Sweet Southern Cornbread

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My Southern Sweet Cornbread recipe produces fluffy, moist, and cake-like cornbread with a lovely crumb.

Sweet Southern Cornbread

I vividly remember being a kid and getting in trouble a few times for eating my mom’s cornbread while she wasn’t looking because the smell of freshly baked homemade cornbread awakened my hunger.

Homemade cornbread is a Southerner’s rite of passage. You have to know how to make a decent pan of cornbread before you leave the house. If you don’t learn it, you will be scorned to only eating box cornbread for the rest of your life.

Don’t get me wrong; the box cornbread has its place when you’re in a rush or just don’t feel like going through the process of baking and cleaning up dishes.

The issue is box cornbread doesn’t get a crackly crust that the butter can slide down and around on. That crackly crust adds another layer of pleasure to eating cornbread.

As I mentioned, I like my cornbread cake-like, and all of my favorite cakes have a crusty, crunchy crust. If you’ve never had that experience with your cornbread. I’m about to change that today!

side shot of Sweet Southern Cornbread3

What’s the difference between Southern cornbread and regular cornbread?

There are a lot of differences between Southern cornbread and regular cornbread. For one, we Southerners typically use bacon fat or lard instead of butter or vegetable oil to make our cornbread. Second, we also like to add buttermilk, which gives the cornbread a more tender texture.

Finally, we bake our cornbread in a cast-iron skillet rather than in a baking pan, which results in a crustier exterior and moister interior. So, if you’re looking for an authentic Southern cornbread experience, be sure to follow this recipe.

Key Ingredients

Here are the key ingredients you’ll need for traditional southern sweet cornbread.

Sugar

This cornbread is sweet, but it doesn’t give you a toothache. All we need is plain white sugar.

Eggs

Eggs will provide body (thickness) and help bind all the ingredients.

Buttermilk

I don’t know any other way to make cornbread except with buttermilk.

Unsalted Butter

Melted butter adds a rich flavor.

All-purpose flour

I like to use unbleached all-purpose flour.

Corn flour (masa)

This is the ingredient you were not expecting, but corn flour (masa flour) has a deeper, richer corn flavor than yellow cornmeal.

Baking soda

Remember that crackly crust I mentioned? Well, baking soda will help with that and give our cornbread height. I have other cornbread recipes where I use baking powder and baking soda.

overtop Sweet Southern Cornbread in cast iron skillet

How to make the Best Sweet cornbread recipe

I want my sweet southern cornbread recipe to be easy, fluffy, moist, and better than any box cornbread you’ll ever buy!

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, cream eggs and sugar for 2 minutes until airy and lemon colored. Add the buttermilk and melted butter and mix for 30 seconds until blended; it should look like a white sauce.

Whisk flour, corn flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Pour into the wet batter and mix for 1 minute on medium speed, cornbread batter should be thick and fluffy.  

Rub room temperature butter evenly in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a 9 x 13 baking pan. Pour in batter and bake for 28-30 minutes until golden brown or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

tight shot of Sweet Southern Cornbread4

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks

Here are a few notes from making this awesome sweet cornbread recipe.

  • You can use corn meal as a swap for corn flour. I find the finished texture and corn flavor to be superior with corn flour.
  • You can get away without creaming the eggs and sugar for 2 minutes. This technique helps the cornbread be light in texture.
  • You always want a thick batter. Thick batter equals tender and fluffy cornbread.
  • Feel free to use gluten-free flour as a swap for the all-purpose flour. Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour is the best.
  • Feel free to use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour. If you do, omit the baking soda and salt since it’s already been added.
  • You can use any milk you have at home instead of buttermilk.
  • If you have leftover bacon grease use it to grease your cast-iron skillet. I love using my beef bacon grease for this.
  • This recipe makes 15 cornbread muffins.
  • If you need a larger serving size, double the recipe, but you will need to bake it in two skillets or baking pans.
  • If you need a smaller serving, cut the recipe in half and bake in a 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking pan or a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
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FAQs

Here are the top questions readers have about making homemade cornbread.

Do Southerners put sugar in cornbread?

