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

599 Comments

  1. Wow ! Looks fab . I tried ur cinnamon bread the other day and im a big fan of your pizza dough too so this os next ! I think you should share more bread recipes they are so awesome  and fool proof ! 

  2. On behalf of cornbread everywhere, gotta thank you. I have had good cornbread in the past, but these incidents are few and far between. So in my brain, I’ve kind of written it off. Now I have hope that it can be good again! And brown sugar? Who woulda thunk?

  3. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg says:

    Sally – You’ve done it again. This cornbread looks divine. I love adding honey to cornbread. It definitely gives the bread a nice sweetness. Your weekends sound a lot like mine: busy! Glad you had a relaxing one this weekend. 🙂

  4. Sally, I LOVE cornbread (we don’t really make it in Scotland but I always order it when I’m in the States) and have always wanted to try making my own. This will be coming out of my kitchen very soon. Thank you!! Lx

  5. This cornbread looks so yummmm!

  6. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    Cornbread is one of my favorite snacks! Love this!

  7. Yay, I’m so happy you are a cornbread convert! I’m CRAZY about cornbread…seriously, it’s weird 😉 I would pick cornbread over almost any flavor of cupcake/cake or candy, and over many kinds of cookies. It would never beat out a fruit dessert or cheesecake, however…but your recipe looks awesome and I can’t wait to try it!

  8. Melanie @ Carmel Moments says:

    Ahh….cornbread. Irresistible with soup and chili! Always love the honey drizzle!

  9. Lynn @ Fresh April Flours says:

    My MIL makes my favorite cornbread, and it is LOADED with butter. I try tweaking the recipe every few months with the effort of making it healthier, but nothing beats that buttery flavor. I think you’ve convinced me to throw in the towel and just bite the bullet and post her original. It’s soooo delish, and my world is a better place because of it. 

  10. Toni Hutcheson says:

    Oh Sally this is way too funny… My boyfriends been wanting to make cornbread for weeks and I kept pushing it off because I don’t have a good recepie that isn’t dry and just don’t trust any recepies online.. He says to me “doesn’t Sally have a cornbread recepie???” Ha! Last night we were finally just going to give it a try, took the cornmeal out, and decided on chocolate chip banana bread instead (obviously a more delicious choice anyways). We then browsed all of your banana recepies because as he said it, “if we don’t use Sally’s recepie your heart just isn’t going to be in it!” ha!! Definitely giving this a try this week, he is going to be so thrilled!!!

    1. PERFECT timing. Hope you both enjoy this recipe!

  11. Love Corn Bread…but as a transplanted Southerner, my hubby who grew up in the South corrected me on what Corn Bread is.  It is not sweet.  He said that Corn Bread should, “suck out 90% of the moisture out of your body.”   He said if it is sweet…it is not corn bread..it is “Corn Cake”.  

    That’s from the mouth of Southern man… and I have learned to agree.  His Granny’s recipe is the best!   This recipe looks good, I’ll admit that…but just making sure you are aware of what corn bread actually should be. 🙂

    1. That’s pretty true, Liz.  Being from New Orleans, I’ve eaten a lot of cornbread and that’s why I usually don’t like it, because it is so dry.  I like mine softer and sweeter.  

  12. Is cornbread a breakfast food….because it looks like I need to get out of bed and go whip up a batch and enjoy it this morning. Sally, this recipe looks absolutely delicious!! I love cornbread and find that it is such a perfect side with simple home cooked meals. Thanks for sharing. 

    1. I had cornbread topped with blueberry jam for breakfast last week, sooooo yes.

  13. Hi Sally -I love the way you write and all your recipes look so yummy!  

    My question is about using NO SUGAR AT ALL in the recipe.  Would that affect the outcome in a negative way?  I LOOOOOOOVE CORNBREAD, but I hate it sweet.  

    R. 

    1. You can absolutely try that, but the bread will be lacking a little flavor. Enjoy, Renee!

  14. Sally — I’ll be trying this tonight.  I got a recipe from a local restaurant, without measurements, and make it all the time.  I like mine sweet and they add frozen concentrated orange juice.  Adds such a great flavor!  I’m going to try your measurements and throw in some of the OJ and see what happens.  Love your recipes!  Thanks

    1. The addition of the frozen concentrated juice is intriguing! I’ll have to play around with that. 

  15. HI sally! First, I’m totally making cornbread soon. I’d been planning on it, but I was rather intimidated, as I’ve never made it before, and my dad apparently doesn’t really care for it. So if I mess up, he’ll most likely never eat it again…. 🙂

    Second, I think your next mission should be creating a nice, soft, yeast-y white bread base recipe, than take it to the next level–picture cheese, ranch & larch bits of bacon in every bite, topped with a chunk of butter… and you’ve entered heaven. I’ve made my own recipe like this, using my own white bread base, but I’d love to hear what additions you could make to this recipe.
    Thanks!
    Kayla

  16. My hubby loves cornbread. I usually am not a fan. After reading this I’m hoping that when I make this for my hubby that it’s as delicious as it sounds and maybe make me a cornbread fan after all 🙂

    Thanks Sally!!! 

