HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Need some cornbread baking tips

I love cornbread, I just don't love MY cornbread! I can cook it in a hot cast iron skillet, I don't over mix (did that once and will never do it again) but my cornbread doesn't come out like the kind you get at a good bbq joint.

I'm thinking it's the ratio of flour to cornmeal. I tend to do 50/50 but maybe the ones I like have a different ratio? Can you make them with all cornmeal and no flour?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. "my cornbread doesn't come out like the kind you get at a good bbq joint." OK, how does the cornbread in the bbq joint come out? Some like it with a cake like texture, some with a coarse and almost dry texture, some want it crisp outside and tender inside, some want it tender throughout.
    My cornbread uses:
    1 cup (4.5 ounces) AP flour
    1/2 cup coarse (typical) cornmeal
    1/2 cup Masa (corn flour)
    3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 egg (slightly beaten)
    1 cup whole milk
    1/4 cup vegetable oil (I sometimes use melted butter - sometimes browned butter)
    Combine wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients and create a well in center of the mass. Pour wet ingredients into the well, mix just until all ingredients are well combined (there will be small lumps in the batter) and pour into baking dish (I use a preheated cast iron skillet) and bake in 425 oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick piercing the center comes out clean.
    If I want to make it less cake like, I decrease the AP flour and increase the corn flour.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      I know it's hard to explain. But the ones I like have a softness that mine doesn't. Mine is much firmer, which is why I was thinking less flour.

    2. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

      This one is Altons and I usually don't follow many recipes but this was pretty good. I like the cream corn for moisture. To me you can't beat it. I did add some green chilis and some monterey jack cheese to mine

      This is another one my friends makes which does have flour unlike Altons, also creamed corn which makes it very moist. Again my friend ass cheese and some kind of peppers for some heat.

      I also make one with just Jiffy Corn Bread mix, lame I know but when pressed for time and ingredients, it works just fine. Again, I use some creamed corn, some cheese and peppers and spices to jazz it up.

      I cook all in my cast iron and they all come out crisp but still very moist. Using different amounts of the creamed corn and cheese will give it totally different textures.

      11 Replies
      1. re: kchurchill5

        No matter what recipe I am using, I always use buttermilk. And if I don't have any, I make it with sour milk. Add 1tbsp. vinegar to one cup of milk for the sour milk. I also usually use melted butter for the shortening.

        1. re: Miri1

          Altons has buttermilk. I have have made all three, the Jiffy and the traditional way buttermilk and not. I can't tell too much difference between all three, but I do admit Altons I enjoy the most. Crispy and moist but they are all pretty close.

        2. re: kchurchill5

          Love the Alton corn bread recipe! I cook it in a jelly roll pan and up the buttermilk. Deeeeelish.

          1. re: miss louella

            I have to add some things for a little extra flavor, but it is a good recipe.

          2. re: kchurchill5

            hey there kc. I am making blackeye peas today. I have about 3 qts of chard and beet top liqour/stock and some awesome chicken stock (which I'm making on the stove now) and thought that cornbread would be nice too.

            I usually use the Albers recipe on the box, it's more cake like and I love it, but tell me is Alton's like that or does the cream corn make it more moist??? please tell me about it.

            1. re: chef chicklet

              It is very moist. Probably not as much cake like. But to be honest, I never just made his recipe as it. The first time I followed his, but I also added green chilis and cheese which again is more moisture. So I wish I could answer that. I have always liked a moist corn bread. Sorry not a clear answer on that. Dinner sounds good.

              Let me know what you end up making.

              1. re: kchurchill5

                Oh that is so like you! I swear we cook just alike, we get creative and it turns out wonderfully and then someone will ask us for the recipe... ACK!

                That's okay, the main recipe for AB's recipe is all I need, I can add or not the other items, like the green chilis or creamed corn, cheese (what kind again?). Actually my dear, what you do well, t all sounds delicious and I'll probably copy you.
                I'm sure the recipe is posted on the fn, site I'll check. Meanwhile here is a photo of my usual cornbread, nothing fancy but good with beans....
                see its pretty cakey...

                Oh heck yeah, the beans are for tomorrow and I can't wait. I dropped a ham bone the size of my arm in the crockpot! The chard liquor (stock) is somthing I'll use again, I must remember this because I've made vegetable stocks before and this is just really really good.

