Southern Hoecakes

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This Southern Hoe Cake recipe is perfect for getting your golden brown, crispy, fluffy, and corn-flavored southern fix.

Southern Hoecakes

I’ll admit I didn’t grow up in a house where we ate hoe cakes all the time, any time or ever. But I’ve always known about corn cakes, a.k.a. johnny cake, a.k.a. hoe cakes. I’m just sad that it took this long for them to get into regular rotation in my home.

I don’t always feel like waiting on cornbread to bake to get my fix, and that’s where hoe cakes come into play.

Hoe cakes have all the same incredible flavors of cornbread with one caveat, crunchy edges. If you love crunchy edges on your pancakes. You’re going to love this recipe! My favorite way to eat them is with softened butter and sugar cane syrup.

closeup of hoe cakes

What is the origin of hoe cakes?

Hoe cakes, also known as johnny cakes or corn cakes, are a classic Southern food. They are made from cornmeal, salt, and water and are often served with butter and honey.

Hoe cakes were traditionally made by farmers in the South, who would use the hoe to make them. The name comes from the fact that the cakes were cooked on the hoe’s blade over an open fire.

Hoe cakes are a popular dish in the South and can be found in many restaurants and diners. They are perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and barbecues.

Key Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this fantastic southern hoe cake recipe.

Cornmeal

Yellow cornmeal gives hoecakes texture and corn flavor.

Unbleached all-purpose flour

All-purpose flour adds some body to the corn cakes.

Baking soda and Baking Powder

I love using both of these leaveners to create a fluffier texture.

Sugar

Sugar goes a long way in adding flavor.

Butter

Unsalted butter is needed in the batter and for cooking.

Buttermilk

I did say this was a Southern cake recipe, huh? Buttermilk will add flavor and tenderness to the final product.

cooked hoecakes

How to make Southern hoe cakes recipe?

I created my southern hoe cakes recipe to be crispy, crunchy, and loaded with flavor!

Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and kosher salt.

Step 2: In a medium bowl, mix eggs, butter, and buttermilk together. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until smooth. Set aside for 5 minutes. This will allow the gluten to absorb more liquid, creating a tender and fluffier hoe cake.

Step 3: In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter and pour ¼ cup of batter per hoecake; cook 3 at a time for 3 minutes, flipping halfway through until the top batter has small air bubbles. Serve hot with softened butter and maple syrup.

side shot of cooked hoecakes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks

Here are the best practices, techniques, substitutes, and flavor builders you’ll need for hoe cakes.

  • For golden brown hoecakes, cook over medium-low, then reduce heat slightly after the first batch. The longer you cook, the easier it is for the hoecakes to get darker.
  • For darker brown hoecakes, cook over medium, then reduce to medium-low heat after the first batch.
  • Feel free to use any milk you have at home instead of buttermilk.
  • Make sure your eggs are at room temperature.
  • Do not use cornbread mix for this recipe.
  • You can use gluten-free flour as a swap for all-purpose flour for gluten-free hoecakes.
  • You can use a cast-iron skillet or griddle to cook the hoe cakes.
  • You can use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour. If you do, omit the baking soda, baking powder, and salt from the recipe.
  • You can use self-rising cornmeal instead of cornmeal. If you do, remove the baking soda, baking powder, and salt from the recipe.
  • Grade A is the best maple syrup on the market. It’s readily available at your local grocery store.
  • You can fry the hoe cakes in vegetable oil, bacon grease, or peanut oil.
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FAQs

Here are the top questions readers have about making hoe cakes.

Why are they called hoe cakes?

The term “hoe cake” comes from the fact that farmers in the South would make them with a hoe. The name is derived from the fact that the cakes were cooked over an open fire on the blade of a hoe.

Are hoe cakes pancakes?

You may be asking, what is the difference between a pancake and a hoecake? No, hoe cakes are not pancakes per se. Because they’re prepared with flour, sugar, eggs, and milk like pancakes, the addition of cornmeal makes them unique in texture and flavor

What are hoecakes used for?

Hoe cakes are used for a variety of different things, and they can be eaten for breakfast, brunch as a side dish, or even as a dessert.

What do you put on hoe cakes?

There’s a wide option of what you can put on hoe cakes, and my favorite is sugar cane syrup. You can also use honey, apple butter, maple syrup, jam, or jelly.syrup and butter over hoecakes

How to store leftover hoe cakes?

Hoecakes are best eaten immediately, but they will remain fresh for 3 days if kept in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Keep them in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for 2 months.
 
Reheat the hoecakes in the microwave for 15 seconds.

wide shot of hoecakes

Classic Southern Recipes

If you love cornbread and southern food as much as I do, then I know you’ll love these recipes too!

Latest Recipe Video:

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Before You Begin

Here are my steps for getting organized and moving fast in the kitchen.

Step 1: Pull the ingredients out for the hoecakes.

Step 2: Measure everything out.Step 3: Follow the recipe and get your mouth ready for the best southern hoe cakes.

Now that you know all about southern hoe cakes, it’s time to give them a try! I would love to hear how they turn out for you. Please leave us a comment and rating below. Thanks for reading, and happy cooking!

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two hoecakes with syrup

Southern Hoecakes

Kenneth Temple
This Southern Hoe Cake recipe is perfect for getting your golden brown, crispy, fluffy, and corn-flavored southern fix.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American, Creole, Southern
Servings 6 persons
Calories 342 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter plus 4 tablespoons cold for cooking
  • 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
  • sugar cane syrup or maple syrup

Instructions
 

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and kosher salt.
  • In a medium bowl, mix eggs, butter, and buttermilk together. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until smooth. Set aside for 5 minutes. This will allow the gluten to absorb more liquid, creating a tender and fluffier hoe cake.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter and pour ¼ cup of batter per hoecake; cook 3 at a time for 3 minutes, flipping halfway through until the top batter has small air bubbles. Serve hot with butter and sugar cane syrup.

Notes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks
Here are the best practices, techniques, substitutes, and flavor builders you’ll need for hoe cakes.
  • For golden brown hoecakes, cook over medium-low, then reduce heat slightly after the first batch.
  • The longer you cook, the easier it is for the hoecakes to get darker. For darker brown hoecakes, cook over medium, then reduce to medium-low heat after the first batch. Feel free to use any milk you have at home instead of buttermilk.
  • Make sure your eggs are at room temperature.
  • Do not use cornbread mix for this recipe.
  • You can use gluten-free flour as a swap for all-purpose flour for gluten-free hoecakes. You can use a cast-iron skillet or griddle for cooking the hoe cakes.
  • You can use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour. If you do, omit the baking soda, baking powder, and salt from the recipe.
  • You can use self-rising cornmeal instead of cornmeal. If you do, remove the baking soda, baking powder, and salt from the recipe.
  • Grade A is the best maple syrup on the market. It’s readily available at your local grocery store.
  • You can fry the hoe cakes in vegetable oil, bacon grease, or peanut oil.
Storage:
Hoecakes are best eaten immediately, but they will remain fresh for 3 days if kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Keep them in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for 2 months. Reheat the hoecakes in the microwave for 15 seconds.

Nutrition

Calories: 342kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 9gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 719mgPotassium: 201mgFiber: 3gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 406IUCalcium: 113mgIron: 2mg
Keyword hoe cakes, southern hoe cakes, hoe cake, hoecakes, hoe cake recipe, hoecakes recipe, hoecake, cornbread hoe cakes,
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