Sweet Cornbread ♥ Recipe

Sweet Cornbread ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, sweetened with honey, moist and tender, a total treat!
graphic button small size size 10 A classic cornbread sweetened with honey. Sweet but not too sweet. Rich but not too rich. Ever so tender. Absolutely delicious! Bake it in the traditional round shape or, for great sliced cornbread, a loaf pan. graphic button small size size 10

WAY BACK IN 2008 I worried that readers might fear that the appearance of a cornbread recipe might signal a diversion from this blog's recipe vegetables-vegetables-vegetables focus. But wait! Cornmeal originates with a vegetable, it's just field corn that's been dried and ground! I'm embarrassed to admit: cornmeal's humble origin just never registered.

Luckily, despite the lapse, it turns out that a real cornbread lover can nose out another cornbread lover. Crescent Dragonwagon, cornbread lover extraordinaire (who else would write an entire cookbook expressing one's love for cornbread?) looked me up when the Country Cornbread recipe posted to help people use up their leftover ham from Easter. Just a couple of weeks earlier, I'd shared my recipe for cornbread (you know, the single go-to recipes we call our own), the savory ever-moist Skillet Cornbread, in Kitchen Parade, my food column. I didn't even know I loved cornbread so much. But Crescent did – she even offered to send a complimentary copy of her cookbook The Cornbread Gospels.

And she was so so right! There's just so much to love about cornbread. How cornbread can save a skimpy supper. How mixing cornbread takes maybe 10 or 15 minutes. How cornbread emerges from the oven just 30 minutes later, steamy, substantial, ready for hungry folk to dig in. How cornbread is made, nearly always, from simple on-hand pantry ingredients. (I swear, The Cornbread Gospels uses the same ten ingredients again and again, turning out an astonishing variety of cornbread and racking up some 200+ recipes.) How cornbread's many variations are so different – starting with southern savory cornbreads and their northern sweeter cousins. How cornbreads' names are familiar but old-fashioned, johnnycakes, hoecakes, hush puppies, spoonbread. Especially, I love how cornbread is so very American, the staple grain fundamental to Native Americans, later to this country's early settlers, and later still, for families in the southern states, especially, of the U.S.

CORN: THE VEGETABLE THAT'S EASY TO HATE Nowadays, corn has become déclassé. There's the farm subsidy issue and the carbs in corn issue and the very real high-fructose corn syrup issue. But how about this to challenge conventional wisdom? Corn is one of the all-time most useful – frugal – plants and thus worthy of use not abuse.

"Every part of the corn plant – the second most plentiful cereal grown on earth for human consumption – serves us in some way. The husks of corn are traditionally used in making tamales, the kernels for food, the stalks for cattle and hog food (silage), and the silks for medicinal tea. You can fry in it (corn oil), bake with it (cornmeal, of course), snack on it (popcorn, tortilla chips), sweeten with it (corn syrup), thicken with it (cornstarch), and get drunk on it (bourbon)."
~ The Cornbread Gospels

ABOUT THE CORNBREAD GOSPELS What to make first: this was my biggest "problem" with The Cornbread Gospels. What a "problem"! These are easy recipes, ones to pull together in a flash. In between recipes are amusing tidbits (think quick quotes from novels) and useful information (the nine major differences, say, between southern and northern cornbreads) and sooo much more. It's beautifully organized: southern cornbreads, northern cornbreads, southwestern cornbreads, 'global' cornbreads, babycakes (you know, muffins, cornsticks, biscuits), cornbread made with yeast, spoonbreads, pancakes, crisped cornbreads, dessert cornbreads – and my favorite chapter, "why you should always make a double batch", ways to use up leftover cornbread.

WHY CHOOSE STONE-GROUND CORNMEAL Could you use the standard "yellow cornmeal"? It's easy to find, it's inexpensive, it keeps forever. Yes – and I often do, when I can't find or don't want to make a special trip, just for cornmeal. But yellow cornmeal has been degerminated, this means that its healthful and flavorful germ (and hull) have been removed. Stone-ground cornmeal has real flavor, its texture is also delightfully gritty – though this may take some getting used to by some, if so, watch for a fine grind of stone-ground cornmeal.

