Any decent southern baker has a cornbread recipe. I’ve made this particular Cast Iron Cornbread recipe so many times that I have it memorized. Every southern baker has an opinion about whether or not sugar belongs in cornbread. I think the answer to that questions varies by region, but for me, it’s #TeamSugar, over here. Cast Iron Cornbread is a historic staple. Iconic. It’s a classic.
When you bake as much as I do the tried and true becomes routine and you find yourself down this path of discovery and adventure (the official best chocolate chip cookie! croissants! layer cakes!) I don’t want to get distracted by the glitz and glam of an amazing sourdough loaf so my baking bucket list this year includes a handful of southern classic recipes that everyone should already know about. I learned a lot about baking helping my grandmother and aunt in their kitchens and now that they are both gone, these recipes mean that much more.
Notes about making Cast Iron Cornbread:
- I prefer yellow cornmeal to white. The texture is better is just better in my opinion, so that’s what the recipe uses. If you use white cornmeal you may want to dial back the sugar just a touch.
- About the Cast Iron Skillet. I used a 9-inch skillet with a 1 1/2 inch depth. If you have a wider or deeper skillet you are going to need to scale the recipe depending on how thick you want your cornbread. Obviously your bake time will vary, but the goal should be a nice golden color, with some cracks in the top and the edges of the cornbread moving away from the pan. Use toothpicks, temperature probes or even a left over take out chopstick(!) to test when the cornbread is done.
Heating the cast iron skillet.
The best way to heat the cast iron skillet is to put it in a cold oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. The cast iron skillet will be nice and toasty– so be extremely careful taking it out of the oven and pour in the cornbread batter. My instructions don’t tell you to do that, because I have a history of burning the daylights out of myself. If you are accident prone you can achieve a nice crust by warming your cast iron on the stove on medium for about 10 minutes before melting the butter. It’s not perfect, but it’s also safer.
A word of caution about the Butter:
The cast iron skillet creates a crazy crisp buttery crust on the sides and edges that are amazing. Word of caution, more butter isn’t better here. If you have too much butter in the pan it will create a weird layer on the top of the cornbread.
One bowl cornbread recipe baked in a cast-iron skillet to give it a nice crispy crust.
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup corn meal
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tbs. honey
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tbs. butter/margarine
- Place Cast Iron Skillet in a cold oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
*If you tend to be accident prone, just preheat the oven and see steps below.
- In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the butter with a wooden spoon.
- *accident prone instructions: warm the cast iron skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
- Melt the butter in the hot cast iron skillet, making sure that the butter coats the entire pan (sides and bottom). Take care to not burn yourself.
- Pour the cornbread mixture in the cast iron skillet and using potholders, put the skillet in the oven.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
This recipe fits in a 9 inch cast iron skillet that is 1 1/2 inches deep. If your skillet is larger or deeper, please double the recipe.