Sweet Potato Cornbread — Homemade cornbread just got better because it’s jazzed up with mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice! Thanks to the natural moisture from sweet potatoes and the addition of buttermilk, it’s so moist and flavorful! Whether you’re looking for a fall-inspired comfort food recipe or a new Thanksgiving or Christmas side dish, this cornbread is EASY and will become a new family FAVORITE!
Sweet Potato Cornbread Recipe
Cornbread just got so much more exciting because it’s jazzed up with sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar making it an amazing fall side dish for everything from family dinners to a stellar side dish at your Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday celebrations.
The texture and moisture of this homemade sweet potato cornbread is part of what makes it so downright wonderful. Thanks to the sweet potatoes and buttermilk in the cornbread recipe, it’s anything but dry!
You don’t even “need” extra butter or honey on top when serving it. But I can never resist topping my cornbread with both butter and honey, no matter how moist and flavorful it is. I always put cream in my coffee too, no matter how much “flavor” black coffee has!
As if the sweet potatoes weren’t enough to immediately make you feel all warm and cozy, there’s also a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice in this cornbread to really seal the fall-flavored deal.
If that’s not for you, feel free to omit it. It’s just a half teaspoon in the whole batch so this cornbread isn’t overly pumpkin spiced and it’s just a nice touch.
While there is brown sugar called for in this recipe, don’t worry. The cornbread isn’t overly sweet. There’s just enough brown sugar in the mix to make it subtly sweet and it really compliments the sweet potatoes. Your pumpkin pie will still be the star of the dessert table with no competition from this side dish.
Finally, you’re going to appreciate how easily this sweet potato cornbread comes together. With a just handful of inexpensive ingredients and easy to follow steps, you’ll have your new favorite Thanksgiving side dish on the table in no time!
You can think of this hassle-free cornbread recipe to utilize on one of the busiest cooking days of the year as an early Christmas present.
Ingredients in Sweet Potato Cornbread
If you like to bake, you likely already have most of these ingredients in your kitchen right now. Around the holidays, I like to make budget-friendly recipes like this one that won’t break the bank. You won’t see anything listed here that’ll hurt your pockets!
- Sweet potatoes
- Yellow cornmeal
- All purpose flour
- Brown sugar
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Unsalted butter
- Honey, optional for serving
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
How to Make Sweet Potato Cornbread
Even if you’re a beginning home cook, you’ll master this recipe for sweet potato cornbread with ease. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll have your new favorite cornbread on the table in no time flat!
Step 1: Combine all of the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and then mke a well in the middle.
Step 2: Using a high speed blender, blend together the wet ingredients.
Step 3: Pour the wet mixture into the well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
Step 4: Stir the wet and dry mixtures together until combined before stirring in the melted butter.
Step 5: Pour the batter into a prepared cast iron skillet.
Step 6: Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes before serving with extra butter, honey, or as desired!
How Should I Prepare the Sweet Potatoes for This Recipe?
You’ll need 1 1/2 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes for this cornbread recipe.
To prepare the mashed sweet potatoes, all you need to do is wrap 2 whole sweet potatoes in foil and bake at 425°F for an hour and a half.
Let them cool, remove the foil, peel them, and then mash the potatoes well to use in the cornbread recipe.
I do not recommend boiling the sweet potatoes in order to cook them. They will take on too much water which will throw off moisture level when it comes time to mix together the sweet potatoes with the dry ingredients and bake your skillet cornmeal recipe.
Can I Bake and Mash the Sweet Potatoes in Advance?
I’m all about making life easier, especially around the holiday season. And for this homemade sweet potato cornbread, you can make the sweet potatoes in advance.
Of course you can bake and then, mash them before you plan to make your sweet potato cornbread.
But for those who want to do it in advance, you can bake, cool, peel, mash the sweet potatoes, and then store the mashed sweet potatoes airtight in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
Do I Have to Use a Cast Iron Skillet?
For this cornbread recipe, I do highly recommend that you use a 9-inch cast iron skillet.
If you can’t get your hands on a cast iron skillet, feel free to use a 9×9 inch baking or casserole dish instead.
Make sure that it’s oven safe up to 400°F. Most are, but you don’t need any disasters in your kitchen.
What Kind Of Cornmeal Should I Use?
I used yellow cornmeal for this skillet sweet potato cornbread. It’s readily available in almost any supermarket.
