Honey-Sweet Cornbread

A classic simple cornbread sweetened with honey or the Midwestern favorite, sorghum. Sweet but not too sweet. Rich but not too rich. Ever so tender. Absolutely delicious! Bake it in the traditional round shape in a cast iron skillet or for great sliced cornbread, a loaf pan.

Honey-Sweet Cornbread, another family favorite ♥ KitchenParade.com. Made from scratch in minutes, on the table in 35 minutes.

Homemade Cornbread, Made from Scratch & Mere Minutes to the Table. Lovely Crumb with Beautiful Color! A Long-Time Family Favorite. No Mixer Required. Extra Welcome When "Supper's a Little Skimpy". Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. So Good!!

Calling Fellow Cornbread People

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 I posted the old-fashioned Country Cornbread to help people use up their leftover ham from Easter.

Just a couple of weeks earlier, I'd shared my first and still-beloved recipe for cornbread (you know, the single go-to recipes we call our own), the savory ever-moist Skillet Cornbread.

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.

So Much to Love About Cornbread.

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, think johnnycakes, hoecakes, hush puppies and spoonbread.
  • 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.

What to Make First?!

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 the 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.

A Quick Note

Cornbread lovers, you'll find so much inspiration in The Cornbread Gospels (affiliate link). It's been many years and I still look through it on occasion.

The first edition was first published in 2007. A second edition was published with a new publisher in 2015. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, both editions are available on Amazon. New copies are pricey but there are lots of used copies for sale from third-party sellers, just poke around in the "other new and used" section.

FYI If you're new to purchasing used books on Amazon, please know that I've purchased many used books on Amazon with great success. I usually choose either "like new" or "very good" or "good" condition. Do note the shipping charges and delivery dates (they'll vary from the typical direct Amazon purchase), also the third party's overall approval rate.

In addition, Crescent Dragonwagon is an intriguing individual herself, you might want to explore her website, see Dragonwagon.com and maybe especially this, Obituary for a Cat.

Recipe Overview: Honey-Sweet Cornbread

  • Honey-Sweet Cornbread 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. It is a straight-forward northern-style cornbread, that means it's sweet (or sweeter) compared to southern-style cornbread. The sweetness and subtle flavor comes mostly from honey, the crumb is light and tender but not cakey.
  • When to Serve = Warm cornbread goes so well with soups and chilis but also with main dish salads and anytime that warm bread will complement the main dish. My personal experience is that kids and older adults especially appreciate the sweetness and texture of this cornbread.
  • Distinctive Ingredients = Stone-Ground Cornmeal (fine or medium grind) + Honey
  • Short Ingredient List = both the above + 2 large eggs + sugar + cream and whole milk (or half & half) + all-purpose flour + baking powder + salt
  • This is pantry-friendly and budget-friendly cornbread, all the ingredients are common, easily found in grocery stores and easily kept on hand for a spontaneous decision to make cornbread right now, this instant.
  • For Garnish = No garnish is needed but I do like to serve Honey-Sweet Cornbread with soft butter drizzled with a little more honey.
  • Kitchen Tools = A bowl for mixing, a whisk, a baking pan such as a cast iron skillet, an 8x8 pan or a loaf pan.
  • Time Requirements = This is a time-friendly recipe. The cornbread mixes up in just 15 minutes, then bakes in 20 - 25 minutes. It's ready to serve, warm straight from the oven. It can also be made a few hours ahead of time, early in the afternoon or in the morning, say, the day of serving.
  • Appearance = This cornbread has a lovely crumb, tender but not cake-like.
  • Techniques = No special techniques are used in this cornbread, it's mixed by hand in a bowl, transferred to a baking dish and then baked. That's it!
  • Yield = As written, the recipe yields 8 generous servings.
  • This recipe can be easily cut in half, this means it works especially well for those Cooking for One or Two. Just bake it in a smaller pan.
  • So good! I hope you love it!

  • You may also like my Skillet Cornbread, it was my first and still-favorite cornbread, it stays moist for days!
  • Still not quite what you're looking for? Check out my other cornbread recipes.

Why Choose Stone-Ground Cornmeal for Cornbread

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 standard yellow cornmeal has been degerminated, this means that its healthful and flavorful germ (and hull) have been removed.

In contrast, 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 or a medium-fine grind rather than a coarse grind stone-ground cornmeal.

Stone-ground cornmeal is much easier to find than even a few years back. Bob's Red Mill stone-ground cornmeals are on the shelves at Whole Foods and many well-stocked grocery stores.

But it's also fun to seek out small mills. There's the War Eagle Mill in northwest Arkansas, it's a fascinating place to visit and of course, sells online. Many thanks to a Wisconsin reader (thanks, Edith!) 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. There's also Purcell Mountain Farms.

Once stone-ground cornmeal is on hand, use it up!

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.

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe inspires you, please do save and share! I'd be honored ...

