Skillet Cornbread

How to put warm bread on the table in a half hour? Make cornbread! This was my very first recipe for cornbread. I have since come to a-d-o-r-e cornbread and I'm loathe to play favorites but this cornbread stands the test of time because of its tall, moist, not-too-sweet slices that stay fresh for days. We love how the crust is a tiny bit chewy!

Skillet Cornbread ♥, an adaptable, forgiving recipe. Rises Tall. Stays Moist. Not Too Sweet. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special.

Real Food, Fresh & Flexible. Budget-Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Weight Watchers Friendly. Great for Meal Prep. Rave Reviews.

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

An Elusive Spring

On My Mind ♥, remembering laff-o-dills for Easter

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.

What a Big Winter Event in Spring Looks Like

Hello? 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 a thunder snow in March 2008 when this 2005 column was first published online. Crazy, so much snow in spring! But back to that cornbread ...

What's In Skillet Cornbread? Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

Skillet Cornbread ♥, an adaptable, forgiving recipe. Rises Tall. Stays Moist. Not Too Sweet. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special.

What an especially adaptable, forgiving recipe I've found Skillet Cornbread to be, the one I turn to again and again, knowing it'll turn out so well, no matter what I do to it.

  • Buttermilk I maintain that a quart of buttermilk belongs in every kitchen's refrigerator. It's inexpensive, keeps for weeks and there's so many ways to use buttermilk, from pancakes to smoothies to salad dressing! You can even buy a half pint and use it to make Homemade Buttermilk.

  • Yogurt I use non-fat Greek yogurt, a staple in my kitchen. But I've also substituted sour cream, regular unsweetened yogurt, kefir and even ricotta.

  • Corn Syrup It’s good to omit unnecessary sugar from recipes. The corn syrup here, however, is integral to the near-sweet, chewy crust. That said, honey, agave and sorghum syrup are good substitutes with wonderful results. Could you even use pancake syrup? Sure!
  • Corn syrup is the clear, thick sweet syrup, look for it in the baking aisle near the molasses. "Karo" is the brand most seen in the U.S., anyway. There are two kinds, the "light" corn syrup is clear, the "dark" corn syrup is dark brown like pancake syrup.
  • Is corn syrup the same thing as "high-fructose corn syrup"? No. Corn syrup is just an extra-thick simple syrup. It's a way to add intense sweetness to a recipe.
  • So pick up a bottle of corn syrup, it keeps forever. You might even want to get a couple of bottles after checking out all the recipes that call for corn syrup!

  • Cornmeal 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. If you do choose stone-ground cornmeal, the finer the grind, the better.

  • Leavening Cornbread is a "quick" bread, that means it's leavened with baking soda and/or baking powder that, when combined with heat in the oven, make the bread rise. This recipes uses both baking soda and baking powder, it's what gives the relatively heavy battered weighted down with cornmeal its boost.

  • Egg Whites There's just one slightly finicky thing about this recipe, whipping the egg whites. It's not hard, of course, and while you can whip the whites by hand, the electric whisk that comes with an immersion blender aka stick blender (affiliate link) makes quick work of this step. Sorry, I've tried without luck to use whole eggs to make this a one-pan cornbread, no such luck.

Tips for Success

Cast Iron Skillet Somehow cornbread just belongs in cast iron! I use a nine-inch skillet but there are other sizes (affiliate link) too.

Start With a Hot Skillet For a wonderful chewy crust, heat the skillet in the oven while it heats up and you're mixing the batter. Rub the skillet with butter or bacon grease (carefully since it's hot) before adding the batter. Such a difference! By the way, this trick works for other cornbread recipes too, try it on your own favorite.

Mix Well But Don't Over-Mix Don't these say the opposite thing? They do! It's a balancing act. I take special care in three ways. The first is to stir together the dry ingredients outside the main mixing bowl, a step I skip with many other recipes. The second is to mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until they're almost completely mixed but not quite. The third is to carefully fold in the whipped egg whites, making sure they're fully distributed and that now, yes, all the floury bits are worked in.

