Classic Southern Cornbread

thick cornbread with butter dripping off the side

This Classic Southern Cornbread is an essential part of any supper in Appalachia.

What is cornbread?

Cornbreads origins are from indigenous Native Americans, who have handed down amazing cornbread recipes for generations.

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:

  • chili
  • soup beans
  • hearty soups and beef stew
  • or, as a side in any meal

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 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people
Calories 125 kcal


  • cast-iron skillet


  • 5 cup self-rising cornmeal
  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil for 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: 125kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 2gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 889mgPotassium: 63mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 62IUCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Appalachian, bread, supper
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