                1. re: chef chicklet


                  Altons link is above. My cheese I use either a sharp cheddar or a jalapeno jack cheese. Altons I have changed many times, the main recipe I keep, but just adding my twists like you.

                  FYI, you wouldn't have to twist my hand to have that for dinner. Yummy!

                  1. re: kchurchill5

                    Unfortunatley, I didn't have everything to make ab's recipe last night, made the usual which was very close except, I didn't have buttermilk, and I think it has a little more sugar... but next time!

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      Milk or non-dairy mylk with a tsp. of apple cider vinegar per cup can be substituted for buttermilk.

            2. re: kchurchill5

              I tried the Alton Brown recipe last night and really liked it. So fast. Added bonus: it was still tasty the next day. It was the first time I ever bought cream corn and I guess I'll be buying again (eventhough I can't stand it straight up). Thanks for posting.

            3. I usually use Jiffy, but I also really like the Trader Joe's mix, which takes much longer to cook for the same quantity -- go figure.

              7 Replies
              1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                See that's the thing, I like Jiffy a lot better than my own!

                1. re: Jpan99

                  Jiffy is fine for me and for quick corn bread when I don't have all the other ingredients. I always doctor mine up though peppers, corn, cheese, even onions.

                  These are the recipes from the Jiffymix.com page for the corn bread

                  I admit I have made the hush puppies with a few changes, spices or grates onion, etc.

                  I have made the spoon bread which is quite corn

                  And the Mexican Pizza, but I used my own toppings vs the canned chili, I used chorizzo in a spicy tomato base with pepper, onions and a blend of Mexican cheese topped with sour cream and avacado.

                  If you use the Jalapeno corn bread recipe and add some grated onion and cumin, fresh scallions the green parts, fresh corn, 1 extra egg, and cilantro it males great pan fried corn cakes.

                  1. re: kchurchill5

                    here's my favorite Mexican cornbread - I use While Lily Buttermilk Cornmeal Mix -


                  2. re: Jpan99

                    Hi! If you like Jiffy (I do, too), I have a substitution for the ingredients so you can make your own Jiffy within the attached link for Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread...as a bonus, you get my favorite recipe for sweet corn cake:

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      Thx. I do like making cornbread from scratch but Jiffy is so easy and you can still your own stuff.

                      I forgot to mention this one. I make mini jiffy muffins. To the basic mix I add a little chili powder and grated onion then I get a nice junk a hot spicy jalapeno cheese. Put the muffin mix in the tins and then put a square of the jalapeno cheese in the center on the muffin and bake. They make great little treats and BBQ's. Bite into a gooey center. Just really good.

                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        Jiffy also makes tasty waffles that pair nicely with a bowl of chili.

                  3. re: somervilleoldtimer

                    the Marie Callender mix is good, too. Just add extra butter and a dollop of honey to the batter before baking.

                  4. One of my favorite tips is this one handed down from my great-grandmother - melt some shortening, oil, bacon fat or a combo of those in a cast iron skillet until hot. Sprinkle in cornmeal, turn heat down and let the cornmeal bubble and brown. Add cornmeal batter and bake in hot oven. The crust is unbelievable!!

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: bayoucook

                      That sounds really good, I have heard of making a crust in bacon fat, but never had a recipe or tried it. One of the guys who is an Ol' Fl boy we go fishing with used to make it that way or similar but never tried it.

                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        I've actually had people fight over the crust before! And the inside is tender and delicious. I make 4 or 5 different cornbreads, almost always from scratch (one exception "Cotton Pickin" cornbread pouches for when I'm rushed) - Don't like sweet cornbreads so I don't use Jiffy. For a 10-12" pone of cornbread, I use about a tablespoon of sugar, if that. But try the crusting method, Kim, and tell me what you think about it (have some sweet butter handy!).

                        1. re: bayoucook

                          Is that a north vs. south thing <<don't like sweet cornbreads>>? I'm a Yankee, what do I know? ;) Jiffy just tastes good to me. Must have a little to do with what you're accustomed to eating.

