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Skillet Cornbread

Corn bread being served from a cast iron skillet.
Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich
  • Active Time

    10 minutes

  • Total Time

    30 minutes

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or new to the kitchen, this easy cornbread recipe is the answer to most questions. Need a side dish for a hearty stew or new chili recipe? Bake cornbread. Hungry for world-class stuffing that bakes up crispy and golden brown? Cornbread takes you there. Packaged cornbread mixes abound, but skillet cornbread is nearly as easy to make and similarly ready in, well, a jiffy. At any given moment you’re 30 minutes away from your very own piping hot, perfectly moist cornbread with a tender crumb.

Because there’s only 1 Tbsp. of sugar in the batter, this recipe is incredibly versatile. Sweet cornbread stans can increase the amount up to ¼ cup, sprinkle the top with brown sugar before baking, or slather on honey butter at the table; those who prefer to keep things savory might stir in a handful of chopped jalapeños and shredded cheddar cheese or top with a dollop of sour cream. There’s no all-purpose flour in the dry ingredients here, so depending on the type of cornmeal you use, this quick bread is even gluten-free without any fuss.

This recipe for homemade cornbread can be baked up to two days in advance. Store at room temperature tightly wrapped or in an airtight container. Reheat in the same cast-iron skillet you used to bake, or just pop a slice in your toaster oven. Life is complicated; cornbread doesn’t have to be.


8 servings

1½ cups white or yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
1 Tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton’s kosher salt
2 large eggs
1¾ cups well-shaken buttermilk
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
Equipment: a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet
  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Heat skillet in oven 10 minutes.

    Step 2

    Stir together 1½ cups white or yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground), 1 Tbsp. sugar, ¾ tsp. baking soda, and ½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton’s kosher salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together 2 large eggs and 1¾ cups well-shaken buttermilk in a large bowl.

    Step 3

    Remove hot skillet from oven (handle will be very hot). Add butter, swirling skillet to coat bottom and side (butter may brown). Whisk hot, melted butter into buttermilk mixture and return skillet to oven (don’t wipe it out!). Stir cornmeal mixture into wet ingredients just until evenly moistened (batter may be lumpy).

    Step 4

    Scrape batter into hot skillet and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean or with only a few crumbs attached, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool.

    Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich

    Editor’s note: This recipe was first printed in the November 2008 issue of ‘Gourmet.’ Head this way for more of our favorite bread recipes →

Cooks’ Note

If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, use a 9-inch-square or 11x7-inch baking dish. To make cornbread muffins, grease muffin tin with butter or vegetable oil and fill muffin cups ¾ of the way with cornbread batter. Bake at 425°F for 15–20 minutes.

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  • I made this to complement some chili I bought at my local Central Market. It's excellent cornbread--not too sweet (which is why I chose it from various online possibilities), and as a bonus, if I ever make it for my Dad (who is a celiac patient), it's GLUTEN-FREE: no flour. Nor is there a huge amount of butter, though I suppose it's generous. I added some minced jalapeno, but with or without the result would be the same: moist and tasty; corn-y, not cloying.

    • yiddishekoppe

    • Dallas, TX

    • 12/3/2015

  • I was looking for a flour free corn bread recipe and couldn't find my prev one, so.....I tried this one. I modified it like I do most recipes simply b/c I don't eat dairy much anymore, but a little butter doesn't bother me. So here's what I did: Used 1 3/4 coconut milk and 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon juice, instead of the buttermilk. Used 1/2 C polenta and 1 1/4C cornmeal instead of 1 1/2C cornmeal. And being at elevation I baked a few min longer in a greased glass 8x8 dish. What I got was this moist, fluffy, delicious, bread that had a bit of crunch to it and has won me over:) Next time, I'm adding either green chilies, jalapenos, or maybe caraway seeds to the mix.

    • cheese123

    • Durango, CO

    • 1/12/2014

  • I loved the texture, flavor and simplicity of this bread. I did manage to burn my arm pulling it out of the oven. Worth it.

