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Southern Style Cornbread Recipe – How to Make it in 17 Simple Steps

Homemade Southern style cornbread in a skillet pan.

Cornbread has been cooked on the North American continent for centuries since the Native Americans who originally lived here based most of their bread recipes on corn. Basic Native American cornbread consisted of coarsely ground cornmeal that was created when the Indian women crushed the grains of dried corn between two large, flat rocks.

This cornmeal was mixed with water and salt, so their bread was likely very dry and not very good. When European colonists came to the New World, they used Native American recipes and began to improve upon them by adding sweeteners like honey or sugar. Often they would use milk to create a more tender cornbread.  By the time of the Civil War, various cornbread recipes were used all over the United States.

Cornbread cooked in a skillet.

Southern Style Cornbread Recipe

April Freeman
A quick bread that perfectly pairs with stews and chilis, Southern Style Cornbread brings great texture, color, and flavor to the table. Many people think that cornbread has to be dry, dull, and tasteless, but our recipe is moist, tender, and just a little bit sweet. Next time chili is on the menu, try our recipe for Southern Style Cornbread.

Video Version

Prep Time 10 mins
Baking Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 6 People


  • Baking Pan
  • Large skillet
  • Medium-Sized Bowl


  • 1 cup Cornmeal
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Cooking Oil
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 pc Large Egg
  • 1 cup Buttermilk


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • As the oven is preheating, prepare the pan. Put 3 tablespoons of cooking oil into a 9 or 10 inches cast iron skillet.
  • Place the pan into the oven to heat.
  • You want the pan and the oil to be sizzling hot when you put the cornmeal batter into the pan. This will create an amazing crust for the cornbread. If you don’t have a cast-iron pan, a heavy cake pan or cooking pan will do.
  • As the oven is heating, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium-sized bowl.
  • In a separate small bowl, beat the egg lightly with a fork.
  • Stir in the buttermilk and the cooking oil.
  • Next, add the bowl of wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients.
  • Using a fork, stir these things together, just until they are incorporated.
  • You do not want to overmix this batter, because that will lead to a tougher cornbread. You just want the dry ingredients moistened, and it is okay if there are a few lumps in the batter.
    The ingredients are mixed in a bowl.
  • Using an oven mitt, carefully remove the hot pan with the layer of hot oil from the oven.
  • Set it on a heatproof surface and slowly pour the batter into the pan. It should sizzle as you put the batter into the oil. That’s okay! It’s just the batter starting to cook into a nice, crisp, golden-brown crust on the surface of the cornbread.
  • Return the pan to the oven and bake it for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the surface of the cornmeal is lightly browned.
  • Remove the pan from the oven.
  • Let the cornbread cool for about 5 minutes, and run a knife around the outer edge of the pan to loosen the cornbread cake.
  • Then, quickly, using a snap of the wrist, turn the pan over onto a plate to remove it from the pan.
  • Slice the cornbread into six or eight wedges and serve.
    A freshly-baked cornbread.


Geographical differences in the United States influenced the types of cornbread created in the early years of United States history, most of it dependent on the type of corn grown in a particular area. In the Southwest, blue corn was often ground up for the cornbread eaten there, while in the Southeastern United States white cornmeal was used.
In the Northeastern United States, yellow cornmeal was the key component of their cornbread. Often, in the Northeastern United States, sweeteners like honey or sugar were added to the cornbread batter, while in the South, it is still taboo to have sweet cornbread.
Our recipe does use a little bit of sugar in the batter. However, if you love Southern Style Cornbread, rest assured that this is not an overly sweet cornbread. We feel that the balance is perfect. Additionally, we use buttermilk in the batter. The buttermilk adds fat and moisture to the cornbread so that it doesn’t get too dry and coarse in the baking.
One highly recommended cooking technique for Southern Style Cornbread is to make it in a cast-iron skillet. Not only is this an authentic baking method that your Great Grandmother would have used, but it also creates a lovely crisp crust on the outer layer of the cornbread. To increase that delicious texture, in our recipe, the cast iron pan is preheated in the oven and a few tablespoons of oil are in the skillet as it preheats.
When you add the batter to the hot oil, it will sizzle, and that is where the magic happens. Of course, you can use another kind of pan besides cast iron, if you don’t have a cast-iron pan. A cake pan or another skillet will do in a pinch. However, use the heaviest pan that you can find because the heavier the pan, the better the cornbread will bake.
Keyword Bread, Recipe, Side Dish

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