This classic southern cornbread recipe is slightly sweet and far from dry. It crumbles nicely making it great for serving over chili and casseroles. It's also great served as a slice on the side of your favorite meal.
I am from the south and grew up on my grandma's famous southern-style cornbread. It was served at all the family gatherings.
There are so many different ways to make cornbread and the most traditional southern way doesn't have any form of sweetener. True southerners will curse you for adding sugar to cornbread, ha!
I guess I'm not a true southerner. I like my cornbread to be a little sweet and today's recipe is just that.
Why this Southern Cornbread recipe works
- The right balance of cornmeal and flour gives the bread structure while also allowing it to crumble easily. A good cornbread should crumble!
- A combination of oil and butter is used to give the bread flavor without sacrificing the moist texture.
- A little sugar is added to give the bread a hint of sweetness.
Southern cornbread Ingredients
I've seen cornbread recipes made so many different ways! Some use buttermilk, some use all cornmeal and no flour, some use baking powder and baking soda. Let's go over the ingredients I use:
- Flour: All-purpose flour gives the bread structure so it isn't too crumbly.
- Cornmeal: Look for fine ground cornmeal that is stone-ground. Don't use anything that already contains flour or leavening agents. The package should state that it is just cornmeal.
- Sugar: I like to put sugar in my cornbread but this is completely optional.
- Salt: To enhance the flavors.
- Baking powder: To help the bread rise.
- Eggs: Needed for moisture and structure.
- Milk: Regular whole milk is best for this recipe.
- Oil: Just a little to add moisture to the bread.
- Butter: Just a little to add flavor and moisture.
How to make Southern Cornbread
The process is simple and requires only 2 bowls, a whisk, and a spatula. The bread can be baked in a castiron skillet, casserole dish, or a square cake pan.
The Batter – The batter uses the muffin method for mixing. This is where you mix the wet and dry ingredients separately then you combine the two.
Step 1: Gather the ingredients and preheat the oven
Just like with all baking recipes, start with room temperature ingredients. Set the eggs and milk out on the counter 1 hour before you plan to make the bread.
Measure out all the other ingredients. Set them on the counter along with a large mixing bowl, a medium mixing bowl, a whisk, and a spatula.
Preheat the oven to 400°F and grease the bottom and sides of a baking dish with butter. You can use a 9-inch cast iron skillet, stoneware baking dish, casserole baking dish, or square cake pan.
Step 2: Mix the dry ingredients together
To a large bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Give it a good whisk to combine everything together.
Step 3: Mix the wet ingredients ingredients
Use a large measuring cup with a pour spout or a separate bowl. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and melted butter. Whisk them together until well combined.
Make sure the melted butter has cooled so it doesn't scramble the eggs.
Step 4: Combine the wet and dry ingredients
Use a whisk or silicone spatula to stir the wet and dry ingredients together just until they are combined.
Avoid over mixing!
It's okay if the batter isn't completely smooth, it should look a little lumpy.
Step 5: Bake
Pour the cornbread batter into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Bake the cornbread for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
Let the bread cool slightly before slicing and serving.
Tips for making the best southern cornbread
- Choose the right cornmeal! Fine-ground plain cornmeal works best. And avoid using a cornmeal mix. Those contain flour and leavening agents which will not work with this recipe!!
- Properly measure the flour. Don't scoop the flour directly out of the bag with the measuring cup. Since flour compacts, this method will add too much flour to the recipe.
- You can omit the sugar if you are one of those folks who doesn't care for sweet cornbread.
- Use a cast-iron skillet for an extra crispy crust on the outside of the cornbread.