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            I don't know - my kinfolk always said they either wanted cake OR cornbread - so I never had it sweet. My husband's from New Orleans and he loves sweet cornbread. I think it has to do with what you're eating it with - I make a sweeter cheesy-jalapeno cornbread to go with chili or pinto bean stew or turnip-green black eyed pea soup. With southern cooked veggies and potlikker - only regular cornbread will do - tastes better in the juices I guess. Never thought of it as a north vs. south thing...

                            1. re: bayoucook

                              bayoucook: Got it--I don't make cornbread except to serve with chili. Your pairing idea makes sense.

                              silverhawk: NICE!

                            2. re: kattyeyes

                              It is a north south thing. I'm originally from NE and like Durgin Park's corn bread, though it's more of a hearty cake than a real corn bread. If you like sweet cornbread, this amusement park cornbread is really good, more like a corn cake than corn bread.


                            3. re: bayoucook

                              i like the crispy edge so much that i now bake cornbread madelines almost exclusively. this requires reducing the baking powder and increasing the oven temp.

                              1. re: silverhawk

                                I'll have to try that. I love my cornbread the best when I make a small batch in a cast-iron pan; it's not that thick and the crust is really THERE. I also like to make hoe-cakes (don't know the real name for them) - make any cornbread batter like pancakes in a cast-iron skillet.

                          2. re: bayoucook

                            Hey bayou. Did your cornbread, but I used some shortening and butter combo. No bacon fat. Did the cornmeal and then the batter. I used Jiffy batter but cornmeal I had just enough for a crust, I did add green chilis, a small can some grated onion, 1 small one and some cheese, monterey pepper jack. It was awesome corn bread and I loved the crust. Crispy but not too much. I have to admit very good, thank you. I enjoyed that. Had my chicken which I had marinaded all day and then grilled with mesquite and a chipolte glaze (leftovers from the other night) and a black bean and corn salad with fresh mango. A nice Mexican type dinner. Good summer time food.

                            Thx again for the cornbread tip, a couple other recipes here I want to try too..

                            1. re: kchurchill5

                              Glad you liked it. Your dinner sounded delicious. There're things I want to try on here, too. Wish I'd found Chow years ago I enjoy it so much.

                            2. re: bayoucook

                              what's in that cornmeal batter, bayou cook?

                              1. re: bakersdelight

                                I make 6 or 7 different cornbreads depending on what it goes with and my mood. My everyday/quick batter is White Lily Buttermilk Cormeal Mix, more (thick) buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter (some water or milk to thin it if I have "real" buttermilk). Just lately my local store has had buttermilk like I grew up on, really thick and rich, sooo good. Not low fat.

                            3. There are several variables -
                              - cornmeal to flour ratio - more flour, the lighter and cake like it will be
                              - coarseness of the cornmeal - a coarser corn meal works with more flour; a finer grind is better when using 100% corn (coarse won't hold together)
                              - sweetness - just a matter of taste. Northern 50/50 is often made sweet (e.g. Jiffy), Southern 100% is low sugar
                              - the hot skillet with bacon drippings seems more important with the 100% fine cornmeal version. The crust formed by the 'frying' adds interesting texture
                              - buttermilk can add interesting flavor
                              - if your 50/50 seems to heavy, check the baking powder proportions. 1tsp per cup of flour seems about normal.
                              - more eggs reduces the crumbliness

                              1. I don't like any flour in my cornbread. Here's what I do for just the 2 of us:

                                2 teaspoons bacon drippings
                                1 cup buttermilk
                                1 egg
                                1 cup stone ground cornmeal (I use a medium grind)
                                1/2 teaspoon baking powder
                                2 t baking soda
                                1/2 teaspoon salt
                                1 T sugar (this doesn't make it sweet, but I think improves the flavor)

                                Coat bottom and sides of a small (8 inch I think) cast-iron skillet with bacon drippings; heat in a 450° oven.

                                Whisk together buttermilk and egg. Add cornmeal, stirring well. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour batter into hot skillet.

                                Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until cornbread is golden. Turn it out of the pan immediately or it will get soggy as it cools!

                                This makes a dense, but moist cornbread. It's the best for soaking up pot likker!

