Sweet Cornbread Recipe

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This is a very basic, dense, slightly sweet cornbread recipe. It is not to be confused with cornbread cake which, as one may imagine, is even sweeter and more cake like. Corncakes usually contain flour to lighten the batter. The recipe as written below is safe for those on a gluten-free diet as long as you ensure that you use plain cornmeal and not cornmeal mix when buying your ingredients.

This cornbread is one of our favorite sides, it is made from household staples and is simple to prepare. We also like that it’s low cost and pairs well with many meals. The kids love it drizzled with just a touch of honey for a breakfast treat.

This easy recipe for cornbread from scratch is perfect to use in casseroles and dressings. It also makes a great side dish for any Southern meal


  • 2 cups plain yellow cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 TBSP vegetable oil or melted bacon fat
  • 1 tsp salt


This is so basic we’re skipping the step-by-step pictures. First, crank the oven to 475F. In a medium bowl stir together the cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In another small bowl, whisk the egg into the milk.Β 

Place your cake pan (9x9x2) or muffin tin (12) in the oven for three to five minutes.

Add your liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.  There’s no need to break out the stand mixer, a quick stir by hand is fine.

You want to work quickly to prevent once the liquids have been added to the dry ingredients to allow the baking powder to do its work while the batter is setting. 

Remove your pan from the oven, and grease it with a light coating of your favorite cooking spray.

If you really want to get back to your roots, grease your pan with the 3 TBSP of bacon grease. Simply put the grease into the pan before it is heated in the oven. Watch it carefully because it will burn quickly. Take the pan out of the oven and tilt it to be sure it’s well coated. The pour the excess into your batter. Just remember it’s 3TBSP total, not in addition to the 3TBSP mentioned in the ingredient list.

Pour your batter into the hot baking pan and immediately place it in the oven with the rack at the middle setting. If your rack is too close to the heating element it may burn on the bottom or top before the middle has set.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Remove from the oven and place the cake pan on a rack to cool.

That’s it.


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34 thoughts on “Sweet Cornbread Recipe”

    • I’m with you cornbread alwyas goes in a cast-iron pan (I do quite a number of non-layer cakes in cast iron as well). I’m hoping to start the challenge this weekend (book should arrive from Amazon today). Since we’ve got such great fresh local corn now, I was thinking of starting with the cornbread then swing around to the beginning of the list.

  1. Interesting, Heather! I have a favorite cornbread recipe (making it tonight with some chili, in fact), which I got several years ago from a friend from Atlanta–a family recipe that she says is at least 100 years old. The differences are very slight:

    1 c. flour (I usually use w/w) + 1 c. coarse yellow cornmeal
    1/2 c. sugar (I actually cut the amount of sugar from 3/4 c.)
    2 eggs, but only 1 c. liquid (either milk or water–they both work fine)
    3 T. melted butter or bacon fat

    Much lower oven temp: 375 for 20-25″, turning oven up to 425 right at the end to brown. A half batch makes 8 yummy muffins!

  2. Thanks for the cornbread recipe with no flour. I have a grown daughter who has to eat gluten free. However, being raised in Tennessee, I must tell you REAL southern cornbread has NO sugar in it – ha! Really! But I have numerous dear friends who make it with sugar, so it's more cakelike thank bread. So either way you and your family prefer.

  3. This one is pretty middle of the road as far as sweetness goes. I've lived in South Carolina almost all of my life and most all of the cornbread I've had is slightly sweet. Heck, almost everyone I know makes Jiffy. (I said almost, now settle down)
    So I've heard all my life that real Southern cornbread isn't sweet, but I'm almost always served sweet cornbread.
    My conclusion? People make what they like and say what they want people to hear. πŸ™‚

  4. I'm a totally southern woman and my grandmother, mother, aunts, etc have always made buttery-slightly-sweet-melt-in-your-mouth cornbread!! I refuse to eat it any other way. It's the best ever and thank you heather for making a more simple recipe. My families recipe requires alot of ingredients and sifting. Your recipe was just as good! I'll totally deny it if you tell my folks!

    • You can, I’d probably also switch to baking soda since the buttermilk gives the acidity necessary for the baking reaction. Remember, that the recipe was not written for buttermilk nor to be sugar-free, so the results could be less than wonderful.

  5. How do you keep the bottom of the cornbread from burning? I use an electric oven and I’ve tried putting my muffin pan on the higher rack but that didn’t help. The bottom burns but the top stays light.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  6. I made this recipe and it tasted great, but was very crumbly and fell apart instantly. Β What could I do differently? Β I am in Denver, so kind of high altitude.

  7. Thanks for the great recipe! We have made it several times in the past few months. Glad to find a flour-free recipe that can be baked in the oven. I have recently been trying to eat gluten free. I am a North Carolina girl, and this is very similar to what my family members make πŸ™‚

  8. I do not write a ton of responses, however i did a few
    searching and wound up here Sweet Cornbread Recipe. And I actually do have 2 questions for you
    if you usually do not mind. Is it just me or does it appear
    like a few of these remarks look as if they are coming from brain dead visitors?
    πŸ˜› And, if you are writing on additional sites, I’d like to follow
    everything new you have to post. Could you list of all of all your communal sites like
    your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  9. I’ve been looking for a simple and slightly sweet flourless cornbread recipe and I found your site… I’m making this today! It looks delicious!
    THANK YOU! πŸ™‚

  10. Unless I’m crazy, the instructions never say when to add the oil or bacon fat. I wonder if that’s why some of the people had problems with their cornbread burning or being too dry? I am assuming it gets mixed into the eggs and milk, although I’m not sure how well bacon fat is going to mix into cold milk….

    • Oh…I see now, used to grease the pan. I ended up mixing it into the batter, and it was good. Really liked the recipe. I added a can of green chiles and cooked it in a cast iron skillet. Turned out great.

  11. I have been making this recipe now with one change (1/4 cup applesauce instead of sugar) now for about a year. It’s my favorite breakfast muffin. Thanks so much!

  12. I first found this recipe online about 5 years ago, loved it and made it a ton of times but at some point misplaced my printed version tho I could mostly remember it, fairly simple. Today I did a search to see could I find it again. I remembered it mentioned “crank it up to” so quickly landed on the recipe when doing an online search. I adore this recipe. None other exists for me (and hubby). Thanks, thanks, thanks


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