Honey-Sweet Cornbread, another family favorite ♥ KitchenParade.com. Made from scratch in minutes, on the table in 35 minutes.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Oven time: 20 - 25 minutes
Time-to-table: 35 - 40 minutes
Serves 8
  • 1/4 cup (90g) honey or sorghum (see ALANNA's TIPS)
  • 4 tablespoons (usually half a stick, always 2 oz/57g) salted butter, warmed to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (50g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120g) cream (see TIPS)
  • 1/2 cup (120g) whole milk (see TIPS)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125g
  • 1 cup (120g) stone-ground yellow cornmeal, preferably a fine or medium grind (see TIPS)
  • 1 tablespoon (yes, tablespoon) baking powder, fluffed to aerate before measuring
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (assumes table salt)

PREP Heat the oven to 400F/200C. Lightly butter or spray a nine-inch cast iron skillet, an 8x8 baking pan or an 8x5 loaf pan.

MIX THE WET INGREDIENTS In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, warm the honey in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, just enough to soften and loosen and warm enough to melt the butter. (Some times, I warm the honey in the microwave right in its container, then pour it into the mixing bowl.) Stir in the butter until it melts into the honey. (Check the temperature of the honey-butter mixture, it should be warm but not so warm as to cook the eggs.) Whisk in the eggs until all three are well combined. Whisk in the remaining wet ingredients.

STIR IN THE DRY INGREDIENTS Lightly sprinkle the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt across the top of the Wet Ingredients. (If you like, you can stir these together separately in another bowl, then sprinkle across the top. Use a whisk, a large fork or a spatula to turn the Dry Ingredients into the Wet Ingredients, just enough to combine, no more.

BAKE Transfer the cornbread batter to the baking dish. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes (for the cast iron skillet, other pans may vary) or until golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

SERVE WARM but good news, the cornbread keeps well at least through the second day.

PAN OPTIONS Gosh this is good cornbread! Sometimes I bake it in a long loaf pan, making for small slices of cornbread instead of large wedges. Portion control!

CORNBREAD FOR SENIORS Ha. This recipe became my #1 go-to cornbread during the years when both the men at my table (my husband and then 90-year old father) especially appreciated its honeyed sweetness. It's simple to throw together, no wonder I made it often! Did it become "my cornbread"? Yes ...

LEFTOVERS Honey-Sweet Cornbread is definitely better the first day but leftovers never go to waste. We like to "toast" it in a skillet, à la Fried Bread (Skillet Toast), either in slices or in cubes for croutons for soups and salads. The leftovers would make a great sweet cornbread pudding, too.

ALANNA's TIPS Already part bread-part dessert, Honey-Sweet Cornbread works especially well with soups and chilis. With butter and honey? It's to moan over. As a honey substitute, we really love the Midwestern favorite called "sorghum" or sorghum syrup. It has the same viscosity as honey but hints at a plant-y caramel. Lyle's Golden Syrup would also work. Maple syrup? Brown rice syrup? I think so but haven't tried yet. If you keep half & half on hand for morning coffee, use it to substitute for both the cream and the milk. After all, that's what half & half is, half cream and half milk. I've also substituted sour cream for heavy cream, it works fine. Do pay attention to how finely ground your cornmeal is. I've learned to prefer "finely ground" and "medium grind" but not a coarsely ground cornmeal (which makes for a "bumpy" cornbread which kids, especially, do not care for aka won't eat) and not a very fine and floury grind called corn flour. If I run out of stone-ground cornmeal, I'm happy with the extra easy-to-find yellow cornmeal that comes in paper bags (like flour) and some times cardboard cartons (like oatmeal). It's been degerminated and enriched (!) but the texture really works. Once I tried adding kernels of fresh corn, another time dried currants: dang, both were totally forgettable.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See https://www.kitchenparade.com/2024/04/honey-sweet-cornbread.html .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice (assumes 8): 277 Calories; 11g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 88mg Cholesterol; 366mg Sodium; 40g Carb; 2g Fiber; 16g Sugar; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 6 & PointsPlus 7 & SmartPoints 11 & Freestyle 11 & myWW green 11 & blue 11 & purple 11 & future WW points CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving (1g protein) = 1 thin slice, eyeball 1/22 or cut a quarter section into 5 slices.
This recipe was first published in 2008 as "Sweet Cornbread" at A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables where for awhile, I tried to persuade us all that cornmeal, since it is derived from corn, counts as a "vegetable". 🙄 Nope? Today I fully agree plus the recipe has become such a household staple that it just belongs here on Kitchen Parade.

Hello, Cornbread People

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

Savory Cornmeal Muffins ♥ KitchenParade.com, spiked with chili powder, a little jalapeno and red pepper, very decidedly savory. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Excellent with Chili, Mexican & Cajun Food.

Sweet Potato Cornbread ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. Gorgeous golden color from a pile of sweet potatoes. Naturally wheat-free, gluten-free, no unusual ingredients.

Chillin: Favorite Chili & Chowder Recipes with a Side of Cornbread, cold-weather, football-friendly favorites in another recipe collection ♥ Kitchen Parade.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ cornmeal recipes ~
~ honey recipes ~
~ sorghum recipes ~

~ 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, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. 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, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, 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
VV 2008, 2011, 2015 & 2018 (repub)
KP 2024

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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