                                13 Replies
                                  1. re: onrushpam

                                    This is a reason for me to finally buy a cast iron skillet. I have seen them at Ross but always put it back down- seems like such a huge commitment.
                                    I have a glass flat top stove, so I was thinking I would ONLY be able to bake with one. Still may be worth it.

                                    1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                      BD - I thought the same thing when we moved here and had a glass top stove.
                                      Did some research, and found it's okay to use cast-iron on it, just let it sit and don't move it around on the burner. Been doing it for two years now and all is well.

                                      1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                        Someone posted about making pineapple upside-down cake in cast iron as well. I haven't tried it yet.

                                        1. re: lgss

                                          Pineapple upside down cake is great in a cast iron skillet. You can caramelize fresh pineapples in it and then add batter. Caramelized pineapples are so good.

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            Can it be made in anything else? :)

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              That's the only way I've ever had it, or would want to have it.

                                              1. re: bayoucook

                                                Same cast iron for me. Although I did make it is a pie pan or spring form pan once, just not the same but ... ok.

                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                  I learned the hard way not to make it in our spring form pans.

                                                  1. re: lgss

                                                    Bless yer heart, lgss - I just did an apple upside down cake in a springform, and was amazed at how much of the good stuff leaked out. As it happened, I'd considered the possibility, and set the pan on a sheet of parchment on a sheet pan, so at least I didn't have a whole oven to clean up. That does it - nothin' but cast iron from here on.

                                                    As for the corn bread (our topic, right?), I'm all no-flour, no-sugar, pour it into a blazin' hot skillet kinda guy. If I want soft, I'll eat cake. Cornbread's supposed to be crunchy, corny, at least somewhat redolent of pig fat and practically incapable of going stale.

                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                      That's exactly the philosophy I was raised with - but we did use a little bit of flour - no sugar. Old, hot cast iron skillet with oil, bacon drippings, and or butter - then brown some cornmeal in it on top of the stove, pour in the batter (sizzle) and bake. Still make it that way. That's cornbread in the Deep South as I know it.

                                              2. re: paulj

                                                Yeah, once you have it that way, you wonder why anyone ever uses anything else. Way back when I was a girl scout, we made it in an aluminum pan in a box lined with aluminum foil. I don't know if it was camping and being hungry for anything but it tasted so good back then.

                                        2. Does anyone just make cornbread with a good amount of cheese and peppers and poured on a bowl of chili and baked. Just a thin layer spooned on and baked. I do that all the time and it is always a hit. A small cornbread crust on each bowl of chili. Then just add a big dollop of sour cream, and some scallions and you have the best chili around. This is also great with black bean soup and a spicy chorizzo soup I make and white, red or veggie chili. I also make a hearty chorizzo and potato soup which is creamy and this again makes a great topping.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: kchurchill5

                                            Sounds like a dish I grew up with - wiener pie. Sliced hotdogs in a tomato sauce, topped with sliced or grated cheese, and half batch of cornbread. It can be tricky getting the right balance between the amount of savory bottom, and the corn bread on top.

                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                              Kim - I'm starving and I'm still on my first cup of coffee! I'm gonna try that - I have ovenproof bowls, so even tho' it's hot as hell here, will turn up the air and do this asap.
                                              You come up with so many good ideas!

                                              1. re: bayoucook

                                                My favorite is over black bean soup, but you can use it many ways. Just like pouring a thick pancake on the soup. You can even sprinkle some cheese on the top of the cornbread too extra flavor. Just a fun way to eat the soup.

                                                FYI: Important Tip!
                                                Ladel hot soup into the bowls and top with the cornbread. This gives it a head start. Otherwise it takes too long too cook.

                                              2. re: kchurchill5

                                                No but I made the best pot of blackeye peas last night, and I'm trying this next week!
                                                Going to freeze leftovers for next week, they will love this!
                                                What I do now is just cut up a couple of buttered squares, then ladle the beans over, then add the usual things like onions, sour cream, cilantro, avocado... etc. But love the idea of baking the layer on.

                                              3. Thanks for all the tips and recipes. I'm making cornbread for July 4th. I'm going to try one with all cornmeal and no flour and see what happens. I read somewhere else about sprinkling the corn meal in the hot, cast iron skillet before adding the batter so I'll try that tip too!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Jpan99

                                                  I make GF chipotle cornbread with polenta or cornmeal and any combination of quinoa, buckwheat, and rice flour.

