An easy recipe for homemade Southern cornbread with a moist and tender crumb that feeds a crowd!
Is it even possible to daydream about a Southern feast without envisioning a cast iron skillet ballooning over with sweet, moist cornbread? I think not. In my opinion, a good, solid recipe for cornbread made from scratch is absolutely essential to Southern entertaining. Mostly because it is essential to my marriage.
My husband is all things Southern — has a charming Southern drawl, looks awfully handsome in a cowboy hat, raised cattle, won a Texas state fair or two in his day, and most definitely knows his way around the Southern dinner table. So, it may go without saying, but this guy knows good skillet cornbread when he tastes it.
From what I’ve gathered, my husband’s dear, sweet Nana was no stranger to serving up the best cornbread your taste buds ever did meet. I have been lovingly conditioned to do the same. Far be it for me to deprive a man of a food nearest and dearest to his heart. This is his favorite cornbread recipe and this is how you make it:
HOW TO MAKE CORNBREAD FROM SCRATCH
As intimidating as making bread from scratch may sound, homemade cornbread is really a cinch. There’s no yeast or proofing involved, making cornbread a member of the “quickbreads” family. Things are already starting to sound a bit easier, aren’t they?
THE DRY INGREDIENTS
To make cornbread from scratch, you’ll first measure out your dry ingredients. The dry ingredients in cornbread consist of all-purpose flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt. The ingredients are added to a mixing bowl, whisked together, and that’s that.
ABOUT THE DRY INGREDIENTS
If you were to use solely cornmeal and no flour, your cornbread would likely be pretty tough and not-so tender. Flour gives the cornbread a finer crumb, as does the type of cornmeal you use.
FINE-GROUND VS. COARSE-GROUND CORNMEAL
I prefer fine-ground cornmeal over a course-ground. Both are easily found at the grocery store, and really it comes down to preference. My husband doesn’t mind the coarse-ground one bit. If you like a little “chew” to your cornbread, coarse-ground may be the best option for you. Otherwise, stick with fine-ground.
THE WET INGREDIENTS
The wet ingredients also play a pretty important role when it comes to cornbread. This recipe calls for sour cream, whole milk, eggs, and melted butter. The sour cream, milk, and eggs are mixed together. The dry ingredients go in, followed by the butter. This technique is a little bit different than most cornbread recipes. I’ve found that by adding the butter at the end, I don’t have to wait for it to cool down before adding it to the other wet ingredients. It really helps to speed the process along and has no effect whatsoever on the quality of the end-product.
WHAT MAKES CORNBREAD MOIST
The milk and butter most definitely play a role in how moist the cornbread turns out, but the sour cream is what really does the trick, here. Carolyn Weil explains in her article from Fine Cooking Magazine, that because sour cream is highly acidic, it, in turn, tenderizes the gluten in the flour. Want that little snippet of info in Layman’s terms? Use sour cream in cornbread to make it more tender. Check.
I love using a cast iron skillet for cornbread, and I’m pretty sure my cornbread aficionado husband wouldn’t want it any other way. Cast iron skillets get hot. Like, really hot. The even heat produced by the cast iron skillet not only helps the cornbread to cook evenly but also enables it to develop a beautiful, golden brown crust, providing our cornbread with a lovely contrast in texture. Can you tell texture is a big deal when it comes to cornbread?
To help that crust even further along, place your cast iron skillet in the oven while it’s preheating and allow it to get nice and piping hot. Once the cornbread batter is ready, pull out the skillet, brush it with oil, and add the batter. Take a big whiff, because as soon as that batter hits the pan, it’s going to smell amazing. Then, the skillet goes in the oven, and it’s time to bake!
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you could bake your cornbread in a 9×13″, greased casserole dish, and shave about 3 minutes off the bake time. And now, it’s time to eat.
This is a cast iron skillet cornbread recipe, made from scratch, and it was easy as could be. It’s just the right amount of sweet and guaranteed to cure any man’s (or woman’s) hankering for a good ol’ fashioned slice of sweet cornbread. Enjoy.
An easy recipe for homemade Southern cornbread with a moist and tender crumb, that feeds a crowd!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups fine ground yellow cornmeal
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ cup sour cream
- 1 1/3 cup whole milk
- 4 large eggs slightly beaten
- 14 tablespoons (about 1 ¾ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
Preheat oven to 400°. Place a 12" cast iron skillet in the heated oven while making the batter.
In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients until mixed and create a well in the middle of the bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, milk, and eggs. Pour wet ingredients into the well, and with a wooden spoon, gently stir until incorporated into dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Stream in butter and stir, again, gently until evenly incorporated.
Carefully, remove skillet from the oven. Brush the canola oil onto the bottom and sides of the skillet. Pour batter into the skillet, smooth over the top with an icing spatula or a knife and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cornbread is golden, slightly browned along the edges and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Serve immediately and enjoy.
Use this recipe in: Southern Cornbread Dressing