Sweet Potato Cornbread

This sweet potato cornbread may just upend all your notions about what cornbread ought to be. It’s easy, not too sweet, healthy, and turning heads and drawing raves wherever it’s made.

Sweet Potato Cornbread Recipe

We could blather on about how lovely this sweet potato cornbread is. But what we find far more telling and compelling are the words that came straight from the mouths of those who’ve made and tasted this moist, barely sweet, almost cake-like cornbread. So let’s not waste any time, shall we? “This was the best cornbread I have ever eaten!” raved more than one person we know. “This made a cornbread with a less crumbly texture than the traditional all-cornmeal stuff, but still firmly on the savory, rather than sweet, side of the spectrum. It might make a nice gateway drug for Northerners to wean them off the sweet stuff,” said one Southerner. “The sweet potato colors the batter a lovely orange, which makes for a stunning presentation,” said another tester who’s made more than her share of cornbread in her day. “The sweet potato lent a delicious sweetness and the slight, but necessary, touch of moistness I find is often lacking in standard recipes,” professed one more. “So good! Moist, not too sweet, wonderful hot out of the oven or toasted with a smidge of butter,” cooed another. And “The sweetness is super with really spicy chili,” said a couple others. If you want to delay your gratification, by all means, read more of their comments, which you’ll find beneath the recipe. Otherwise, stop dallying and do what you need to do. This recipe has been updated. Originally published November 6, 2013.Renee Schettler Rossi

Sweet Potato Cornbread Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 50 M
  • Serves 8 to 12


  • 2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix (or substitute 1 1/2 cups plus 6 tablespoons white cornmeal, 2 tablespoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the skillet


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • 2. Meanwhile, stir together the cornmeal mix, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice, if using, in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, mashed sweet potatoes, sour cream, and butter. Add the sweet potato mixture to the cornmeal mixture, stirring just until moistened. Carefully butter the hot skillet and spoon the batter into it.
  • 3. Bake for 20 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick or wooden tester inserted in the center comes out clean or darn near almost clean with no crumbs clinging to it. Slice the sweet potato cornbread into wedges or squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead Advice

  • To make this sweet potato cornbread ahead of time, simply bake it early in the day and either serve it at room temperature or, if you prefer it warm, loosely cover the cornbread with aluminum foil and slide the skillet back into the oven just until it’s warmed through.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Alexandra M.

Nov 19, 2016

I love this sweet potato cornbread recipe! It came to my rescue after the first truly cold day of the season in NYC. Hungry for something substantial and comforting, I made the sweet potato cornbread to serve alongside some hearty chili. Something I really appreciated about this recipe was the unfussiness of it all. The ingredients were straightforward, and the prep—with the exception of the sweet potato, which could be done in advance—took less than 10 minutes. Bonus: I only had to wash a couple of mixing bowls and a spatula. Any recipe that requires so few pieces of equipment is adored by me given my dishwasher-less kitchen. I did not use the pumpkin pie spice, just for the record. The batter fit perfectly in my 10-inch cast iron skillet—even if you think it’s going to overflow, it won’t. The result was a soft, luscious, rich bread with a slightly crunchy crust. It has a tinge of sweetness, and would be divine with butter and honey. But it’s also the perfect backdrop for savory dishes, like my chili. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been oft-disappointed by cornbread recipes. Usually, the result is too grainy and dry, only to be remedied by lots of butter. I’m convinced that sweet potato is the panacea for all dull cornbread recipes. This recipe is truly lovely on its own.

Testers Choice
Chiyo Ueyama

Nov 19, 2016

This sweet potato cornbread was a winner! We liked it for two reasons: good flavor and texture. It had just the right amount of sweetness from the sweet potatoes, and though the subtle aroma of the pumpkin pie spice was wonderful, it still tasted like the familiar cornbread. The texture was not too caky and not too dry. Even at room temperature it wasn’t crumbly at all and cut very clean and neatly. It looked absolutely gorgeous in the cast-iron skillet after 35 minutes of baking. A wonderful accompaniment to Senate Bean Soup and a Moroccan Lentil Soup. I cut my sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and steam-baked them for 1 hour. In fact, I cooked as many as I could fit in the oven and mashed them all so that I can freeze some for next time or for an impromptu sweet potato pie. When making my own self-rising white cornmeal, I used yellow cornmeal (that’s what I had in the pantry).

