Got some cornmeal in the back of your pantry? Great, let’s make cornbread! This cornbread recipe is my favorite. It’s made with browned butter, for maximum butter flavor, and it’s naturally sweetened with honey (maple syrup works, too).
This cornbread is not exactly traditional. It’s sweetened, like Northern cornbread, but it’s made in a skillet, like Southern cornbread. I grew up near the border of the two regions, in Oklahoma, and all I knew was my mom’s cornbread from the Jiffy box. Dinner was always more exciting with cornbread on the table.
On the cornbread sweetness scale, this one falls somewhere around the middle, near Jiffy levels. It’s not dessert-level sweet, nor is it dry. If you prefer sweeter cornbread, be sure to serve yours with honey or jam.
This cornbread is golden and fluffy on the inside. I love to make it in my large cast iron skillet—it yields lightly crisp edges and keeps the cornbread warm for a long time. What’s better than warm, freshly made, homemade cornbread?
Preheat the oven to 375 and let’s get going! If you don’t have a skillet, I’ve got you covered.
Cornbread Serving Suggestions
Since this cornbread is somewhat sweet, I love to serve it with spicy stews or chilis for contrast.
Another option? Serve cornbread with crisp, tangy salads.
What are your favorite cornbread accompaniments?
I’ll never tire of “basic” skillet cornbread, but here are some fun ways to change it up.
Add blueberries, chopped cherries or strawberries, or even cranberries.
Add up to 1 1/2 cups fresh fruit to the batter with the melted butter. You can see how that turns out in my Cranberry Maple Skillet Cornbread recipe.
Or, make it cheesy.
Stir in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or other aged cheese. I added cheese, corn and peppers to my Brown Butter, Honey and Jalapeño Skillet Cornbread recipe.
Make it extra-savory with fresh corn or peppers.
Add any of the following to the hot butter and stir it around before proceeding: 1 large corn on the cob, shucked (or ¾ cup defrosted frozen corn kernels), and/or 1 finely chopped red or orange bell pepper, and/or 2 medium jalapeños, ribs removed and finely chopped.
Make cornbread muffins.
I haven’t tried this one, but I’m confident it will work. Once the butter is mixed into the batter, fill each of 12 muffin cups no more than two-thirds full (you may have enough for more than 12 muffins). Bake at 350 until the bread is brown around the edge, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs. I’d start checking them around 15 minutes.
Cornbread Skillet Notes
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I baked my cornbread in my 12″ Lodge cast iron skillet, which is a workhorse in my kitchen. I love cast iron because it’s non-toxic, retains heat like no other, and with proper care, will last a lifetime or more. Fair warning, it’s also very heavy at this size! I like the idea of this 12″ two-handled skillet better than my own (it’s also $10 less, at time of writing).
If you don’t have a suitable skillet, try any of the following:
- 8-inch square baking dish with tall sides
- 10-inch square baking dish
- 9 by 13-inch baking dish
Ideally, follow the instructions and melt the butter in your baking vessel in the oven. The browned butter flavor is really nice, and the hot sides of the baker will help yield crisp edges.
If you don’t want to bother with the browned butter step, your cornbread will still turn out really well. Just melt the butter in the microwave or in a pot on the stove, and proceed as written.
Baking times will vary slightly depending on your selection. Bake at the temperature specified in the recipe, until the cornbread is brown around the edge, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs. This could take more or less time depending on the size difference (the 9 by 13-inch option would likely be done sooner than a 12-inch skillet).
Please let me know how your cornbread turns out in the comments! I love hearing from you.
If you’re looking for more simple baking projects, check out these recipes. Most are stirred together by hand (no mixer required) and made with basic, wholesome ingredients.
Honey Butter Cornbread
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 16 slices 1x
- Category: Baked goods
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
Make the best homemade cornbread with this easy recipe! It’s fluffy on the inside, crisp around the edges, and full of delicious honey-butter flavor. Recipe yields one large skillet of cornbread (see recipe notes for alternate baking vessel options).
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups cornmeal, medium-grind or finer*
- 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour, regular whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature**
- ⅔ cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 ½ cups milk of choice (regular cow’s milk, almond or oat milk, etc.), at room temperature
- Optional serving suggestions: additional butter, honey or jam
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the butter in a large (12-inch) cast iron skillet and place the skillet in the oven to melt the butter, about 5 to 13 minutes (keep an extra eye on it as time goes on—we want it to get bubbly and lightly browned, but not burnt).
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir to combine, and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and honey until fully blended. Add the milk and whisk until evenly combined.
- Pour the liquid into the dry mixture, and stir just until moistened through (we’ll stir it more soon). When the butter is melted and golden, use oven mitts (the skillet is crazy hot!) to remove the skillet from the oven, and give it a gentle swirl to lightly coat about an inch up the sides.
- Pour the melted butter into the batter and stir just until incorporated. Return the skillet to the oven and bake until the bread is brown around the edge, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes. Carefully (with oven mitts), place the skillet on a cooling rack. Let it cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving—perhaps with extra butter, honey or jam on the side.
- This cornbread will keep at room temperature in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or up to a week in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Gently reheat before serving.
Recipe adapted from Keys to the Kitchen by Aida Mollenkamp, one of my favorite cookbooks.
*Cornmeal suggestions: I used Braggadocio “popcorn cornmeal” for the batch shown here and loved it (bought it at Whole Foods in Kansas City). I’ve also successfully used Bob’s Red Mill’s medium-grind cornmeal with success—since it is not ground as finely as the other, you’ll notice a bit more texture in the end product (“rustic” and very good). Stone-ground varieties, like the two mentioned here, will offer a bit more nutritive value than more refined options.
**Temperature note: If you, like me, always forget to pull ingredients out of the fridge in advance, just place the eggs in a bowl of warm water while you melt the butter. You can very briefly warm the milk in the microwave to raise its temperature.
Baking vessel options: Instead of a cast iron skillet, you can bake this cornbread in an 8-inch square baking dish with tall sides, or a 10-inch square baking dish, or a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. I believe you could also turn this bread into muffins by dividing the batter between a 12-cup muffin tin (I have not tried to be sure). For any of these variations, bake at the temperature specified above, until the cornbread achieves the visual cues provided, which could take more or less time depending on the size difference (muffins would be done much faster; the 9 by 13-inch option would likely be done a little sooner).
Make it gluten free: I believe that a one-for-one gluten-free baking blend should work pretty well. Please report back in the comments if you give it a try.