World's Best Cornbread Recipe
What Makes Delicious Cornbread?
A crispy, crunchy exterior with a moist, light interior. Lots of intense corn flavor. A tender crumb.
I've been baking cornbread for years, and have made more mistakes than I can count. Slowly, though, I've been able to perfect it.
Here's how to make the most delicious cornbread you've ever tasted. You'll love serving this with chili or stew, or fresh peas, or simply to eat hot from the oven with loads of sweet butter.
This is true, downhome cornbread!
- 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup of yellow cornmeal (it's okay to use white cornmeal, but I prefer yellow)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1/4 cup of butter, MELTED
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/4 cup of buttermilk
- 3 tbsp. oil (I prefer Canola oil)
Step 1: Make the Batter
- Turn on your oven to 400 to preheat.
- Put 3 tbsp. of Canola oil into a black 12" skillet, and put the skillet into the oven so it'll get hot. The skillet with the oil should be in the oven about 15 minutes or so. You want the skillet, and the oil inside it, to get piping hot, but not to begin to smoke.
- You'll use TWO bowls, one large and one small.
- Into the LARGER bowl put the dry ingredients. Stir them till you're sure that they've all been mixed together thoroughly. Make sure your baking powder/soda have been completely incorporated into your flour and cornmeal.
- Into the SMALLER bowl, put the wet ingredients. (I usually put my butter into one of my small mixing bowls and put it into the microwave, on high, for about 20 seconds to melt the butter.) Then I pour in the buttermilk, then break in the egg, and use a fork to mix it all together.
- Now here's the trick: Pour the liquid ingredients ALL AT ONCE into the dry ingredients.
- Use a spatula (or large wooden spoon) to mix the wet and dry ingredients, using only a few swift strokes -- about a dozen turns. It's okay if there are small bits of dry flour/cornmeal here and there. The point is to mix LIGHTLY—if it starts to look smooth like cake batter, you've gone too far. (It'll still be good, but these instructions are about making a great cornbread.)
Step 2: Bake
- Use an oven mitt to remove the hot skillet from the oven and place it on your counter. Then pour your cornbread batter into it, then return the skillet to the oven.
- Bake for about 20 minutes. I encourage you to set your timer for 15 minutes, then check the cornbread and turn the skillet halfway around (if your oven browns unevenly—this is usually for older ovens.)
- Some ovens run really hot—so your cornbread might be ready in slightly less than 20 minutes. For other ovens, it could take a little longer.
- When will you know it's done? When the top has turned a gorgeous golden brown.
- Remove it to the counter and let it sit for about 8 minutes. Place a plate on top of the skillet (use an oven mitt -- the skillet will still be really hot) and invert so that the cornbread falls onto the plate. The top (what had been the bottom on the skillet) will be dark and beautiful!
- Let the cornbread rest for about 10 minutes, then slice into wedges. The crust will be dark and crisp, the interior will be moist and have a heavenly crumb.
- Trust me—you and your loved ones (or guests if you're serving it for a dinner party) are going to rave. Enjoy!
Questions & Answers
I have a hard time finding plain meal; it’s all self-rising. Can I use self-rising meal in the cornbread recipe instead?
Yes, you can. If you use self-rising cornmeal, then don't add any baking powder; otherwise, follow my recipe and you should have some great cornbread!Helpful 46
Should I use salted or unsalted butter for this cornbread recipe?
I use salted butter, but unsalted would work, too. I think cornbread tastes best with a slightly salty taste, but I realize this is a personal call.Helpful 27
Can you substitute regular cream for buttermilk when making cornbread?
Buttermilk has an acid in it that reacts with the baking soda to help with the tenderness of the bread.
To make a buttermilk-substitute, stir one-half teaspoon of lemon juice into milk or cream.Helpful 25
I’ve never had cornbread. Can you eat it as dessert?
Cornbread is usually eaten alongside a meal. However, my dad used to crumble cornbread into buttermilk -- a common practice in southeast Texas -- to eat with a spoon at the end of his meal. Does that make it "dessert"? :-)Helpful 19
I gave my spouse the grocery list, which included buttermilk for making cornbread. She brought home low-fat cultured buttermilk and I used it. It did not taste good although the texture was great. I'm assuming one needs to use old-fashioned buttermilk?
Actually, low-fat is fine. I wonder if you used enough salt? Bread -- quick breads and yeast breads -- suffers when there isn't enough salt. It's the one thing that will destroy the taste.Helpful 16