  1. Kim Bultman says:

    David, every time I vow that I *will not* add one more recipe to my “must make” list, someone comes along and posts something my heart of hearts knows will be spectacular (or I’d be a fool for not trying.) This is one of those recipes.

    • David Leite says:

      Kim, no one can accuse you of having a foolish heart. Go unto the kitchen, my child, and bake knowing that everyone will plotz (|pläts| verb
      collapse or be beside oneself with strong emotion
      ) when they taste this.

  2. As if a Leite’s referral wasn’t enough, once I read the other comments, this cornbread was all but in the oven. Coincidentally, my husband brought home a back of sweet potatoes grown in a co-worker’s garden just a few days before this recipe was posted.

    My husband is usually a bit fussy about texture, so I was apprehensive of the inclusion of sweet potatoes and sour cream, which would no doubt lend a softer crumb. Not only did he eat a piece, but he raved, and requested more. His comment? “Excellent!” There you have it. Once he gives that kind of rating, nothing more need be said. However, I can’t help but to sing it’s praises just a little more.

    The color, flavor and texture of this cornbread is absolutely wonderful. Indeed, it pairs well with a spicy chili or soup. I will definitely make this cornbread again, though I wonder if maybe I should have pureed the potato, maybe with the sour cream, to help cool it off before combining it with the rest of the ingredients. I did not go out of my way to finely mash the potato, so there were wonderful chunks of beautifully colored sweet potato in a few of the cornbread squares.

    For those who may not care for the softer texture, let the bread cool a bit, slice it in half and place it in a toaster oven for just a few minutes. No need for extra butter, as the flavor is simply wonderful!

    Thank you, LC! Another one well worth printing!

  3. Lynell says:

    Looking forward to making this recipe this weekend to have with chili! It will be the perfect fall day dinner with friends. Judging by the reviews, I can not wait to try this.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      I look forward to hearing what you think, Lynell. It is, indeed, quite lovely. Not dry, not crumbly, something altogether different.

      • Lynell says:

        I made this recipe this weekend, just changed it up to muffins, and it was incredible. Definitely a keeper. Moist, lightly sweet, perfect. And paired like a charm with some chili verde!

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          Love it, Lynell! Nothing’s better than tweaking a recipe to suit your needs and desires. Many thanks for taking the time to let us know. Do you happen to recall about how long you left the muffins in the oven? If so, I’d love to know. And I can’t wait to hear what recipe from the site you try next…

  4. Copis says:

    I tried this last night and really enjoyed it with a chicken mole stew from the slow cooker. It wasn’t like a traditional cornbread at all. It was super rich, almost like a custard or bread pudding. We really enjoyed it!

    • David Leite says:

      Copis, now THAT’S what I like to hear! So glad you like it. It’s quite a dish. Keep it in mind for Thanksgiving.

  5. Ashley says:

    I am getting a bit of a bitter aftertaste from my recipe, and we all agreed it wasn’t very corny (ha!). I did omit the sugar and the pumpkin pie spice, I was going for savory. Any thoughts on the bitter taste? The kids didn’t pick up on it, they loved it, and it was a gorgeous outcome!

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Ashley, did you use self-rising cornmeal or did you make your own? Some baking powders that contain aluminum will leave a bitter, metallic aftertaste. I always recommend using an aluminum free baking powder such as Rumford or Bob’s Red Mill.

