My Best Cornbread

  • 1/2 cup margarine (1 stick)
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk (powdered buttermilk is fine, or even yogurt or sour milk would work)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

You really need an iron skillet to make this, but if you just don’t have one, a nine inch square or round cake pan will do. Get your large iron skillet, or 9″ pan and put the margarine in it. Put the pan into the oven at 400° allowing the margarine to melt, and the pan to heat.

In a large bowl combine the buttermilk, eggs, sugar and salt. Use a whisk to mix it up really well. Pour in the melted margarine, leaving about a tablespoon of it left in the hot pan. Be careful pouring so you don’t get burned. Beat everything up again. Finally add the cornmeal, flour and baking soda. Whisk again until the batter is mostly smooth. Turn the batter into the hot skillet or pan, on top of the little bit of margarine you saved in it. Carefully put the skillet back into the oven. Bake the cornbread at 400° for about 25 minutes. It will be golden brown and the edges will pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool a little while before slicing into 8 or 12 wedges.

The iron skillet gives this cornbread the traditional crispy hillbilly crust. Another pan will still cook it, but it will not be quite the same. The buttermilk and sugar make the cornbread very tender and sweet. A perfect accompaniment for spicy dishes like Chili and stew. This is the best cornbread I have ever eaten, there is another recipe though, of a heartier and coarser nature, which is a little easier to make, Plain Cornbread.

If you’re not in the mood to make a whole bread, try this cornmeal muffin recipe instead

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Comments

  1. Ellen Daniel says

    Your website is gorgeous and really kind.

    With regard to corn bread recipes perhaps this would be helpful. The fastest and best recipe I have ever made. It literally takes 2 minutes to make and 15 to bake.

    One package of Jiffy cornbread add an extra egg to the directions mix until eggs are well blended with milk then add to dry just until wet. Put it in a small well greased cast iron skillet sprinkle with a tiny bit of sugar. Bake at 400. It costs about 42 cents or 25 cents if you can catch a sale.

  2. Marlene says

    I made this recipe in a regular baking pan as I don’t have a cast iron skillet. I have to tell you, it was to die for. This is by far the best cornbread my family has ever tasted. Now when I make it, I make a pan for each of my grown sons to take home as well!

    And since hubby and I can’t eat a whole pan ourselves, I freeze the leftovers.I wrapped each individual piece in wax paper, then put it in a ziplock freezer bag. It freezes nicely and we can take a piece out at a time when we want it and just warm it in the microwave.

    Also, my guys like spicey stuff, so I added some diced jalapeno and a handful of shredded cheddar cheese to the batter, they went wild!

    Thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe!

  3. says

    Your cornbread recipe is one of the best I have ever tasted and I am African American and have been baking cornbread for most of my 53 years. I ran across it while looking for a recipe that called for yogurt because I ran out of milk. It is right up there with many recipe inherited from my mother and grandmother. Great recipe!!!

  4. Ken says

    I found this recipe by searching Google for “best cornbread”, and it really lives up to the promise. I’ve been cooking this regularly for the last year or so and everyone adores it. I love it as an accompaniment to American comfort food, but it also goes great with everyone else’s comfort food too!

    We made it last night with a Moroccan vegetable stew (similar to this one, but with chicken instead of squash: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/01/squash-and-chickpea-moroccan-stew/ )

    I also like it with more-salt/less sugar for a savorier approach. I was making it with some kids last year, and discovered that it was just fine even though the 12-year-old used a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon of salt! I thought it might go poorly, but it was great!

    This has become my standard, go-to dish for potlucks and other occasions. Thanks for sharing the awesomeness.

  5. Diane says

    Made a random search for cornbread and googled hillbilly cornbread.
    got on your website and instant luck

    got my iron skillet out and didn’t have buttermile so I added vinegar to my milk and let it stand for 10 min.

    DELICIOUS ANDi SERVED IT WITH BISON STEW…..YUMMY……

  6. Kristen Kelly says

    I have never made cornbread in my life, but I tried it last night to go with some turkey chili I made, and this is a definite keeper. It really is the best tasting cornbread, ever! The texture was perfect and it was nice and moist, but also had an excellent crust, even though I didn’t use a cast iron skillet (I used a 9″ round cake pan instead). I also used butter instead of margarine. Next time I’ll try to spice it up with some chopped jalapenos and maybe a little shredded cheddar. This was so easy and so delicious, thank you!

  7. Agla says

    Cornbread is a staple in my household. Yesterday, I wanted to try a different recipe and I found yours. I loved it. Tender and wonderful. I agree the hot skillet makes that crust that is hard to replicate.

  8. Rochelle says

    Ive recently been obsessed with using my cast iron skillet to cook and found this recipe. I tried making this the other day except I used bacon grease instead of butter and it didn’t come out very good so I just tried again today and followed the recipe exactly and it is fantastic. My husband keeps going on about it saying it was the best cornbread he’s ever had and made it a point to tell me to make sure I write this one down. Thanks so much for posting this!

  9. Robin says

    This was by far and without a doubt, the best cornbread I’ve ever eaten. And being a southern girl, I’ve eaten my share of cornbread!!! Thanks for the recipe!!!

  10. Marilyn says

    This is the best cornbread, I have ever eaten and I have made a lot of cornbread.

    I used stone ground cornmeal, which make it even better, real butter and I cut the sugar to 1/4 cup. The cornbread was excellent!
    Thank you for the recipe.

  11. Marilyn says

    I have tried the “My best Cornbread” recipe and the “Plain Cornbread” recipe and I love both. It is difficult to say which is the best. They are both good. I will never use another cornbread recipe again. I cannot improve on these two recipes. Marilyn-Down South

  12. Doris Savage says

    I stumbled across this cornbread recipe this evening. I have converted to growing my own food as much as possible on 5 acres and baking everything from scratch. I made this cornbread tonight along with gumbo. This was excellent!!! I think Ellen missed the reason you were posting this. From scratch, no added preservatives. Jiffy doesn’t even come close. Thanks again.

  13. Crystal says

    I have been trying different cornbread recipes for quite some time without liking any of them, I am so glad I finally tried yours! It is definitely the best I have made or eaten! My husband even said it was better than Cracker Barrel’s corn muffins which he loves. I have been trying to refrain from using prepackaged food whenever possible but mixes and prepackaged foods were what I was taught to cook at a young age, so your site has helped me start feeding my family healthier without ingredients that I cannot say in our foods! Thank you so much!!

  14. Dee says

    This is so much like the cornbread my mama made when I was growing up. I use real butter instead of margarine and it’s entirely possible my mom used lard or bacon grease as those were staples in our house. :-) I use my 6 inch cast iron skillet and cut the recipe in half (unless we’re having company, then I make the big skillet full). Half the recipe makes plenty for me and dh to go with our stew or beans for a few meals. I like the idea of freezing it too. Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe!

    Oh, if you’ve never had leftover cornbread for dessert, you’re missing a real treat. Warm it up, add butter and maple syrup and you won’t believe how great it is. When a friend first told me that she grew up eating it for dessert, I was skeptical until I tried it. Yum!

  15. Desiree says

    I’m happy to report that your hillbilly cornbread was awesome! I used a half cup org unbleached flour and a 1/2 cup wheat four instead of just white. I used butter instead of margarine. Baked it in a recycled pie tin and voila´! Amazing- Hubby loved it too:)
    THANKS!

  16. brandy says

    I just have to say that this cornbread is amazing!! we moved far away from home recently and our son had been asking for red beans and rice. Well, you cant have that without cornbread of course. Since my grandmaw isnt close enough to make the cornbread for me, I had to do it on my own….for the first time. I guess I lucked out when I came across this website, this cornbread recipe came out simply fabulous!! I’m pretty sure I ate more cornbread then the red beans and rice!! Thanks so much :)

  17. Deb says

    I loved the hillbilly cornbread! Please find a way to make your recipes into printable format! I tried to print this and got everything in the blog also.

  18. Jesilyn S says

    OMG thats the best darn cornbread I have ever had! I used the yogurt instead of buttermilk and it was just so good! Not too sweet, not too bland. Not too gritty, not too fluffy. Great recipe! You should let your M-I-L try it!

  19. Kerissa says

    This recipe is the most outstanding, full-flavored, rich and delicious cornbread I’ve ever eaten. I have made it twice, both times with milk soured with lemon juice instead of buttermilk. My family agrees that it is hearty without being overly dense, and superbly flavored. Absolutely scrumptious. Would like to know how to adapt it for muffins, as I’d like to make it for an Easter potluck. Many thanks! I love your website!

  20. Jennifer says

    This was some of the best cornbread I’ve ever made. I didn’t have buttermilk, but actually had some kefir yogurt on hand. I used that, and it was so moist! I had to make myself stop eating it, or I would have eaten the entire skillet!

  21. Aquaria says

    I don’t get people who put sugar in their cornbread. Makes me gag. It’s supposed to be cornBREAD, not cornCAKE, after all. Or maybe no sugar in our cornbread is a Texas thing, because it’s just not done here. Then again, it wasn’t done in Mississippi, either, when I lived there, so I suspect sugar in it is a Yankee thing.

    Here’s my grandmother’s recipe, and it always wins rave reviews:

    Get all your ingredients together: Bacon grease/lard, corn meal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, buttermilk, optional items. Get your mixing bowls and all that, too. You need to move fast once you turn on your oven.

    Turn on your oven and set it to 450 (yes, 450). Put about 3 TB of bacon grease or lard in a cast iron skillet. Put it in the oven so the grease can get hot. You’ll want to check it after about 5 minutes to make sure it isn’t smoking.

    So get cracking with the bread mix. Mix together 2 cups of corn meal, 1 cup of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt. Beat together two eggs and add to the dry mix. Slowly add buttermilk, mixing well as you add. You add buttermilk until the mixture is smooth, but not runny. Go slowly, because you can always add more buttermilk until you get the right consistency. You can’t save it if you add too much!

    Optional: Add green chilies, or a drained can of Green Giant Mexicorn after the buttermilk, and mix well.

    Check the skillet in the oven. If a drop of water dances in it, your grease is hot enough. Take out the skillet and put it on your stove. Do one last good stir of your cornbread mixture and pour it into the pan. Return skillet to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is light brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

    Cut into wedges and serve with tons of butter, onion slices and homemade pickles.

    • says

      There are many cornbread recipes with a touch of sugar made by cooks in the entire southern region. Paula Deen has a recipe with a touch of sugar because she serves the cornbread with a bit of maple syrup for breakfast, so it is a sweetened version.

      So, sugar is not a “Yankee thing” but is found in cookbooks from coast to coast. (I know, I collect recipes from coast to coast.) You’ll also find many ‘savory’ recipes for cornbread everywhere, as you mentioned with added onion, chilies, and even cheese. These are definitely more dinner-style cornbread versions.

      Cornbread is a very versatile vehicle for many ingredients – both sweet and savory.

    • Angela Martin says

      I’m “born and bred” in the South and have lived in Texas for the past 16 years and I like sugar in my cornbread, sometimes even more than this recipe calls for. Just sayin’…:)

  22. Cindy says

    I made this for the first time last night when I was looking for a “best cornbread” recipe and specifically one made in a cast iron fry pan. I used butter instead of margarine and soured fat free milk instead of buttermil, as that’s what I had on hand, and the flavour and moistness was lovely while having that wonderful slightly crisp crust. Fast, easy and delicious.

  23. Crawford says

    Think this would work the same in a muffin tin or do I need to adjust the ingredients a bit? I’ll share a to I’ve learned (I don’t have any cast iron): grease a cake pan with vegetable cooking oil and you’ll get a lovely crisp edge every time!

  24. Bill Coutts says

    Dear Hillbilly Housewife,
    I love your website and newsletter. I would strongly encourage you to eliminate margarine from ALL of your recipes though. Please go to the following web page: http://authoritynutrition.com/butter-vs-margarine/ and read up. I am a family practice doctor and have refused to eat margarine for over a decade.
    Try some experiments with butter vs margarine yourself. Put out some of both on separate plates when the flies come back. See which one that they like. Place some moldy cheese on both and in same manner let set out at room temperature a few days and note the results. If there are mice/rats/squirrels around, again repeat the same experiment.
    I refuse to eat a non-butter products out in public as well.
    Your fellow hillbilly from Southwest, Virginia.
    Bill

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