Sweet Cornbread Recipe

Heather says:
This is a very basic, dense, slightly sweet cornbread recipe. It is not to be confused with cornbread cake which, as one may imagine, is even sweeter and more cake like. This cornbread is one of our favorite sides, it is made from household stapes and is simple to prepare. I also like that it’s low cost and pairs well with many meals. The kids love it drizzled with just a touch of honey for a breakfast treat.


  • 2 cups plain yellow cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 TBSP vegetable oil or melted bacon fat
  • 1 tsp salt

This is so basic we’re skipping the step by step pictures. First, crank the oven to 475F. In a medium bowl stir together the cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Place your cake pan (9x9x2) or muffin tin (12) in the oven for three to five minutes. Add your liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.  There’s no need to break out the stand mixer, a quick stir by hand is fine.

Remove your pan from the oven, grease it with a light coating of your favorite cooking spray.

If you really want to get back to your roots, grease your pan with the 3 TBSP of bacon grease. Simply put the grease into the pan before it is heated in the oven. Watch it carefully because it will burn quickly. Take the pan out of the oven and tilt it to be sure it’s well coated. The pour the excess into your batter. Just remember it’s 3TBSP total, not in addition to the 3TBSP mentioned in the ingredient list.

Pour your batter in the hot baking pan and immediately place in the oven with the rack at the middle setting.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Remove from the oven and place the cake pan on a rack to cool.

That’s it.



    • says

      I’m with you cornbread alwyas goes in a cast-iron pan (I do quite a number of non-layer cakes in cast iron as well). I’m hoping to start the challenge this weekend (book should arrive from Amazon today). Since we’ve got such great fresh local corn now, I was thinking of starting with the cornbread then swing around to the beginning of the list.

  1. Sheri says

    Interesting, Heather! I have a favorite cornbread recipe (making it tonight with some chili, in fact), which I got several years ago from a friend from Atlanta–a family recipe that she says is at least 100 years old. The differences are very slight:

    1 c. flour (I usually use w/w) + 1 c. coarse yellow cornmeal
    1/2 c. sugar (I actually cut the amount of sugar from 3/4 c.)
    2 eggs, but only 1 c. liquid (either milk or water–they both work fine)
    3 T. melted butter or bacon fat

    Much lower oven temp: 375 for 20-25″, turning oven up to 425 right at the end to brown. A half batch makes 8 yummy muffins!

  2. Vickie says

    Thanks for the cornbread recipe with no flour. I have a grown daughter who has to eat gluten free. However, being raised in Tennessee, I must tell you REAL southern cornbread has NO sugar in it – ha! Really! But I have numerous dear friends who make it with sugar, so it's more cakelike thank bread. So either way you and your family prefer.

  3. says

    This one is pretty middle of the road as far as sweetness goes. I've lived in South Carolina almost all of my life and most all of the cornbread I've had is slightly sweet. Heck, almost everyone I know makes Jiffy. (I said almost, now settle down)
    So I've heard all my life that real Southern cornbread isn't sweet, but I'm almost always served sweet cornbread.
    My conclusion? People make what they like and say what they want people to hear. :)

  4. Skyye says

    I'm a totally southern woman and my grandmother, mother, aunts, etc have always made buttery-slightly-sweet-melt-in-your-mouth cornbread!! I refuse to eat it any other way. It's the best ever and thank you heather for making a more simple recipe. My families recipe requires alot of ingredients and sifting. Your recipe was just as good! I'll totally deny it if you tell my folks!

  5. says

    A couple of weeks ago, we had an interesting cherry/corn cobbler at the Zagat-rated Mitsitam Cafe at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of the American Indian. So, when I found myself with a lot of cherries and a couple of fresh Texas peaches, I thought I'd try to make a sort of cobbler with a cornbread topping. I am pretty sure I grew up with non-sweet, 100% cornmeal cornbread. But just about every recipe you find for it, lists an equal or greater amount of flour. And sweet? Well, for cobbler, that'll be okay. 😉 So I searched for "gluten-free cornbread" and sure enough, every danged recipe calls for one of those gluten-free baking mixes made of a variety of exotic, indigestible starches. Blargh! What happened to good, old-fashioned, 100% cornmeal cornbread, that naturally doesn't contain gluten? Oh LOOK, I should have known Heather would have one!! 😀 So, all this is just to say, THANK YOU! I'll let you know if the cobbler turns out – or doesn't, LOL!
    My recent post Laundry Confessions

  6. lolarai says

    How do you keep the bottom of the cornbread from burning? I use an electric oven and I’ve tried putting my muffin pan on the higher rack but that didn’t help. The bottom burns but the top stays light.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  7. Robyn says

    I made this recipe and it tasted great, but was very crumbly and fell apart instantly.  What could I do differently?  I am in Denver, so kind of high altitude.

  8. Jessica W says

    Thank you for this no flour recipe! I am making it tonight, and did not really want a cakey cornbread.

  9. Jessica says

    Thanks for the great recipe! We have made it several times in the past few months. Glad to find a flour-free recipe that can be baked in the oven. I have recently been trying to eat gluten free. I am a North Carolina girl, and this is very similar to what my family members make :-)

  10. says

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