Cornbread Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: Emma Laperruque



19 Ratings

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Makes 1 (10-inch) round loaf

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Author Notes

Should cornbread have flour? What about sugar? And eggs? When it comes to Southern cornbread, many home cooks would say no, no, and no. But when it comes to Northeastern cornbread, it’s yeses all around. For our Test Kitchen’s go-to cornbread, we set out to perfect that Northeastern style. Here’s how we did it:

This loaf is buttery, fluffy, just sweet enough, and so quick to come together. Using half cornmeal and half all-purpose flour, our recipe ensures corny flavor with a light, tender crumb. A mix of brown and white sugars adds a malty depth. Shake the buttermilk before pouring and measuring—and make sure it’s at room temperature. If it’s cold, the melted butter will seize up and won’t incorporate into the batter properly. (To temp up the buttermilk, you can let it hang out on the counter for awhile or microwave it in short bursts.) Preheating the cast-iron skillet before adding the cornbread creates a crackly crust. And letting the butter begin to brown before pouring in the batter dials up the loaf’s flavor, big time.

Like all cornbread, this is dreamy still warm from the oven, but it also holds up for a couple of days (wrap well, no need to refrigerate), and it freezes great, too. We love it as much with butter and honey for breakfast as we do plopped next to a bowl of chili for dinner. And if any hangs around long enough to get stale, you can and should turn it into stuffing. —Emma Laperruque

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

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  • 1 cup(140 grams) finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup(128 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoonsbaking powder
  • 1 teaspoonkosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons(1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cupswell-shaken buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup(71 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup(50 grams) granulated sugar
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Stick a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron pan in the oven.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt until combined.
  3. In a small pot or in the microwave, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter. In a small bowl, using a fork or whisk, combine the egg, buttermilk, egg, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth. While stirring, pour the melted butter into the buttermilk mixture and stir until smooth.
  4. Pour the buttermilk mixture on top of the dry ingredients and stir just until smooth.
  5. Using oven mitts, pull the cast-iron pan from the oven and set on the stovetop. Heat over medium heat and melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter. Continue to cook until it just starts to brown. Pour in the batter and shake gently to smooth out.
  6. Bake the cornbread for 20 to 25 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the sides are beginning to pull away from the edges of the pan. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


  • Cornbread
  • American
  • Buttermilk
  • Cornmeal
  • Cast Iron
  • Bake
  • Thanksgiving
  • Winter
  • Fall
  • Vegetarian
  • Breakfast
  • Brunch

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Garth

  • Olivia Noel

  • Brooke O'Brien

  • Martin

  • Doug Schmidt

Recipe by: Emma Laperruque

Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

29 Reviews

apnuyen January 18, 2023

solid, easy cornbread recipe. I made some tweaks, including browning the full quantity of butter (I didn't use a cast iron pan, so didn't need that step) and omitted the 1/4 cup white sugar as I don't like my cornbread to be too sweet. will definitely come back to this recipe any time I want a tender cornbread that's not at all crumbly.

NXL September 28, 2022

I'm not a fan of traditional cornbread, which is what I grew up on. Too dense. Too grainy. This lightened up, sweetened version is delicious and just right to my palate. I added chopped chives for brightness.

pjcamp August 21, 2021

No sugar in cornbread and no flour. Corn is plenty sweet on its own. Substitute one more cup of cornmeal for the flour and omit the sugar altogether. This is cornBREAD not cornCAKE.

Amy R. August 11, 2021

As a multigenerational southerner, I can be very particular about cornbread. My recipe is my mother’s, which came from her mother, which came from her mother, and so on. But I decided to give this a try, even though the brown sugar and the granulated sugar gave me the heebies. I’m not sure what kind of northern concoction this is, but it isn’t cornbread. It wasn’t awful, it just wasn’t cornbread.

jackie June 27, 2021

Finely ground cornmeal? Really? It gives cornbread an awful texture and with that much sugar you could just serve it for desert.

Emily June 10, 2021

Really delicious and I am a bit of a cornbread fanatic. I added some fresh corn kernels which I think are a great add.

Lisa B. December 9, 2020

Simple to make and so delicious! Used milk and vinegar instead of buttermilk and it came out great. Will definitely make again.

aclincol November 28, 2020

Loved this recipe... will make it again. I was away from my kitchen and made to make a few changes: 8x8 Pyrex instead of the cast iron. And instead of buttermilk I used sour cream and whole milk. Cheers!

