Homemade Southern Skillet Cornbread – It’s a rich and buttery, super moist, buttermilk based cornbread that cooks in a preheated cast iron skillet in a hot oven. It finishes flawlessly with golden brown crisp edges and a perfectly tender crumb. It’s a classic side dish that will be devoured in a no time!
Southern Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread
A family favorite Southern cornbread recipe! This made from scratch, savory cornbread is undeniably satisfying especially when served warm from the oven. Even it’s browned, buttery, appetizing aroma will have everyone anticipating its goodness and asking how soon it will be ready.
It’s likely to become the highlight of any meal! Plus it’s a no fuss recipe that is so easy to make (much faster and easier to prepare than dinner rolls).
It begins with the humble, simple ingredients but it’s consistently reliably delicious. Often it’s those old fashioned classics like grandma made that are the best.
This cornbread recipe is fitting to pair with just about any meal any day of the year, and yes it’s most definitely company worthy.
Many people serve it with a chicken dinner of sorts, but you’ll find doubles as a delicious breakfast as well. Slather it with homemade jam or a simple honey butter, then serve it with eggs and sausage or bacon and it will become a new frequently requested weekend breakfast!
Skillet Cornbread Recipe Ingredients
- Medium grind cornmeal: I haven’t yet made this with fine cornmeal as we’ve always preferred the slight chewy texture of the medium grind. If you do try fine grind, or course grind cornmeal please let us know how it goes.
- All-purpose flour: I recommend using unbleached all-purpose flour.
- Baking powder: Stick with aluminum free baking powder so the cornbread doesn’t have a metallic taste.
- Baking soda: This is used in addition to the baking powder since acidic buttermilk is included in the recipe to help the cornbread rise a little better.
- Salt: I like to use a fair amount in the recipe but you can adjust the salt to suit your personal preference.
- Unsalted butter: You can use salted butter if that’s all you have on hand. Just reduce the salt by 1/4 tsp if doing so.
- Buttermilk: I recommend sticking with real buttermilk rather than substitutions if possible (unless you need to make it dairy free of course).
- Eggs: These aren’t always found in cornbread but they really help hold it together so I never make cornbread without them.
- Vegetable oil or bacon drippings: Rendered leftover bacon fat is a delicious option but not always something everyone has on hand so vegetable oil works great too.
How to Make Cornbread from Scratch in a Cast Iron Skillet
- Preheat oven and cast iron skillet: Place a 10-inch or 12-inch cast iron pan in oven on center rack and preheat oven to 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Whisk dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in center of mixture.
- Mix wet ingredients: In a separate medium mixing bowl whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, and 2 Tbsp vegetable oil or melted bacon fat (mixture may begin to clump as fats gets cold that’s fine).
- Combine mixtures: Pour buttermilk mixture into cornmeal mixture then fold mixture with a silicone spatula just until combined.
- Oil pan, add batter: Right away using hot pads remove pan from oven and immediately (carefully over sink) swirl in remaining 1 Tbsp oil or bacon fat coating bottom and sides of pan (or use a basting brush), then pour cornbread mixture into pan and gently spread even.
- Bake until set: Return pan to oven and bake cornbread until cooked through in center about 16 to 23 minutes.
- Cool and slice: Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting.
Helpful Tips for the Best Skillet Cornbread
- Don’t over-mix the batter: Similar to pancake batter cornbread batter should be lumpy (refer to step photos above). If over-mixed it won’t be as fluffy.
- Use a kitchen scale to measure ingredients if you have one for the most accurate results. Otherwise use the scoop and sweep method rather than spoon and sweep as that is the method used to create the recipe.
- Preheat the cast iron skillet: This one is critical to this recipe. Otherwise the cornbread won’t have the classic golden brown edges and bake up the same.
- Oil the skillet before adding batter This is another critical step as this will keep the cornbread from sticking to the pan. Be sure to evenly oil the the bottom and edges, a pastry brush can help but work quickly so pan stays super hot.
- Remove cornbread from skillet after cutting so the residual heat doesn’t dry it out.
- Store cornbread in an airtight container.
- Keep at room temperature up to 1 day, or in the fridge for 4 days.
- This moist cornbread can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Bring to room temperature before serving cornbread.
How to make honey butter for cornbread
- Add 1/2 cup salted butter to a medium mixing bowl.
- Using an electric hand mixer whip butter until light and fluffy.
- Mix in 3 Tbsp honey and whip another 1 minute.
- You can also add 1/2 to 1 tsp ground cinnamon for cinnamon honey butter.
How to make cornbread without milk or eggs
- If there is a dairy allergy you can try using a dairy free milk such as oat milk (1 1/2 cups) and lemon juice (3 1/2 Tbsp). Whisk and rest 5 minutes. Or try using vegan sour cream mixed with some almond milk to get a buttermilk-like consistency.
- With an egg allergy I would try the flax substitute for eggs. The sub is per 1 egg = 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 3 Tbsp water (whisk and rest 5 minutes).
How to sweeten cornbread
If you want a sweeter cornbread try adding 1/4 cup sugar to the recipe. This is not traditional in Southern cornbread but a slightly sweet cornbread is also delicious.
How to tell when cornbread is done baking
- Cornbread should appear set, and usually golden brown on top (but this can vary by oven).
- A toothpick inserted into the center should come out free of batter, a moist crumb or two is fine.
- If touched it should not sink but hold it’s shape.
How to reheat
Individual servings of cornbread can be rewarmed briefly in the microwave for about 15 seconds for a warm, fresh taste.
Can I use a regular baking pan?
I have not yet tested this recipe in a regular baking pan. It should work as well but you may find that you don’t need quite as much buttermilk.
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Southern Skillet Cornbread
- 1 1/4 cups (186g) medium grind cornmeal, such as Bob's Red Mill (scoop and level to measure)
- 1 cup (141g) all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)
- 2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt (can reduce to 1/2 tsp if want lighter salt flavor or if using bacon fat)
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp vegetable oil or rendered bacon fat (melted), divided
- Place a 10-inch or 12-inch cast iron pan in oven on center rack and preheat oven to 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in center of mixture.
- In a separate medium mixing bowl whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, and 2 Tbsp vegetable oil or melted bacon fat (mixture may begin to clump as fats gets cold that's fine).
- Pour buttermilk mixture into cornmeal mixture then fold mixture with a silicone spatula just until combined (batter will be lumpy).
- Right away using hot pads remove pan from oven and immediately (carefully over sink) swirl in remaining 1 Tbsp oil or bacon fat coating bottom and sides of pan (or use a pastry brush), then pour cornbread mixture into pan and gently spread even.
- Return pan to oven and bake cornbread until cooked through in center about 16 to 23 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting. Optionally serve with honey butter (recipe below), whipped butter, jam or honey.
- To make honey butter for cornbread using an electric hand mixer whip 1/2 cup salted butter until light and fluffy. Mix in 3 Tbsp honey and whip another 1 minute. Can also add 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
- Store cornbread in an airtight container. Cornbread will keep longer refrigerated or frozen, bring to room temperature before serving.