Need an easy cornbread recipe that’s gloriously cakey, somehow crisp and creamy at the same time, and says ‘yes, please’ to all the honey butter you can slather on it? Make this version, and you’ll never buy the box mix again.
Beans and cornbread for dinner? Slow cooker favorites, such as Calico Beans or made from scratch Baked Beans, make a hearty, home-cooked meal with plenty of leftovers for tomorrow. Or you could try your hand at Fried Chicken, a super crispy recipe that’s totally worth the effort. Then all you have to do is cook up some green beans with bacon and mix up the honey butter.
Everyone I know grew up on Jiffy cornbread mix, the cute little boxes filled with dry ingredients, where all you had to do was add an egg and some milk and pour the batter into muffin tins, nonstick pans, or a skillet for hoecakes.
If up until now the only cornbread recipe you've ever tried involved a box of Jiffy, please believe me when I say that this recipe is so much better than the mix. It’s only a little bit more work to gather the dry ingredients together, I promise. You’ll be amazed at how good it is, once you bite into your first golden square.
If you like your cornbread lofty, on the fluffy side, ultra moist and just a tiny bit sweet—what is traditionally known as Northern-style cornbread—then stop right here. You’ve found my favorite version.
Making Cornbread for a potluck or family reunion? Just click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
Southern vs. Northern cornbreads:
There’s a pretty big difference between the two types of cornbread. Most people prefer one or the other. No matter what anyone tells you, there's no wrong way to make it.
Southern-style cornbread was made every single day to extend the daily meal. Most recipes use white cornmeal, less flour, and no sugar whatsoever. Many Southern cornbread recipes use stone-ground cornmeal (like grits) for a coarser texture.
Furthermore, southern cornbread is traditionally made in a sizzling, pre-heated cast iron skillet with bacon drippings, for a crispy crust. It’s thinner, too, and on the crunchy side.
Northern-style cornbread, like the recipe below, is more like cake in texture and almost always includes some sugar, brown sugar, or even honey. Made with yellow cornmeal, it is golden, buttery, and moist —just perfect for a breakfast or sweet afternoon snack.
How to make Cornbread:
You'll need a 9-inch square or round pan to make this recipe. No mixer required--just a bowl and a spoon. This guide walks you through the steps, but if you need exact ingredient quantities, scroll down to the recipe card.
- To start, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Coat the baking pan with non-stick spray or a thin coating of butter.
- Grab a large mixing bowl and add the dry ingredients: cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix everything together, then make a well in the center of the cornmeal.
- Pour in the melted butter, eggs, and milk, then stir until everything is just combined. A few lumps are totally okay here.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread should come out clean--no crumbs.
- Let the freshly baked cornbread sit in the pan for about 15 minutes before cutting into chunks and devouring.
Tips for making the best cornbread:
- Cornmeal. Plain, old-fashioned yellow cornmeal works great in this recipe. Stay away from the coarse, stone-ground whole grain cornmeal or medium ground cornmeal (used to make polenta) which will make this cornbread drier and even gritty.
- Switch up the sugar. Feel free to use brown sugar instead of granulated, for a little molasses flavor. You can even substitute a bit of honey for half of the sugar in the recipe.
- Cornbread with self rising flour. Self-rising flour is a Southern staple. Since it already has some baking powder in it, you can use it in the recipe instead of all-purpose flour if you decrease the amount of baking powder by half.
- Buttermilk cornbread. You can definitely use an equal amount of buttermilk in place of regular milk in the recipe. However, this recipe makes a richer cornbread by using extra eggs. If you want to use buttermilk, another richer ingredient, maybe omit one or two of the eggs in the recipe.
- Skillet cornbread. Baking cornbread in a cast iron skillet gives it extra crunch. Preheat the skillet in the oven. When you're ready to bake, remove it from the oven and place a tablespoon of butter in the hot pan and swirl it around to coat the surface before adding the batter and baking.
- Cornbread muffins. Line a 12-count muffin pan with liners or coat with nonstick spray. This recipe makes at least 14 muffins, so there will definitely be a 2nd batch. Spoon batter into muffin liners, filling all the way to the top. Bake for 21-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
If you prefer cornbread muffins with a high, crown-like top, first bake them for 5 minutes at 400, then turn the temperature back down and finish baking at 375.
- Make honey butter. For cornbread, it's about the best thing you can eat. Beat 1 cup softened butter until smooth, then add 1/3 cup honey, and maybe a pinch of sea salt. Keep out at room temperature for easy spreading while you serve the cornbread.
- Storing and freezing cornbread. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. For longer storage, freeze baked cornbread squares or muffins for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and gently reheat in the microwave.
- Storing cornmeal. Most store-bought cornmeal is shelf stable and can be stored in the pantry at room-temperature for between nine months and a year. The fancier versions are better kept in the freezer in between batches of cornbread.
Variations and add-ins for cornbread:
- Cornbread recipe with corn. Love the double corn flavor? Add 3/4 cup frozen (thawed) corn kernels to the batter, but purée them in a food processor with the wet ingredients before adding to the dry cornmeal mixture. This keeps the kernels from getting gummy in the bread.
- Jalapeño cornbread. Finely dice 1 to 2 seeded jalapeño peppers and add to the batter. The spice will diminish a little as it bakes.
- Blueberry cornbread. Toss 1 cup of fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries in 1 tablespoon of flour and gently fold into the batter.
- Vegan cornbread. Substitute almond milk for the cow milk. Instead of melted butter, use an equal amount of canola oil. And leave out the eggs entirely. This will make a denser cornbread, so let me know in the comments if you try it!
- Gluten-free cornbread. First, make sure the cornmeal you use is labeled gluten-free. Corn is naturally gluten-free, but you should be aware of any cross-contamination at the processing facility. Also, switch out your favorite GF baking blend for the flour in the recipe.
- 1 2/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal
- 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 2/3 cup milk
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9-inch round or square baking pan with nonstick spray.
- In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Make a well in the cornmeal mixture and add milk, eggs, and melted butter. Mix together just until combined (do not overmix). The batter should be slightly lumpy.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until golden brown around the edges and on top, about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let stand for 15 minutes, then cut into wedges or squares and serve.