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. 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.

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 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

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

466 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. This looks great! I would love to make it but I would need a dairy free/nut free option for the buttermilk. What would you recommend?

    1. Hi Sherry! I’m not the best one to ask about dairy free baking– I have very little experience with substitutions. Sorry!

    2. We’re dairy free.

      I’ve had good luck with adding canned coconut cream/ milk with the cream. Otherwise you can use soymilk.

      I cooked this tonight using cashew milk (which is quite thin and watery) and set the timer for 15 minutes. I checked it in 2 minute intervals after that. It didn’t brown on the top but the bottom did. I took it out at about 18 to 19 minutes.

      There was no crisp/ crunchy bits. After letting it cool 20 minutes while I finished the chili I cut it into thin, small squares. It was very soft and tender. It tastes like cake made with a bit of corn flour.

      We didn’t mind and I’ll put this in the rotation.

      Otherwise I use Jiffy mix, the 1 egg (or aquafaba), and an alternative plant milk. That gets you a dry, crunchy cornbread.

  2. Would it be ok to omit the brown sugar and honey or do you have another recipe for cornbread that isn’t sweet?

    1. Hi Jamie! You can leave both out if desired.

  3. I was looking for a cornbread recipe that was moist and delicious and slightly sweet – DID THIS DELIVER! I love cornbread but hate when it is way too crumbly and falls apart, and also when it’s too sweet (like I’m eating candy). My daughter (4y/o) and I made this recipe for her ‘Thanksgiving Feast’ at school and made a second batch to have for dinner so we could taste – YUM! Both of my kids (4 and 1) loved it, as did I! It was moist, not too crumbly (only slightly) and just the perfect amount of sweet. This will now be my ‘go to’ cornbread recipe and am so thankful I found it! Thank you!!!!!

  4. Hi Sally I think I did a buboo I mix the sugar with all the dry ingredients?? Yikes

    1. Hi Wally! No problem- simply continue with the recipe as written, it will still turn out great!

  5. What would you recommend if I didn’t want the bread sweet? Simply omit the brown sugar and honey?? Your help is very much appreciated! Thank you!!

    1. You can remove or reduce the sugar, yes. Enjoy!

  6. Will this be as fresh made the night before & wrapped tightly? Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving

    1. Definitely! Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  7. This was excellent! I did substitute milk with almond milk + lemon juice due to an allergy and margarine for butter . I used bread flour instead of all purpose to experiment.
    I added cheddar and 1 jalapeno.
    I’m not sure they’re lasting until dinner, tbh.

    1. I’m so glad you were able to make them work for you and that you enjoyed them so much, Michelle!

  8. Letty Borrego says:

    Absolutely delicious and moist. So easy to make! A huge hit at our Thanksgiving dinner.

  9. Chris Retzinger says:

    I just made this Cornbread to go with a nice split pea soup that I used my leftover ham in.
    I sub’d the buttermilk with one cup of canned full fat coconut milk, the butter with Smart Balance (margarine), as my daughter is vegetarian. Everything else exactly per the recipe. This turned out excellent!

  10. Love this cornbread. Made mine to go with chili.

  11. Amazing recipe! Straightforward and easy to follow – yielding a delicious and moist result. Thank you for posting this. I’ve never made cornbread before and found your recipe after my husband made a special request after sampling cornbread at an evening out. Will be saving this recipe and making again. I will also try freezing some to reduce the temptation of eating the whole pan in one day. 🙂

  12. Oh, my, this is sooooo good. My slight alteration was to use two eggs and a slightly rounded measurement of the flour to compensate. All cornbread lovers know that scratchy throat feeling when eating cornbread; Add the touch of sweetness from the sugar and honey and this is just a gorgeously tasting treat. Merci/Thank you

  13. Can the buttermilk be replaced with whole milk if I do not have buttermilk and if so is the measurements going to be different?

    1. Hi, Lois! Buttermilk is required for this recipe. See my recipe notes for a DIY version using milk and lemon juice or white vinegar.

  14. Logan Addison says:

    Have never made cornbread before, after searching through recipes I felt like this one was most conceptual in it’s explanation. The proportions of the ingredients in this recipe yielded a perfect bake! I am so happy. I added a few steps that I saw from other recipes and liked! 1. I whipped the egg to a ribbon stage and folded it as the last thing I added to the batter. 2. I used a little less sugar and added a splash of vanilla and cinnamon (i mean its the holidays right??? Haha) 3. I preheated the oven with my baking pan in it, greased the pan hot, and then added the batter – it really made a beautiful crunchy crust and a moist interior!

