My Recipe Box
Heirloom Recipes

Video Recipe: Granny and Papa's Cornbread

Video Length: 5:42
Produced by: Sarah Breckenridge; Video and editing: Matt Berger and Michael Dobsevage

This southern-style cornbread recipe is a long-standing tradition in my family. It was passed down to me by my Granny and Papa on my mom's side.

It features a shot of bacon drippings and is cooked in a cast-iron skillet in the traditional southern way. My mom (cookbook author and Fine Cooking contributing editor Pam Anderson) added her own twist to the recipe: a cornmeal mush that makes the bread more moist. 


4 teaspoons bacon fat (or 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon melted butter)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup boiling water
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg


Before baking you'll need to render the bacon fat by frying bacon in a pan low and slow. Cooking the bacon over medium-low heat until it's very brown and crispy will yield the most fat.

Pour the bacon fat into an 8-in. cast-iron skillet and put in the oven on the middle rack as the oven preheats to 450 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients-the cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda-leaving 1/3 cup of cornmeal to the side to be used later to make the cornmeal mush.

In a separate bowl, combine 1/3 cup boiling water with the remaining cornmeal and stir to make a stiff mush. Then stir in the buttermilk and egg.

When the oven is preheated, remove the skillet and add the smoking-hot bacon drippings into the batter and mix. Then quickly pour the batter into the heated skillet. When the batter sizzles in the skillet you know you're in for a good, crispy crust.

Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and immediately turn the cornbread onto a wire rack to cool.

posted in: cornbread, heirloom recipe

Cookbooks, DVDs & More


Everyone has a favorite recipe that has been passed down through the years. We want to hear about yours.

Catalog your family heirloom recipes in's new community recipe gallery. 

How to enter your heirloom recipe:

1. The story: Share the history of this recipe, and list the ingredients and cooking instructions.

2. Post Photos: We'd love to see the finished dish and family photos that illustrate the history of the recipe.

3. Submit a video: Share your heirloom recipe story on home video. Upload it to YouTube and post the link with your recipe entry. Tag your entry with "Video" and we might feature it on our site!