WHERE TO BUY STONE-GROUND CORNMEAL Yes, it's slightly harder to find.
graphic button small size size 10 The Cornbread Gospels lists online sources for stone-ground cornmeal including War Eagle Mill (I'm now a regular customer here) and Purcell Mountain Farms. Many thanks to a Wisconsin reader who recommends the stone-ground white cornmeal from Anson Mills in South Carolina. For retail sales, Anson mills and ships one day a week – this stuff is fresh! Anson sells grits and polenta too. Thank you so much, Edith!
graphic button small size size 10 Bob's Red Mill stone-ground yellow cornmeal is at Whole Foods and many well-stocked grocery stores. I prefer the fine and medium grind for Sweet Cornbread.
graphic button small size size 10 Stone-ground cornmeal should be refrigerated and even frozen so that it doesn't go rancid. (How to tell if it's gone bad? Do the sniff test. If it is virtually odorless, it's fresh. If it has an "off" smell, the oil has gone bad.)
graphic button small size size 10 I buy stone-ground cornmeal in small packages (compounding the hard-to-find and out-of-the-way problem) and then freeze it.

BACK to THE RECIPE for SWEET CORNBREAD This is an easy cornbread to love, sweet but not too sweet, rich but not too rich, so very tender but not one to fall apart. The first skillet was perfect for an evening when supper's soup was a big disappointment, part bread, part dessert. With butter and honey? To moan over. The leftovers would make a great sweet cornbread pudding, too. If I wanted one recipe for my sweet cornbread, this would be it. But thanks to The Cornbread Gospels, I've got 199 more recipes to try before picking just one.

2011: Aiii, this is a good cornbread recipe! It's just sweet enough, not too sweet.

2015: Gosh this is good cornbread! This time, I baked the batter in a long loaf pan, making for small slices of cornbread instead of large wedges. Portion control!

2018: Ha! This recipe has become my #1 go-to cornbread since both the men at my table (my husband and now 92-year old father) especially appreciate its honeyed sweetness. It's simple to throw together, no wonder I make it often! Has it become "my cornbread"? Yes ...


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 35 - 40 minutes
Serves 8

1 cup flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125g
1 cup (120g) stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon (yes, tablespoon) baking powder, fluffed to aerate before measuring
1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/4 cup (90g) honey or sorghum
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 oz/57g) salted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (50g) sugar
1/2 cup (120g) cream
1/2 cup (120g) whole milk

Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Lightly butter a baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.

In a four-cup Pyrex measuring cup, warm the honey in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. (To make it easier to pour, I warm the honey right in its container, then pour it into the Pyrex cup.) Stir in the butter until it melts into the honey. Whisk in the eggs until all three are well combined. Whisk in the remaining ingredients.

Transfer to the baking dish. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately. Keeps well at least through the second day.

graphic button small size size 10 BAKING DISHES The inspiring recipe calls for a 9-inch square pan. In 2008, I used a 9-1/2" round cakepan – both have similar areas. Since 2011, I mostly use a 9-inch cast-iron skillet but sometimes bake the cornbread in a loaf pan, lowering the temperature to 350F/175C. This batter would make great muffins too, I think.
graphic button small size size 10 FOR CAST IRON If you like a chewy bottom crust for cornbread, use a cast iron skillet and this quick trick. First, put the ungreased skillet into the oven while it heats up. When the oven is hot and the batter ready, carefully remove the skillet, lightly grease and then gently pour the batter into the skillet, then bake.
graphic button small size size 10 MEASURING Using a Pyrex measuring cup means there will be no measuring cups, etc. to dirty.
graphic button small size size 10 FLOURS All-purpose flour works, so does 100% white whole wheat flour, 100% whole wheat flour and 100% whole wheat pastry flour.
graphic button small size size 10 BLUE CORNMEAL & CORNFLOUR Too bad, blue cornmeal is so pretty in the bag but it creates an unfortunate blue/gray cast in the cornbread. The very finely ground cornflour is also not great, I miss the stone-ground slightly gritty texture of other cornmeals.
graphic button small size size 10 SORGHUM We especially love this cornbread when made with sorghum instead of honey. Extra special? Mix together sorghum and soft butter. It's "sorghum butter" instead of honey butter. So good!
graphic button small size size 10 EXTRA INGREDIENTS? I had the idea that fresh sweet corn kernels or dried currants might be nice additions on occasions. Nope. Forgettable.

