There is nothing that screams Southern like a cake of cast iron skillet cornbread. When you cut that first triangle slice, slater it with melted butter, and it hits your lips, you feel like you are in Heaven.
I sometimes like to drizzle a little honey on top of it. The sweetness from the honey, the saltiness from the butter, and that crunchy exterior combine to make one of my all-time favorite side dishes.
One thing about cooking cornbread, it can be easy to do if you just have the right tools and technique to do it with. To make Old Fashioned Buttermilk Cornbread right, you need a cast iron skillet that has been seasoned well. My mom keeps a dedicated cast iron pan just for this purpose, and dares anyone to use it for anything else!
Southern-style cornbread is unique because of how it is cooked in a skillet. The skillet is preheated in the oven, or over the fire. Butter, Bacon grease, or other fat (oil) is added to the pan. Once you put the batter in the hot skillet, it causes the exterior to crisp up. This is what gives classic southern cornbread its crispy crust!
Old Fashioned buttermilk Cornbread is a great side dish/bread to have with many types of meals. Most people will have it with fried, smoked, or baked chicken. They will have it with beans, greens, soups, stews, or just with a good Southern meal as their bread. We also use it to make dressing at Thanksgiving time.
How to keep cornbread moist
Many times people struggle with keeping the cornbread moist. The main tip that I can share with you about keeping cornbread moist is not to overcook it. It is better to undercook it than to overcook it. I have curated a whole list of tips and tricks to use when cooking cornbread if you are looking for more ideas.
One reason for not having moist cornbread is when you are making Southern Cornbread Dressing. Typically when making this awesome Thanksgiving traditional dish you want dry, stale cornbread that has a crunch to it.
Letting the cornbread get stale is one way to get the texture right in the cornbread dressing but also using Southern-style cornbread. Southen-style cornbread is cooked in a cast iron skillet which gives the cornbread its thick crunchy texture that is synonymous with southern cornbread.
Recipe Ingredients- What you will need to make Old Fashioned Buttermilk Cornbread.
1 cup of Self-Rising Cornmeal
There are two main types of cornmeal that are used to make old-fashioned buttermilk cornbread, white cornmeal, and yellow cornmeal. It truly doesn’t matter which you use as it is purely preference in my opinion.
I believe most classic southern cornbreads were made with white cornmeal, mainly because that was what was grown in the fields in the old days. I typically use self-rising flour but you can use regular cornmeal, note that you will have to add baking powder and salt to the mix.
1 cup of Self-rising Flour
Self-rising flour is the next ingredient that you will need. Any brand will do but I prefer Southern biscuit self-rising flour. If you live outside of the South, it may be hard to find that brand so use whatever brand you have available to you.
2 Tablespoons of Butter, Bacon Grease, or oil
This will be added to the cast iron pan and then placed in the oven. If you want a smokey salty flavor, save your bacon drippings the next time you are frying bacon and use that in place of the oil or butter. If you want the savory saltiness of butter, use that instead of the bacon grease or oil.
In the old South, bacon drippings were saved in a mason jar or other metal container and used to fry just about everything. It was also used to flavor greens, make salad dressings, and season their cast iron skillets! I store mine at room temperature but most people keep their bacon grease in the refrigerator.
2 Large Eggs
If you have fresh farm-raised eggs, those are best. If not you can use what you can buy at the grocery store.
1 Cup Of Buttermilk
Buttermilk is the star of this side dish in my opinion. You can’t have old-fashioned buttermilk cornbread without buttermilk, right? Well, it truly is not a deal-breaker if you only have regular milk on hand but if you can opt for buttermilk, do it.
There are some ways to make buttermilk by using vinegar. Also, you could substitute sour cream if you thinned it down by using milk. Buttermilk gives a tangy flavor to the cornbread. I also feel it helps it stay moist because it is thicker.
1/4 cup of Vegetable or Canola Oil
This will be added to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl before the dry ingredients go in. This too helps to keep the cornbread nice and moist.
1 tablespoon of Sugar
I always opt to add this ingredient. This will not make the cornbread sweet like Northern cornbread is. This recipe is for savory cornbread but the little bit of sugar in this recipe helps the top of the cornbread brown up faster before the inside gets dry. If you prefer no sugar, you can leave this ingredient out. It is not a deal-breaker.
Preparing the Cast Iron Skillet
Step 1: The very first thing you want to do when making this dish is to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Grab your cast iron pan and put in the 2 tablespoons of butter, bacon grease, or oil that you prefer. Slide the Cast iron pan into the oven to preheat.
