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What do you cook your cornbread in?

Westy Jan 2, 2013 05:38 AM

I just bought a 9" cast iron skillet, but I was wondering if the cast iron pan with small indentations (look like corn) are better. Is there a difference in cook times/temps?

Not sure if this goes in home cooking or equipment.


  1. jboeke Jan 2, 2013 06:30 AM

    I always do muffin cups. Much easier for portioning (especially with kids).

    1. h
      hungryjoanne Jan 2, 2013 06:47 AM

      Sometimes I use a 9" cast-iron pan; sometimes a 9" square glass baking dish.
      The cast-iron is great if your recipe calls for pre-heating the pan and butter/lard. I would worry that the pan with indentations would be difficult to clean...
      Muffin cups are great for portioning, as jboeke says.

      1 Reply
      1. re: hungryjoanne
        Leepa Jan 2, 2013 03:46 PM

        A properly seasoned corn stick pan will release the corn sticks (which is what we've always called them) easily and no worries about cleaning.

      2. s
        susanl143 Jan 2, 2013 06:53 AM

        I use a cast iron skillet. I leave shortening out of the cornbread batter and instead melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in the skillet on top of the stove. One could use bacon fat instead. I add the batter to the melted butter and allow it to stay on the hot stove for a few minutes and then put the skillet into the preheated oven. The corn bread cooks up in 15 to 20 minutes, crusty and buttery. Yum.

        1. r
          rockycat Jan 2, 2013 07:32 AM

          Always cast iron unless I'm making muffins. I never managed to get my cast iron corn stick pan seasoned properly and I can never manage to get the sticks out without breaking so I rarely use it. It's a pain to clean.
          If you have the bacon fat, go that way. You don't even need to use the cooktop. Put your fat in the pan and pop it in the oven for about 5 minutes or so before pouring your batter. The batter should sizzle when it hits the fat.

          1. chowser Jan 2, 2013 07:37 AM

            Cast iron for southern, pyrex for northern. I think the ones w/ corn indents are limiting, plus harder to fully grease/remove cornbread.

            1. ipsedixit Jan 2, 2013 07:44 AM

              I use a Cast Iron Pan, but either a pan or skillet work just fine.

              1. tcamp Jan 2, 2013 07:59 AM

                I also use a cast iron skillet or a square glass baking dish, depending on in what shape I want the final product. For potlucks or bag lunches, I find squares more durable than wedges.

                1. sal_acid Jan 2, 2013 08:05 AM

                  Glass baking dish or a Madeleine pan or muffin pan.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sal_acid
                    wonderwoman Jan 3, 2013 11:35 AM

                    +1 on madeleine tins. use them for sweet things as well; 2 bites, 1 hand.

                  2. Uncle Bob Jan 2, 2013 08:18 AM

                    Cast Iron Skillets ~~ Rarely Muffins. ~~ The 'Stick' pans work if seasoned well, oiled, and are smoking hot when you apply the batter. Rarely use them however.

                    1. d
                      dixiegal Jan 2, 2013 01:01 PM

                      I have never cooked cornbread in anything but cast iron. I am not crazy about the corn shaped ones. I also have an old wagner that is divided into wedges. While like the way the wedge shaped ones turn out, I just don't like fooling with it. The corn shaped ones are too shallow for me. I like more middle of the cornbread than all crust. I also find it hard to predict how much batter I need to mix up, and pouring the batter in those little molds is messy. that goes for both the wedge shaped ones and the corn shaped ones.

                      I just prefer the skillet, because it is easier. Then everyone can cut whatever size piece they want.

                      1. Chemicalkinetics Jan 2, 2013 01:23 PM

                        Depends. For sweet cornbraed, I usually use a deep baking pan. For savory cornbraed, I usually use a cast iron skillet.

                        <but I was wondering if the cast iron pan with small indentations (look like corn) are better>

                        That just makes them look cute, not better.

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          mikie Jan 2, 2013 03:41 PM

                          We have a corn bread pan, cute little ears of cornbread. Just one of those things we got from my mother, but most of the time it's either in a square glass baking dish or cast iron skillet.

                          1. re: mikie
                            Chemicalkinetics Jan 2, 2013 04:08 PM

                            <most of the time it's either in a square glass baking dish >

                            I have a glass baking dish for pies, but I have not tried that for cornbread. I assume it work well for you. Noticed any difference between the glass and the cast iron for your cornbread?

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              Leepa Jan 2, 2013 04:16 PM

                              You'll get a better crust in a cast iron pan. That is if you preheat the cast iron before putting in the cornbread batter like you are supposed to. I'd have some serious reservations about preheating Pyrex and then putting in the batter. Kaboom!

                              1. re: Leepa
                                Chemicalkinetics Jan 2, 2013 04:27 PM

                                <I'd have some serious reservations about preheating Pyrex and then putting in the batter. >

                                Good point.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  Westy Jan 3, 2013 05:46 AM

                                  Yeah...nothing like shrapnel to make meal prep more "exciting."

                                  1. re: Westy
                                    chowser Jan 3, 2013 09:23 AM

                                    It's not just immediate but for months on end, finding shards in hidden corners.

                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                mikie Jan 2, 2013 07:22 PM

                                I don't notice alot of difference, more difference with the little corn pan. I don't make the cornbread, and Mrs. mikie, as unselfish as she usually is, always takes the middle piece of cornbread when cooked in a 9x9 glass baking dish, she doesn't like the edges much, so perhaps there is a difference, or maybe, the cast iron doesn't give her a middle piece ;)

                                1. re: mikie
                                  Chemicalkinetics Jan 2, 2013 07:23 PM

                                  <or maybe, the cast iron doesn't give her a middle piece ;)>

                                  :D Ha ha ha.

