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Published May 26, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This tasty classic Southern cornbread recipe is made with white cornmeal and bacon fat and comes together in under 20 minutes.
Bread is such amazing food and can be enjoyed all day long and of course as an accompaniment. If you love baking bread and want to try a few new recipes, then definitely check out my Irish Soda Bread, Homemade Bagels, or Dinner Rolls.
Traditional southern cornbread is a staple in the south and is classically made from white cornmeal, although yellow cornmeal can be used, and cooked in a pre-heated cast iron skillet. While there is some preference on whether sugar is to be added to the recipe, most older recipes that go generations back use few ingredients and you won’t find any sugar in it.
Is It the Same as Regular Cornbread?
Cornbread has definitely changed over the years and what I find to be the difference really falls on personal preference. Do people want it traditional with no sugar or do they want it much more like a cake and sweet? Is it still cornbread after adding in things like flour, sugar, eggs, etc.? I’ll let you decide.
How to Make Southern Cornbread from Scratch
Follow along with these step-by-step instructions for making a traditional southern cornbread recipe from scratch:
Add some rendered bacon fat to a 10” cast iron skillet and place it in the oven and preheat to 425°.
In a large bowl mix together the cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and flour until combined.
Next, pour in the oil and buttermilk and whisk or fold together until it resembles a pancake batter.
Transfer the batter to the hot skillet with bacon fat and bake at 425° for 15-18 minutes. It will be lightly browned on top and just about firm in the center.
Serve warm or cooled with butter or molasses.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 day ahead of time before serving.
How to Heat: If you like your cornbread warm you can place your desired amount wrapped in foil and baked at 325° for 3-5 minutes. You can also warm in the microwave.
How to Store: Cover and keep at room temperature for 4 days. Cover and keep in the refrigerator for 7 days. This will freeze well covered for up to 3 months.
Chef notes + tips
- The flour in this recipe is optional.
- You can use bread flour in this recipe as well.
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Classic Southern Cornbread Recipe
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat
- 2 ½ cups white corn meal
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups and 2 tablespoons full fat buttermilk
- Add the bacon fat to a 10” cast iron skillet and put it in the oven to preheat to 425°.
- Next, in a large bowl whisk together the corn meal, baking powder, salt, and flour until combined.
- Pour in the oil and buttermilk and whisk or fold together until combined.
- Remove the hot pan from the oven and pour the batter into the pan. Smooth out the top.
- Bake at 425° for 15 to 18 minutes. It will be lightly browned on top and just about firm in the center.
- Serve warm or cooled with butter or molasses.
This is my go-to recipe for southern cornbread! I used it this year as my base for Thanksgiving cornbread dressing along with your chicken velouté recipe. So, so good!!!!
Can I use fine grain polenta?
I don’t now if corn meal here is the same you have in USA, here it looks like flour
I think you could.
I’d make this again. It was easy and very tasty.
Can I use yellow corn meal? That seems to be the one mostly on the grocery store shelves so that’s what I bought.
Do you need to add more cornmeal if you omit the flour?
yes replace with cornmeal.
I am chronologically gifted and because of the arthritis in my hands – can no longer lift cast iron skillets. What is the next best pan/dish for corn bread?
Thank you 😊.
Bill, can I use a carbon steel pan instead of cast iron.