Garth May 10, 2020

Worthy of its' title. As a Marie Callendar corn bread fan - judge me if you must, that sh*t is tasty - it was tough to breakaway from the ridiculous ease to tastiness ratio...but I guess the pandemic shook me out of that tree. As I read the recipe, I was thinking, "Well duh....That much sugar, butter, and flour can ONLY be delicious!" and that was very true, BUT

This recipe is soooooo easy - a smidge more work than bagged MC - and the browned butter is SUCH an amazing addition. Dry? Yes. All the more reason to keep piling butter, maple syrup, or jam (heck, all three) onto the finished product.

Olivia N. April 11, 2020

I made this with some 100% sourdough discard and it turned out lovely! I used 200g of discard, so removed 100g of flour and 100mL of buttermilk. Next time, I might also replace the buttermilk with whole milk if using discard because I would like a bit less tang – but, otherwise, it was great!

Emma L. April 11, 2020

Wow, such an awesome way to use sourdough discard! Can't wait to try that.

Lisa A. April 6, 2020

Yep, best corn bread recipe ever. Crispy crust, delicious brown butter flavor. I didn't have buttermilk so I supplemented milk with vinegar. Worked perfectly.

pjcamp January 11, 2020

That's not cornbread. It's a giant corn flavored biscuit.

Brooke O. December 18, 2019

We ended up with a weird custard layer with a nice cornmeal loaf on the bottom. Not sure what we did wrong...

Emma L. December 18, 2019

Oh no, sorry to hear that! I'm not sure how or why that happened...but I'll do some digging and let you know if I land on anything.

Garth May 10, 2020

My guess is that the egg and buttermilk weren't mixed into the batter adequately enough. I whisked the heck out of the egg/milk/butter before combining with the sugars and then whisked some more. By the time the 'liquids' met the dry, everything was easily combined and excellent results achieved

Martin December 1, 2019

So I tried again with 6 tablespoons butter and 60% of both sugars. Much better. My wife said it was her favorite. I'm not as sure, but will keep the recipe nonetheless. The crust is delicious and worth fighting over.

Martin November 23, 2019

I really dislike the clickbait title.

As for the recipe, it was nice, but it there was way too much butter; this coming from someone who loves butter. I felt like it was overkill when I was finished eating and all I felt in and around my mouth was oil; sorta like eating at a fast food place. Also, the cornbread was too sweet for my liking. I might try it again, but there are other cornbread recipes around here that I prefer.

November 23, 2020

Please tell us your recommendations and why!

cpc November 20, 2019

I made this tonight and was a bit concerned about the amount of sugar but I'm happy to say this isn't too sweet. It's easy and tasty!

alywit October 31, 2019

I made this recipe tonight with our Halloween beef chili and I changed two things. First I used 2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda to give it an extra lift. Also, after the ingredients were mixed I added 3/4 cup of corn kernels to the batter for a better corn flavor and a little texture. The recipe is a winner. I will definitely make it again. I pre-measured all the ingredients earlier in the day so I could make it for dinner without much fuss. I would recommend this to anyone that likes cornbread with little sweetness.

Carla Z. October 20, 2019

Can this cornbread be baked in a regular Round 9 inch pan?
I am making several and would like to use other pans as well. Thank you.

Emma L. October 28, 2019

Hi! Yes, just heat it in the oven (as you would with the cast-iron skillet).

Darian October 13, 2019

This was excellent! I loved that the very day I went looking for a new cornbread recipe, this popped up. The texture was great and it had the right hint of sweetness without being too sweet. The wedges were moist and needed no additional spread of butter. My cornmeal was more medium- than finely-ground, but it worked fine.

Emma L. October 13, 2019

Yay, so happy you enjoyed!

Doug S. October 9, 2019

You have to try Iroquois roasted corn flour in any cornbread recipe. This rare heirloom corn flour is in a league above others. Get it online from the Ganondagan site in New York. Your purchase helps to keep an rare seed and cultural legacy alive.

Emma L. October 10, 2019

Thanks for sharing this!

Cornbread Recipe on Food52 (2024)


What does adding an extra egg to cornbread do? ›

The extra egg which is increased protein and binder makes the cornbread denser and heavier in texture.

What ingredient keeps cornbread from crumbling? ›

Cornmeal gives cornbread its classic color and flavor, but too much can make your bread crumbly. Try replacing a little bit of cornmeal with flour. The specific measurements will depend on how much cornmeal and flour is in your recipe, but you should try to have more flour than cornmeal in your batter.