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Still Hungry?


~ Sweet Potato Cornbread ~
~ Pumpkin Cornbread ~
~ Pumpkin & Green Chile Cornbread Topping ~
~ more cornmeal recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Simple Cast Iron Southern Corn Bread ~
~ Skillet Cornbread ~
~ Summer Corn Bread with Fresh Blueberries ~
~ Savory Cornbread Muffins ~
~ more cornmeal recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2008, 2011, 2015 & 2018 (repub)
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Cornbread is one of those things that I find so completely addictive that I can't make it unless I have people around to eat it right away. Like biscuits, warm cornbread calls to me. It's one "vegetable" I could eat at every meal!

  2. Great observations, and now I'm hungry for cornbread. When I took a "foreign and regional cooking" class in high school (just a trimester class, back in the early 80s), we did those variations of cornbread for nearly every region of the US, and a couple of the other countries, too.

  3. Bread as a vegetable! Yay.

    Using cornmeal in bread and muffin recipes is a natural fit for gluten-free baking because it adds tender grainy goodness to the (sometimes dry) texture of gluten-free flours.

    I have a favorite Skillet Cornbread rceipe, too; in fact, we just had it for lunch- with soup. Heaven.

    Rock on, Alanna!

  4. Hurrah! No matter how much my friends accuse me of liking "yankee cornbread," I just can't get enough of the sweet stuff, especially with honey and butter. Pooey on them - I'll take a slice!

  5. Here's another cornbread fan! Need that book! For blue cornmeal, try Arrowhead Mills -- should be in a health food store, or ask them to order it. The Tassahara Bread Book has a fabulous cornbread that separates into layers, bread + custard.

  6. I just check The Perfect Pantry for white corn meal. Yes, it's a Rhode Island native.

  7. Sounds delicious. I don't have any trouble finding the stone ground stuff. Love it!

  8. You've got sunshine!! I see it - right there on your cornbread and butter! I see the sun!! You lucky girl. More snow predicted tomorrow and Saturday. (Jiffy is my go-to cornbread "recipe" - LOL)

  9. MMMMM... I love cornbread! Reading your post made me hungry. :) Bob's Red Mill also makes a blue cornmeal. I can find it in my healthfood store, but you can also get it online at www.bobsredmill.com. I think I'll make cornbread tonight.

  10. Lydia ~ Ah yes, especially the sweet cornbreads. I find the savory ones (like my Skillet Cornbread) to be easy to parcel out, a small slice at a time -- once it's cold, that is :-)

    Sharon ~ I'm excited to try those too.

    Kari ~ Ah the magic of blogging! That's great to know about the gluten-free applications, thanks.

    Judith ~ Yankee cornbread! But how about with sorghum, what happens then?!

    Susan ~ Great tips, thank you. And NEXT UP is a custard cornmeal, I've tried a couple recipes in the last few years, they didn't measure up to expectations, for sure. PS A Rhode Island native, excellent!

    RecipeGirl ~ Lucky you! Maybe there's hope for the rest of us.

    Sally ~ Stay warm, Lady. PS Will you let me try to convert you? No comparison!

    Cassidy ~ I guess I need to visit my neighborhood health food store more often, haven't been in there in, um, years.

  11. Does anyone have the recipe to the sweet corn bread that is sold predominately in the southern Whole Food stores in Florida (Fort Lauderdale on US1)? It is more a cake than it is cornbread but it is by far the best I have ever had. I have tried to replicate the recipe several times so far but no luck.

  12. I only have kosher salt. How much would I use?

  13. My recipe for cornbread is very similar to yours and it is my "go to" whenever I'm serving a lot of vegetable leftovers, beans/chili of any kind, Texican rice, or ham. We don't put the honey in the cornbread through - we like to slather the fresh stuff on or mix it with butter, then slather it on.- - Guess what we're having for supper! ;-)

  14. The usual ratio of kosher:table salt is 2:1, so go with 1 teaspoon kosher. I hope you love the cornbread!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna