Cast Iron

Buttermilk Bacon Grease Cornbread

October 28, 2013
2 Ratings
  • Makes One 9" skillet of cornbread
Author Notes

Whether you like it slathered in butter or drizzled with honey, plain or with milk like I take mine, I give you cast iron cornbread: the classic buttermilk and bacon grease version of my youth. —Beth Kirby | {local milk}

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/4 cups (175 g) cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. Grease a cast iron skillet with bacon grease and place in the oven while it heats.
  3. Mix the first four ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the fat with your fingers or two knives, mixing well until you have a sandy texture.
  4. Combine the eggs and the buttermilk, add to the dry ingredients, and mix to combine well.
  5. Pour the mixture into the hot skillet and bake for 20 minutes. Invert onto a plate. I like to serve it upside down with the nice crispy side up like my grandma did!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kathy Viskup
    Kathy Viskup
  • Meaghan Anne
    Meaghan Anne
  • karmaya
  • Lynne Holt Miller
    Lynne Holt Miller
  • Melissa Lee Borghorst
    Melissa Lee Borghorst
A Southern writer with a cast iron skillet & a camera. Freelance food writer & photographer. Blogs at

32 Reviews

gkp March 26, 2021
Sorry, this was the worst cornbread I have ever eaten. dry as a bone. My suggestion is to follow the skillet recipe from the Pioneer Woman. look it up. I add cumin, frozen roasted corn, cheddar cheese and bacon sometimes. I play with it and make it my own. Sorry to the food testers or the person that wrote this recipe. I need a large glass of water to wash this down.
Craig February 3, 2024
You have no idea what cornbread even is. Cumin? Cheddar cheese? Hey, may make a wonderful dish, but cornbread it is not. Do what you like; no one needs to hear about it.
gkp February 4, 2024
Enjoy your dry cornbread. LOL!
Kathy V. June 13, 2019
I needed a simple cornbread recipe and this seemed pretty straightforward. It’s not a good recipe, I’m sorry! It needs a lot of salt, extra milk and fat, and a dash of sugar, all of which I added seeing it was a drier batter. Cornmeal soaks up lots of moisture and the courser the meal, the more is needed.
Craig February 3, 2024
Salt is correct, moisture is fine. I use more fat and less milk, but that's all within tolerances. Sugar is also a personal choice. I put a couple of tablespoons in; some do more, some less. The only quibble here is that you should cook to doneness, not to time. Let a toothpick come out clean. Otherwise, this is cornbread, which you are welcome to like or not to like.
Jeri January 5, 2016
i use cornmeal and then the same amount of flour, buttermilk and an egg, i melt my butter or bacon grease in about an eight inch skillet. not iron skillet. I add some of the melted fat to the cornbread mixture, leaving enough to cover bottom of the pan. I also bake my cornbread on top of the stove with a lid and once middle looks like it's cooked i take a spatula and flip it over to finish baking. Made it this way all my long life and it is never dry.
Mockingbird March 17, 2015
Ended up so dry that nobody would eat it. Might try again and give an update.
Meaghan A. November 30, 2014
This was unbelievable, I made individual skillet cakes and used for Thanksgiving bacon egg cornbread sandwiches, as well as the cornbread for sausage stuffing. This is very much a keeper and I can't wait to make again!
Diana June 12, 2014
We had this with our dinner last night. None of us liked it. Not saving this recipe. And we love various cornbreads & bacon grease!
Craig February 3, 2024
If you have the recipe you like, why on earth are you auditioning others?
Karen C. May 28, 2014
...And finally, here are the ingredients for a cornbread mix which tastes just like Jiffy Mix...

2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Cups Meal
4 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Tablespoons Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
3 Eggs
1 Cup Buttermilk
6 Tablespoons Grease
Karen C. May 28, 2014
This is a recipe I developed for a sweeter cornbread:
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Coconut Cornbread
This cornbread still retains it's cornbread consistency, but is similar to a cake-and it smells heavenly!

1 lb. dried whole kernel corn, or 2 2/3 cups plain cornmeal
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup golden flax meal
1/4 cup almond meal
2 level tablespoons Rumford baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup melted coconut oil, cooled slightly
1 can coconut milk

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees

• Grind and sift 1/2 pound corn to meal, and 1/2 pound to fine flour, if using whole corn, or use 2 2/3 cups plain cornmeal.

• Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Sift to mix thoroughly.

• Mix beaten eggs, honey, cooled butter and milk; add all at once to dry mixture, stirring just until blended.

• Add more milk if desired to get proper consistency.

• Scrape into greased and floured pan, bake 30-35 minutes. Let rest a few minutes, then turn out onto a board. Serve hot with butter.

Makes 16 servings

Karen C. May 28, 2014
Here is a version of cornbread I developed, and have used for many years..
Gluten-Free Quick Buttermilk Cornbread
1 lb. plain white cornmeal, or 2 2/3 cups
1 cup fine corn flour (Masa Harina) (4.6 oz)
2 level tablespoons Rumford baking powder, or another variety without aluminum in the mix
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar, honey or Agave Nectar, or to taste (Optional, but very, very good with it)
3 large eggs, beaten, or 3 tablespoons chia, mixed with 12 tablespoons of water and allowed to gel
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter or lard, melted and cooled
2 1/2 cups full-fat Bulgarian style buttermilk (Very important to get the full-fat buttermilk, even if you have to make your own, which is not hard at all)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum (optional)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Hot water to thin

• Preheat oven to 400°.

• Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.

• Mix beaten eggs, honey, cooled butter and milk; add all at once to dry mixture, stirring just until blended.

• Add more milk or hot water if desired to get proper consistency.

• Scrape into red hot greased #10 cast iron pan, bake 35 minutes, until a straw inserted into the bread comes out clean. Let rest a few minutes, then turn out onto a large cutting board. Serve hot with butter.

Pantry Mix:
5 lbs. cornmeal
5 cups corn flour (1 lb. 4.6 oz)
10 tablespoons Rumford Baking Powder
5 teaspoons salt

For an interesting variation, use Redd's Apple Ale for the hot water, and use Apple Flavored Deer Corn to grind for the cornmeal.

Dani D. May 28, 2014
And now for the big question, white or yellow? Not being from the south, I have no idea who regionally prefers which.
Karen C. April 30, 2014
I had to laugh, I've been making it this way for over 40 years. How do you know when the pan is hot enough? If you sit it on the back porch, it burns through the wood!
Regena April 30, 2014
Finally a recipe for cornbread published without sugar in the mix. I grew up in the country in Tennessee. Never had it with sugar until a Boston Market came to town and have never willing had it again. To me, sugar makes it taste like a cake and I surely would not eat a cake with fried catfish. However,to each their own. Thanks for the authentic (to me)recipe.
juicyrebound1 June 10, 2020
My Ma was from Arkansas, and if I had mixed sugar into the cornbread she would have whooped my hide.
Craig February 3, 2024
I like a little sugar, but I recognize that people have strong feelings about this issue.
karmaya April 30, 2014
i have coarse grind Bob's Red Mill cornmeal -- i am quite confused about the different kinds of grinds. Will coarse be good for this? or if not, what?
Lionel April 30, 2014
Kosher salt + bacon grease, cannot compute :-)
Lynne H. April 23, 2014
I see it I'm sorry, but I don't have a nine, I have a 10, how should I adjust the cook time?
Lynne H. April 23, 2014
Sounds good, what size skillet did you use?
Melissa L. March 10, 2014
So good. Just like my first mother-in-law, Nita Gifford, made. Makes me want some pinto beans to go with it and use the cornbread to soak up the juice.
Brenda March 9, 2014
Sounds just like the cornbread my Mama made when I was growing up n Alabama, but she used self-rising corn meal and no flour. That mixture makes fantastic hush puppies with a thinner batter and chopped onion and lots of black pepper; then deep fried in hot oil in a cast iron Dutch oven. Yummy.
Hark January 18, 2014
Mine were a little dry. I did try to bake them in muffin tins, and I added some brown sugar, so one of those things probably messed them up. Just for all y'all's reference. Learn from my mistakes.
Embrosia January 24, 2014
Probably baked too long. In muffin tin, 12- 15 minutes size would be plenty. Brown sugar usually makes things moister, not dry.
Jackie_Jackie January 9, 2014
I know it's delicious, I know...but all I can think is my artheries clogging every time I see something being cooked with bacon grease.