    • MPLSmorgan

    • Minneapolis, MN

    • 9/14/2013

  • Quick, easy, and delicious! I'm gluten free and so excited to find a corn bread this good (tender and fluffy) with no wheat flour in it. I used cornflour and added some frozen corn for texture. Definite keeper.

    • rastashada

    • California

    • 4/12/2013

  • This is the best cornbread that I have ever had, hands down. It was perfect! I used white cornmeal and it wasn't too dry, not too moist. Definitely not sweet, like most of us Southerners prefer. Even my boyfriend, that doesn't care for cornbread, said it was good. Very very pleased with this recipe.

    • Anonymous

    • Dauphin Island, AL

    • 3/4/2013

  • This is delicious. I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out very well - moist but not too much butter. The essentials for success are to use a cast iron frying pan, to brown the butter, to use very fine cornmeal (as you would for polenta) and to make sure your oven is fully pre-heated before you start.

    • kfletcher

    • Chelsea, Quebec

    • 2/5/2012

  • Made as written. Extremely bland and not worth eating. There are much better recipes for relatively unsweetened cornbread!

    • katherynmiller09

    • Washington, DC

    • 2/12/2011

  • I played around with the recipe a bit. Used coarse cornmeal and ran half a cup of it through my spice mill to give a fine/gritty texture. Used maple syrup in lieu of sugar. 1 cup of buttermilk and 3/4 cup of yogurt. YUM!!! The only reason I didn't give it 4 forks is that it's too much butter. I would cut back 1-2 Tbls. I like buttery, but found it too greasy. Put it on parchment paper between the bread and the plate. But the technique is terrific and cooking it in an iron cast skillet is THE way to get the edges crispy and evenly baked.

    • ganeshagirl

    • NYC

    • 12/26/2010

  • I made this for a friend with a gluten allergy, and it was a huge success! I used 1/2 cup of buttermilk and milk and plain fat free yogurt for the rest, and used maple syrup instead of sugar. It turned out of the pan beautifully after about 15 minutes and was so easy to make. I served it for breakfast with Strawberry Syrup (Bon Appetit, June 2007) and the recipe was requested by all.

    • jessjess2000

    • Evanston, IL

    • 8/13/2010

  • I thought this was an excellent recipe for homemade cornbread. It tasted like my grandma's that she always used to make. In the past, I've only made Jiffy boxed cornbread which always comes out so crumbly & dry. This recipe was plenty moist. My guests loved it! I served it alongside grilled salmon & a lettuce salad.

    • bingbong72

    • Denver, CO

    • 6/6/2010

  • The bread turned out quite well, but I had to remove it from the oven after only 20 minutes,as it was already quite brown on the bottom and along the edges. I also added one cob of fresh corn kernels for some added texture and interest. I used stone ground corn meal, but next time would use a mixture of fine corn flour and corn meal for a softer consistency.

    • ldubravcic

    • vancouver, bc

    • 12/28/2009

  • I've used my cast iron for baking traditional cornbread with wheat flour and more sugar very successfully in the past. This recipe turned out greasy cornbread that stuck more than usual in the skillet. I used coarse cornmeal, which made the bread chewy in an unpleasant way. I thought it tasted a bit too eggy as well.

    • Anonymous

    • Pittsburgh, PA

    • 12/13/2009

  • Pretty good cornbread for stuffing, and I would use it as a topping. I'm not sure you really need 1/4 cup of butter, could probably cut that down a little, but defintely will use again.

    • eyeroll

    • 11/25/2009

  • Unusual and delicious! I used superfine cornmeal (probably not stone-ground) so it the bread was very soft, very moist, and fairly dense. Not sweet at all. I'm always looking for new ways to use my cast-iron skillet, and this technique will surely become a new standard: the browned butter deepened the flavor of the cornbread, and the hot pan ensured a perfectly crisp crust.

    • stephcollegecook

    • Brooklyn

    • 11/22/2009

  • Loved it... I added some Jalapeno Havarti Cheese and that sent it over the top.. had it at a guys BBQ night and it was a huge hit.

    • deanface

    • 9/25/2009

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