How to Make Cornbread from Scratch?

Cornbread is more than just a side dish; it’s a culinary staple that has graced tables for generations. Originating from Native American cuisine, it has become a quintessential American dish. Whether you’re from the South, where cornbread is often a bit savory, or from the North, where it tends to be sweeter, there’s a cornbread for everyone. While store-bought mixes offer convenience, making cornbread from scratch brings a homemade touch that’s incomparable. This article aims to be your ultimate guide to making cornbread from scratch, offering tips, variations, and more.

The Importance of Ingredients

The first step in making exceptional cornbread is selecting high-quality ingredients. Opt for stone-ground cornmeal for a rustic texture and rich corn flavor. All-purpose flour helps to lighten the bread, while sugar adds a touch of sweetness that can be adjusted to taste. Baking powder gives the bread its rise, and salt enhances all the flavors. The wet ingredients—milk, egg, and cooking oil—bind everything together and add moisture.

The Basics: Ingredients and Equipment

To make a basic cornbread from scratch, you’ll need:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil


  • A 9-inch pie plate, 8×8 casserole dish, or a 10-inch cast iron skillet
  • Two mixing bowls
  • A whisk
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Preheat the Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 425°F (220°C). This ensures that the cornbread will start cooking as soon as it goes in, leading to a better rise and texture.
  2. Prepare the Baking Dish: Coat your chosen baking dish with non-stick spray or butter to prevent sticking.
  3. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make sure these are well mixed to distribute the baking powder evenly, which is essential for an even rise.
  4. Prepare Wet Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and oil until well combined.
  5. Combine: Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Overmixing can make the cornbread tough, so stop when you no longer see dry flour.
  6. Pour and Smooth: Pour the batter into the prepared dish, smoothing the top with a spatula.
  7. Bake: Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes. The cornbread is done when the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Customizing Your Cornbread

One of the joys of making cornbread from scratch is the ability to customize it. Here are some popular add-ins and variations:

  • Cheesy Cornbread: Add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the batter.
  • Spicy Cornbread: Include diced jalapeños or a teaspoon of cayenne pepper for a kick.
  • Corn and Herb Cornbread: Add a cup of corn kernels and a tablespoon of your favorite herbs like rosemary or thyme.
  • Sweet Cornbread: Increase the sugar to 1/2 cup and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract for a dessert-like cornbread.

Alternative Baking Methods

If you’re not a fan of traditional cornbread slices, you can adapt this recipe into muffins. Simply pour the batter into a greased muffin tin and bake for 16-18 minutes at the same temperature.

What to Serve with Cornbread

Cornbread is incredibly versatile. It pairs well with a variety of dishes such as:

  • Hearty stews and chilis
  • Barbecued meats
  • Fried chicken
  • Seafood dishes like shrimp and grits
  • Breakfast items like scrambled eggs or bacon

Nutritional Information

While cornbread is delicious, it’s good to be mindful of its nutritional content. A typical serving contains about 241 calories, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 353 mg of sodium, and 1 gram of fiber.

Bottom Line

Making cornbread from scratch is an easy and rewarding experience. With endless possibilities for customization and a wide range of dishes it complements, homemade cornbread is a must-try for anyone who loves to cook or eat. So, ditch the store-bought mix and embrace the joy of making cornbread from scratch. Your taste buds will thank you!

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