But feel free to get inspired and use white cornmeal instead. Take into account of course that your sweet potato cornbread will be a bit lighter in color if you go with white cornmeal.
Can Cornstarch Be Used Instead Of Cornmeal?
That’s a big no-no!
It may be a little confusing, but here’s the rule of thumb with the “corn” related ingredients:
- Don’t confuse cornstarch for cornmeal.
- Don’t confuse cornflour for cornmeal.
- You cannot use corn masa or masa harina instead of cornmeal.
They’re all completely different ingredients and not interchangeable in this sweet potato cornbread recipe.
Tip: Make sure your cornmeal is not self-rising.
Do I Have To Use Buttermilk for This Recipe?
Yes, you need to use buttermilk.
If you forgot to grab some at the store, don’t panic. You can very easily make your own with simple kitchen staples you likely have on hand.
Here’s what to do if you don’t have any traditional buttermilk on hand:
- Make your own buttermilk with whole milk and vinegar. Add 1 1/2 cups of 2% or whole milk to a large measuring cup. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Let that mixture sit for 2 minutes before using in the cornbread batter.
- You can use powdered buttermilk. You’ll mix how many ever tablespoons the package calls for, with 1 cup of water, to yield 1 cup of 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.
Tip: If you’re wondering what to do with your leftover buttermilk, I’ve got you covered. Check out The Best Buttermilk Recipes for plenty of easy and delicious recipes. Don’t let that buttermilk go to waste when there are so many possibilities!
How to Serve the Cornbread
This cornbread is just sweet enough and perfectly moist so really, it doesn’t “need” anything.
However, I like to enjoy my homemade sweet potato cornbread with a smear of butter and a drizzle of honey. Is there a better way to enjoy cornbread of any kind? I think not.
I like to serve it when it’s still a little warm from the oven. But if it cools off a bit before serving, not to worry.
Although I do like to serve this cornbread right after, or shortly after, it comes out of the oven. It’s one of those recipes that’s best fresh and I don’t recommend making it in advance.
What to Serve with Sweet Potato Cornbread
You can plate this Thanksgiving side dish staple right next to all of your other favorite side dishes!
How to Store Leftovers
Once the cornbread cools to room temperature, it’ll keep airtight at room temp for up to 5 days.
I suggest zapping it in the microwave for a few seconds when enjoying your leftover cornbread.
I am sure you can freeze it and keep it airtight in the freezer for up to 3 months although I have never tried this personally.
Tips for Making Cornbread with Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes: If you’re making this easy sweet potato cornbread for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you’re can bake, mash, and save the sweet potatoes in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days before making the cornbread.
Make sure to let this cold mash sit at room temp for at least 1 hour before using it in the recipe so there’s no chill to it at all.
Yams: I had a big talk in my Candied Yams post that yams aren’t really very common in North America and it’s more likely you’ll encounter sweet potatoes anyway in your supermarket. I suggest sweet potatoes over yams in this sweet potato cornbread recipe (note it’s not yam cornbread) for a reason. That’s because sweet potatoes are generally moister and not as starchy as yams and work better for the cornbread to ensure it’s nice and moist.
Cornmeal: As mentioned earlier, it’s crucial to use regular yellow cornmeal. Don’t use self rising, and don’t use corn flour, corn starch, corn masa, or anything else for this recipe.
Butter: Remember that you’ll also need to butter the cast iron skillet. It adds flavor to the bottom and edges of the cornbread, helps the sides and bottom turn golden browned, and it also helps to prevent the cornbread from sticking to the skillet. I recommend butter over olive/vegetable/canola oil. And don’t use margarine, either.
Brown Sugar: This cornbread is just perfect on the sweetness meter for us. If you want it to be a bit sweeter, bump the amount up to 1/2 cup from 1/3 cup. For those who just want to rely on the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes, you can certainly try that and add less than the 1/3 cup and see how it goes. Personally, this doesn’t wouldn’t be my preference but everyone’s tastebuds with sugar vary.
Fall Flavor: Craving even more fall flavor? Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar instead of just 1/3 and add 1 full teaspoon (or 2 teaspoons) of pumpkin pie spice instead of a half-teaspoon.
Cast Iron Skillet: While you can make this cornbread recipe in a 1.5 to 2-quart baking or casserole dish, I like 9-inch cast iron skillets better. The sides and bottom crisp up a bit better and the texture seems better to me.
LeCreuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillet and the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet are my favorite cast iron options. You can also try a 9-inch greased pie plate making sure to discard a bit of excess batter if it seems overly full since pie plates are less deep in general compared to skillets.
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- 2 cup yellow cornmeal*
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional but recommended, omit if desire or add 1+ teaspoons to boost this flavor as desired)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked, peeled, mashed sweet potatoes**
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk***
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons more to grease the skillet, plus optionally more for serving
- Honey, optional for serving
- Preheat oven to 400F. If you're using a 9-inch cast iron skillet such as Lodge or LeCrueset (recommended), place it in the oven now. If you're using another type of pan such as a 9x9-inch pan, 9-inch deep pie plate, or 1.5 to 2-quart baking or casserole dish, you don't have to put them in the oven. However, you do need to spray them very well with cooking spray and then set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice if using, stir to combine, and then make a well in the center. Set bowl aside.
- To the canister of a high speed blender, add the sweet potatoes, buttermilk, eggs, and blend on high speed for about 30 seconds to combine well.
- Carefully. pour this wet mixture into the well you created in the dry cornmeal mixture and fold well to combine the dry and the wet ingredients; don't overmix.
- Add the melted butter and stir to just combine; don't overmix. Set aside momentarily.
- Remove the hot cast iron skillet from the oven, making sure to use a pot holder because it's very hot!
- Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons additional butter to the skillet, and swirl it around the coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Use a pastry brush to brush it on the sides to make sure the sides are well-greased.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
- Serve immediately, and if desired serve with honey/and or additional butter. Cornbread will keep airtight at room temp for up to 5 days. I have never frozen it but you can try to freeze it airtight for up to 3 months.
*Use regular yellow cornmeal. Don’t use self rising, and don’t use corn flour, corn starch, corn masa, or anything else for this recipe.
**Wrap 2 large sweet potatoes tightly in foil, bake in a 425F oven for about 60 to 75 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes can be pierced very easily with a fork. Allow them to cool a bit so you can peel them. Then mash them with a fork or potato masher. Do it by hand for best results, not a mixer.
You can store the mashed sweet potatoes airtight in the fridge for 2-3 days before using in the cornbread recipe.
If you're making them in advance, make sure you set them on your counter at least 1-2 hours before you make the cornbread so they are completely at room temperature.
***Refrigerated liquid buttermilk is my preference and Trader Joe's is the best value but any brand is fine.
If you don't have it on hand, make your own by adding 1 1/2 cups of 2% or whole milk to a large measuring cup. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Let that mixture sit for 2 minutes before using in the cornbread batter.
You can use powdered buttermilk. You’ll mix how many ever tablespoons the package calls for, with 1 cup of water, to yield 1 cup of buttermilk.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 421Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 768mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 3gSugar: 18gProtein: 9g
More Sweet Potato Side Dishes:
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping — This is the BEST sweet potato casserole ever!! The sweet potatoes are tender and creamy, while the streusel topping adds a delightful buttery crunch thanks to the pecans!
Classic Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes Casserole – An EASY recipe for the BEST sweet potato casserole with pecans! Tender and creamy sweet potatoes, the subtle crunch of a buttery pecan crumble, and gooey marshmallows make this comfort food side dish an automatic family FAVORITE! It’ll be on repeat for your Thanksgiving, Christmas, and holiday celebrations every year!
Savory Sweet Potato Casserole with Candied Bacon – If you thought sweet potato casserole couldn’t get any better, wait until you taste it topped with candied bacon and pecans! The sweet potatoes are smooth and creamy and the candied bacon topping is the perfect texture and flavor contrast! A WONDERFUL family-favorite side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, holiday parties and events that’s easy to prepare with make-ahead directions!
Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole — A HEALTHIER and DELICIOUS twist on sweet potato casserole!! The potatoes and apples retain some texture with the perfect amount of crumble topping! Put it on your holiday menu!!
Sweet Potato Bites – Sliced sweet potato rounds are brushed with a maple cinnamon-and-sugar mixture, baked, and then topped with marshmallows and pecans! Sweet, decadent, FAST and EASY! Great for busy weeknights especially when the weather is chilly. Or put these perfect little bites on your Thanksgiving and holiday menus!
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows – Sweet, creamy, decadent, and reminiscent of sweet potato casserole but individually portioned! FAST and EASY enough for family dinners or make them for more formal holiday celebrations! Either way, these are always the PERFECT comfort food side dish that everyone devours!