts so it doesn’t burn, but it worked. Next time, though I think I would add only 5 or 6 tablespoons of melted butter to the skillet and the rest to the batter, as it was a bit greasy on bottom. I also think a tad more salt would be great. Overall, this recipe is a keeper.

  19. Hello!

    I’ve made this before and it was delicious. I was hoping to make this for a large crowd in one of the massive aluminum tins (21″by13″). I was thinking I’d quadruple or 5x the recipe and lengthen the baking time to make sure the middle cooks all the way through. Do you foresee any issues with this? Please let me know!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Molly, we’d caution against making one large batch like that, as it will be difficult to mix and incorporate the ingredients evenly. Perhaps you could double it in a 9×13 pan and make that twice? Let us know what you decide to try!

  20. Chris Lockwood says:

    Hi Sally! My son and I love your recipes! My daughter is gluten-free…do you think this recipe would work if I replaced the white flour with Cup 4 Cup gluten-free flour?
    Thanks!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Chris! We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour substitutes, but let us know if you give it a try!

      1. Chris Lockwood says:

        I will, thank you!

      2. Chris Lockwood says:

        Update: I made this tonight with the Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour and it came out great!! Everyone loved it!

  21. Anne Looney says:

    The flavor is absolutely amazing!!! But my cornbread is always so dry! What am I doing wrong??

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Anne! Dry 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 so much for giving this recipe a try!

  22. Laura Elizabeth says:

    Hi Sally! I just made this tonight as per the recipe. Added grated cheddar and some chopped pickled jalapeños. Tastes great but it was very, very crumbly. What could I have done wrong?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Laura, 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!

  23. I’m not the biggest cornbread fan, but I love this cornbread recipe. It’s very easy to make, and everyone who has tasted this rave about it.

    There was only one time the cornbread didn’t come out the way it normally does, and that’s because I didn’t exactly follow the recipe. You have to spoon and level off the flour. This is something I’ve noticed in cookie recipes, too. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a drier cornbread. Secondly, you need to make sure the buttermilk and egg are at room temperature. (You can cheat and put the cup of cold buttermilk in another bowl of warm water and let sit for 30 min or so to bring it up to room temperature. You can use the same technique for the egg.). Third, the order of mixing in the buttermilk AFTER you whisk in the egg before is important. Lastly, you need to mix the wet into the dry ingredients v. the reverse. I did the opposite thinking it didn’t matter, but it did.

  24. This is an excellent cornbread recipe! I had used up my last stick of butter on your scone recipe so I had to use coconut oil. I also added some fresh corn and hot pepper flakes to balance the sweet of the honey and brown sugar. That combo worked perfectly! I love your website and how you explain the details. You are my go-to place to find new treats to make. Thanks Sally!
    PS Your grandmother’s soda bread is the best!

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