This should take about 5 to 10 minutes depending on how fast your oven preheats. You want the butter or oil to be hot. The idea is to crisp up the batter as it drops into the cast iron pan.
Preparing the Cornbread Batter Mix
Step 1: In a medium bowl or large mixing bowl, mix together the wet ingredients first. To do this, add in your eggs and then whisk them until they are lightly beaten. Stir in the buttermilk and vegetable oil.
Step 2: Add the dry ingredients to the bowl. To do this, add in your cornmeal, flour, and sugar. Stir until all ingredients are mixed well and there are no lumps.
The batter should be of a pancake batter consistency and be easy to pour. If it is too thin, add a little cornmeal at a time. If too thick, add a little milk until it is of the right consistency.
Step 3: Grab the hot skillet out of the oven. Being very careful, pour your batter into the hot cast iron skillet.
Step 4: Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Step 5: When the top is golden brown, remove it from the oven. You can check the center with a toothpick to see if it is done. The toothpick should be removed without any batter on it.
What to Eat with Old Fashioned Buttermilk Cornbread?
- Roasted Whole Chicken Breast
- Brunswick Stew
- Greens (Collards, Mustard, Spinach)
- Fried Chicken
- Smoked Chicken
- Chili Beans
- 2 tablespoons Butter, Bacon Grease, or oil
- 2 Large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup Self-Rising flour
- 1 cup self-rising cornmeal , You can use Yellow or White. It is up to your preface.
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Preparing Skillet and The Oven
- Start by preheating your oven to 350.
- Add butter, bacon grease, or oil to an 8 to 10-inch cast-iron skillet.
- Place cast-iron skillet in the oven while the oven preheats.
Cornbread Batter mix
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, add in eggs and whisk. Stir in buttermilk and Vegetable oil.
- Add in Cornmeal, flour, and sugar.
- Mix until all ingredients are combined and there are no lumps.
- The batter should be similar to a pancake batter. Thick but pourable. If it is too thin, add a little cornmeal at a time. If too thick, add in a little milk until it is to the right consistency.
- Grab the hot cast iron pan from the oven. Tilt the pan back and forth to coat the bottom of the pan. Set the pan on a level surface.
- Pour batter into the hot cast-iron skillet.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
- When Golden Brown, remove from oven. Flip cake of cornbread over on a plate, pan, or dish towel that is bigger than the cast iron skillet.
- Slice and enjoy. Butter and honey go great on top of hot southern style cornbread!
Serving Size:1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
Does this make sweet cornbread:
No. This only has 1 tablespoon of sugar. This is a savory, classic southern-style cornbread. The little bit of sugar in this dish only helps to brown the top and cut some of the fat from the buttermilk and oil.
Which do I use, Yellow cornmeal or White Cornmeal?
The color of the cornmeal has no determination on the taste and/or outcome of this dish. This is strictly a preface.
Can Regular Milk be used in this recipe?
Yes. If you do not have access to buttermilk, then regular milk will do just fine. You can also make buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with enough regular milk to equal 1 cup. So add the tablespoon of vinegar to your measuring cup, then fill the measuring cup the rest of the way up with regular milk until you reach the 1-cup mark. Stir the mixture and let it sit for around 5 minutes.
Can I Use Sour Cream Instead of Buttermilk?
Yes. Sour cream is much thicker than buttermilk but is still similar in taste. You can use sour cream if you thin it down with some regular milk. It should be of a buttermilk consistency.
Can I use All-Purpose Flour?
Yes. If you use all-purpose flour, you will need to add in your leavening agents (baking powder and salt).
Can I use regular cornmeal instead of Self-rising cornmeal?
Yes. If you use regular Cornmeal, you will need to add in your leavening agents (baking powder and salt).
What Can I Do with the Leftover Cornbread?
Leftover cornbread? What is that? No, kidding aside, one thing that my dad did with leftover cornbread was made cornbread and milk as a snack. Usually, this was later that evening after we had supper (Dinner). You can use buttermilk as he did, or regular sweet milk (regular red top milk).
You could also use it to make cornbread stuffing or cornbread croutons. There is also the option to save it and eat it later with a little butter and some honey on it. I also like it with apple butter on top.
I hope you really enjoyed this article on how to make Old Fashioned Buttermilk Cornbread. Please leave me feedback and let me know what you think!
If you have not yet, check out these other posts. I think you will love them just as much!