                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  chowser Jan 3, 2013 03:25 AM

                                  I use pyrex when making northern style cornbread because that has a more cakey texture, and I don't want the crust. I don't preheat it in that case. I asked pyrex about heating their pans empty for the no knead bread (it still makes the best loaf) and they said they didn't recommend it.

                                  1. re: chowser
                                    dixiegal Jan 3, 2013 03:45 AM

                                    I have two lodge cast iron loaf pans that make great breads. Even cornbread if you likely of the middle and less crust. Back when I made yeast bread, I loved using the CI loaf pans. The same for sour dough and the Amish friendship bread.

                                    1. re: dixiegal
                                      chowser Jan 3, 2013 04:19 AM

                                      I finally bought a Lodge cast iron dutch oven for the no knead bread. I use our old cast iron for southern style cornbread where I want the crust. But, northern style just calls for soft, imo, so I use the pyrex pans. When I make loaf bread, I have a stone loaf pan, if I want the crust and pyrex for not. Thinking about it, I apparently have a lot of pans, for every occasion...

                                      1. re: dixiegal
                                        Leepa Jan 3, 2013 04:20 PM

                                        That's interesting. I bought one once and never used it. Recently, I gave it to a friend. I thought it would be slow to heat up and that would affect the initial rise in the oven. So that isn't the case?

                                      2. re: chowser
                                        Chemicalkinetics Jan 3, 2013 06:48 AM

                                        Yeah, I can see no-knead bread is a really bad idea for Pyrex. Heating the oven and its content really hot, and then dump a cold piece of dough. Yeah, that sounds too much of a thermal shock.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                          chowser Jan 3, 2013 09:23 AM

                                          It's one of the containers Bittman recommended in the original recipe. I did it for months and had no problems but someone pointed it out here when I talked about doing it. I ended up sending an e-mail to the company (I'm just imagining the shudders). It should have occurred to me because I have had pyrex shatter and it's tough to clean up.

                                          1. re: chowser
                                            Chemicalkinetics Jan 3, 2013 09:26 AM

                                            <It's one of the containers Bittman recommended in the original recipe>

                                            Really? Bittman recommended Pyrex glass for this? That sounds like a not-so-great idea.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                              chowser Jan 3, 2013 09:40 AM

                                              I used these recipes (Lahey via Bittman):

                                              Two medium mixing bowls
                                              6 to 8 quart pot with lid (Pyrex glass, Le Creuset cast iron, or ceramic)"

                                              Yeah, not a good idea.

                                3. Bacardi1 Jan 2, 2013 01:50 PM

                                  Along with some others here, unless I'm making muffins, I use a cast-iron skillet.

                                  1. MikeB3542 Jan 2, 2013 03:08 PM

                                    Boy, I have a bunch of different pans for corn bread. For basic corn bread, a basic 12" cast iron skillet works. I use a drop biscuit pan or a corn stick pan when I am looking for something with a lot of crust. It's all good...make sure that whatever you is good and hot, and well-greased when the batter goes in. When camping, I use a camp oven...the corn bread comes out with great crust and incredibly moist. Nothing like hot coffee, fresh-baked cornbread or biscuits, honey out in the great outdoors!

                                    1. firecooked Jan 2, 2013 03:55 PM

                                      I always use a 9x9 glass baking dish

                                      1. p
                                        pedalfaster Jan 2, 2013 04:06 PM

                                        9" cast iron skillet.

                                        1. g
                                          Gingerbaker Jan 2, 2013 04:49 PM

                                          I use a 12" cast iron skillet.

                                          1. e
                                            ellabee Jan 2, 2013 09:31 PM

                                            9" cast iron skillet. A great aid to seasoning the skillet, and an excellent crust on the bread. Move on to corn-shaped pans when you've perfected the pan and the cornbread. (Yes, the cooking time is different.)

                                            1. tim irvine Jan 3, 2013 04:46 PM

                                              Cast iron muffin pan. If left unsupervised, probably brushed inside with bacon fat.

                                              1. BIGGUNDOCTOR Jan 3, 2013 05:26 PM

                                                Various Pyrex.

                                                1. chefathome Jan 3, 2013 05:44 PM

                                                  Always cast iron skillet with bacon fat.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: chefathome
                                                    MikeB3542 Jan 4, 2013 02:48 PM

                                                    I try to go easy on the bacon fat...if you plan on eating right away, no big deal, but found that it picks up a less-than-pleasant funk with time.

                                                    1. re: MikeB3542
                                                      tim irvine Jan 4, 2013 04:28 PM

                                                      That's why I zealously ensure they are all consumed while hot!!!

                                                  2. s
                                                    sueatmo Jan 3, 2013 09:05 PM

                                                    I am another who bakes cornbread in my CI skillet. I've done this for decades.

                                                    1. Patrincia Jan 4, 2013 03:12 PM

                                                      I bake mine in a cast iron skillet. I love the crust that develops. The only advantage of using a corn shaped pan would be not having as many crumbs from cutting a round cornbread into wedges.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Patrincia
                                                        Leepa Jan 4, 2013 03:41 PM

                                                        I love the crispy crust as well. This is why I usually use my pan that makes the wedge shaped pieces. Lots of crust! For this same reason, I also like to use my waffle maker to make "cornbread waffles" that I usually serve with my favorite chicken stew. Mmmmm.

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