What makes cornbread rise more? ›

What does baking soda do for cornbread? - Quora. It makes the batter rise a bit so your cornbread will be light and a little fluffy. If you omit some sort of leavening agent, and baking soda is just one kind, your finished cornbread after baking will be about an inch high, and shall we say, pretty dense.

How do you keep cornbread from being dense? ›

  1. 1Put in an extra egg yolk. ...
  2. 2Cut back on fat or grease by one third. ...
  3. 3Replace white sugar with a moist sweetener. ...
  4. 4Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) more butter or oil. ...
  5. 5Replace milk or water with creamed corn. ...
  6. 6Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of sour cream.
Jul 2, 2022

What happens if you use 2 eggs instead of 1? ›

Eggs are responsible for giving baked goods structure, which means the amount you use directly affects the resulting texture. Using too few eggs will make your desserts dense, but using too many will make them rubbery. The explanation for this lies in the fact that eggs are made up of protein.

Can you put too many eggs in cornbread? ›

If there isn't enough egg, your batter or dough may not be able to hold its structure or could end up overly dry or dense. On the other hand, if there is too much egg, your baked goods could lose their shape due to excess liquid, or have a rubbery (or even overly cakey) texture depending on the recipe.

Should you let cornbread batter rest? ›

Let the batter sit before baking.

We found that if you leave the batter to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before baking it, the cornmeal has some extra time to absorb flavor from the other ingredients and the leaveners (baking powder and baking soda) get a head start.

What is the best cornmeal for cornbread? ›

As for the best cornmeal for cornbread, either fine- or medium-grind cornmeal is a great choice. Medium-grind cornmeal will bring slightly more texture and grittiness to the batter, which you may or may not want (it's up to you!). You can use fine or medium cornmeal in these extra corny muffins.

How thick should cornbread batter be? ›

The consistency of the batter should be a bit like pancake batter—a little on the thin side. Thick batter can result in dry texture and cornbread that crumbles easily after baking. If you feel your batter is too thick, simply add a splash of extra milk.

What is the difference between Yankee cornbread and Southern cornbread? ›

The thing that distinguishes Southern cornbread from, say Yankee cornbread, or any other cornbread one is likely to eat outside of the southern states, is that it is savory, not sweet, and it is made mostly with cornmeal.

What kind of pan is best for cornbread? ›

But there's one dish that nothing but a cast iron skillet will do: cornbread. Why? If you bake it in anything else cornbread will not achieve the desired crispy crust.

Why do Southerners not put sugar in cornbread? ›

Sugar in the cornbread interferes with the flavor of the vegetables. Don't put sugar in your cornbread! Traditional cornbread isn't sweet, but many favorite recipes have sugar in them. The amount of flour vs.

Is it better to use butter or oil in cornbread? ›

My Conclusion: Butter is truly better! The texture of the cornbread as well as the flavor were much preferred in the version with melted butter. It was a little more cake-like and less crumbly than the coarser, less flavorful oil version.

Can you over mix cornbread? ›

Pour batter into prepared pan. The batter will be lumpy. Overcome the urge to mix until smooth. Overmixing can cause the corn bread to peak and have tunnels, resulting in a tough texture.

Why does my cornbread rise in the middle and not? ›

Cornbread, or any baked good, will fall in the middle if it is not completely baked, or if you add too much leavening, which causes it to rise more than the structure of the batter can sustain. Always use a tester inserted in the center of your cornbread to make sure it's done.

How does an extra egg affect baking? ›

However, if you add too many eggs to your cake batter, then your end result could be spongy, rubbery, or dense. Like flour, eggs build structure in a cake, so they make a cake batter more bonded and dense.

What happens when you add more eggs to a recipe? ›

The more eggs that are added, the stronger the physical protein bonds will be. While the yolk also contains some protein, it's more famous for its fattiness. Egg yolks give a smooth, velvety texture to whatever they're added to, whether it's a cake batter or my favorite luscious lemon curd from Bakes by Brown Sugar.

How to make jiffy cornbread less crumbly? ›

I want to keep the cornbread taste, just less crumbly! I recommend extra egg yolk, adding corn, and using cast iron to bake. Also, try a little lower temperature.

Can I add an extra egg in baking? ›

If you use too few eggs, your cake won't hold together well, but using too many will result in a cake that is more dense, spongy, and rubbery than it should be. Adding just one extra egg is enough to add moisture and richness.

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