Easy cornbread recipe without buttermilk, sweet, crunchy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside, this bread is ready in less than 30 minutes. Perfect for Thanksgiving!
Meet our favorite homemade cornbread! Fluffy, sweet, simple, and delicious cornbread recipe without buttermilk. Baking it in a hot skillet ensures crispy edges and tender crumbs; this is the best cornbread recipe I know. Serve it as a side dish or just as it is… with a glass of milk, maybe. So good and comforting!
Why do we love this recipe?
- Taste and texture: sweet but not overly so, buttery, fluffy yet slightly crunchy, soft and comforting.
- Easy to make: all you need is one saucepan and a cast-iron skillet or a baking dish.
- Quick: It takes less than five minutes to gather and stir the ingredients and about 20 minutes to bake.
- No buttermilk needed: I love buttermilk, but I don’t keep it in the fridge at all times. So it happens that I want some cornbread to go with roast chicken or bean chili, just to realize that there is no buttermilk in the fridge. But trust me, cornbread made without any buttermilk is just as delicious!
- Leftovers: So good that I have to mention them. I love a slice of this bread with a bit of butter and a cup of hot coffee for breakfast the next day. Or, as a snack in the afternoon, it’s almost like having cake.
- Cornmeal: Preferably yellow cornmeal, which gives the cornbread a nicer color. However, white cornmeal works fine as well. I prefer finer cornmeal, and that is what I used in this recipe. Medium cornmeal is fine if you have it, but the finer makes the bread finer, less grainy, and I prefer it that way.
- All-purpose flour: A little less than cornmeal, it helps the bread rise better.
- Sugar: I use a little more than ¼ cup sugar, which is all we need; the bread is sweet but not overwhelmingly so. I used to take more sugar, but I kept reducing it until I settled with this perfect amount. You can use ½ cup if you like really sweet cornbread, but I don’t recommend it
- Whole milk: Makes a great buttermilk substitute.
- Lard: You can use lard if you have it or replace it with butter or bacon grease.
- Other ingredients: butter, salt, baking powder, one egg.
- Cast-iron pan: I use a 12 inch cast iron skillet (30 cm). However, if you don’t have one, you can bake the cornbread in a casserole dish or similar size. The shape of the dish doesn’t matter; it can be round, oval, rectangular.
How to make it?
- Preheat: Turn on the oven and set the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Place one tablespoon of lard, butter, or bacon drippings in the skillet and place the skillet in the oven; it will heat up while the oven preheats.
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- Batter: In the meantime, make the batter.
- Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl: mix cornmeal, all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a saucepan large enough to hold all the remaining ingredients as well. Let cool for one or two minutes while you mix the dry ingredients (2).
- Pour the milk over the melted butter, whisk well. Add egg and whisk again (3).
- Add dry ingredients and mix shortly until just combined (4).
- Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Pour batter into the prepared pan (5).
- Bake: Place skillet into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Brush with a little bit of butter to make it shiny.
FAQ and Expert Tips
- Preheat the oven and the skillet. The batter needs to go in as soon as it is mixed, and the skillet needs to be piping hot.
- Preheat the skillet with the lard/butter/bacon drippings before adding the cornbread batter; this ensures that the bread develops those delicious crispy edges. The pan should be so hot that it sizzle when the batter goes in.
- Use light brown sugar if you like.
- Don’t overmix the batter; that will make the bread tough. Instead, mix the wet ingredients and the dry ones separately, add the dry mixture to the wet and stir until just combined.
Can I add something to the batter?
- You can add lots of things. How about cooked and crumbled bacon, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, grated cheddar cheese, fresh corn kernels, finely sliced green onions, or jalapenos? For Thanksgiving flavors, add some dried and chopped cranberries.
Can I bake cornbread muffins?
- Yes, the baking time will be 15-20 minutes; start checking after 15 minutes; a toothpick inserted in the middle of one muffin should come out clean. Grease the muffin tins thoroughly before adding the batter.
Why is the bread crumbly?
- A little crumbliness is typical for cornbread, but it should not be totally dry and crumbly. If it’s too crumbly, it means you’ve used too much cornmeal or flour. That is why measuring the ingredients correctly is crucial. Using a digital kitchen scale is the best tip I can give you.
How to store?
- Counter: The bread keeps well in an airtight container for about 3 days, it might get crumblier in the end, but it’s still delicious.
- Freezer: You can freeze the leftover bread slices for 2-3 months in an airtight container. Defrost at room temperature; it will take about one hour.
Can I reheat it?
- Place the leftover cornbread slices in a pan, cover with aluminum foil and reheat in the preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius) for 10-15 minutes or until hot.
What to serve with cornbread?
I make cornbread without buttermilk to serve with chili most of the time—any kind of chili.
However, you should not stop there. It is the perfect side dish for stews, either meaty ones or vegetarian and soup. I prefer to make it for chunky soups with meat and/or vegetables.
My kids also love to eat the leftovers like they eat cake, a nice snack in the afternoon. Leftovers are also delicious for breakfast, with a bit of butter, a drizzle of honey, or a little jam.
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Cornbread Recipe without Buttermilk
- Cast-iron skillet (12 inches/30 cm) or another baking dish of similar size.
- 1 tablespoons lard butter or bacon drippings
- 1 ½ cups cornmeal preferably yellow 200 g
- 1 cup all-purpose flour 125 g
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 75 g, Note 1
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter 70 g
- 1 cup milk 250 ml
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon butter for brushing on top
- Preheat: Turn on the oven and set the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Place 1 tablespoon lard in the cast-iron skillet or another baking dish of similar size. Let the oven and the skillet preheat while you make the batter.
- Melt butter in a saucepan that is large enough to hold the rest of the ingredients. 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 until no lumps remain.
- Mix wet ingredients: Stir the milk into the melted butter. Combine well, then add the egg and whisk again.
- Combine: Add dry ingredients to the wet ones. 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 and return the pan to the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden. Check with a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread; it should come out clean.
- Brush: Immediately brush the cornbread with 1 tablespoon butter; it will melt on top of the hot bread.
- You can use light brown sugar as well.
- To avoid cornbread that’s too crumbly, make sure you measure the ingredients correctly; a digital kitchen scale is an amazing thing to have.
- You can add other ingredients to the batter, like 4-5 slices cooked and crumbled bacon, 2-3 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes, fresh corn kernels, finely sliced green onions, or jalapenos, grated cheese. For Thanksgiving flavors, add some dried and chopped cranberries.
- You can also bake muffins; they take about 15-20 minutes to bake; start checking after 15 minutes, a toothpick inserted in the middle of one muffin should come out clean. Grease the muffin tin thoroughly before adding the batter.