Southern Cornbread from Scratch

Southern Cornbread from scratch is a a super-simple recipe that your family will want every night.  You may want to apply some willpower to that notion because great Southern cornbread is rich eating.

Like so many things in cooking, the real secret to a great recipe’s success happens before any cooking occurs.  When you’re making Southern cornbread from scratch, the key is in using the right pan.

Nothing will make your cornbread taste as good as when you use a real cast iron skillet.   Yes, you can use a bakng pan or a dish, but the skillet allows the right amount of air to circulate so that  the cornbread gets that crispy, crunchy crust that is the signature of Southern Cornbread from scratch.

The butter in that skillet instead of the cornbread mix is part of why this Americana dish is savored year round all around the country.

Ingredients

  • cornmeal - 2 cups, self rising (yellow is best)
  • sugar - 1 TBS
  • egg - 2
  • vegetable oil - 2 TBS - or bacon grease
  • milk - 1 1/2 cup
  • butter - 3 TBS - or margarine - goes in the cast iron pan and not in the batter

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. You can go ahead and put the 3 TBS of butter (margarine) in the pan and stick that in the oven to melt. Just watch and make sure you don't scorch the butter. Measure out the cornmeal and add the TBS of sugar on top. It does not have to be mixed before it's poured in later.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs a bit. Add the cooking oil and milk. Mix that well. Now, add the cornmeal with sugar to the mixing bowl and stir. At this point, you don't want to stir a whole lot, or the bread will be tough. Just stir with a spoon or fork until the cornmeal lumps are broken up and mixed in.
  3. If you were heating the butter in the pan, it should be ready at this time. If you didn't, then melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, take the pan out, shake it around carefully to coat the surface pretty evenly.
  4. cornbread_bakingSpoon the Southern Cornbread batter into the hot cast iron pan. Some of the butter will come up over the edges and make a ring, which is fine and gives it a great taste.
  5. Stick the pan back in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  6. I use the 10-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe. If the pan is smaller, you may want to cut the ingredients down. Using a bigger skillet is fine, but you'll want to cook for a shorter time because  the bread is not as thick.
  7. Southern CornbreadThis recipe is also good for muffins or for breadsticks. Both shapes also come in cast iron versions.
  8. You can add cracklings or diced onions to the batter, but plain and simple is often best.
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