  15. What adjustments would I make if I use a glass pan instead or metal?

    1. I usually bake this cornbread in a glass pan. I find it takes an extra minute or 2 since metal cooks a little quicker. Other than that, no other changes necessary.

  16. My go-to cornbread recipe! I love the level of sweetness and it’s perfectly moist. I substitute almond milk for buttermilk and it still tastes great and maintains its moist-ness.

  17. Hi Sally,

    My husband took a couple bites of the cornbread and said ‘Wow! This is great… What recipe did you use?” Thought I’d comment here b/c I used your recipe with a couple substitutions. I used 1/2c garbanzo bean flour + 1/2c all purpose flour (vs 1c all purpose flour). I also used 1/2 c 2% plain greek yogurt + 1/2c skim milk (vs 1c buttermilk)…and I realized I forgot the baking powder…but that didn’t negatively impact it! Basically the most delicious cornbread I’ve had in a long time 🙂

  18. Awesome recipe,
    Reduce buttermilk in half and add 12oz can of cream corn.
    In the last 4 minutes of baking tine, put 8oz if sharp cheddar, pickled jalapeños and bacon bits on top! Increase temperature slightly, keep a watchful eye so you don’t burn it !!! Yum yum

  19. I made this to go with my New Year’s Day Blackeyed peas and greens. I love the texture on this… soft and not gritty like cornmeal heavy cornbread. I reduced the sugar and honey by half because my guy does not like sweet things, but I know I would love it even more with the full sweetness. Very good!

  20. Thank-you for this delicious recipe. You have finally made cornbread delicious! I made it yesterday to have with black-eyed peas & collards which are a southern New Years Day tradition. Everyone ate 2 pieces. <3

  21. Great recipe for corn bread very light and fluffy. I would cut back a bit on the sugar and honey. Plus wonder if could cut down on calories with something other than butter??

    1. I have to admit I was skeptical that one cornbread recipe could be so much better than any other. I figured cornbread was cornbread was cornbread. Boy was I wrong. This recipe is a cut above. The cornbread came out light and fluffy, with crispy edges and so much flavor. This is the only recipe I’ll ever use again!

  22. Angie Broyles says:

    My husband is in love with this recipe! Very yummy!

  23. Perhaps it’s because I use blue corn but I literally have to double the amount of buttermilk in this recipe, which is otherwise good.

  24. Accidentally browned the butter in the cast iron– was having too much fun with this recipe. Had a secret hunch it was going to be bomb… Used coconut sugar instead of white. Subbed Two Tbsps of the flour for Flax meal for some extra goodness too. It turned out so so tasty! Thank you Sally!!

  25. Faith Kirkland says:

    Love this recipe. Light, fluffy but has substance. A keeper!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Faith!

  26. I substituted the buttermilk with unsweetened hazlenut milk and added one more teaspoon of baking powder. It turned out so nice!!

  27. I’ve recently tried a few of your recipes, including this cornbread. I haven’t been disappointed. This cornbread has a wonderful balance of sweet and savory, is simple and quick; I’ll be keeping this one. Thanks for great recipes.

    1. Thank you so much for trying my recipes, Terya! I’m so happy you are enjoying them!

  28. I honestly didn’t think anything could top my mom’s cornbread which calls for more cornmeal than flour – and so much sugar?? No. But!! Even though it was crumbly and dry-ish because apparently blue cornmeal requires more liquid (as I learned in comments) – hubby LOVED it. Loooooved it! So looks like this is my new cornbread recipe

  29. barbara fogarty says:

    I just made this using cornmeal mix and flour. Cut the leavening in half. All other ingredients and portions unchanged. Delicious, moist and not too sweet.

  30. I just made this cornbread to pair with my Moose (venison) sausage chili. I have a recipe that we all like, but it was too much like cake, so I searched for a different recipe and tried yours. This truly is a Perfect cornbread mix ( love the brown sugar idea, didn’t change a thing in this recipe ) and it is now my “go to” cornbread recipe. Thank you so much for sharing!

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