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. I guarantee this is the best cornbread recipe you’ll try!

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 This is the Best 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) 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

561 Comments

  1. I made this recipe for Thanksgiving and it was my first time making homemade cornbread. I was nervous but it turned out great! The only change I made was reducing the brown sugar by 10-15%. Other than that I followed the recipe as is and used a 9×9 baking pan. The cornbread had a slightly crispy crust with the soft and fluffy interior. It was just the right balance between sweet and savory. My family approved and I will definitely be making this again!

    1. I made this cornbread recipe in my 10 inch cast iron skillet. Baked for the 20 minutes as per, and it turned out crispy on the outside (totally agree with the brown sugar- I used Demerara) and almost cake like interior, (Room temp egg & buttermilk!!). So many recipes I’ve tried before were too heavy & dry. Best corn bread or ‘Johnny cake’ recipe I’ve ever made. Served it with my homemade Pea Soup. ❤️

    2. Margaret Remus says:

      Absolutely true Kennedy. I used light brown sugar back on the amount. I may use Hal and half the time . It was excellent.

  2. The cornbread tasted alright, not too sweet and just moist enough, but boy, did it look ugly on top. I tried to smooth out the top with a wooden rice paddle, but it was so grainy and bumpy-looking.

  3. Best cornbread ever! Thank you for easy instructions and thanks for the recipe. I never liked cornbread until I made yours. Delicious!!

  4. I followed the recipe – the result was an excellent cornbread. I will make it again.

  5. Can I sub Maple Syrup for honey?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sara, We haven’t tested it, but that should be fine!

  6. Excellent!!

    Thank you, Sally, for another great recipe.

  7. I like a sweeter corn bread, so thought I would try this one. I did NOT like it, sorry. It was too sweet and I thought the brown sugar hid the taste of the actual cornmeal, which I love. Very disappointed.

  8. The BEST cornbread recipe ever. I did not have buttermilk or milk, so I used 1/2 of half-n-half and 1/2 of low-fat evaporated milk. Substitution worked perfectly. Great as a side for dinner or to have with tea or coffee.

  9. Excellent cornbread, nice and crispy on the edges. Definitely reduce the amount of sugar, though, which happily I had the forethought to do.

  10. This cornbread is delicious.

  11. I have been a long follower of you, Sally. As long as I have followed your directions EVERY recipe has turned out. But I’ve tried this cornbread twice now and both times after 20 minutes the middle is completely liquid. We have to burn it to get it cooked through. Any suggestions? I’d love to try again!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rachel, is it possible your oven runs a bit hot? That would cause the edges to cook more quickly than the center. We always suggest using an in-oven thermometer for best results. If the top is browning too much you an always tent foil over it to keep it from burning as well.

  12. Can I substitute egg with something? Son is allergic but i have everything else in my cupboard! Yogurt perhaps? Or maybe apple flavoured cornbread and put in some apple sauce? Or can i increase buttermilk…that’s what I do with pancakes.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi KS, we haven’t tested this recipe with any egg substitutes, but let us know if you give any a try.

  13. I followed the recipe exactly except I did cook it an extra 5 min. It turned out perfectly. Crispy edges, top and bottom. Good balance on the sweetness. Very nice crumb and texture. It is now my go to recipe and I have tried many!

  14. I followed the recipe exactly except I did cook it an extra 5 min. It turned out perfectly. I didn’t have buttermilk so I used the vinegar and milk method. Crispy edges, top and bottom. Good balance on the sweetness. Very nice crumb and texture. It is now my go to recipe and I have tried many!

  15. Margaret Remus says:

    This was delicious cornbread. It will be my go to recipe. It’s printed and in my cookbook. It was just a little too sweet. But the family absolutely loved it. Double batch next time.

  16. I don’t have any cornmeal but I have corn flour. Can I use that instead?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sheri! Corn flour is a different ingredient. You’ll need cornmeal to make this recipe.

  17. Beverly Rowland says:

    Question: What brand of cornmeal do you use? Mostly what is in or grocery stores is “cornmeal mix”, which already has flour and leavening mixed in. Would love to try this recipe, but don’t want to waste ingredients. Thanks so much

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Beverly! We like to use Quaker or Bob’s Red Mill cornmeal.

  18. Loved this recipe! Light and fluffy with a hint of sweetness. Added 5 minutes to baking time, as it was still uncooked in the middle at 20 min. Will definitely make again!

  19. Erika Ishkanian says:

    Perfect cornbread! I’m not a huge cornbread person but this recipe has my heart. Love the extra heat from the jalapeño. My husband is obsessed with cornbread. This is now his favorite. Thank you, Sally!

  20. Like you, I’ve never been a fan of cornbread, but this is delicious! Thank you , again, for a fantastic recipe. Can King Arthur powdered buttermilk be used in this recipe?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Deb, we can’t see why not — follow the powdered buttermilk directions to yield the one cup needed for this recipe. We’re glad it was a hit for you!

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