Yes, we do. In fact, it’s one of the things that makes Southern cornbread so unique. Sugar adds sweetness and helps balance out the savory flavors of the cornmeal.

How do you jazz up store-bought cornbread?

The easiest way to jazz up store-bought cornbread is to serve it with different kinds of butter. The easiest is to make a quick honey butter: Mix 1 stick of room temperature unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons of honey, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. You can substitute honey for maple syrup and make maple butter.

Are there different types of cornbread?

Yes, there are different types of cornbread. Here are a few things you can add to your cornbread batter or as a garnish. 
jalapeno and cheddar
honey butter
roasted corn
creamed corn
chopped green chiles
chopped adobo peppers

Should cornbread be sweet or salty?

 The answer really depends on your preference. Traditionally cornbread has some sweetness to it, but the level of sweetness is a personal taste. It’s up to you to decide what you like best!

What is cornbread called in the South?

In the South, we call cornbread, cornbread. You can add a variety of ingredients to your cornbread batter or serve it with a unique butter.

How to store leftovers?

Cornbread is best 2 days after it’s baked but will be fresh for 7 days if kept in an airtight container. 

Freeze leftover cornbread in a freezer-safe container for 3 months.

Reheat cornbread in a 350°F oven for 5-8 minutes until hot.

close up shot of sweet southern cornbread

More Southern Recipes

Now you have the best cornbread recipe; it’s time to find delicious things to eat it with.

Latest Recipe Video:

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Before You Begin

Before getting started, here are the steps I use to get organized.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°F before pulling the ingredients out.

Step 2: Measure everything out into individual bowls.

Step 3: Start following the recipe and get ready for the best cornbread you’ve ever had.

If you’re in the market for a delicious and fluffy cornbread, stop looking – you’ve found the perfect recipe! Follow the recipe to create a moist and sweet southern cornbread that your family will love. Be sure to come back and leave a comment or rating after trying it out – I always enjoy hearing from my readers.

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Sweet Southern Cornbread

Kenneth Temple
My Southern Sweet Cornbread recipe produces fluffy, moist, and cake-like cornbread with a lovely crumb.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine African, American, Creole, Soul Food, Southern
Servings 12 persons
Calories 290 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted plus 1 tablespoon room temperature
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups corn flour masa flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, cream eggs and sugar for 2 minutes until airy and lemon colored. Add buttermilk and butter and mix for 30 seconds until blended; it should look like a white sauce.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk flour, corn flour, salt, and baking soda. Pour into the wet batter and mix for 1 minute on medium speed; the batter should be thick and fluffy. Rub room temperature butter evenly in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a 9 x 13 baking pan. Pour in batter and bake for 28-30 minutes until golden brown.

Notes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks
Here are a few notes from making this awesome sweet cornbread recipe.
  • You can use corn meal as a swap for corn flour. I find the finished texture and corn flavor to be superior with corn flour.
  • You can get away without creaming the eggs and sugar for 2 minutes. This technique helps the cornbread be light in texture.
  • You always want a thick batter. Thick batter equals tender and fluffy cornbread.
  • Feel free to use gluten-free flour as a swap for the all-purpose flour. Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour is the best.
  • Feel free to use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour. If you do, omit the baking soda and salt since it’s already been added.
  • You can use any milk you have at home instead of buttermilk.
  • If you have leftover bacon grease use it to grease your cast-iron skillet. I love using my beef bacon grease for this.
  • This recipe makes 15 cornbread muffins.
  • If you need a larger serving size, double the recipe, but you will need to bake it in two skillets or baking pans.
  • If you need a smaller serving, cut the recipe in half and bake in a 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking pan or a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
Storage:
Cornbread is best 2 days after it’s baked but will be fresh for 7 days if kept in an airtight container. 
Freeze leftover cornbread in a freezer-safe container for 3 months.
Reheat cornbread in a 350°F oven for 5-8 minutes until hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 290kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 4gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 625mgPotassium: 89mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 223IUCalcium: 55mgIron: 1mg
Keyword sweet southern cornbread, southern sweet cornbread, sweet southern cornbread recipe, southern cornbread recipe,
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