Skillet Cornbread!


 
I have honestly put off posting a recipe for skillet cornbread, because it seems any discussion of cornbread brings out strange things in people. Each region of the country seems to have their own ideas about cornbread.  Is it sweet or is it just savory, does it have flour in it or does it just have cornmeal?  Is that cornmeal supposed to be white or yellow?  Do you use oil, bacon drippings or shortening to grease your skillet?  Believe it or not, does it have eggs in it and do you use one or two?  It can get downright ugly when the 'Cornbread Wars' begin.   I have seen just glimpses of it when I post the recipe for  Hoe Cakes, which was in and of itself creates a very 'interesting' debate at times.  Some folks didn't even know what a hoe cake was and some just knew they were pancakes and I don't think they understand to this day that they are not! 
 
When I first got married and I was going to have my in-laws over to dinner, I couldn't decide what to cook, so my husband told me to just cook 'country food', because that was what they really liked and would appreciate most.  I cooked a big pot of pinto beans with ham in them and a big skillet of cornbread.  I am sure I cooked some other things to go with that, but I can't remember what it's been so long.  I do remember how they went on and on about my cornbread.  They just had never had cornbread that tasted like that before and my mother-in-law wanted to know the secret.  She kept saying this is almost like cake, it's so high and light.  She couldn't believe that I put as much flour in cornbread as I did cornmeal and two eggs on top of that.  She said no wonder it's like cake.  She was taught to only use cornmeal and if eggs only one and no bacon grease.   Those little things make all of the difference in the world in cornbread.  
 
We do not really make our cornbread sweet in this area of the South.  If you do add sugar, it's just a spoonful...nothing more.   Now, if you like sweet cornbread, add sugar to this recipe and it will be great.  That is just not how we make it. This recipe is how my mother taught me to make cornbread when I was just a teenager at home and it's how we both make it still.  This is what you will need:
 
 
1 cup self rising flour
1 cup self rising cornmeal
1 cup buttermilk (can use regular milk also)
1 tsp. bacon grease (optional)
1 Tbs. sugar (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil or shortening
 
If you cannot buy self rising flour and cornmeal in your area, add 1 Tbs. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda and 1/2 tsp. salt to the all purpose variety.  If you can buy the self rising, buy some for cornbread, it just makes it much better.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
 
Place oil or shortening in an iron skillet preferably or an 8"x8" baking dish and place in the oven to get hot.  If you are using the teaspoon of bacon grease, add it to the skillet also.  It's just enough to give the cornbread that good bacon flavor, but you don't have to cook it in all bacon grease.  To me there is nothing better than shortening for cooking cornbread in an iron skillet, but I know some of you are terrified of it (which I don't really understand) and the oil works well also.
 
Mix all  of the other ingredients together. Take the skillet out of the oven when it is sizzling hot. Be very careful if using an iron skillet, that grease can pop.   Add about a tablespoon of the hot oil or shortening to the batter. The batter will be well combined but still have a few lumps.  Don't over beat it, because it makes your cornbread crumbly.
 
Pour the batter into that hot grease in the pan.  It should sizzle.  This is how you get that crispy crusty outside and tender cake like inside that is key to good cornbread.   The iron skillet is perfect for this, but you can get almost the same effect in a glass baking dish also.  Iron just conducts the heat so much better.  Notice how the grease comes up over the edges of the cornbread.  If it doesn't, you don't have enough in your pan.  Don't skimp on it.
 
Place back in the oven on the middle rack for 30 to 35 minutes.  A sharp knife inserted in the center should come out clean.  Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes.  You can cut it out of the pan or if it's baked in iron skillet you can flip it out whole onto a plate and cut it in wedges.  
 
Skillet Cornbread!



46 comments:

  1. This is just how my Daddy taught me to make cornbread! Yumm! Looks good!

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  2. Love it! And nothing better to spruce up the seasoning on your black iron skillet!

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  3. Cornbread should NOT be sweet. I use about a half cup of flour with my cornmeal and it should be yellow cornmeal! One egg or two, doesn't matter to me. lol That's the way it's done here in Tennessee!

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    1. This recipe is not sweet. The small amount of sugar in it is optional for those who do like it a little sweet.

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  4. Well, whatever....why do people look down on people who like sugar, flour, whatever, in cornbread. I think bacon fat in it makes it super. Whatever. I don't think "you-all" are crazy.....you just like something different than I do.

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  5. A different take: Self rising cornmeal, add some self-rising flour, buttermilk, a little water and bake in iron skillet. NO eggs, NO sugar..... Not bragging, but people beg for this recipe (smile). More like bread than cake. Our family has made it this way for generations.

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  6. Well i like it with sugar ,as a kid we didn't always have a lot the sweet was an extra treat ! Nothing better with a pot of soup beans !!

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  7. Okay, if I have neither self-rising flour nor self-rising cornmeal, just the regular of each, do I add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt to both the flour and the cornmeal? Thanks in advance.

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    1. Those amounts for the whole recipe - not to EACH.

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  8. Any substitute for bacon grease?

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    1. bacon grease is best, but i have also used Crisco.

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    2. The bacon grease is OPTIONAL.. But, I was always told- if you don't use the bacon grease, add 1 extra tablespoon of the cooking oil- I'm not sure it really matters. :)

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  9. Any substitute for bacon grease?

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  10. Hope, add a 1 Tbs. of baking powder, a tsp. of baking soda and a 1/4 tsp. of salt.