  6. Thomas Marzahl says:

    I’m curious whether one can simply substitute stone ground cornmeal for the white cornmeal… for various reasons. I’m in Germany where white cornmeal can”t be found, and I have a lot of what some call bramata in my cupboard. Or will that make the bread too coarse and crumbly? One of the commenters said she had used stone ground when she made it but said person also frowned on the large amount of eggs, sour cream and butter.

  7. linda moore says:

    This sweet potato cornbread will definitly be on my table for the coming holidays. The pumpkin spice I would have never thought to put in or that it would ever work with this bread.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      The pumpkin pie spice is sorta a surprise ingredient, isn’t it, Linda? Of course, you could make the recipe without it if you like, although we’ve been hearing quite lovely things about it with the spice…love to know what you think when the time comes!

  8. Terry Arnold says:

    Hi, quick question. I can’t find white cornmeal mix. I will use the information you have on making your own. My question is, does this recipe not contain flour? Does the cornmeal mix you use contain flour? Thanks for any info you can give me.

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Terry, depending on where you live, self rising cornbread can be tricky to find but it’s easy enough to make your own following our guide. Although flour is used is some recipes, the basic recipe is just cornmeal, salt and a leavening agent.

  9. Erin Z says:

    maybe this has been addressed already, but does this recipe call for yams (orange inside) or sweet potatoes?(starchier and yellow inside)


    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Erin Z, it’s a terrific question, and the answer is it works with either. We tested it both ways because so often the two are wrongly labeled at the store. Hope you enjoy!

    • Denice says:

      I run across that question with recipes all the time. I don’t think the stores mis-mark the potatoes, I think that most people think that a “yam” is a sweet potato and have no idea of the difference and buy the darker ones thinking they are sweet potatoes. A perfect example of that is when yams are used for “sweet potato pie.” You can tell right away by the color of the pie.

  10. Gennifer says:

    Hello!! So I am extremely interested in making this for my family dinner on Saturday but my skillet is 12 inches instead of the 10 you used. Do you think that I will have to adjust the amount of ingredients I use or just adjust the cooking time?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Gennifer, I usually don’t advise tweaking a recipe especially when making it the first time for guests, but with this recipe, I really think you can simply adjust the cooking time and you’ll be fine. Just be prepared for a slightly squatter cornbread! The oven is pretty hot so I would start checking the conrbread for doneness at 12 and 15 minutes and take it from there. Kindly let us know how it goes!

      • Gennifer says:

        Okay great! Thank you so much for your timely response! I definitely agree that experimenting on the first try can be a little tricky. I’ve been wanting to buy a smaller skillet so this just might be the perfect time! =) thank you again!

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          Ah, well, you should have said, Gennifer! I am always available to help rationalize or justify the purchase of additional cast iron cookware! I really think you’re going to love this as much as we do.

          • Gennifer says:

            RIght?! lol I should have started with that!! You can never have enough cookware! But yes, I think I will LOVE this recipe! I look forward to trying it!

  11. Sue says:

    Can you use canned pumpkin?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Sue, we didn’t try it that way so I can’t say for certain, but it seems like it should work just fine! Be sure to use the plain canned pumpkin without any added spice. And kindly let us know how it goes!

  12. Mike says:

    How does a wooden-handled skillet survive a 425°F oven?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      It doesn’t, Mike, unless you wrap it several times in layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil, which I have actually done many times with great success. That said, I wouldn’t recommend it because the heat will dry out the wood and potentially cause it to crack down the road. The food stylist for the cookbook from which this recipe was taken took some liberties when styling the shoot.

  13. Wayne says:

    Call me fanatical, but I love taking a good cornbread, layering it at the bottom of a ramekin dish, layering a well savored chili in the middle, and smothering it with an old Cheddar and havarti cheese blend melted at 425°F for about 20 minutes. This sweet potato cornbread may be the perfect combination for tonight! I am super glad I found this recipe from Pinterest. :)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      We’re super glad you found this recipe, too, Wayne! And what you describe sounds fantastic. If that makes you fanatical, then we’re fanatics right along with you! Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know your ingenious cornbread trick!

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