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

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.

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.
  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.

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!

Print
Cornbread

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 keep it around, you can make a DIY version by adding 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a large liquid measuring cup. Then add enough regular room temperature milk to make 1 cup total. Whole milk is recommended for moistest, richest texture. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. This soured milk can be used in the recipe.
  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

I tested several cornbread recipes and it ALWAYS comes back to this one. Best cornbread ever!

392 Comments

  1. I LOVE this recipe, we use it all the time. It has become a highly requested dish at potlucks, or with chili, soup, or just because! Thank you so much for the recipe, it’s a KEEPER! I also commented on your buttermilk biscuit recipe, because those are also AMAZING – but I’m wondering about making cornbread and biscuits at the same time (one oven) since they have close but not the same baking temps. Cornbread at 400 and biscuits at 425 – have you ever baked the cornbread at a higher temp and still gotten good results? or will the outsides crisp before the insides are fully cooked? Thanks for any advice you can provide!

    1. Hey Sarah! So happy to help and glad you love the biscuits and this cornbread! Whenever you’re baking two items at once that require slightly different oven temperatures, it’s best to go with the lower temperature. Then bake the item that needed the higher temperature for longer. (In fact, both items will need a bit longer since the oven is more crowded!)

  2. Delicious. My family of 4 nearly ate the entire thing. Just the perfect level of sweetness. Ate it with the most amazing chili Recipe and it was the perfect combo.

  3. I used this recipe as a topping/“crust” for a maple bbq sloppy joe pie and oh my goodness it was the best thing I had ever tasted! The light, slightly sweet flavour, and the fluffy inside was the perfect compliment! Outstanding recipe!

  4. Excellent recipe, Sally!

    Flavourful & wonderfully moist, without losing the light crunch that I love about cornmeal.

  5. This is a delicious cornbread recipe! My husband had three pieces and he barely eats bread! He said to me,”You could sell this stuff!” I have tried several recipes and this is a favorite. Thanks for sharing.

  6. It was really good. I’ll make it again. Next time I’ll try making it in a cast iron skillet. I’m at 4500′ elevation and I forgot to adjust for high elevation and it turned out fine. Maybe a little crumbly but corn bread usually is crumbly.

  7. I just made this for meal prep to go with my veggie chili. And I definitely did NOT eat 4 pieces with butter because it was so freaking tasty…. >.<

    Thank you for this recipe!

  8. Hey Sally! This cornbread recipe comes out perfect every time, but it always takes me about 30 minutes at 400 in my conventional oven. Is my oven temperature off? My cornbread always turns out a little more brown and crispy than yours does in the pictures… but I’ve never had any problems with baking times for any other recipes. I use a conventional oven.

    1. Hi Talia, I recommend checking the temperature of your oven with an oven thermometer. See #7 in my Baking Tips post for more details!
      Also, any chance you are using a glass pan? Glass pans can take longer to bake, here is a good article on the subject if you are interested: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2018/03/29/glass-or-metal-or-stoneware

  9. I don’t bake offer, but this was a great recipe. Husband loved the flavor! Wondering how I can make it stay together better – the pieces fell apart when cut. Still great tho!

      1. Thanks! I’ll do that next time. … and there were no leftovers because we used what we didn’t eat with lunch for dessert with Strawberries. Wow that was good!

  10. I made this with orange peel and the juice of one small orange to replace part of the buttermilk (and to make a buttermilk subistute with regular milk) and it turned great with spicy black beans. A great addition to my confinement meal plan. Thank you for the recipe !

  11. I haven’t made this yet, but it’s on my menu for tonight’s catfish dinner. I was surprised that kernels of corn weren’t among your add-ins. Before I do that, have you tried it? I don’t think it would throw off the recipe.

      1. Thanks. Turns out I made the Honey Skillet Corn Bread in my cast iron skillet. It did kind of fall apart probably because I didn’t give it enough time to cool. It is delicious and easy. Thank you.

  12. This is now officially my favorite cornbread recipe. I made this while quarantined and served it with chili. My son said it is one of the best meals I have ever made. Go figure. It’s a winner!

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