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  11. Scarlett, the bacon grease is optional, just leave it out if you don't want to use it. Use the oil or shortening alone. The bacon grease is just for extra flavor.

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  12. I have 2 cast iron skillits.. One is a 10 inch I believe and the other a 14 inch. Which should I use for this recipe? Thank you so much!

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  13. I happen to have 2 cast iron skillits. One is a 10 inch and the other a 14 nch.. which would be best to use with this recipe? Thank you so much!

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  14. That's the way I make it too, except while the grease is hot I put a little extra cornmeal in the bottom.

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  15. OH THANK HEAVENS, I LOST MY MOMMAS RECIPE AND CANT GET A HOLD OF HER. THIS IS EXACTLY LIKE HERS RIGHT DOWN TO THE SKILLET!! XO

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  16. I like it crumbled up in sweet milk. I wonder how many grew up eating cornbread and milk.

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    1. still eat it with milk, making it extra good is it reminds me of my Dad.

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    2. Nothing like it. Especially with pinto beans, fried potatoes and green onions. The milk had to be icy cold and the cornbread fresh and hot right out of the oven. Yummy.

      Pamela

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    3. We did, but be careful; it's easy to get choked on it.

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    4. My Dad ate his 2nd helping this way, think he called it cornpone?

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    5. I LOVE leftover cornbread 'n milk!

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    6. Pamela ~ Cornbread, pinto beans, fried taters & green onions is/was one if my favorite meals :) ~Carol (family from W.V. & KY.)

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  17. This is for a 10" skillet. Sugar is optional, if you like it sweet, add it and if you don't, leave it out. Now isn't that easy? :)

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  18. Yes I grew up enjoying cornbread and milk too! It was a special treat mostly on Saturday nights! My mom also sprinkled cornmeal in the skillet! Such good memories and Thank you Kathy for posting cornbread just like my mommas!

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    1. Best as a snack in buttermilk!

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  19. I'm sure not going to turn down a piece of homemade cornbread, no matter how it's cooked. :)

    I was taught to use a cast iron skillet, crisco, no sugar, and just cornmeal. After I moved away from home, I found that I like my cornbread with a little sugar and some flour, too. :)

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  20. Anonymous : I grew up in the Carolina's we ate it with milk. However,my husband grew up almost 5 miles away from my home, he will only eat it with buttermilk..lol.

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  21. My Mom always used this same recipe as I do, it is good corn bread, I do cut back on the sugar.

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  22. I have made Cornbread for 50 yrs. my guestiments would be about equal to this recipe and Delicious every time. I never think of my cornbread as Sweet, the small amount of sugar used here only enhances the corn flavor, but not enough to make it sweet. Just Yummy every time.

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  23. Another take on cornbread. This is my great-grandmother's Mississippi recipe. I think from "the war" when flour was harder to get.
    1 cup cornmeal
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    pinch of salt
    1 large egg (or 2 smaller ones)
    1 cup buttermilk

    Stir all together but do not overmix.
    Preheat oven to 425, cover bottom of skillet with oil (shortening or bacon grease are all ok, also) heat skillet until the oil is smoking and then pour into skillet. It is not sweet or cake like but it is wonderful. We love it with beans.

    This also makes great muffins.

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  24. If u realy want flavor put a couple strips of fat back in ur skillet when u are heating it then pour the batter in on them and bake. Mama baked it in a wood burning cook stove. makes all the difference.

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  25. I am from the south and I LOVE good cornbread. My daddy taught me how to make it. This is like my recipe except, I put Crisco shorting in my cast iron skillet (with my hand) and cover it well, I do not preheat my pan. The shorting melts as it cooks and does not stick at all. I did not know it was possible to make cornbread without buttermilk. LOL, miss you daddy.

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  26. I use the sugar and bacon grease. We like it sweet. I put it in my buttermilk. You can also put jalapeno peppers (chopped/diced), shredded cheese and whole kernel corn in it. Mmmmm! Eat it with some pinto beans, fried green tomatoes, fried Taters and cantaloupe!!! A meal from heaven. Didn't say healthy but delicious! Wish I had that meal now.

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  27. you can add vinegar to regular milk if you don't have buttermilk

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  28. We make it like this also, but we put a can of whole kernel corn drained, cut up 1 onion and add 1 cup of shredded cheese.
    Most times I just add 1 cut up onion or green onions.

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  29. No sugar, more cornmeal than flour and a little more bacon grease , other than that this is the recipe my family uses too.

    I have my cornbread skillet seasoned just the way I like it and Lord help the poor soul who tries to cook anything else in it, 'cause when I flip that skillet over my cornbread always turns out perfectly. As a matter of fact we DO take cornbread that seriously. LOL

    Pamela

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  30. I grew up doing the same thing with the skillet and oil. But I just use cornmeal (white), buttermilk or milk, a large egg or 2 small. Don't skimp on the oil and make sure the oil in the pan is hot so that it sizzles and covers the edges. I bake it in a hot 450-500 oven for about 15-20 minutes. This is exactly like my Mother made it. Makes for very crustly edges and bottom, which is the bast part to me. If I am using it to make dressing however, I don't make the crust crunchy.

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  31. For a little surprise I have added small can of drained { mexicorn }..making corneycornbread..The children namde it.

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  32. made your skillet cornbread tonight, and it is the best cornbread I have ever ate, thank you so much

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  33. I just made a batch of this and as luck would have it we had self-rising flour but regular cornmeal, so I added the Baking powder and soda and salt. WOW it turned out better than any cornbread I have ever made. This is a serious keeper!!

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