  17. Did you try Greek Yogurt?  I find that it adds a lot of moisture to several of my recipes tweaks… I’ve also made corn bread from box mixes and adding a can of creamed corn into it and OMG is that a fabulous mouth texture

    1. While the bread was moist, it was a little TOO dense. You can do half milk half Greek yogurt if you’d like!

  18. We are big fans of cornbread here. Like many things the perfect recipe can be regional (ie chili in TX doesn’t have beans, many southerners say cornbread doesn’t have sugar/honey). I’m a strong advocate of making what tastes good to you!  Your recipe looks great and I’m excited to try it!  Thanks for giving information to bake in cast iron, which is our preferred method.  Have you ever made honey butter to go with your cornbread?  Super easy!  One cup each softened butter, honey, confectionary sugar (optional), mix using stand or hand mixer until well mixed (2-3 minutes). I use the whip to get it fluffy but the paddle is fine. I then use a spatula to put mixture in a gallon ziplock, snip a corner, and ‘pipe’ it into a mason jar. If using for muffins or biscuits you can also add 2 tsp cinnamon (although I like it without).  

    1. Sounds amazing, Chelle! I’ll have to try your honey butter– I think I’ll use my whip attachment and leave out the confectioners’ sugar. And maybe add cinnamon to half of the batch. Thank you!

      1. That’s actually a really great idea, to add cinnamon to half!  I’ve only added the sugar a couple of times when it was for biscuits. It’s not necessary. 

  19. Wow, now that’s cornbread! It looks perfect- can’t wait to try! You’re recipes are so creative, I never would have thought to use brown sugar in cornbread, but the way you reason, it makes so much sense now!

  20. Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat says:

    I love a classic cornbread recipe. Yours looks so fantastic! I bet you would steal the show with these!

  21. Oh my gosh! I will be making this recipe for sure the next time I make cornbread. I’ve used the recipe off of the corn meal container and it’s just not that great, not like a BBQ place like Dinosaur BBQ, I’m from Syracuse so we’re very spoiled. I’m on the hunt for a great cornbread recipe and I hope this is it! Love your recipes!!!

    1. Let me know how you like it Meghan!

  22. Cornbread – love, l*o*v*e, LOVE it.  And the promise of cornbread muffins – I can hardly wait.  I am totally making these and garnering a few more cb lovers in my family.  Thank you, as always, Sally!

  23. Cornbread is one of my ALL-TIME favorite things to eat all day, every day. I make my own individual portion for dinner and top it with vanilla greek yogurt and honey. (!!!) The smooth yogurt + crunchy bread is making my mouth water. I might possibly have that for dinner tonight. Haha! This makes me think of my childhood, too, with homemade chicken pot pie and honey butter. So comforting. So delicious.

    1. Laurrrrrrr. Vanilla greek yogurt on top? Trying that TODAY.

  24. Haha, I was just thinking about cornbread and BAM, this shows up! I’m really tempted to bust out this recipe right now!

  25. I love it when you get converted! Makes for more variety on the site (not that I don’t enjoy sprinkles, peanut butter, and mint). I want to try this sometime soon!

  26. Alexis @ Upside Down Pear says:

    I love cornbread, but rarely make it. Probably because I have a hard time making “sides” for dinner. I’m more of a…we have a main meal ready let’s eat!…kind of mentality. But this bread could be the “main” meal as it were, especially if we’re planning for breakfast. That sounds amazing putting jam on it. I’ve never thought to do that. Mmmmm…warm cornbread with butter and jam. 🙂

    1. Make it for breakfast and eat any leftovers with chili, soup, salad, or BBQ for dinner. That’s what I did last week!

  27. I LOVE cornbread, but always find the recipes I try are too dry! I am super pumped to try this now! Thank you for the skillet option, I am a die hard skillet lover (adds iron to your food – woo hoo!) 

  28. Elle @ Only Taste Matters says:

    We are huge cornbread fans and this recipe looks amazing! Pinned!

  29. Oh my gosh yay yay yay! Sooo excited for the corn bread muffin recipe – I have already bugged you at least twice about it! I absolutely looove corn muffins from the bakery or dunkin donuts with a hot coffee. Just a bit confused – this is not a recipe you make muffins from? What do you use corn bread for?

    1. You can absolutely make muffins out of this recipe! That’s what I did, only I added chopped jalapeños for some kick. We had this cornbread with BBQ chicken and corn on the cob. It’s a wonderful side dish for chili, soup, BBQ, casseroles. Really, anything you’d like to pair it with.

  30. This sounds delish and I’m looking forward to making it.  Tonight I’m making your Strawberry Almond Chicken Salad for friends.  It’s a favorite that I can’t wait for them to try!

    1. Love love love that salad recipe! Now that you mention it, this cornbread would be a nice side for that salad Deb. Hope your friends enjoyed it!

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