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Classic Southern Cornbread

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This Classic Southern Cornbread is an essential part of any supper in Appalachia. This is one side you’ll always see at the table at my grandmother’s house, as it is my family’s go-to comfort food.

thick cornbread with butter dripping off the side

What is cornbread?

Cornbreads origins are from indigenous Native Americans, who have handed down amazing cornbread recipes for generations. It’s my favorite comfort food!

This recipe is inspired by Cafe Delights and my grandmother’s amazing recipe. There are hundreds of recipes out there with any combination of corn meal, milk/water, baking soda, eggs, and sugar. Cornbread is easily made on a stovetop or in the oven.

oil in a cast iron skillet

Whats the best cast iron skillet for cornbread?

You’ll always want to heat up your oil before making cornbread. I’ve found my favorite, longest lasting skillet to be the Lodge brand.

southern cornbread ingredients

Can I make cornbread without eggs?

Yes, and this recipe does not call for eggs. However, if you want you can add an egg to add to the fluffiness of the cornbread.

southern cornbread with honey

What can I serve with cornbread?

For a sweet tooth, serve the following with cornbread:

  • jam/jelly/preserves
  • honey
  • pepper jelly
  • butter

For dinner, serve cornbread with:

How do you make baked Southern Cornbread from scratch?

First, all you need is a simple batter with cornmeal, flour and eggs to make this cornbread. This is how my grandmother was taught to make it growing up in Southeastern Kentucky in the 1940’s.

cornbread in cast iron pan

How do you know when cornbread is done?

Finally, you’ll know the cornbread is finished baking while pressing on a firm center.

Alternatively, after baking, place a clean toothpick into the center of the cornbread to check.

southern cornbread pone with butter

Sweet Southern cornbread vs. Old-fashioned cornbread: the great debate

Everyone who loves corn bread has a preference on the topic of sweet versus unsweetened.

What’s your preference? I like both, but sometimes the old-fashioned unsweet cornbread is best with honey or preserves, whereas, the sweet cornbread compliments a nice BBQ or smoked meat.

To sweeten this recipe, add a half a cup of sugar to the batter.

cornbread with pinto soup beans

What can I put on traditional Southern Cornbread?

Growing up in Southeastern Kentucky, we would slather butter on the cornbread. And, cornbread is also delicious in a tall, cold glass of milk or with soup beans (pinto beans).

pone of classic southern cornbread on a plate

Classic Southern Cornbread

Traditional, Appalachian cornbread made in a hot cast-iron skillet.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 125kcal
Author: Amber


  • cast-iron skillet



  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Add oil to cast iron skillet on high heat on stovetop during batter prep.
    oil in cast iron skillet
  • Mix all other ingredients to form a batter. Consistency is that of pudding. (add extra cornmeal if too thin).
    cornbread batter with a spoon
  • Drop a tiny pinch of batter onto hot skillet. If it sizzles, pour remaining batter into hot cast-iron.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick (from middle) is clear.


If you are not using a cast-iron skillet, be sure to use a non-stick pan and non-stick cooking spray.


Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 889mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 62IU | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg

If you like classic Southern cornbread, you’ll love:

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Recipe Rating

Leah Oakwood

Thursday 30th of December 2021

Hi! I'm vegan & will veganize this recipe, when I can & share with you, my results. I'm thinking it'll be DELICIOUS with oat or hemp milk. <3

Mom was raised in Pikeville, KY, and every so often we'd have a southern soul food meal of cornbread (not sweet), greens & pinto beans, and I've been looking to replicate her recipe for her cornbread, for years (wish I'd payed more attention when she was cooking).

Thank you, for posting this! Can't wait to try the cruelty free version!


Friday 31st of December 2021

My grandmother lived in Pikeville for some time too. I love the greens and pinto beans also. I use oat milk a lot for breakfasts and I bet it will turn out wonderfully, I'll have to try it sometime with this recipe. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Helen Yount Stemp

Tuesday 16th of November 2021

I am going to try this. I have been looking for Appalachian recipes. My mothers family is from the Staunton, Virginia area which is east of Kentucky. She made the pork and beans with the corn bread. I miss her cooking 😊.


Friday 19th of November 2021

Hi Helen, gotta love some good country cookin'! Thanks so much for stopping by!