Bake

Cornbread

October  9, 2019
14 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom. Prop stylist: Amanda Widis. Food stylist: Oliva Mack McCool.
Author Notes

Should cornbread have flour? What about sugar? And eggs? When it comes to southern cornbread, many home cooks would say no, no, and no. But when it comes to northeastern cornbread, it’s yeses all around. For our test kitchen’s go-to cornbread, we set out to perfect that northeastern style. Here’s how we did it:

This loaf is buttery, fluffy, just sweet enough, and so quick to come together. Using half cornmeal and half all-purpose flour, our recipe ensures corny flavor with a light, tender crumb. A mix of brown and white sugars adds a malty depth. Shake the buttermilk before pouring and measuring—and make sure it’s at room temperature. If it’s cold, the melted butter will seize up and won’t incorporate into the batter properly. (To temp up the buttermilk, you can let it hang out on the counter for awhile or microwave it in short bursts.) Preheating the cast-iron skillet before adding the cornbread creates a crackly crust. And letting the butter begin to brown before pouring in the batter dials up the loaf’s flavor, big time.

Like all cornbread, this is dreamy still warm from the oven, but it also holds up for a couple of days (wrap well, no need to refrigerate) and it freezes great, too. We love it as much with butter and honey for breakfast as we do plopped next to a bowl of chili for dinner. And if any hangs around long enough to get stale, you can and should turn it into stuffing. —Emma Laperruque

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Makes 1 (10-inch) round loaf
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (140 grams) finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup (128 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups well-shaken buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (71 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter, divided
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Turn on the oven to 400°F. Stick a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron pan inside.
  2. Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir until combined.
  3. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a small pot or the microwave. Combine the buttermilk, egg, and both sugars in a small bowl. Stir with a fork or whisk until smooth. While stirring, pour the melted butter into the buttermilk mixture. Keep stirring until smooth.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the dry and stir until smooth.
  5. Use oven mitts to pull the cast-iron pan from the oven and set on the stove over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the pan and let melt until it just starts to brown. Pour in the cornbread batter and shake gently to smooth out.
  6. Bake the cornbread for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the sides are beginning to pull away from the edges of the pan. Cool at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Garth
    Garth
  • Olivia Noel
    Olivia Noel
  • Brooke O'Brien
    Brooke O'Brien
  • Martin
    Martin
  • Doug Schmidt
    Doug Schmidt
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in October 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

25 Reviews

jackie June 27, 2021
Finely ground cornmeal? Really? It gives cornbread an awful texture and with that much sugar you could just serve it for desert.
 
Emily June 10, 2021
Really delicious and I am a bit of a cornbread fanatic. I added some fresh corn kernels which I think are a great add.
 
Lisa B. December 9, 2020
Simple to make and so delicious! Used milk and vinegar instead of buttermilk and it came out great. Will definitely make again.
 
aclincol November 28, 2020
Loved this recipe... will make it again. I was away from my kitchen and made to make a few changes: 8x8 Pyrex instead of the cast iron. And instead of buttermilk I used sour cream and whole milk. Cheers!
 
Garth May 10, 2020
Worthy of its' title. As a Marie Callendar corn bread fan - judge me if you must, that sh!t is tasty - it was tough to breakaway from the ridiculous ease to tastiness ratio...but I guess the pandemic shook me out of that tree. As I read the recipe, I was thinking, "Well duh....That much sugar, butter, and flour can ONLY be delicious!" and that was very true, BUT

This recipe is soooooo easy - a smidge more work than bagged MC - and the browned butter is SUCH an amazing addition. Dry? Yes. All the more reason to keep piling butter, maple syrup, or jam (heck, all three) onto the finished product.
 
Olivia N. April 11, 2020
I made this with some 100% sourdough discard and it turned out lovely! I used 200g of discard, so removed 100g of flour and 100mL of buttermilk. Next time, I might also replace the buttermilk with whole milk if using discard because I would like a bit less tang – but, otherwise, it was great!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. April 11, 2020
Wow, such an awesome way to use sourdough discard! Can't wait to try that.
 
Lisa A. April 6, 2020
Yep, best corn bread recipe ever. Crispy crust, delicious brown butter flavor. I didn't have buttermilk so I supplemented milk with vinegar. Worked perfectly.
 
pjcamp January 11, 2020
That's not cornbread. It's a giant corn flavored biscuit.
 
Brooke O. December 18, 2019
We ended up with a weird custard layer with a nice cornmeal loaf on the bottom. Not sure what we did wrong...
 
Author Comment
Emma L. December 18, 2019
Oh no, sorry to hear that! I'm not sure how or why that happened...but I'll do some digging and let you know if I land on anything.
 
Garth May 10, 2020
My guess is that the egg and buttermilk weren't mixed into the batter adequately enough. I whisked the heck out of the egg/milk/butter before combining with the sugars and then whisked some more. By the time the 'liquids' met the dry, everything was easily combined and excellent results achieved
 
Martin December 1, 2019
So I tried again with 6 tablespoons butter and 60% of both sugars. Much better. My wife said it was her favorite. I'm not as sure, but will keep the recipe nonetheless. The crust is delicious and worth fighting over.
 
Martin November 23, 2019
I really dislike the clickbait title.

As for the recipe, it was nice, but it there was way too much butter; this coming from someone who loves butter. I felt like it was overkill when I was finished eating and all I felt in and around my mouth was oil; sorta like eating at a fast food place. Also, the cornbread was too sweet for my liking. I might try it again, but there are other cornbread recipes around here that I prefer.
 
Baguette &. November 23, 2020
Please tell us your recommendations and why!
 
cpc November 20, 2019
I made this tonight and was a bit concerned about the amount of sugar but I'm happy to say this isn't too sweet. It's easy and tasty!
 
alywit October 31, 2019
I made this recipe tonight with our Halloween beef chili and I changed two things. First I used 2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda to give it an extra lift. Also, after the ingredients were mixed I added 3/4 cup of corn kernels to the batter for a better corn flavor and a little texture. The recipe is a winner. I will definitely make it again. I pre-measured all the ingredients earlier in the day so I could make it for dinner without much fuss. I would recommend this to anyone that likes cornbread with little sweetness.
 
Carla Z. October 20, 2019
Can this cornbread be baked in a regular Round 9 inch pan?
I am making several and would like to use other pans as well. Thank you.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. October 28, 2019
Hi! Yes, just heat it in the oven (as you would with the cast-iron skillet).
 
Darian October 13, 2019
This was excellent! I loved that the very day I went looking for a new cornbread recipe, this popped up. The texture was great and it had the right hint of sweetness without being too sweet. The wedges were moist and needed no additional spread of butter. My cornmeal was more medium- than finely-ground, but it worked fine.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. October 13, 2019
Yay, so happy you enjoyed!
 
Doug S. October 9, 2019
You have to try Iroquois roasted corn flour in any cornbread recipe. This rare heirloom corn flour is in a league above others. Get it online from the Ganondagan site in New York. Your purchase helps to keep an rare seed and cultural legacy alive.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. October 10, 2019
Thanks for sharing this!
 
Brinda A. October 9, 2019
As a cornbread naysayer, I can say confidently that I've been converted with this rendition.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. October 10, 2019
Cornbread naysayer no more!