Basic Cornbread

The smell of cornbread baking in your oven is like a dinner bell for all your guests. Its beautiful aroma will call everyone to the table. Out of a hot cast iron pan, with crispy edges and a moist interior, cornbread makes the perfect accompaniment to so many meals.

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A cast iron pan almost begs you to make cornbread in it! It’s not just tradition for tradition’s sake, but it’s about the way cast iron cooks. Cast iron holds onto heat better than most other pan fabrications and this intense heat, as soon as the batter is poured in, makes a perfect crust on the cornbread and helps give it an instant rise.

Ingredients for cornbred - egg, butter, cornmeal.

Heat the cast iron pan up in the oven as the oven pre-heats. Better still… heat bacon fat in the skillet in the oven and pour the cornbread batter into the hot bacon grease. Best yet… cook some bacon in the pan, remove the bacon, eat the bacon and put the hot grease and pan in the oven. Are you with me? (knew you would be…)

Cornbread batter next to a cast iron pan.


The other great benefit of cast iron when it comes to cornbread is of course its heat retention. Cast iron holds onto heat and will keep this cornbread warm as you take it to the table. Cornbread is most definitely the most delicious when it’s warm, so keep it in the cast iron pan until you are ready to serve.

Cornbread with wedges cut out of it on a wooden cutting board with honey on the side.

Then, some butter and perhaps a little honey (if you have a sweet tooth) are all you really need. 

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  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 20 m
  • Total Time: 30 m
  • Servings:


  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 2 cups cornmeal white or yellow
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar optional
  • cups buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Put the bacon fat into a 10-inch cast iron skillet and pop the skillet into the oven for at least 10 minutes.
  3. While the pan pre-heats in the oven, combine the cornmeal, baking soda, salt and sugar (if using) in a bowl.

  4. Combine the buttermilk, egg and butter in another bowl or measuring cup.
  5. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. (If you are adding any extra ingredients (Jalapeño peppers, Cheddar cheese, corn kernels, etc..., fold them in gently now.)
  6. Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven with an oven mitt and pour the batter into the pan, smoothing out the top. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for about to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean and the top is nicely browned.
  7. Cool and serve!
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Comments (25)Post a Reply

  1. There is no flour in this recipe. Is that correct? Most cornbread recipes I’ve tried are 50/50 cornmeal and flour.

    1. Hi Elsa, I have blended my cornbread recipes at other times, but this recipe is a 100% cornmeal recipe, making it intensely corny.

  2. That is pretty much how I make my cornbread. I am originally from the South and do not use sugar. I crumble the bacon I have cooked into my batter so you get little bacon crunchies in your cornbread..

  3. Occasionally I come across a restaurant that has corn bread that’s nice and sweet without the grit from the ground corn. Is there a special way this is made or a certain kind of corn meal or flour that should be used? I’d love to be able out so I can make some at home.

    1. Hi Linda. Yes, you can substitute fine cornmeal. The texture of the cornbread will be finer as a result, but you might like that better. 🙂

    1. Hi Debbie. The only difference is the corn it comes from – white corn or yellow corn. You could use either.

  4. This sounds like my vintage recipe passed down to me from my grandmother’s. I am also from the South and cook most Southern dishes still. However, we do like a little sugar in our cornbread. We also like to crumble little bacon pieces in ours at times as well as chopped jalapenos, corn and grated cheddar cheese if we are in a spicy mood.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe for the younger generations. It’s one of the easiest and best recipes from our past.

    1. This batter in this recipe will fit in a 10-inch skillet that is at least 2-inches deep. You can use a larger skillet but the cornbread will not be as high.

    1. Sorry for the confusion Heather! You fold the extra ingredients in step 5 after you add in the buttermilk. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, the recipe has been corrected.

  5. Please tell me where to find your cornbread recipes that have flour blended with cornmeal, as mentioned in your reply above. My search did not show anything. Thanks!

  6. Will this recipe bake okay in a 10 inch cast iron dutch oven?
    PS: I purchased your baking sheet pan set and I love it. I wish I had this set when I was raising my family. The pans are so versatile and clean like a dream.

    1. Yes you can bake this in a 10-inch cast iron dutch oven, but it might take a few minutes longer so I would check it after 20 minutes and add additional minutes if necessary. So nice you are enjoying your sheet pan set!

  7. This is my favorite old fashioned Yankee cornbread . Drizzle VT maple syrup on top or now I am in Fl , Tupelo honey . I use crisco in the can instead of bacon grease now. Stone ground corn is key 😊 gluten Free oven fried chicken Use the Leftover buttermilk for marinating chicken , Coat in the cornmeal with spices of choice spray with olive oil , foil in pan bake.. Gluten Free 😊 bone in or boneless.

  8. 5 stars
    This is the way I make mine. I do not use sugar or flour. No flour gives it the corny taste and texture I prefer. Thank you for posting this version. I also enjoy the recipes you share on Facebook and QVC. And let me not forget your precious dogs –so cute!

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