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Southern Cornbread Recipe

This Southern cornbread recipe is perfectly golden and crusty on the outside yet moist and fluffy on the inside. It showcases comforting, rustic flavors only a skillet can provide. Pair it with soup or chili!

Cornbread in cast iron skillet with butter and pot holder

There are few things more Southern than a crispy-edged skillet of cornbread. Growing up in the South, cornbread was always made in a cast-iron skillet; generally one passed down through generations.

Now, I own my grandmother’s skillet — and if I’m honest, it’s older than me by about 20 years! Call me a sentimental mush, but I feel so connected to her when I use it. This is her tried-and-true, old-fashioned cornbread recipe, and I’m so excited to share it with y’all!

Why I Love This Recipe

  • Authentic: Just like grandma used to make, this Southern cornbread recipe is packed with authentic flavors.
  • Versatile serving options: It’s perfect for breakfast, as a side for chili, or smothered with honey as a snack.
  • Quick & easy to make: This recipe only takes about 5 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to bake, making it a great last-minute addition to any meal.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Vegetable oil: To grease the skillet and give the bread a rich flavor and texture. I prefer vegetable oil over butter since it keeps the bread more moist, but butter will work.
  • Egg: To bind the cornbread, add more moisture, and help with rising. Make sure your egg is nice and large!
  • Cornmeal: Gives the cornbread its beautiful golden color and adds a characteristic grainy texture. I stick to Martha White Self-Rising Enriched Yellow Corn Meal Mix for a classic Martha White cornbread recipe. It’s my tried and true brand loyalty because I know it will come out just right every time.
  • Buttermilk: Adds moisture and creates a tender texture. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, make your own by adding one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to every cup of milk.
cornbread batter in bowl

How To Make Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread

Step 1: Combine The Batter

Start by whisking your egg in a medium bowl. Then, add vegetable oil, buttermilk, and cornmeal to the bowl and mix until combined. You don’t want to overmix the batter to prevent dense, flat cornbread.

Step 2: Bake the Cornbread

Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, then place the skillet in the oven as it preheats. This step is crucial for that coveted crusty bottom! Carefully remove the hot skillet and pour in the batter.

The edges will begin to bubble, which is what you want for the crispiest edges! Place the cornbread in the preheated oven and bake it for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

What To Serve With Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread

I use this Southern cornbread recipe frequently, especially in my cornbread dressing during the holidays. It’s a delicious companion with red beans and rice, or as cornbread muffins for easy, hands-free serving!

You can also pair this Southern staple with a variety of other dishes. The savory, buttery, crispy-edged flavors and textures pair perfectly with a bowl of vegetable soup, taco soup, beef stew, and, of course, chili.

Recipe Variations

  • Jalapeño cheddar: Add diced jalapeños and shredded cheddar for a spicy kick.
  • Honey cornbread: Increase the sugar content for a sweeter version, then serve it with a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey on top.
  • Herb-infused: Mix in fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme for an aromatic twist.
  • Cornbread muffins: Serve this from a skillet or bake it into perfectly portioned muffins.
  • Bacon and scallion: Incorporate cooked bacon bits and chopped scallions.

Tips For The Best Southern Cornbread Recipe

  • Don’t overmix: Mix the batter until just combined to keep the cornbread light and fluffy.
  • Hot skillet: Preheating your skillet is key for a crispy crust! You can place it in the oven as it’s heating up or warm it on your stovetop if you prefer.
  • Check for doneness: Use a toothpick to check your cornbread. It’s done when it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached and the top is golden brown.
  • Rest before serving: Let your cast-iron skillet cornbread cool slightly before slicing.
  • Keep an eye on the oven: Oven temperatures may vary, so keep an eye on your cornbread.
  • Use room temperature ingredients: This ensures even mixing and a consistent bake.

Cooking With Cast Iron

Taking care of your cast-iron skillet means it can be passed down for generations to come! Just follow these tips:

  • Preheat it gradually: Cast iron heats unevenly at first, so preheat it slowly to prevent hot spots.
  • Use the right utensils: Wooden or silicone utensils are ideal to prevent scratching the skillet’s surface. Keep this in mind when you’re serving your cast-iron skillet cornbread.
  • Clean properly: Clean the skillet with hot water and a brush or sponge once it’s cooled. Avoid soap, as it can erode the seasoning.
  • Season regularly: To maintain a non-stick surface and prevent rust, season your cast-iron skillet regularly, especially after washing it.

What To Do With Leftovers

If you have any leftover cast-iron skillet cornbread, follow these simple storage and reheating tips:

  • Fridge: Once cooled, store the cornbread in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezer: Wrap slices tightly with aluminum foil, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container, and freeze the cornbread for up to 1-2 months.
  • Reheating: Let the cornbread thaw in the fridge overnight. Warm leftovers in the oven at 350F or in the microwave for a few minutes until heated through.

Additional Recipes

If you loved this Southern cornbread recipe, here are a few more Southern dishes for you to try:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best pan to cook cornbread?

A 10-inch cast iron skillet is always the best! It gets the edges nice and crispy while the inside is perfectly done.

Can I bake cornbread in a glass dish?

Yes, but the edges will not crisp up as they would in a cast iron skillet.

Can I use milk instead of buttermilk?

If you don’t have buttermilk, regular milk (same measurement) will do just fine for this recipe. I’ve heard of people adding baking soda or powder, but I’ve never found that to be necessary.

How do you season a cast iron cornbread pan?

To season a cast iron cornbread pan, clean it thoroughly, then apply a thin layer of high-smoke-point oil, such as vegetable oil, all over the pan’s interior. Bake it upside down in a preheated oven at 350F for 1-2 hours, repeating the process multiple times to build a non-stick coating.

Is corn pone the same as cornbread?

No, it’s much thicker and malleable than this recipe. It turns out more like a cornmeal cake instead of a slice of cornbread.

Are cornbread and corn muffin mix the same?

Instead of adding all of the batter to the skillet, fill each greased muffin tin about ¾ of the way full of batter. Then, bake the muffins until golden brown, as directed in the recipe.

Southern Cornbread Recipe (in a Cast-Iron Skillet)

Anna Kate
This Southern cornbread recipe is perfectly golden and crusty on the outside yet moist and fluffy on the inside. It showcases comforting, rustic flavors only a skillet can provide. Pair it with soup or chili!
4.69 from 54 votes
Servings 8
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes


  • ¼ cup Vegetable oil (plus 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 ½ cups Buttermilk
  • 2 cups Martha White® Self-Rising Enriched Yellow Corn Meal Mix


  • Preheat oven to 450ºF. Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil to well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. Place skillet in oven to heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Whisk egg in medium bowl. Then, add remaining vegetable oil, buttermilk, and cornmreal mx to bowl and mix until well-combined.
  • Carefully, pour batter into skillet, on top of the hot oil. The edges will begin to bubble!
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.


Serving: 1Calories: 241kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 5gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.05gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 49mgPotassium: 189mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gCalcium: 54mgIron: 1mg
Recipe Rating

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