Skillet Cornbread

My first and still-most-favorite recipe for corn bread, an adaptable, forgiving recipe. Thanks to folding in whipped egg whites, it stays moist for a couple of days.

Skillet Cornbread, an adaptable, forgiving recipe, stays moist for days | Weight Watchers PointsPlus 5 |

"Made this for my dad ... we nearly ate the whole pan." ~ Ali
"This recipe saved my [cornbread] reputation! It's very forgiving ..." ~ CJ

Lengthening days foretell the coming of spring. The sunny faces of the first daffodils remind how a nephew, at age four, took to calling these sunny harbingers of spring “laff-o-dils".

And just a few days ago, a seventy-degree Sunday brought forth Easter-festive dresses at church and then kids in shorts on bikes, dog walkers, strolling families, even a few winter-plump joggers.

But the forecast is for winter white: flurries for tonight and a possible "big winter event" within ten days.

So even in sunshine, today’s afternoon air holds an insinuating chill, one that triggers dusting off the woodpile’s last logs for supper by the fire.

What to cook? Like the fire, tonight’s meal must warm within and without.

Chili is an easy answer, beanless since that would require a trip to the grocery store, but redolent with roasted peppers from the freezer. And a simple cornbread deep from the recipe box, made just once more than ten years ago.

What a great re-discovery! SKILLET CORNBREAD calls for on-hand ingredients, makes up in a few minutes, tastes great and is healthful besides!

With fireside suppers like this, winter is welcome to keep its grip a few more weeks.

ALANNA's TIPS What a forgiving recipe I've found this to be, the one I turn to again and again, knowing it'll turn out so well, no matter what I do to it. I've substituted sour cream, Greek yogurt, keffir and even ricotta for the yogurt. It’s good to omit unnecessary sugar from recipes. The corn syrup here, however, is integral to the near-sweet, chewy crust but honey and agave are good substitutes, producing wonderful results. My notes say that stone-ground cornmeal is important but honestly, I haven't found it necessary for the last two batches. While stone-ground cornmeal is whole-grain, plain yellow cornmeal makes one very good cornbread. For a little bit of heat to complement the corn's natural sweetness, stir in a small can of green chile peppers. I've also started to put the ungreased cast-iron skillet into the oven as it preheats and while I mix the cornbread batter. When it's plenty hot, I grease the pan (carefully since it's hot) and pour in the batter. This creates an especially crispy crust. Unlike many cornbreads, this batch tastes nearly as moist and flavorful the second day as the first – if there are leftovers, that is!


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Makes 8 generous wedges
  • 1-1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 5 tablespoons non-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1-1/3 cups yellow cornmeal either stoneground or not
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 large egg whites

Grease a nine-inch cast iron skillet with butter or bacon fat. Place skillet in the oven while the oven heats to 450F/230C.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, milk, yogurt and corn syrup. Stir in cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold whites gently into corn mixture.

Pour batter into hot skillet and gently distribute evenly. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden.

EGG WHITE TIPS for NEW COOKS: The trick to beating egg whites is to prevent fat, including the yolks’ fat, from touching the whites. Make sure the mixing bowl and beaters are clean. A glass or metal bowl is better than plastic. You may use a metal whisk rather than an electric mixer but the beating will take longer – your wrist may suffer! Crack one egg and carefully drop its white into one small dish, its yolk into another. (If the yolk breaks, reserve it for an omelet then proceed with another egg and a clean small dish.) Transfer the first white into the mixing bowl; this way, if the second yolk breaks, it won’t contaminate the first. Repeat with the second egg. Beat whites until peaks form and fall over like the tip of a soft-serve ice cream cone.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice: 185 Calories; 1g Tot Fat; 37g Carb; 3g Fiber; 604mg Sodium; 2mg Cholesterol; 6g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 3 & WW Points Plus 5. CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 1/2 a slice (3g protein).

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Have you re-discovered a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

More Cornbread Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Simple Cast Iron Southern Corn Bread Savory Cornbread Muffins Summer Corn Bread with Fresh Blueberries

~ Sweet Cornbread ~
~ Pumpkin Cornbread ~
~ Sweet Potato Cornbread ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

Soup & Cornbread, Yes?

