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!

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) 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

304 Comments

  1. Super good small recipe thank you

  2. Can you substitute dried polenta for dried cornmeal?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jen, we haven’t tried polenta in this recipe, so we’re unsure of the results.

  3. I use Sally’s recipes all of the time. They are 100%

  4. Your cornbread recipe is a staple in my house. In fact, I’m making it tonight!

  5. It was so good, probably the best corn bread I’ve made!
    I used fine ground corn I think. I also didn’t have buttermilk so I did .5c of yogurt and .5 c of whole milk and it came out amazing!! So light and fluffy.

  6. Can the batter be made the night before and stored in the refrigerator?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda! We don’t recommend making this batter ahead of time. The raising agents will activate too soon and the cornbread won’t rise properly when baked.

  7. Good recipe. I doubled everything except the honey and brown sugar (I kept those the same as the single recipe). I plan to freeze one. I baked them in 2 8 in. square pans for about 25 minutes. They were very good and plenty sweet.

  8. Hi, I have made this wonderful recipe many times. Thank you! Just realized I’m out of eggs. Unbelievable. Is it possible to substitute? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Erika! We haven’t tested any egg substitutes in this cornbread recipe so can’t offer much advice – perhaps a “flax egg” substitute may work? I would do a quick google search to determine the correct way to use that if you happen to have flax on hand.

  9. Robin Strickland Lee says:

    In the old South, Robert E. Lee’s time and earlier – no sugar in the cornbread. Too many Southerners addicted now to sugar in everything and have forgotten that cornbread is well….BREAD for soaking up gravy, etc. Not supposed to taste like a dessert/cake. Yucky, with sopping up the gravy!
    But as a dessert/cake this is good.

  10. Can I use 2% milk Instead of buttermilk?

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Brittney, If you don’t have any buttermilk, you can make a DIY soured milk. For every 1 cup of buttermilk, add 1 or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Fill with enough regular milk to yield 1 cup. Whisk together, then let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe. Whole milk is best, but you can use any fat or nondairy milk. The lower the fat, the less “rich” the baked good will taste.

  11. Stephanie Kelly says:

    Do you know if you used fine, medium, or coarse grind cornmeal?

  12. I made this recipe in an 8-inch cake pan and had similar issues to other commenters with the cornbread not being cooked through. After 20 minutes at 400F, a toothpick was clean but looked moist and the cake wasn’t firm when jiggled. Back in the oven for 7 minutes and now the edges were crisped and pulling away from the pan, the cake not jiggly and the toothpick came out clean and dry. But to my disappointment , when I cut into it the top of the center of the cake was still mostly raw. We threw this part away – embarrassing. Perhaps there needs to be a distinction here between using an 8-inch and a 9-inch pan. For an 8-inch pan, at least, the 20 minute bake time is not enough. Maybe I’ll make it again and bake it at 375 for longer. Also, I’ve made this recipe before as muffins and they felt greasy to me, so I used 7 tbspn of butter instead of 8 and I thought the texture of the cooked part was great.

  13. Honestly the best cornbread ever. The top got so golden and crispy. Family raved about it. It is pretty sweet so if that’s not your thing, be warned. If delicious is your thing, also consider yourself warned.

  14. Very good recipe! I used soy milk with lemon juice (DIY buttermilk) and I cooked my cornbread in a 9 inch loaf pan at 350F for 50 minutes. Came out perfect!

  15. Stacy Witscher says:

    I made this today with homemade acorn flour as the substitute for the cornmeal. It was very good. Just wanted to let people know it works for acorn bread as well.

  16. Can the honey be substituted in this recipe? I’d love to have my daughter try it but she can’t have honey!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elissa! You can simply leave the honey out if desired.

  17. Laurie Smiley says:

    Wow, this was so delicious; I added blueberries. My granddaughter said it’s addictive and the 2 of us ate the whole pan in 2 days. Just writing about it makes me want more, but I’ll wait till I have more people to eat it. ❤️

  18. I only have self rising flour. Could you let me know how much soda, salt, and or powder I should or shouldn’t use? Thanks

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Donna, We don’t recommend using self rising flour in this recipe. It would take additional recipe testing to ensure accurate results.

  19. I have made this corn bread over a over it always comes out perfect, my husband and I finish it in two days. I did add less brown sugar and added some white sugar because the hubby likes it sweet now he is always asking me to make it everytime he walks by the kitchen he grabs a piece. Thank you

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