                                                2. As a Southern girl now relocated out in Bushwick, I recently had to do some improvising with my classic buttermilk cornbread recipe. Unable to find buttermilk in the nearby hispanic grocery store, but remembering an auntie of mine who insisted sour cream was the only way to make cornbread, I bought Honduran Sour Cream and gave it a whirl. The cornbread turned out moist in a way I'd never experienced, fluffy, and fantastic. I'd recommend you experiment with sour cream.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: jwalker23

                                                    Oh, good idea! I've become a HUGE fan of Mexican Crema. I never buy regular sour cream anymore. I'm thinking crema could make some awesome cornbread!

                                                  2. Making a recipe "light" probably sounds counterintuitive for fantastic cornbread but I stumbled across a really great technique when I was counting calories.

                                                    2 cups White Lily Self-rising cornmeal
                                                    1 1/4 cup skim milk
                                                    1 egg, lightly beaten
                                                    1/4 cup applesauce
                                                    Olive or canola oil to coat skillet

                                                    Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Take an 8" cast iron skillet. Pour in about a Tablespoon of olive or canola oil and place in oven to heat. Mix all other ingredients until just moist (don't overstir - batter will be lumpy). Spoon the batter into the heated skillet and bake for 20 minutes.

                                                    This makes a nice crispy crust and tender center. Bonus - it's lower calorie/fat than other recipes. It's a favorite of mine.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                                      They probably won't find (the wonderful) White Lily cornmeal mix unless they're in or near (the wonderful) South. I'm from So. MS, we're neighbors.

                                                      1. re: bayoucook

                                                        I have found limited supplies of While Lily (and Martha White) cornbread mixes at Grocery Outlets - a clearance chain. Both use a finer cornmeal than the Quaker or Alber (?) brands of cornmeal commonly available in the north and west.

                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                          I don't have my recipe on hand-but I can tell you one thing-adding sour cream to your corn bread makes it really moist.

                                                    2. We have a small family so I'll bake them in muffins instead for a whole corn bread so the bread keeps longer. My 7 year old loves split toasted corn bread muffins with butter and honey for breakfast.

                                                        1. re: Jack_

                                                          I'm sure it's delicious bread with cornmeal in it, but it's not authentic cornbread to a Southerner - milk, no buttermilk? I enjoy the KA website, but.....that's barely a cornbread.

                                                        2. I made this recipe tonight to try something different and am very pleased with the result. It's gonna make simply gorgeous stuffing tomorrow!

                                                          Cheers to you, Virginia Hanker, whoever you are! :)

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                            Thank you kattyeyes, i had a different recipe for cornbread but this one looks better! All the positive reviews are encouraging.

                                                            1. re: eviemichael

                                                              Try making cornbread WAFFLES. Its great for spooning chili, stews, and sloppy joes on.

                                                              1. re: yakitat jack

                                                                Agree 100% re cornbread waffles, jack. To date, I've only made them with Jiffy, but can't see why the above batter wouldn't work, too. I totally love CB waffles with chili. eviemichael, hope this new recipe is a hit for you, too. :)

                                                          2. You don't even have to use milk, or buttermilk. Here's what I use--it's a muffin recipe, so maybe try baking this in the oven before you move on to the skillet, so you can get a feel for it all. Much loved by my great-aunt and her friends.

                                                            These are sweet, but to make them savory, just leave out the sugar and add some bacon or shredded cheese. If you use cheese, replace the oj with apple juice or apple sauce, lemon juice and water, water with a splash of vinegar, or somesuch. For acidity.

                                                            Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
                                                            Mix with a wooden spoon:
                                                            3/4 cup flour
                                                            3/4 cup cornmeal and grits
                                                            2 eggs
                                                            1/2 cup sugar
                                                            scant 1/2 cup oil
                                                            2 tsps. baking powder
                                                            pinch of salt
                                                            1/2 cup orange juice

                                                            If doing as muffins fill cups 7/8 full and bake 10-12 minutes. As a bread, bake a bit longer, say in an 8 x 8-inch pan until brown. Keep an eye on it as it bakes and you should be fine.