Best Cornbread Recipe - How To Make Cornbread The Old Fashioned Way

Learn how to make cornbread the old fashioned way with an iron skillet, with the best cornbread recipe this side of the Appalachian mountains.

best cornbread recipe
Growing up my family didn't each much cornbread, but my husband's family ate it everyday, each evening with basically every meal.

This recipe for cornbread is now one of my kids' favorites, and is made exactly the same way as my husband's grandmother made it her entire life, in a cast iron skillet. Making it in cast iron gives a nice crunchiness to the outside of the cornbread, while the inside is still moist and delicious.

Now, if you are looking for a sweet cornbread recipe, you can move right along, because in our house there is no such thing as sweet cornbread. According to my husband this is "an abomination." The best cornbread recipe, we believe, doesn't need sugar in it at all.

Below is the recipe we use, plus some tips for making sure it doesn't stick to your skillet. I know it is a bit loosey goosey with amounts, but that is sort of the point of cornbread. You just loosely throw the ingredients in and it all works. There is no precise measurement involved, just generalizations for this simple bread.



The amount you will make depends on the size of your iron skillet. We make a large pone of cornbread, so here are approximate measurements, with ratios also in case you need to make a smaller amount for a smaller skillet.

  • 2:1 ratio of cornmeal* to flour**, which for a large pone is 12 spoonfuls of cornmeal to 6 spoonfuls of flour
  • 1/4 stick melted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable shortening, lard, or bacon fat (whatever grease you have around)

* We use a self-rising cornmeal, which has flour, salt and baking powder already blended in.

** You can use all purpose flour or self-rising flour, we haven't noticed it making much of a difference at all.

Instructions For Making The Best Cornbread Recipe

Preheat your oven to 400°F and then mix together the dry ingredients, butter, milk, salt and pepper.

Next, your goal is to make the cornbread mixture the consistency of batter, not too thick, but not too thin either. You next add enough water (between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup slowly, while mixing) until it gets to the right consistency.

Add your grease to the cast iron skillet and place the skillet in the oven to melt the grease and preheat the skillet. This will take approximately 2 minutes.

cornbread batter in iron skillet
Hint: Don't skimp on the grease, because this is what helps crisp up the outside of the cornbread and also keeps it from sticking in the skillet when you are ready to take it out. We found that out the hard way when many of our pones stuck to the skillet before we figured out grease is the key.

Once the grease is melted in the skillet, swirl it around to coat the bottom of the skillet and add your cornbread batter. The grease will come up a bit over the top of the batter around the edges (see the picture above to the left) so it also coats the sides this way.

Then, just place your iron skillet back in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the cornbread is golden brown.

cornbread batter in iron skillet
A final optional touch we like to do, to make it the best cornbread recipe, is to place it under the broiler for the last minute or so of baking, just to crunch it up a bit more. Be careful not to place it there too long, or it will burn.

Finally, when you take it out of the oven carefully flip the skillet over onto a plate, to let the cornbread pone come out and cool before eating.

We eat this cornbread with all kinds of meals, such as our soup beans recipe and also as an ingredient in our homemade dressing. I hope you all enjoy it!

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