Classic Southern Buttermilk Cornbread

Southern Buttermilk Cornbread
Classic Southern Cornbread. Photo: Diana Rattray
    32 mins
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 This is an excellent cornbread to serve freshly baked in wedges with beans or greens, or a big bowl of chili. It makes great stuffing, too!

For a little extra flavor, add some bacon drippings to the skillet, or duck fat, if you have it. 

This cornbread is the classic buttermilk cornbread you'll find throughout the South. There's generally no sugar added to Southern cornbread, but if you prefer a sweeter cornbread, add a few tablespoons of sugar or honey.

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups white or yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons melted shortening, plus more for the skillet

How to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 425° F. Position the rack in the center of the oven. Put about 1 tablespoon of shortening in a 9- to 10-inch cast iron skillet and put the skillet in the oven.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Whisk to blend thoroughly.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and shortening. 
  4. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until blended. Carefully remove the hot cast iron pan from the oven and set it on a metal rack. Pour the batter into the sizzling shortening in the hot skillet.
  1. Return the skillet to the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 375° F, and bake for about 20 to 24 minutes, until golden brown. 
  2. Cut the cornbread into wedges and serve hot with soups, stew, chili, beans, or greens. Many people like to crumble their cornbread in a glass and fill it with cold milk. A pan of cornbread also makes a great dressing to go with chicken, pork, or turkey.

You Might Also Like:

  • Butternut Squash Cornbread: Butternut squash adds flavor and moisture to this classic buttermilk cornbread. If you like a less sweet cornbread, reduce or omit the sugar. This is a nice change from the everyday cornbread, especially nice for fall meals.
  • Buttermilk Cornbread: This is a basic cornbread made in an 8-inch cast iron skillet. It includes cornmeal, just a little flour, buttermilk, and one egg.
  • Jalapeno Cornbread: ​This cornbread is the perfect bread to serve with a big bowl of spicy chili, and it's super easy to mix up and bake. If you like a sweeter or less sweet cornbread, feel free to adjust the sugar level.
  • Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread: ​Because of the sugar, this cornbread might be considered more of a Northern version. However, you can cut back on the sugar or leave it out completely. It's a flavorful, moist cornbread, perfect for a meal of beans, chili, or a bowl of stew.
  • Old-Fashioned Spoon Bread: ​Here's a cornbread you eat with a spoon, more like a pudding in consistency. The cornmeal is cooked in water then combined with eggs and milk to make a batter.