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Classic Buttermilk Cornbread

Scott Phillips

Servings: 6 to 8

This recipe take style cues from both Southern cornbread (baking in a hot, greased skillet), and Northern-style recipes (added flour and sugar). Since traditional cornbread can be dry, making a cornmeal mush and adding a little sour cream to the buttermilk go a long way toward a moist, tender crumb.

Leftover cornbread makes a flavorful and versatile base for stuffing. Use our Recipe Maker to create your own stuffing, flavored with anything from mushrooms and pine nuts to dried cranberries and sausage.

For more holiday-worthy sides visit The Guide to Thanksgiving Dinner.


  • 9 oz. (1-3/4 cups) medium-grind stone-ground yellow cornmeal, such as Bob’s Red Mill
  • 2-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into a few pieces

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 240
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 70
  • Fat (g): 8
  • Saturated Fat (g): 4
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 70
  • Sodium (mg): 460
  • Carbohydrates (g): 35
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 6


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and put a 9- to 10-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch heavy-duty square or round metal baking pan (not nonstick) on the rack. Heat the oven to 425°F.

    In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil over high heat. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the cornmeal and the boiling water. Stir to blend—the mixture should become a thick mush.

    In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 1-1/4 cups cornmeal with the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda to blend.

    Add the buttermilk, sour cream, and eggs to the cornmeal mush and whisk to blend.

    When the oven and pan are fully heated (after about 20 minutes), add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until just blended. Do not overmix.

    Remove the hot pan from the oven and add the butter pieces, tilting the pan to swirl the butter around until it’s melted and the pan is well coated. (The butter may brown; that’s fine.) Immediately pour the melted butter over the mixed batter and stir to combine—a half-dozen strokes with a wooden spoon should be plenty. Scrape into the hot pan.

    Bake until the cornbread pulls away from the sides of the pan and is golden on top, 18 to 20 minutes. Immediately turn the bread out onto a rack. Cool for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Cornbread Mix-ins: While this classic cornbread is delicious in its own right, these simple additions add a little pizzazz:

  • Sauté 1/3 cup diced chorizo until crisp and fold into the batter along with the melted butter.
  • Add 1 cup of grated extra-sharp Cheddar to the wet ingredients.
  • Toast 1/4 cup pine nuts and add to the batter with the melted butter.
  • Mix 4 thinly sliced scallions with the wet ingredients.
  • Add 1 cup of sautéed thinly sliced leeks to the batter with the melted butter.
  • Add 3 Tbs. minced fresh jalapeño to the wet ingredients.
  • Add 1 cup fresh corn to the wet ingredients.
  • Add a few slices of cooked, crumbled bacon to the batter with the melted butter. You can also substitute 1 Tbs. bacon fat for 1 Tbs. of the butter.


Rate or Review

Reviews (20 reviews)

  • xenashoes | 11/29/2020

    We loved this! I made it as specified, except substituted maple syrup for the sugar, and I was generous with the salt. It was crumbly, but in a tender, delicate way, not in a dry, stick to your throat kind of way. It was a great balance of sweet and was still moist enough to eat the following morning for breakfast:)

  • JJSmith100 | 04/30/2017

    I made the recipe exactly as specified except forgot the sugar. It was very good and moist, not crumbly at all. I used Bob's Red Milll coarse ground cornmeal and that gave a nice chewy/crunchy texture. Would make a great side for chili.If people are having problems with dryness, you might need to weigh your cornmeal and flour (which I did and always do for baking) and/or decrease the baking time. My cornbread was done at 16 mins.

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