This skillet cornbread is tender and moist on the inside with an irresistibly crisped crust that’s ready in under 30 minutes.

While I love my cheddar jalapeño cornbread, there are times I crave a basic cornbread recipe that’s more one size fits all. That’s when I make this recipe.

This cornbread baby is made with a fuss-free method then baked in a skillet, yielding a perfectly tender but moist interior with a hearty corn bite, irresistible golden-brown edges, and a crispy bottom. It’s made with a 1:1 ratio of flour and medium-grind cornmeal to create a tender texture that still delivers that must-have corn flavor. Buttermilk brings the tang and tenderness with the combination of eggs, baking powder, and baking soda adding an airy lift. Serve it savory as is or top it with fluffy honey butter for a sweeter bite and I promise, you’ll never miss that box of mix.


What’s In This Cornbread Recipe?

There are many different types of cornbread out there and the ingredients vary depending on what part of the country you’re in. Flour or no flour? Southerners like theirs with just a skiff. Sugar or no sugar? In the North, it’s basically considered blasphemy to add the sweetener in. This cornbread, with its light crumb, savory flavor, and hint of sweetness lies somewhere in between.

Here’s what’s in this cornbread recipe:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Medium-grind yellow cornmeal—while you can use fine grind, I like the medium grind for the texture and more corn flavor.
  • Sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Buttermilk—make sure it’s at room temperature
  • Unsalted butter—melted but then cooled so when mixed with the buttermilk it doesn’t coagulate
  • Eggs—like the milk, these mix in best at room temperature

How to Make The BEST Cornbread

Bring the heat. Preheating your skillet (or baking dish) is very important here. A 10-inch cast-iron skillet is optimal for conducting amazing heat and achieving a crispy bottom and edges. You can also use a glass 8×8-inch baking dish, but you won’t get as crisp of a crust. Some cornbread recipes have you bake at a lower heat, but baking at a higher 425°F really gets that crust going strong without overbaking the bread.

Use medium grind cornmeal for the best flavor with texture. This recipe calls for a combination of flour and cornmeal. If you’re like me and crave a heartier corn texture, use a stone ground, medium grind cornmeal like this one from Bob’s Red Mill. If a cakier texture is more your thing, try fine grind cornmeal.

Mix your dry ingredients. To a large bowl, add the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda, and whisk to combine. If you prefer a bite that’s denser, use 1 1/4 cup cornmeal to 3/4 cup flour instead of equal parts.


Use Room Temperature Ingredients

Make sure the wet ingredients are at room temperature. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs then add the room temperature buttermilk, stirring well. Add the egg mixture to the large bowl with dry ingredients and give it a few stirs. Be sure the melted butter has cooled before adding it to the dry ingredients with the room-temperature buttermilk, mixing just until combined. If the melted butter is too warm or the buttermilk is too cold, the butter will chill and clump when combined with the buttermilk and won’t mix into the batter evenly resulting in uneven baking.

Stir it up (but not too much). Like many quick breads and cakes, stir the batter just until combined. Don’t overwork it or you’ll lose the gassy air created by the baking powder and baking soda and the bread will be tough.


Preheat the Skillet In the Oven

Butter that hot skillet. Once your oven and skillet have preheated, grab a hot pad (!!!) and remove the skillet from the oven. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, swirling it around the skillet to coat. Or, go the more traditional route and use 1 tablespoon of bacon fat.

Sizzle and bake. Working quickly, pour the batter into the skillet and smooth the top. You’ll hear the sizzle and actually see the leaveners doing their job, puffing up the batter as it hits the hot skillet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until the top becomes golden and the edges begin to brown and pull away from the pan.


What is the Best Cornmeal to Use for Cornbread?

You can use white or yellow fine or medium grind cornmeal for this cornbread recipe. I prefer yellow, medium grind cornmeal for that classic butter-yellow cornbread hue and a heartier, crispier texture and slightly gritty bite. If you like a more cake-like texture, use fine grind cornmeal. I don’t recommend coarse cornmeal or polenta though, as those are too gritty in texture for my taste.

Whatever you do, just be sure not to grab cornbread mix off the grocery shelf—it’s already mixed with leaveners and flours and is not what you want here.


Additions or Substitutions for Your Cornbread

  • For a softer bite, soak the medium grind cornmeal in the buttermilk for 10 mintues before adding them to the other ingredients.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, whole milk works but won’t provide the tenderness or tang. Mimic the buttermilk flavor by stirring a good squeeze of lemon juice into the milk.
  • When prepping the pan, swap out the butter for bacon grease.
  • Add toasted pecans, bacon bits, and sub in molasses or honey for the sugar.
  • Freshly ground black pepper, shredded cheese, and chopped green onions are yummy additions.
  • Bacon, cheddar, and minced jalapeño would also be delicious.

Is Cornbread Supposed to be Sweet?

Cornbread, much like stuffing or dressing can vary quite a bit and be rather divisive. Depending on where you’re from, there are some strong opinions about cornbread—particularly when it comes to sweetness. In the North, cornbread is traditionally made without any sugar, while in the South, it’s typically made sweet. Southern-style cornbread often is more cake-like in texture as well, made with more egg.


Can You Freeze Cornbread?

Yes, cornbread freezes incredibly well. Let it cool to room temperature, then slice and seal it in a freezer bag. You can reheat the cornbread in the microwave, or set it on the counter to thaw. My favorite way to enjoy leftover cornbread is to pop it into the toaster oven to get it nice and crispy again.

How to Make Whipped Honey Butter

Use a mixer to whip 8 tablespoons of butter until light and fluffy. Add 2 tablespoons of honey and whip until fluffy. Try it with grated orange zest and a bit of vanilla, or add chopped toasted nuts.


What to Serve With Your Cornbread

More Southern Side Dishes to Master

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