Posted by: A Part of the Solution | October 7, 2011

Simple Cornbread

We like our cornbread on the farm. We have it with breakfast on chilly mornings. We have it at lunch or dinner when we need a nourishing starch to round out the meal. This is my adaptation of the Joy of Cooking Southern Corn Bread
We think it’s most flavorful with yellow cornmeal, but some people think the yellow stuff is ‘fit only for pigs’. If you fall into that category, then by all means substitute white cornmeal.
As I’m from the Shallow South of Maryland, I’m not didactic about sugar in the cornbread. So I don’t mind the tablespoon of sugar in this one. If you come from folks who believe sugar in the cornbread is anathema, then leave it out–the cornbread will be just fine.
I learned the trick with the fat in the preheating pan from my dear friend, Kimberly Keese (hi, Kimberly). She made a box of Jiffy mix taste great with this one quick addition to the recipe. Since that evening, I’ve never made a cornbread without that fat in the pan. And I’ve watched every single batch get eaten up before it got stale enough to share with the pigs.
Simple Cornbread

4 TBSP drippings or high-temp canola oil, or vegetable shortening (I like bacon drippings myself, but there you go)

Put the fat into a, preferably 9″ or 10″ cast iron, pan. Put the pan in the oven, and preheat the oven to 450° (you could use an 8″ X 8″ Pyrex, but that’s second best for sure)

Stir together in a large bowl:

1 3/4 cups (8.75 oz) stone ground cornmeal

1 TBSP sugar (optional)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

Whisk until foamy in another bowl:

2 large eggs

Add to the eggs:

2 cups buttermilk, or milk soured with 1 1/2 TBSP of vinegar, or sour milk from an old jug in the fridge, or even potato water (water drained off after cooking potatoes, which if you salted that water you should leave the other salt out of the recipe) soured with the same 1 1/2 TBSP vinegar

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones and whisk just until blended–a few lumps left is not a bad thing. Using care, get the pan out of the oven and swirl it around a second to spread the fat a little up the sides. Pour the batter in all at once and bake until the top is very brown and the center feels firm when pressed, 20-25 minutes.

Serve cut into wedges.  Since it has no fat in it, it dries out pretty quickly, so it’s best served immediately. If you need to make it ahead, you can reheat it wrapped in foil and it will still be quite tasty.

You can fancy up the  cornbread too. Just chop small some medium hot peppers (like jalapenos) and add them to the cornbread.

Or you can beat those chopped up peppers into a stick of room temperature butter with a little lime zest and use that to spread on the cornbread.



  1. I LOVE CORNBREAD! Great idea about the fat in the pan first!

    • Yup. It makes the outsides crispier and the insides tenderer!

  2. That looks great. My kid will just have to suffer. (Can you believe she doesn’t like cornbread?)

    • Sorry to hear it. 😦 I guess she’ll just have to get over it. Cause, heavens it’s tasty!

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