Good Old Fashioned Corn Bread


Makes: About 6 servings

Time: About 45 minutes

Corn bread is indispensable, especially to a vegetarian diet, where its full flavor and slightly crunchy texture are welcome at any meal. And few dishes deliver so much for so little work.  Recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

1 1/4 cups buttermilk, milk, or yogurt (or 1 1/4 cups milk plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar; see Step 2), plus more as needed

2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups medium-grind cornmeal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar, plus more if you like sweet corn bread

1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2.  If you’re using buttermilk, milk, or yogurt, ignore this step. If not, make the soured milk: Warm the milk gently—1 minute in the microwave is sufficient, just enough to take the chill off—and add the vinegar. Let it rest while you prepare the other ingredients.

3. Put the butter in a medium ovenproof skillet or an 8-inch square baking pan over medium heat; heat until good and hot, about 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the egg into the buttermilk. Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients (just enough to combine); if it seems too dry, add another tablespoon or two of buttermilk. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet or pan, smooth out the top if necessary, and put in the oven.

4. Bake about 30 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the sides have pulled away from the pan; a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean. Serve hot or warm.


Posted in American, Baking


  1. scottwmsmith said...

    Make sure to use organic corn meal and ingredients. So much of the corn is genetically altered garbage. Organic is your only safe choice.

  2. Christine said...

    You might want to edit this post. Right now it looks like you’re calling for eleven-fourths cups of buttermilk, which is very different than one and one-foruth.

    • Steve Patton said...

      Never even occurred to me until I read your post. But it would be a stretch to read it that way then to someone who lacks common sense. No issue with editing, just the fault of the font used on this site.

  3. robmarais said...

    This is a typical Northern interpretation of cornbread, ugh. First, buttermilk should be de rigeur and not a casual option. Second, flour and sugar in cornbread? Major heresies. Third, self-rising cornmeal is the choice of the daily cornbread maker, making the baking powder unnecessary if you’re keeping out flour. Fourth, "skillet or pan"? Please, only a cast iron skillet properly heated before adding the batter will give cornbread the requisite crust. Finally, cornbread cut in squares is a dead giveaway for gringo cornbread: proper cornbread is in the form of a skillet wedge or a pone. Mark, you should know from cornbread, bless your heart!

  4. nancyhelterman said...

    Great cornbread (not too sweet, no vanilla flavor, nice un-cakey crumb, not dry, good crust) is wonderful! My grammie’s recipe does the trick! I usually use an iron skillet and cut in wedges. New England all the way!

    • Steve Patton said...

      interesting that you see this as New England especially with the use of the Cast Iron frying pan. although some substitute bacon grease for the butter and preheat the pan and leave out the sugar, especially with the high ratio of corn meal to wheat flour since corn meal is sweeter than wheat flour, and you have a fairly typical corn bread style of the southern Appalachians.
      I think the results would be improved here with the hotter pan and the oven temp at 425. It takes 25 minutes at that temp and seems to have better moisture. I have long used 2 cups of corn meal 1 of wheat flour and two eggs 2 tsp baking flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 cup canola oil mixed in 1 1/4 cup butter milk with the eggs add the wet to the dry and pour in to a very hot cast iron pan in which you have melted 1 tbs bacon fat or butter just before adding the batter.The recipe is an adaption of a recipe from my Grandmother who was from eastern Kentucky. My research shows that most of her ancestors originated in the northern colonies as far back as Plymouth Mass. and migrated through the valley of Virginia and the New River valley into Ky arriving between 1801 and 1830. It is possible that this method is common to that early period since corn meal was much more available to the earliest settlers in the colonies than was wheat flour, probably accounting to the high ratio. The addition of sugar is much more common in the north and deep south though.

      • PUK said...

        Steve Patton you are absolutely correct. (southern Appalachians)This is almost exactly the recipe my mother and grandmother used. I am from Eastern Kentucky, Lee Co. Virginia, Northeast Tn.. We do heat the skillet and we use more butter. We don’t use a ‘fine’ cornmeal and it’s great to have the buttermilk but we clabbered the milk with white vinegar when we had no money. I’m sure the recipe travels with the people over time, however, I’m from Eastern KY as I said.

  5. Brenda Johnson said...

    I see someone beat me to the "ugh, that’s northern cornbread" comment so I don’t have to be the jerk about it ;) But it’s true. That being said, I understand people wanting a sweeter, moister cornbread, so what I do to appease them (and it really is pretty good) is to dump some defrosted frozen sweet corn into the southern batter. It adds both sweetness and moisture. No compromise, though, on the cast iron skillet. Cornbread just ain’t right if it’s not made in a preheated skillet.

    • Southern cook said...

      I agree with all you and the previous commenter wrote, except I use regular cornmeal with half a teaspoon of baking soda and a teaspoon of baking powder. The most important step of all is after you heat the skillet on the top of the stove with, I use bacon fat or a little shortening, is to sprinkle a little dry cornmeal in the pan before you pour in the batter. This will make a gloriously crispy crust when you turn it out of the pan on a plate to serve cut in wedges. That’s the old fashioned real deal cornbread No sugar, or flour please.

  6. LibrarianErica said...

    Wouldl your cornbread work with soymilk or almond milk? I rarely have dairy milk in my fridge, but I do love cornbread!

  7. Brenda Johnson said...

    I’ve never tried it, but Google sez you can add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon to a cup of soymilk to mimic buttermilk in recipes.

  8. Brenda Johnson said...

    I’ve never tried it, but I understand you can add a tablespoon of vinegar of lemon per cup of soymilk to get a buttermilk substitute.

  9. Ellen Bognar said...

    LOVED this cornbread (the version from HTCE with bacon fat–& buttermilk, of course). didn’t so much like the corny cornbread recipe; it was crumbly in a bad way.

    • Steve Patton said...

      using 2 eggs will make it less crumbly but the high cornmeal content makes it crunchier, especially with the very hot cast iron pan and the higher temp and quicker cook time.

  10. Alva Dollak said...

    Corn outside Canada, the United States, and Australia means any cereal crop, its meaning understood to vary geographically to refer to the local staple. In Canada, the United States, and Australia, “corn” primarily means maize;^`

    <My favorite web-site "*..*"

  11. Nancy H said...

    Thanks for the recipe. I’m going to try tonight. Sometimes the “sweet” interferes with savory dishes.

  12. Rebecca Riddle said...

    Wow the southern cornbread vs northern cornbread debate continues! Well the southerners are correct..they are not the same NOR are they supposed to be, hence the two different reciepes. And anyways “cornbread”, northern or southern, is technically a quick bread (ie muffin) recipe in which the use of sugar is perfectly acceptable. Also, if you are a southern cornbread purist using self-rising cornmeal check the ingredients! More than one major brand has flour already in it!!

  13. Ann Schwartz said...

    Just made this cornbread today. I added two extra teaspoons of sugar to the tablespoon in the recipe. I used an extra large egg, which is probably why the bread in the middle of the pan was wet on top and bubbling while the outer parts of the bread looked well baked. I baked it for four extra minutes in an ordinary 8″ x 8″ pan and cut the cooked cornbread into squares.

    The cornbread came out nice and tasty with nice “tooth.” Very nice with marmalade. Thanks, Mark, for this recipe.

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