(click a photo for a recipe)
Chocolate Chili Salmon Chowder Sausage & Kale Split Pea Soup
~ more soup recipes ~

What a Big Winter Event in Spring Looks Like

My dog Lady surveying thick snow in driveway and street.

Hello? Is there anyone out there? That’s my dog Lady surveying the front yard and street here in St. Louis after nine inches of thunder snow in March 2008 when this 2005 column was first published online.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

I've been looking for a great cornbread recipe. Is this one sweet, like southern cornbread?

Great picture of your dog!
Hi Ali ~ It's very slightly sweet, just enough to create a good crust and nice flavor. But it's not half so sweet as southern cornbreads which are as much 'cake' as anything. This is definitely on the savory side, letting the corn flavor shine through.

Lady says 'woof' (thanks).
Ahyep. That's what she looks like a'right. I am mightily getting sick of chili.
I bake all the time & am addicted to food blogs, so I won't say I'm a greenhorn. I followed the recipe with these changes: I added molasses instead of corn syrup. And a half tsp of rosemary.

I haven't noticed a major problem with my oven temperature, either, but I had to bake this puppy for nearly 25 minutes and the inside was still slightly-undercooked and the top was utterly burnt.

Be careful if you bake this recipe! I must have done something wrong, I hope?
Hi Sarah ~ It's hard to imagine what would cause cornbread to 'burn' with the simple modifications (love the rosemary idea) you've mentioned. Stuff happens in cooking - we forget ingredients, we mix them differently, we use different pans, cornmeal can vary, we put them on different racks in the oven. Should you try again, I'd suggest preheating the cast-iron skillet while the oven heats, as I did when I made it again for the xxxth time . I'd also not use molasses, in case it's the culprit. I'm so sorry it didn't work out: please don't think it's a faulty recipe, it's been made so many time with great results.
I've been wondering what to use in place of corn syrup - which I can't get here. Thanks for the tip!
Love the photo!
Made this for my dad over the weekend -- your chili recipe too -- and we nearly ate the whole pen. I used honey. Somehow a slice survived and it's still moist!
I was happy to see you included the "put the skillet in the oven first" trick. My grandmother has always done this, and her cornbread turns out better than any I've ever had. Thank you Alanna for a great reminder of my grandmother!
I just had to comment on this wonderful recipe! I LOVE cornbread, but somewhere in a move long ago, I lost my recipe. Recent attempts to bake cornbread were less than satisfying, and I was sure my old reputation for great cornbread was as lost as my old recipe.

This recipe saved my reputation! It's very forgiving--I used more buttermilk to substitute for the skim milk, and used light sour cream instead of yogurt. I chose agave instead of corn syrup or honey (it's what I had on hand). I even forgot it in the oven for five or so minutes and it STILL came out moist and flavorful. The darkened crust just peeled right off (though I kept it on my piece, it tasted just fine). Not too sweet at all, not cakey--great corn flavor and a perfect crumb.

Just wanted to let you know that your oldie-but-goodie is now my new oldie. Thank you for sharing so many delicious recipes and insightful commentary on your blogs.
I assume I would fold the whipped egg whites into the batter prior to pouring it into the pan. The recipe doesn't actually say what to do with them. Does the pan need to be hot, like in your Simple Cast Iron Southern Cornbread recipe? Thanks.
Savannagal ~ Yes, do fold in the whipped egg whites (as in the second paragraph) and yes, since publishing this column eight years ago, I have indeed started preheating the oven, greasing the skillet and then letting the skillet itself heat up til hot-hot-hot before adding the batter. The crust is SO excellent that way.

Just FYI, my recipes are "living" recipes, I don't publish them until I think they are "excellent" and "ready for the world" but then, because they're my favorites, I keep making them and some times make adaptations to simplify or variations to take advantage of new information or different on-hand ingredients, etc. You'll typically see these noted as "later notes".

Hope this helps, you've now got me hankering for THIS cornbread, ever since I started making the Simple Cast Iron Southern Cornbread, I've let this one slip to the wayside. In my world, there is definitely room for both!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna