Minnie Utsey's No-Fail Cornbread

February 25, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

Minnie Utsey's cornbread follows a classic soul food formula, particularly with the use of yellow cornmeal and sugar. Unfortunately, Minnie Utsey died in 2010, so never got to see my book. I honor her loving memory with this cornbread that lives up to its title.


Food52 Review: This recipe was featured in the story The No-Fail Cornbread That's Slightly Sweet & Very DivineThe Editors

Serves: 8


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk in the cornmeal.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and shortening until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  4. Bake until firm and the top is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot.

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Reviews (12) Questions (0)

12 Reviews

[email protected] August 17, 2018
Though mine tasted of baking powder and was super crumbly, I did truly appreciate the lightness of it.
SweetiePetitti June 28, 2018
My first job out of college was selling the number one grocery item sold...Crisco. Crazy, but back when everyone cooked from scratch and used it, the population was pretty slim. I’m buying a can for this recipe!
Martin May 15, 2018
Sorry for double posting, but there is a silent brilliance in this cornbread. I feel it invites you to make it your own. I could see a savoury version of it with no sugar, some herbs (rosemary?), lemon rind and some flakes of salt on top.
Author Comment
soulfoodscholar May 15, 2018
Martin May 15, 2018
My son and I ate half of this, and he is only 3. I tasted the baking powder, though, and it was a new can so I don't think it was old. I will try with 3 tsp next, but I like it a lot. Thanks for sharing!
Author Comment
soulfoodscholar May 15, 2018
Thanks for leaving a comment, and please let me know how it turns out!<br />
[email protected] August 17, 2018
I tasted the baking powder, too! And mine turned out super crumbly. <br />
rlsalvati March 10, 2018
My family loved this, I think it is my new go-to cornbread recipe. I did use sunflower oil because I hate measuring shortening, no problem with the substitution. My grandmother would have used Crisco and we would have gobbled it right down. All the ingredients are pantry staples, easy to put together as the oven preheated; served with stew that reheated on the stovetop as the cornbread baked in the oven. My skinny picky eater had 3 pieces.
Author Comment
soulfoodscholar March 10, 2018
Wonderful! So glad that your family had a good experience. Happy eating!
Myriam G. February 28, 2018
I never use shortening. Would this still work if I substituted unsalted butter?
Author Comment
soulfoodscholar March 4, 2018
Sorry for the delay in answering. I've never tried that as a substitute, but I think that should work. Would you let us know?
anita May 17, 2018
Did anyone ever try this with butter?