Classic Southern Buttermilk Cornbread

Southern Food - Cornbread

What Makes Delicious Cornbread?

Southern Food - CornbreadA crispy, crunchy exterior with a moist, light interior. Lots of intense corn flavor. A tender crumb.

I’ve been baking cornbread for years, and have made more mistakes than I can count. Slowly, though, I’ve been able to perfect it.

Here’s how to make the most delicious cornbread you’ve ever tasted. You’ll love serving this with chili or stew, or fresh peas, or simply to eat hot from the oven with loads of sweet butter.

This cornbread is the classic buttermilk cornbread you’ll find throughout the South. There’s generally no sugar added to Southern cornbread, but if you prefer a sweeter cornbread, add a few tablespoons of sugar or honey.

Using a Cast Iron Skillet is a must!

The Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of yellow cornmeal (it’s okay to use white cornmeal — I prefer yellow)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup of butter, MELTED
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cup of buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp. oil (I prefer Canola oil)

How To Make the Cornbread Batter

Turn on your oven to 425 to preheat.

Put 3 tbsp. of Canola oil into a black 12″ skillet, and put the skillet into the oven so it’ll get hot. The skillet with the oil should be in the oven about 15 minutes or so. You want the skillet, and the oil inside it, to get piping hot, but not to begin to smoke.

You’ll use TWO bowls, one large and one small.

Into the LARGER bowl put the dry ingredients. Stir them till you’re sure that they’ve all been mixed together thoroughly.Make sure your baking powder/soda have been complete incorporated into your flour and cornmeal.

Into the SMALLER bowl, put the wet ingredients. (I usually put my butter into one of my small mixing bowls and put it into the microwave, on high, for about 20 seconds to melt the butter.) Then I pour in the buttermilk, then break in the egg, and use a fork to mix it all together.

Now here’s the trick: pour the liquid ingredients ALL AT ONCE into the dry ingredients.

Use a spatula (or large wooden spoon) to mix the wet and dry ingredients, using only a few swift strokes — about a dozen turns. It’s okay if there are small bits of dry flour/cornmeal here and there. The point is to mix LIGHTLY — if it starts to look smooth like cake batter, you’ve gone too far. (It’ll still be good, but these instructions are about making a¬†great¬†cornbread.)

Baking the Cornbread

Use an oven mitt to remove the hot skillet from the oven and place it on your counter. Then pour your cornbread batter into it, then return the skillet to the oven.

Bake for about 20 minutes. I encourage you to set your timer for 15 minutes, then check the cornbread and turn the skillet halfway around (if your oven browns unevenly — this is usually for older ovens.)

Some ovens run really hot — so your cornbread might be ready in slightly less than 20 minutes. For other ovens, it could take a little longer.

When will you know it’s done? When the top has turned a gorgeous golden brown.

Remove it to the counter and let it sit for about 8 minutes. Place a plate on top of the skillet (use an oven mitt — the skillet will still be really hot) and invert so that the cornbread falls onto the plate. The top (what had been the bottom on the skillet) will be dark and beautiful!

Let the cornbread rest for about 10 minutes, then slice into wedges. The crust will be dark and crisp, the interior will be moist and have a heavenly crumb.


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