Leftovers Skillet Cornbread stays moist and fresh for a couple of days but after that, definitely don't let it go to waste. We have two favorites here. The first is to cut the cornbread in half so that it's about as thick as a piece of toast, then to warm and brown it in a little butter or olive oil in a hot skillet, a lot like Fried Bread. We like fried bread so much, we don't even own a toaster! The second way is to crumble up the cornbread and to douse it in milk as if it were cereal. I'm told it's a southern thing, my country-boy husband l-o-v-e-s leftover cornbread this way.

What Makes This Recipe Special: Whipped Egg Whites

Whipped Egg Whites ♥

It's an extra step I wish weren't necessary (and I've tried, trust me ..) but this tall, moist cornbread depends on whipping egg whites and then folding them into the cornbread batter.

If you're new to whipping egg whites, here are a few tips.

  • 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 the whites until peaks form and fall over like the tip of a soft-serve ice cream cone.
  • Use a large spatula to "fold" the whipped egg whites into the batter. It's a scoop deep and turn over motion, done several times in succession until the egg whites are evenly dispersed, noticeably lightening the batter.
  • That's it! You've definitely got this.
Skillet Cornbread ♥, an adaptable, forgiving recipe. Rises Tall. Stays Moist. Not Too Sweet. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Makes 1 nine-inch skillet for 8 generous wedges,
easily halved for a smaller skillet
  • 1-1/2 cups (370g) low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (112g) non-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (75g) light corn syrup
  • 1-1/3 cups (180g) yellow cornmeal either stoneground or not
  • 2/3 cup (82g) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 large egg whites, whipped to soft peaks
  • Butter or bacon grease for the skillet

HEAT THE OVEN & THE SKILLET Place a nine-inch cast iron skillet in the oven while the oven heats to 450F/230C.

MIX THE BATTER In a medium bowl, with a hand whisk, whisk together the buttermilk, yogurt and corn syrup. In a small bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With a wooden spoon, carefully stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients but don't overmix, for now it's okay if some floury bits are still visible.

WHIP THE EGG WHITES In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the batter. Be sure to mix the egg whites evenly into the batter but work carefully, so not to deflate them.

FILL THE SKILLET Remove the hot skillet from the butter and rub with bottom and sides with butter or bacon fat. Pour the batter into hot skillet and gently distribute evenly.

BAKE for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

ENJOY! Lovely hot from the oven but stays rich and moist over a couple of days.

ALANNA's TIPS For a little bit of heat to complement the corn's natural sweetness, stir in a small can of green chile peppers. Unlike many cornbreads, this batch tastes nearly as moist and flavorful the second day as the first – if there are leftovers, that is!
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice: 175 Calories; 1g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 1mg Cholesterol; 589mg Sodium; 35g Carb; 2g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 7g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 5 & SmartPoints 5 & Freestyle 5 & myWW green 5 & blue 5 & purple 5 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 1/2 a slice (3g protein).
Chillin: Favorite Chili, Chowder & Cornbread Recipes ♥, a collection of cold-weather, football-friendly favorites.

One Recipe Is Not Enough: More Cornbread Recipes

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Simple Cast Iron Southern Corn Bread Savory Cornbread Muffins Summer Corn Bread with Fresh Blueberries
~ Chillin': Favorite Chili, Chowder & Cornbread Recipes ~
~ more cornbread recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

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

Soup & Cornbread, Yes?

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Chocolate Chili Salmon Chowder Sausage & Kale Split Pea Soup
~ more soup recipes ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ buttermilk ~
~ yogurt ~
~ cornmeal ~
~ egg whites ~
~ egg yolks ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have 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. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2005, 2008 (online), 2014, 2015 (repub) & 2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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


  1. Anonymous3/06/2008

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

    Great picture of your dog!

  2. 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).

  3. Ahyep. That's what she looks like a'right. I am mightily getting sick of chili.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. Anonymous3/11/2008

    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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!


Post a Comment

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