Cornbread is a staple on the Southern dining room table.
Homemade cornbread goes great with many dishes — fresh vegetables, chili, fried catfish, rice and beans, collard greens…well, just about everything. Southern cornbread does not have sugar in it; but it does have flour, so it is not gluten-free. Rarely, is one batch enough…you’ll want to double the recipe for sure!
Just like anything else, there are some things on a Southern dinner table that are expected, cornbread being one of these things. Light and somewhat fluffy (not too fluffy–that’s cake) with no sugar…(if it has sugar, it’s cake), with a hint of salt, it’s the perfect accompaniment to soups, stews, chili, gumbo and veggies. My Grandmother used to eat it as a late night snack dunked in a glass of milk!
There are variations of cornbread that people like, too! Hush puppies, corn sticks, corn meal mush, or even scalded cornbread (that’s cornbread cooked in hot water). I prefer this cast-iron method of preparing it…I know what to expect every time. It’s foolproof. Timeless. And Delicious!
It’s important to use a cast-iron skillet because the skillet is pre-seasoned, which means it does not require oiling prior to cooking the cornbread. Also, cast-iron allows you to obtain a crispy bottom layer of cornbread first, then move the skillet to the oven to bake a fluffy, golden brown top.
Why Should I Use a Cast-Iron Skillet for Cornbread?
The cast-iron skillet gives you the opportunity to pour the batter into hot oil, resulting in a crispy bottom crust and fluffy cornbread.
Do I Have to Use a Cast-Iron Skillet for Cornbread?
No, you can use a glass baking dish, but you won’t have a crispy bottom crust.
I Don’t Have Buttermilk! What Do I Use Instead?
Not to worry! Just pour one cup of milk into a measuring cup and squeeze about a tablespoon or two of lemon juice in the milk. Let it sit for a few minutes and it will begin to thicken. There’s your buttermilk substitute!
I Don’t Have Buttermilk or Lemon Juice! What Can I Use Instead?
If you don’t have either buttermilk or lemon juice (to make buttermilk) add a scoop of sour cream or plain yogurt.
Why Doesn’t This Recipe Have Any Sugar?
Oh dear. The Southern cook’s most dreaded dinner topic… Let me just say it this way, “if cornbread contains sugar, it’s cake.” It’s just not right to add sugar. The Aunt Jemima Cornbread recipe on the back of the package has sugar…all I can say about that is Aunt Jemima Cornmeal is from Illinois…consider the source;)
Southern cornbread is definitely a year-round item found on many a dining room table. I don't think anyone can really lay claim to a cornbread recipe, but this is the one I was taught by my Mother and Grandmother.
- 1 cup cornmeal yellow
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg whole
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup oil (vegetable)
Preheat oven to 375º - 400º F
Meanwhile, combine all dry ingredients into one big bowl EXCEPT the Baking Soda
In a smaller bowl, combine all the wet ingredients AND THE BAKING SODA
Combine well and pour wet ingredients into the big bowl of dry ingredients
Combine well, eliminating any lumps; let it sit for about 5 minutes
Cast-iron skillet with oil should be hot by now. Pour batter into the skillet and shake it to even out the batter. This step ensures a crusty bottom.
Cook on the stove top for one minute; then transfer to hot oven; bake for about 45 minutes, until top is golden brown
Remove from oven; slice into quarters; melt butter on top and serve!
- I always double this recipe; one batch is enough, but not enough for leftovers
- Make sure your baking soda is fresh; when you add it to the milk and egg mixture, it should fizz a little
- Some folks like to add stuff to their cornbread like corn or jalapenos, or even cheese.
- If you add ingredients (and for God's sake No Sugar), just add it to the final batter. (This is the batter with both dry and wet ingredients).
- If you add canned corn or jarred jalapenos, be sure to drain them first
- Might wanna dice those jalapenos up into smaller pieces
- One final note: true Southern cornbread does NOT have sugar in it. I don't care if it is on the recipe of Aunt Jemima's Corn Meal package. Aunt Jemima's is out of Illinois; consider the source.