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!

317 Comments

  1. YUM.  I needed a corn bread recipe.  In a pinch I used to use the box mix and it is not flavorful or moist.  Cannot WAIT to make this with some fab bbq this summer.  THanks Sally!

    – Amy

  2. Cornbread lovers will sing your praises for this. I have met several cornbreads which match your description of dry and flavorless and I want better than that. 🙂

  3. This looks amazing!  Have you ever tried it with 2/3 cup cornmeal and 1/3 cup coarse cornmeal (polenta)?  It makes it just a little bit crunchy.  I LOVE corn muffins, can’t wait to see your recipe.

  4. Love cornbread and this looks great. Can’t wait for your corn muffin recipe! Hope they are jumbo like the blueberry and raspberries ones, they are my favorites 🙂

  5. Oh cornbread is so my favorite! I think I will always reach for cornbread, it’s just too good. I love making it from scratch so I’ll have to try your recipe!

  6. Oh, I’m so going to make this soon. Trying to get over an illness and starting to get my appetite back….this corn bread is calling me.

    Here is how I’m going to cook it and I think you should give it a try:
    preheat a cast iron skillet 8 inch will probably work nicely, coat with non-stick spray and then melt four tablespoons of butter in it turning pan so the butter gets up the sides, THEN add the batter and bake. Oooooh will the crust be good and buttery.

  7. Oh I love this Sally! My go-to cornbread recipe for several years has been a vegan one – I really like the taste but it is SUPER DUPER crumbly. The next time I make it, I am definitely trying your version – it sounds divine. I have been making mango BBQ beans for dinner on occasion and this would be a great side to that! 🙂 Also…adding blueberries? What a great idea!

  8. I LOVE cornbread. I could eat it for ages, but I probably shouldn’t! I haven’t had it in awhile, so now I can’t wait to try this recipe out! 
    🙂 
    Kenzie
    Behindhazeleyes06.blogspot.com

  9. Hey Sally!  I’m just loving all this cornbreadiness!  Makes me miss my Texas home!  I actually dreamt about blueberry cornbread muffins last night, so I think my dreams are telling me I need to make this cornbread, stat! What should you wrap the cornbread in to store it?  Great recipe (as always) :)!

      1. Thanks, Sally!  You’re the best at always responding to my questions.  I know you’re busy, so I really appreciate it!

  10. I love a good cornbread and yours looks superb Sally. Love the addition of honey. All the tips you gave are fantastic. Will help me when making this recipe.

  11. I made this last night 🙂 made an unrolled layered cabbage roll dish and decided last minute that I needed a carb for the side. Threw this together in a couple minutes and into the oven it went. Oh my goodness. So so good. So crazy moist and soft. My go to recipe now. Thanks!

  12. These look great! I’ve been reading your blog for a little while (well, ever since I discovered it, and I have to say LOVE looking at your recipes and learning new baking techniques!) I made your homemade pop tarts and got so many raving reviews! Thanks for al the great ideas. Typically not a corn bread lover but this definitely looks worth trying!

      1. Reporting back: Tonight I made your “Baked Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers” and this cornbread to go along with it! I think the smoked paprika added a nice touch! I’d never used it in baking before. And I may have more of that cornbread for breakfast…. cornbread for breakfast? Did I just say that? Is that allowed? I did make the cornbread in a 8*8 container so I wonder how it would turn out in a 9*13…

  13. These looks absolutely delicious!

    I’ve never had cornbread before – I need to change that.

  14. This recipe looks fantastic! To be honest, though, I love cornbread so much that even the mix in the box is a delicious indulgence. I’m a cornbread anti-snob. Love it!

