This recipe for cornbread in a cast-iron skillet is delicious, easy to make, and ready in 30 minutes. The moist and fluffy interior and the crispy crust make it irresistible.
Are you still looking for some Thanksgiving side dishes? How about making this super easy homemade cornbread in the cast-iron skillet? It's the perfect side for Dutch Oven Turkey, Roasted Chicken, Roasted Turkey Drumsticks, and many other main dishes.
Why do we love this recipe?
- Lovely texture: the cornbread has a moist, tender crumb but has those delicious crispy edges and bottom. It's perfect for soaking any sauce or gravy.
- Sweet but not overly so. Many people like sweet cornbread, while many others can't imagine eating something that sweet in a meal that it's not a dessert. I think this recipe reconciles both parties: it is sweet, but not too much so.
- Easy recipe: Gather and stir a few wet and dry ingredients, then bake.
- Quick: You will only need about 30 minutes, about 5 to 10 minutes to search and mix the ingredients, and another 20 or so to bake the bread.
- Delicious leftovers: Love them! Either with a cup of coffee for breakfast or with another cup of coffee as an afternoon snack. Lovely with some butter, honey, or jam on top or just as it is.
What do you need?
- Cornmeal: I use medium or fine yellow cornmeal. I prefer yellow cornmeal because it gives the cornbread a nicer color. However, white cornmeal is just as good. I also like finer cornmeal because the end product is less grainy, but if all you have is medium, that is great.
- All-purpose flour: It helps the cornbread rise better.
- Sugar: You will need ¼ cup sugar + 2 tablespoons (about 75 g); this much sugar is perfect for our taste; the bread is sweet but not overwhelmingly so. You can use ½ cup if you like, but I don't recommend it. You can replace the granulated sugar with light brown sugar if you want.
- Buttermilk: Should you not have any in the fridge, feel free to replace it with milk; I never really noticed any difference in the end product.
- Bacon drippings, lard, or butter for those crispy edges. Preferably one of the first two mentioned, but if you don't have them, the butter will be fine as well.
- Other ingredients: unsalted butter, salt, baking powder, one egg.
- Cast iron pan: 12-inch skillet (30 cm). You can use a slightly smaller pan, but in this case, the cornbread might need a few extra minutes of baking time. Always check if the bread is ready with a toothpick. Stick it in the middle of it; it should come out clean.
How to make it?
- Preheat: Turn on the oven to preheat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Preheat the skillet in the oven. Add one tablespoon bacon grease, lard, or butter in the skillet and place it in the oven; it will heat up while the oven preheats (1).
- Whisk together the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan. Let cool for one or two minutes while mixing the rest of the ingredients (2).
- Pour buttermilk over the melted butter and whisk well. Add the egg and whisk until well combined (3).
- Combine: Pour wet ingredients over the cornmeal mix (4) and mix shortly until just combined. Don't overmix (5).
- Remove the hot skillet from the oven, wear oven mitts and be very careful; the skillet is super hot and super heavy.
- Pour batter into the hot pan. Place skillet back into the oven (6).
- Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- For an extra buttery crust, brush with a little butter immediately (7).
FAQ and Expert Tips
- Preheat the oven before you start mixing the ingredients. The batter needs to go in as soon as it is mixed.
- Preheat the skillet with one tablespoon of fat before adding the batter; the skillet needs to be very hot; this makes the bread crispy and flavorful. The pan should sizzle when the batter goes in.
- Don't overmix the batter; that will make the bread tough. This is like making muffin batter; you should never overmix that either. Fancy some muffins? How about our favorite Moist Apple and Cinnamon Muffins with Oil?
Bake the bread in a baking dish of a similar size.
Use a cup of milk instead; I've tried both versions, they are both delicious; I could never tell the difference.
Cooked and crumbled bacon, about 4-5 thin slices.
Grated Cheddar cheese (or other cheese you happen to have), about 3 tablespoons.
Fresh corn kernels, about 3 tablespoons.
Finely sliced green onions, about 2 tablespoons.
Jalapenos, finely chopped and to taste.
Chopped dried fruit like raisins or cranberries, about 2 tablespoons.
Grease the muffin tins thoroughly before adding the batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes; start checking after 15 minutes; a toothpick inserted in the middle of one muffin should come out clean.
A little crumbliness is normal, but excessively crumbly and dry cornbread is not nice. If it's too crumbly, it means you've used too much cornmeal or flour. Use a digital kitchen scale when baking; it ensures the best results.
Counter: For 2-3 days in an airtight container.
Freezer: 2-3 months in an airtight container. Defrost at room temperature; it will only take one or two hours.
Place the leftover cornbread slices in an oven-safe dish, cover with aluminum foil. Reheat in the preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit/150 degrees Celsius for 10-15 minutes or until hot.
Serve them at room temperature or reheated. Have them plain with a cup of coffee. Or serve them smeared with butter and topped with a bit of jam or a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
More side dishes for Thanksgiving:
- 21 Thanksgiving Potato Side Dishes
- Green Bean Casserole without Soup
- How to Cook Sweetheart Cabbage
- Healthy Broccoli Potato Casserole
- Buttered Vegetables
- Creamed Celeriac
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Easy Cornbread in the Cast-Iron Skillet
- Cast-iron skillet 12 inches/30 cm.
- 1 tablespoon bacon drippings, lard, or butter
- 1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal 200 g
- 1 cup all-purpose flour 125 g
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 75 g, Note 2
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter 75 g
- 1 cup buttermilk 250 ml
- 1 large egg
- Preheat: Set the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Place bacon drippings, lard, or butter in the cast-iron skillet. Place the skillet in the oven and preheat the oven and the skillet while you make the batter.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan. Let cool for a couple of minutes while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
- Mix dry ingredients: Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
- Mix wet ingredients: Stir the buttermilk into the melted butter. Combine well, add the egg and whisk again.
- Combine: Pour butter mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir shortly until the batter is just combined. Don't overmix.
- Bake: Carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Caution: it is very hot and heavy! Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden. Check with a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread; it should come out clean.
- Use a digital kitchen scale in baking; it ensures the best results (Amazon affiliate link).
- You can use light brown sugar as well.
- Possible additions: 4-5 slices cooked and crumbled bacon, about 2 tablespoons fresh corn kernels, 2 tablespoons finely sliced green onions, or finely chopped jalapenos to taste, 3 tablespoons grated cheese, 2 tablespoons chopped dried fruit, like raisins or cranberries.