Real Southern Cornbread

Elizabeth D


This is my grandmother's Southern cornbread -- crumbly, flavorful, a bit of a crust, and NO SUGAR. Finding stone ground cornmeal may take some effort (you can order it from Amazon) but the flavor is much better and the texture is great. Coarse ground will have more texture, fine will be more like the commercial self-rising cornmeal. Makes fantastic Thanksgiving stuffing/dressing, too.

Serve with soup (pinto) beans and cooked turnip, mustard or collard greens for an authentic Southern meal. Crumble the leftovers into a glass of sweet milk for a great snack!


☆☆☆☆☆ 0 votes

10 Min
20 Min


  • 6 Tbsp
    real butter
  • 2 c
    stone ground cornmeal, white or yellow, not self-rising
  • 1 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp
    baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp
    baking powder
  • 1 large
  • 1 1/2 c
    soured heavy whipping cream or buttermilk (country style if possible)
  • 2 1/4 Tbsp
    vinegar for souring heavy whipping cream (if using that instead of buttermilk)

How to Make Real Southern Cornbread


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If using soured heavy cream, add the vinegar to the heavy cream while the oven is preheating, and allow to sit for five minutes.
  2. When the oven starts to get hot, put butter in a 9 inch cast iron skillet. Put skillet in the oven and let it get hot while you mix the batter. Butter should become bubbly or even browned, but don't burn.
  3. Mix cornmeal, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl, then create a well in the center. Drop egg and soured cream or buttermilk into well and stir until just blended. DO NOT BEAT.
  4. Remove skillet from oven and swirl melted butter around skillet. Pour butter into cornbread mix and stir just enough to incorporate, then pour batter back into the skillet and put it back into the oven.
  5. Bake 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to make sure there's no sticking, then turn the pone onto its serving plate. Serve hot with butter.
  6. Note: I recommend real butter only for this recipe. Using margarine or other butter substitutes will not provide the best results. Part of what gives this such a marvelous flavor and a hint of crust is browning the butter in the cast iron pan. Margarine will melt, but not brown as nicely, and makes for a greasy texture and less flavor. I do not recommend self-rising cornmeal, either. Stone ground cornmeal not only has a better texture, but it's also healthier because it's minimally processed and retains more natural nutrients. In comparison, self-rising cornmeal has a more floury texture and more additives, including extra salt. It's also superb on any dish which uses cornmeal for breading, such as frying catfish.

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