    1. My grandma made cornbread from the box from time to time and from what I remember, that’s the kind I always liked!

  15. I made your cornbread recipe yesterday afternoon in time for my 3-year-old’s snack time and he loved it – he even cleaned up his crumbs! I split the recipe (half plain, half with chopped jalapenos and cheddar cheese). My husband had the plain cornbread for breakfast this morning and also cleaned his plate (he’s always been a sweet cornbread fan). I had the jalapeno cheddar cornbread yesterday and this morning, and the savory flavors definitely developed more overnight. Your recipe has the perfect combination of sweetness, moistness and buttery-ness. But I think next time I make a full recipe with jalapenos and cheddar cheese, I will follow your tip about reducing the brown sugar to 1/4 cup so the savory flavors can come through more. I won’t adjust the original plain cornbread recipe – it’s perfect the way it is! I’ve been in search of the perfect cornbread recipe since I had the best cornbread (and clam chowder) in Boston 11 years ago – my search is now over. Thanks Sally!

  16. This looks outstanding!  I’m going to make it this weekend to go with some BBQ chicken.  We have a cast iron drop-biscuit (or mini cake) skillet I’m thinking about using.  Any idea if this recipe would work in that type of skillet, or should I wait for the muffin recipe to use it?

    1. Yes! Cast iron skillet works wonders. Melt some butter in it, then pour in the batter. See my recipe note!

  17. This is the cornbread recipe I’ve been waiting for!  I don’t know whether to make the first batch with bacon and cheese or bacon and jalapeño!  I think I’ll use Ree Drummond’s method of heating up the cast iron skillet and melting some butter or shortening in it, first, then pouring the batter into the hot skillet!  Getting ready to soak a big bag of beans as I type!  Chili for this cool and rainy weekend here in the mountains!  Thanks again, Sally!

  18. Absolutely the BEST cornbread I have ever had! So moist and tasty. Super easy to make! Thank you for all your wonderful recipes…especially the cookies…who doesn’t love a cookie?

  19. Oh My! My husband will be so excited. He LOVES cornbread but I never make it for him because I have never found a recipe good enough. I am relatively new to your site but everything I have tried has been a huge hit! Every time I put a batch of Sky High Apple Pie muffins in the oven I end up with a lineup of neighbourhood kids at the door.  When I make your salted caramel my husband, kids and their friends will suddenly materialize in the kitchen with spoons and crazed grins. Thank You!

    1. Hahahahaha I’m laughing so loud “suddenly materialize in the kitchen with spoons and crazed grins.” 😉

  20. This was amazing!!! I made it and my 3 year old loved it as well as my entire family. The flavor and texture is perfect. I didn’t even need to put butter on it! Thanks Sally!

  21. Hi Sally! This looks delicious. I have recently become gluten free which means I can’t eat all of your yummy bread recipes 🙁 This cornbread and your zucchini bread look so good and I really want to make them 🙁 is there any way I can substitute the all purpose flour for anything else that would make it GF? Thanks so much!

    1. Tamar, you can try using a GF flour instead. I have never tried it so I’m not 100% sure of the outcome, but if you get one of those cup-4-cup varieties, it should be fine.

  22. Hi Sally, I am a Canadian living in Britain & I’ve been dying to try making Cornbread as you just can’t get it here but, I could only get hold of Cornflour & Polenta, NOT Cornmeal so, after doing some digging online, I read that Polenta was the best “corn” sub. Well, my Cornbread turned out very wet, greasy and very unappetising. I REALLY want to have a go at making this, yours is the best recipe I’ve found and ive had such great success with everything else I’ve tried on your site so, I’m hoping you can help me make some awesome Cornbread, please can you suggest a substitute for Cornmeal that I might have a chance of finding here in the U.K? Thanks so much! 

    1. Definitely do not use Polenta instead of the cornmeal. There really isn’t a sub for this– can you search online for buying it instead?

      1. Thankyou so much for getting back to me, I know you must be insanely busy! Ok well, I shall start investigating and see what I can find. I WILL make Cornbread if it kills me!  

        Thanks again, Sally, much appreciated. xoxo 

    2. Reading through the cornbread comments on another site, I saw that someone used a grain mill to grind up popcorn to make cornmeal! I haven’t tried it yet, but I just might. I think a spice grinder with blades or, better yet, a burr grinder would work.

  23. Ugh I have such a love/hate relationship with your site (99% love) because I have this tab open, the double chocolate chip zucchini bread, and the blueberry muffin open and can’t decide what to make tomorrow!!! They are all perfect. Might have to space them out this week 🙂

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