This Old Fashioned Cornbread Recipe, inspired by Betty Crocker, uses cornmeal, buttermilk, and flour for delicious crispy cornbread that only takes 30 minutes and is perfect with soup or chili.
Corn Meal—yellow or white
Pantry ingredients—all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, salt
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Featured Comment from Jeffery: "Just like moms!"
Cornbread is a perfect change of pace from the usual bread for a down-home meal of fried chicken, soup, or chili. Or as a traditional side for a feast like Thanksgiving, or even with soul food.
You can make wonderful homemade cornbread in a jiffy without a Jiffy mix. Make this from-scratch recipe in 30 with pantry ingredients—just follow the step-by-step photo instructions. Make it extra crispy baking in a cast iron skillet.
Cornbread is a quick bread, meaning the dough's leavening comes from baking soda and baking powder, not yeast.
I went old school for this recipe and used our much-loved 1972 Betty Crocker's Cookbook for inspiration. A few changes were needed. I added buttermilk for a better rise and some options, but it is still full of that old-fashioned goodness and simple to make.
For an even simpler and faster cornbread, try my Cornbread Drop Biscuits. And try some other popular quickbread recipes like Cheddar Bay Biscuits, Healthy Biscuits, Beer Bread, and Old Fashioned Banana Nut Bread.
👨🍳How to Make Old Fashioned Cornbread
- Mix dry ingredients of cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Combine melted butter, buttermilk or milk, and egg. Mix into dry ingredients.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean—about 20-25 minutes.
This is a summary of the steps and ingredients. See the recipe card or the step-by-step photo instructions below for complete instructions.
When is cornbread done?
Cornbread will cook quickly, usually in about 20-25 minutes, but you have variables that will make cooking by time unreliable—the pan material and size and the oven.
I suggest the traditional method of testing—the toothpick test. This is where you use a clean toothpick and insert it into the thickest part of a dish, which should come out clean.
You may also check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer, which should be 195° or more.
Tips and Options
- While this cornbread is already crispy, use a 10-inch cast iron skillet for more crispiness.
- White cornmeal will be less sweet.
- Use honey to replace the sugar.
- Make this recipe as cornbread muffins if you want a half-recipe
Make Cornbread Muffins
Make muffins instead of a pan of cornbread for individual servings and freeze for later if you are cooking for two or a small household.
- Mix as directed for 12 muffins or half the recipe for only 6 muffins.
- If you make a half recipe, use a full egg.
- Prep a standard-size cupcake pan and use paper liners if you wish. Fill ⅔ full.
- Bake for about 15 minutes and check for done with a toothpick or instant-read thermometer.
How to prevent dry cornbread
There are several common reasons for dry cornbread and how to prevent them.
- Don't overcook. Check for done a few minutes early.
- Don't overmix. All quick bread recipes, like this recipe, will be dryer if overmixed. Mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Use buttermilk instead of regular milk. The acid in the buttermilk will react with the baking powder, leading to a higher rise.
- Add more butter or oil—the fat will help the moisture.
Northern vs. Southern Cornbread
This recipe would be called northern/midwestern cornbread. It does have sugar and flour, so it is sweeter and more cake-like than southern cornbread. Also, it is usually made with yellow cornmeal. This modification of a 1972 Betty Crocker cornbread is relatively light on sugar.
The other major type of cornbread is southern cornbread, which has traditionally been made with little or no sugar or flour. It is also frequently made with white cornmeal and buttermilk, then baked in a cast-iron skillet. It is not as sweet and will have more of a crust.
🍴What to serve with cornbread
Cornbread is a typical side dish with soup, stew, chili, fried chicken, and BBQ. So, hometown cooking dishes.
❄️Serving and Storage
Wrap your cornbread in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. It can be at room temperature for 2-3 days. You may also refrigerate for up to a week.
Yes, it will freeze well-sealed airtight for up to 2 months.
You can use standard baking pans. 8 to 9-inch square or round will do nicely. I prefer an 8-inch square or 9-inch round pan. Or you can use a 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet.
The smaller the pan, the thicker the cornbread. Thicker cornbread will take a few extra minutes to cook.
Add about a tablespoon of either white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of fresh milk and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to make a buttermilk substitute.
🌽Types of Cornmeal
Not all cornmeal is the same, but does it matter? Not much; they may usually be used interchangeably.
Cornmeal comes in yellow and white colors. You can also find blue if you look hard enough. Yellow cornmeal is a bit sweeter and will provide a bit more taste.
There is also a difference in the grind/texture of some cornmeal. This is generally not something you will worry about if you buy small home amounts at most supermarkets.
Most cornmeal will be a medium grind. But a finer grind will provide more of a cake-like texture to your cornbread. Course grinds are used more for hot cereal but can add more texture to your cornbread.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
Have you tried this recipe, or have a question? Join the community discussion in the comments.
Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Preheat oven to 425°. Prep an 8-inch square baking pan with a heavy spray of PAM. You may also use a 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet, 6X9 baking dish, 9-inch square, or similar baking dishes.
In a large mixing bowl, mix 1 cup of cornmeal (white or yellow), 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix until flour and cornmeal are mixed well.
Microwave ¼ cup (½ stick) butter until just melted—about 20 seconds.
In a medium bowl, mix the melted butter and 1 cup of buttermilk (or milk), then whisk in 1 egg. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until flour and cornmeal are moist. Do not over-mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread to level the top.
Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean—20 to 25 minutes usually.
Old Fashioned Cornbread Recipe
- ¼ cup butter - ½ stick
- 1 cup buttermilk - or substitute or milk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup Corn Meal
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 425°. Prep an 8-inch square baking pan with a heavy spray of PAM. You may also use a 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet, 6X9 baking dish, 9-inch square, or similar baking dishes.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix 1 cup of cornmeal (white or yellow), 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix until flour and cornmeal are mixed well.
- Microwave ¼ cup (½ stick) butter until just melted—about 20 seconds.
- In a medium bowl, mix the melted butter and 1 cup of buttermilk or milk, then whisk in 1 egg. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until flour and cornmeal are moist. Do not over-mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread to level the top.
- Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean—20 to 25 minutes usually. Or an internal temperature of 195°+.
Your Own Private Notes
- Use yellow or white cornmeal.
- Make cornbread muffins, which are perfect for smaller households, or to make a half recipe. See the post for instructions.
- The buttermilk will give a better rise. But use regular milk if you wish.
- You can make a buttermilk substitute with 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in one cup of milk. Then let set for 5 minutes before using.
- The baking powder should be aluminum-free.
- Use an 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking pan or a cast iron skillet for an extra crispy cornbread. Other sizes of pans may be used—see the discussion in the post.
- Bake until the toothpick comes out clean or at an internal temperature of 195°+.
- To store, wrap with plastic wrap or foil. Good at room temperature for 2-3 days, refrigerated for up to 7 days, and frozen for 3 months.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally Published December 20, 2014. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.