Classic Skillet Cornbread
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Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread — Moist, fluffy, golden brown buttermilk cornbread prepared in a cast iron skillet for a crispy edge. The buttery subtle sweetness makes it a cross between a side dish and a stand-alone comforting snack. Whether you make it for a weeknight family dinner or a holiday celebration, it’s so EASY, ready in 30 minutes, and FOOLPROOF!
Classic Cast Iron Cornbread Recipe
I have never been world’s biggest cornbread fan because they can tend to be dry and tasteless, but I promise you this skillet cornbread recipe is anything but!
My traditional cornbread recipe is baked in a cast iron skillet so that the center is tender and moist, while the edges get a slight crispiness.
This cornbread is just sweet enough to be a snack on its own.
Not to mention that Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners wouldn’t be the same without this family-favorite holiday side dish on the table.
The best part about this classic skillet cornbread is that it’s a whisk together recipe that’s ready from start to finish in 30 minutes. Fast, easy, and foolproof — can’t ask for anything more!
Ingredients for Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread
To make this buttermilk skillet cornbread , you only need a handful of common fridge and pantry ingredients, including the following:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Granulated Sugar
- Light brown sugar, optional
How to Make Cornbread in a Cast Iron Skillet
It doesn’t get any easier than this whisk-together skillet cornbread recipe. If cooking cornbread in cast iron skillet sounds intimidating to you, don’t be fooled! It’s a very simple process.
Step 1: Begin by preheating your oven to 400F and to a cast iron skillet, add 2 tablespoons of butter, and place the skillet in the oven to melt the butter and preheat the skillet.
Step 2: Move on by whisking together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
Step 3: To a separate medium bowl combine the buttermilk, eggs, remaining butter, and whisk together the wet ingredients.
Step 4: Add the wet to the dry and stir to combine.
Step 5: Transfer the batter into your preheated skillet with melted butter. Remember that the handles of your skillet will be screaming hot so use a potholder.
Step 6: Bake the cornbread for about 20 minutes or until done.
Step 7: Serve it warm, fresh, and with an extra pat of butter and a drizzle of honey if you like.
Do I Have to Use a Cast Iron Skillet?
For skillet cornbread, you need to use a skillet (preferably cast iron) that is oven-safe up to 400ºF. My two favorite types of cast iron skillets are the LeCreuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillet and the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet.
What Size Skillet Should I Use?
Specifically, my recipe is tested and made using a 9-inch cast iron skillet. If you use an 8- or 10-inch, the recipe should still work, although your bread will be thicker in and 8-inch and thinner in a 10-inch.
And of course baking time will vary, by perhaps up to 5 minutes in either direction of the baking times listed in the recipe.
Tip: Note that Lodge’s skillets are deeper than LeCreuset’s, in general. Therefore, don’t make this classic cornbread in an 8-inch LeCreuset Enameled Cast Iron because I don’t think it will quite accommodate all the batter and could overflow.
What Type of Cornmeal Is Best for Cornbread?
I used yellow cornmeal for this traditional skillet cornbread and also because it’s readily available in almost any supermarket.
Can Cornstarch Be Used Instead of Cornmeal?
NO! Don’t confuse cornstarch for cornmeal, and also do not confuse cornmeal with cornflour. They are totally different and are not interchangeable in this skillet cornbread recipe.
Can Masa Be Used Instead of Cornmeal?
No, for those familiar with masa or masa harina, while it is a corn-based flour used to make tortillas and tamales it’s soaked in an alkaline solution and has a distinct taste. It’s not cornmeal like we want for cornbread so avoid it too.
Is Buttermilk Necessary for Cornbread in a Skillet?
For this traditional skillet cornbread recipe, you need to use buttermilk.
However, if you don’t keep buttermilk on hand, you can do the following:
- Make your own buttermilk by adding 1 cup of 2% or whole milk to a large measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to the milk, and then let the mixture set for 2 minutes before adding this homemade buttermilk the recipe.
- Use powdered buttermilk. For this recipe, you will mix 4 tablespoons of the powder with 1 cup water to yield 1 cup buttermilk. For those who bake with or use buttermilk semi-frequently but not so frequently to keep in in your fridge, keeping a tub of powdered buttermilk in your pantry is very handy!
If you are using regular, actual buttermilk in a carton and happen to live by a Trader Joe’s, use theirs. It’s the cheapest ounce-for-ounce and I always get perfect results.
Do I Have to Add Sugar to Cornbread?
For classic tasting sweet cornbread, you are going to want to add granulated sugar.
Without it, the cornbread isn’t going to taste right, won’t taste like what cornbread out to taste like, and will simply be downright bad. (That’s my way of saying that you have to use granulated sugar.)
Regarding the brown sugar, you can omit it. This will result in more of a savory cornbread.
Additionally, rather than using 1/3 cup of brown sugar as the recipe calls for, you can swap the brown sugar for just granulated sugar in homemade skillet cornbread. Meaning, rather than 2/3 granulated, you will use 1 cup granulated sugar.
Serving Suggestions for Skillet Cornbread
Even still, my traditional skillet cornbread recipe is just sweet enough on its own to enjoy as a little snack.
I always like to drizzle my cornbread with a bit of honey. It’s just so good that way.
- ½ cup salted butter, melted and divided (or use unsalted and add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon extra salt)
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal* (See Notes)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed; optional** (See Notes)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk*** (See Notes)
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 400F, add 2 tablespoons butter to a 9-inch cast iron skillet (such as LeCreuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillet or the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet) and place it in the oven for 5 minutes to melt the butter and preheat the skillet. While waiting, move on to the next steps.
- To a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients, through salt, and whisk to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the bowl; set aside.
- To a medium bowl, add the buttermilk, eggs, remaining 6 tablespoons melted butter, and whisk to combine.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the well you created in the bowl of dry ingredients.
- Gently stir the ingredients together; don't overmix.
- Remove the preheated cast iron skillet from the oven, making sure use a potholder because the handle will be very hot!
- Carefully transfer the batter into the cast iron skillet, smooth the top lightly with a spatula, and bake for about 20 to 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs; start checking at about 15 to 17 minutes. Because cast iron skillets all vary in their thickness and heat conductivity, and because ovens and climates and ingredients vary, make sure to check your cornbread for doneness given your variables.
- Serve immediately with your favorite soup, chili, as a holiday side dish; add an extra pat of butter to garnish and/or drizzle with honey for a sweeter flavor. Cornbread is best warm and fresh but extra will keep airtight at room temp for up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 3 months.
*I used yellow cornmeal for this traditional skillet cornbread and it’s readily available in almost any supermarket. Feel free to get inspired and use white or blue cornmeal instead. Take into account that your skillet cornbread will be different in color if you go with white or blue options. Do not confuse cornmeal with cornflour. They are totally different and are not interchangeable. Also don’t confuse cornstarch for cornmeal.
**You can omit brown sugar for more of a savory cornbread. Additionally, rather than using 1/3 cup of brown sugar as the recipe calls for, you can swap the brown sugar for just granulated sugar in homemade skillet cornbread. Therefore rather than 2/3 granulated, you will use 1 cup granulated sugar.
***You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 cup of 2% or whole milk to a large measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to the milk, and then let the mixture set for 2 minutes before adding this homemade buttermilk the recipe. Or use powdered buttermilk. For this recipe, you will mix 4 tablespoons of the powder with 1 cup water to yield 1 cup buttermilk. For those who bake with or use buttermilk semi-frequently but not so frequently to keep in in your fridge, keeping a tub of powdered buttermilk in your pantry is very handy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 338Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 416mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 2gSugar: 26gProtein: 6g
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