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!

275 Comments

  1. Wow sally! Your blog never disappoints me 🙂 I was searching for a good recipe but it’s hard to find THE best one… then I remembered there’s you and nothing that I ever made from this blog EVER turned out bad. And it keeps going that way! This is now my favorite cornbread recipe as well. It’s so moist, buttery, soft, the crust on top… just yummmm! Killed my craving big time. You’re awesome! Thanks for sharing your passion and your gems 🙂

  2. Tried this today and its delicious! It did take a few minutes longer in the oven, many thanks for another hit!

    1. I would purchase some high-quality cornmeal that is non-self-rising. Organic, preferably, with only corn as the ingredient.  Then you can simply follow the recipe and use the stated leaveners.  

    1. Hi Jessica! I’m unsure; I’d have to test it out. I’d hate to give you a wrong recommendation! Let me know if you try anything out.

  3. Love the recipe. I changed a couple of things..well one really. Instead of a full cup of buttermilk I used 3/4 of a cup of sour cream. The bread turned out delish. Glad I found this recipe!!

  4. This is amazing! I used 2 medium eggs instead of 1 large, and soured half-&-half with vinegar instead of using buttermilk. And of course I added a cup of cheddar. So rich and delicious! Thank you!

  5. This cornbread is the best cornbread that I have ever made! My family loves it. Thanks for another great recipe!

  6. A great recipe, I made this tonight for dinner. I subbed in 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour 1/2 cup AP flour instead of the 1 cup AP Flour and used a scant 1/4 cup of brown sugar – it turned out just right, not too sweet and still moist and tasty! Served it with Vegetarian Quorn Mince Chili inspired by/adapted from your Taco Spice Slow Cooker, and corn on the cob. Thanks Sally!

      1. Thanks, Sally. I lived dangerously 😉 and made the muffins yesterday based on the original recipe and they are wonderful. Next time I will try them with the addition of oil to make them even better.

  7. I have enjoyed trying many of your recipes and am usually very pleased. Made this for dinner and my family would not eat it. It had a very strange flavor and was quite moist/dense. I used stone ground white cornmeal because I could not find yellow. Followed recipe exactly, even having egg and buttermilk at room temp. Cornbread had nice “rise” and was golden brown. The brown sugar and honey added a strange sweetness and the equal use of flour and cornmeal made a more cake like cornbread. Very disappointed to throw away.

  8. Great flavor (added 1 jalapeno and 1 cup cheddar) though next time I’d drop it down to 1/4 cup brown sugar so it wasn’t quite so sweet with those savory additions.

    That said – I used a 8″ glass square Pyrex dish. The oven had just come to 400F so perhaps I will let it sit at temp for a few minutes before putting the cornbread in the oven, but I found that it took almost 30 minutes before a toothpick (appeared to have) came out clean. Even then the middle was sunk because I’d checked it a couple times before then, thinking it’d be closer to 20 minutes, and after cutting into it it could have benefited from a few more minutes – just ended up cutting out the middle and throwing it away. The toothpick test was my fault and so I’ll def make this again but wanted to warn others that if you use a 8″ pan, give it some more time because it’s going to be taller/denser!

  9. Can I use raw honey? Or does it have to be traditional processed honey?

    Also, any suggestions how long to bake if using a bread pan?

    SO excited to make this recipe! Thanks!

    1. Hi Jenna! Raw honey is fantastic in this cornbread recipe. The bread loaf will take about 45-55 minutes, same oven temperature.

  10. I made this cornbread exactly according to the directions. It looked perfect coming out of the oven and tasted delicious, but when we tried to cut into slices, everything under the top crust disintegrated into crumbs. I did used frat free buttermilk bc that’s all Trader Joe’s had in stock. Could that be the culprit?

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Because of the cornmeal, cornbread is crumbly by nature. My guess is that there wasn’t enough fat (moisture) to hold it somewhat together. It also could have been overbaked and dried out. All ovens are different, so keep an eye on the cornbread as it gets close to the finish time.

  11. First of all, your website is my go-to place for all things baked goods (so THANK YOU). My husband and I have a smoker, and we treat friends to BBQ often. This cornbread recipe is our absolute favorite to pair with smoked meats and veggies. I’ve made it over 10 times in the past year. So. Good. I’ve tried it in different ways – in a cast iron, as mini muffins, baked on the smoker. Yesterday, I made your brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies (WOW), so today I tried browning the butter for the cornbread. Yummmmm. Honestly, it tasted pretty similar to the original, but the browned butter flecks throughout the cornbread were so fun. Ultimately, you’re changing the way I think about baked goods. I appreciate it so much!

    1. Thank you so much Karen! What kind words 🙂 Using browned butter in the cornbread sounds amazing and now I need to try it that way!!

  12. Made this it was very good. A tad bit sweet so I would cut maybe the brown sugar. But then again it turned out so perfect . Fluffy , moist and cut and split great ! Love it .

  13. Holy cow! This is the most delicious cornbread I’ve ever had. I made a double batch of this for my Thanksgiving dressing and it was difficult not to eat it all before making the dressing. I’ll be making more soon. I wish I’d made a third batch to serve with the turkey!!

  14. There are no words…… this is the one and only recipe for cornbread EVER. Omg. I’m not a huge fan of cornbread but let me tell you I made this last night and it was soooo good it did make you want to smack someone to say shut the from door this is the best recipe for sweet and light texture of cornbread I’ve ever eaten hands down! It was not dry at all the hardest thing about this was not attacking it before it cooled down. From the burn on my roof of my mouth I did not fare so well. I don’t care because this was amazing thank you so much. This is the second recioive tried from you and this did not disappoint thanks for doing all the leg work. Now where can I buy your cool books?

    1. I’m sorry you burned your mouth but so happy you enjoyed the recipe so much, Kelly!! You can find all 3 of my cookbooks wherever books are sold and also on Amazon. There is a link for each book on the homepage of this blog if you scroll down a bit 🙂 Happy baking!

  15. My go-to recipe even for my Vegan family, just use sour soy milk instead of buttermilk, aquafaba and vegan butter. Super yummy!

  16. Hey Sally. I just wanted to reach out to you and say thank you for all the hard work you’ve done. Every recipe I’ve made has been delicious, including this corn bread.

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