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Southern Corn Bread

November 20, 2012

This Southern Corn Bread is the one that the 1997 edition of Joy of Cooking recommends for their Corn Bread Stuffing. It is so easy to make, and so good!

Joy of Cooking recommends using bacon fat, lard, oil, or vegetable shortening. I used bacon fat (fantastic!), but if I hadn’t had any I would have used butter.

The recipe recommends a 9-inch oven-proof skillet or an 8-inch square pan. I used my 10-inch cast iron skillet which worked fine, but probably shortened the baking time just a bit.

The only fat in the recipe is the tablespoon of bacon fat, but the corn bread had such a rich flavor that I found it unnecessary to use any butter. We loved it!

I will definitely be making Southern Corn Bread again. And I may make Corn Bread Stuffing sometime soon, too. With sausage, of course.



Southern Corn Bread

(Adapted from a recipe in the 1997 edition of Joy of Cooking)


(print the recipe)


Makes one 9- or 10-inch round or 8-inch square bread, or 12 muffins


Use a 9- or 10-inch cast iron skillet or an 8-inch square metal cake pan. I would not preheat a glass pan at such a high temperature.


1 tablespoon bacon fat, lard, oil, or butter

1¾ cups cornmeal (I use Bob’s Red Mill medium grind cornmeal.)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 cups buttermilk 


1.  Preheat the oven to 450˚. Put the bacon fat in the skillet and put it in the oven to get hot while you mix the corn bread. (If using butter, don’t put it in the pan yet because it will burn. Just heat the dry pan.)

2. Whisk the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

3. In another bowl whisk the eggs until they are foamy and then whisk in the buttermilk until well-combined.

4. When the skillet is sizzling hot, add the eggs and buttermilk to the dry ingredients and mix just until it’s all blended. (If using butter, add it to the skillet to melt now, just before you mix the wet and dry ingredients together.)

5. Take the hot skillet out of the oven and tilt it to evenly distribute the bacon fat. Pour in the corn bread batter and put back in the oven.

6. For a 10-inch skillet, baking time is 18 – 20 minutes. For a 9-inch skillet or 8-inch pan it will be 20 – 25 minutes. (Muffins 15 – 18 minutes.)

7. Serve immediately with butter and honey, if desired.

Leftovers can be wrapped in foil and reheated in a low oven.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    November 20, 2012 8:52 am

    Oooh that cornbread is beautiful!

    No sweetener of any kind in this?

    • November 20, 2012 8:55 am

      Thank you! Yep, no sweetener. It’s seems that most Southern cooks do not use sweetener in their corn breads. The original recipe lists 1 tablespoon of sugar as an optional ingredient, but it’s totally unnecessary.

      • larry moss permalink
        December 22, 2012 5:53 pm

        Southern cornbread has no sugar or sweetener. After the meal or the next day you split a piece, toast it, butter it, and drizzle it with sorghum syrup. No, you really shouldn’t do that. You can’t eat it. It’s just toooo good.

  2. November 20, 2012 11:34 am

    Your cornbread is gorgeous! I was just coming here to ask you about the sugar. When I made “real” cornbread for the first time recently (my recipe calls for a mere 1 teaspoon of sugar) my boys complained that it wasn’t sweet enough. Definitely less sweet than what they were used to. I didn’t realize it was a regional preference.

    • November 20, 2012 11:48 am

      I have a recipe for cornbread in The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book that uses cornmeal and whole wheat flour and it’s sweetened with 3 tablespoons of honey. It’s called “Yankee Cornbread” because the sweeter versions are more popular in the northern states. We like that one, too. Regional preferences are interesting!

  3. November 24, 2012 12:25 am

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    • November 24, 2012 7:29 am

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