Fill your kitchen with the smell of freshly baked Southern Cornbread in just about an hour!! This classic recipe from my Auntie Rose creates a super moist, buttery and fluffy Cornbread that makes for the perfect snack or side.
I often find that unlikely side dishes can turn out to be the star of the show. Sometimes it’s the gravy we smother our potatoes in and other times it’s the slow roasted garlic that we mash onto slices of bread. We enjoy eating things that compliment one another because it gives us an excuse to eat more of what we love. I don’t see anything wrong with that, do you?
WHAT IS CORNBREAD?
We all know that Native Americans, settlers, Aztecs and Mayans used corn for everything from food to making whiskey. But one of the greatest discoveries ever made was cornbread.
In the South, Corn has always been easy to grow because of the hot weather and heavy rainfall. Once grown and harvested there are endless ways to use corn that only require mortar and pestle. Making bread from cornmeal has been a long standing tradition but unfortunately, it didn’t always taste too good.
The earliest versions of cornbread were made with just cornmeal and water (yuck). The result was dry, flavorless and in need of serious work. Over the years Southerners added their flare to the recipe by adding ingredients such as buttermilk, eggs, baking powder etc.
Today, cornbread has evolved into the classic Southern delicacy we all know and love. There’s no one more grateful for that than I am.
SOUTHERN CORNBREAD RECIPE INGREDIENTS
Now let’s start off by saying that this cornbread is a work of genius from my Auntie Rose. At this point, she literally wings this recipe but I got her to the point where we were actually able to write it down! Seriously write it down!!
Here are the key ingredients in her cornbread:
- Sour Cream
For this cornbread, the cornmeal isn’t just any cornmeal. We use self rising cornmeal to add a nice lift to this cornbread. It bakes up beautifully because of it.
We also add some flour so the texture isn’t too grainy. However we want it to be true Southern cornbread so it is much more cornmeal than flour.
Now comes the ingredient that causes a huge stir: Sugar. A lot of Southerners don’t like sugar in their cornbread. They don’t believe cornbread should be sweet so this is really just to balance the savory of this bread. You won’t really taste the sweetness here.
For milk, we use whole milk. It makes a huge difference. Don’t go for skim for this. The whole milk makes this much more moist, in addition to the oil and sour cream added. The combo of all of it is amazing and makes the cornbread melt in your mouth.
And finally we use melted butter as well and love it! It gives it that lovely hint of buttery flavor!
HOW TO MAKE SOUTHERN CORNBREAD
Making cornbread is simple because it requires few ingredients and even fewer steps. But as with any simple recipe, the key to its success is following instructions.
The key to this particular recipe is making sure you get those crispy edges that add an extra layer of both texture and flavor. To ensure your bread gets its crunchy, buttery crust you gotta get that skillet sizzling hot.
Tip: While you are preparing your batter, heat your skillet on the stove with a few drops of water inside. Once the water starts dancing, you’re ready!
This method works much faster than heating your skillet in the oven.
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet there are plenty of other options. An ovenproof skillet, baking dish or even a pie dish will work just fine! Just be sure to heat it up too. However I would recommend getting a cast iron skillet since it has so many uses and is a staple in Southern homes.
WHAT SHOULD MY SOUTHERN CORNBREAD TASTE LIKE? IS THERE AN IDEAL TEXTURE?
A good cornbread recipe is hard to come by but today is your lucky day. Traditional Southern Cornbread is going to be super moist and buttery with crispy golden edges and the perfect crumb. My recipe creates just that.
The result of this recipe should be a wonderfully light cornbread that has a distinct, almost grainy, texture. The corn flavor itself is light and slightly sweet but nothing too overpowering. Absolutely perfect.
- 5 cups self rising cornmeal mix I used Aunt Jemima
- 5 tbsp all purpose flour
- 5 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk room temperature
- 6 large eggs room temperature and beaten
- 8 oz sour cream room temperature
- 1/2 cup salted butter melted
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- US Customary – Metric
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- To a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour and sugar.
- Add milk to beaten eggs then add egg mixture to dry ingredients.
- Next add sour cream and whisk together and finally add melted butter and whisk until well combined. Consistency will be slightly runny.
- Heat very large 17 inch cast iron skillet over high heat on the stove. Tip: Add a few droplets of water and once the water dances in skillet, it is ready!
- Once ready, add vegetable oil to skillet then remove pan from heat.
- Pour cornbread mixture into skillet (oil will bubble) and bake for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out slightly clean (make sure not to overbake and dry out the cornbread too much) and is golden brown.
- Remove skillet from oven and let cool for 20 minutes before releasing from pan.
- Allow cornbread to cool to room temperature.
- While a cast iron skillet will yield the best results, make sure you use a very large baking dish or oven proof skillet.