Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe

This buttermilk cornbread recipe isn’t your typical cornbread. It’s sweet and moist and decidedly not traditiona and we love it. Actually, it just may be the best cornbread we’ve ever had.

Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe

This buttermilk cornbread isn’t your typical cornbread. It’s actually inciting folks who’ve made it to say things like, “Almost like eating cake.” “Wow!” “Heavenly.” “The best cornbread we’ve ever had.” “It is so worth the calories!” “Stop me before I make another!” And a large part of the reason why it’s drawing such accolades is because it’s completely the opposite of your typical dry cornbread, explains author Zoe Nathan. So much so that it can stand on its own without needing to be slathered with butter, she continues. It’s also sinfully sweet. As such, it’s definitely not Southern. But it is wildly versatile and pretty darn irresistible. Sorta makes you want to drop everything and run to the kitchen to try it, doesn’t it?This recipe has been updated. Originally published July 2, 2015.Renee Schettler Rossi

Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Makes 16 squares


  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, somewhere between cold and room temperature
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup (160 g) cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (100 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) whole-wheat flour (or substitute all-purpose flour)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (240 ml) full-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup (180 ml) mild olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey


  • 1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line an 8-by-8-inch (20-by-20 cm) metal pan with parchment paper.
  • 2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Incorporate the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well.
  • 3. Pause the machine and add the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, mix until incorporated. Then pour in the milk, buttermilk, oil, and honey and mix just until combined. This should yield a very loose, runny batter. (Small lumps of butter are no problem, but avoid any lumps of flour. If you see them, mix the batter just a little longer or work them out with your fingertips or the tines of a fork.)
  • 4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. You’re going to want to start checking the cornbread after 30 minutes, and if the surface turns perfectly golden brown before the time is up, loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil. Let the cornbread cool ever so slightly in the pan on a wire rack prior to slicing. This buttermilk cornbread is best served the day it’s made but keeps for up to 2 days if wrapped well.

Tuxedo Variations

  • Cheddar and Jalapeño Cornbread
  • Increase the salt to 2 teaspoons, omit the honey and in its place stir in 1/2 cup grated Cheddar, 2 seeded and finely chopped jalapeños, and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.

  • Fresh Corn Cornbread
  • Stir 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 3 ears) into the batter just before scraping it into the pan. (Beware that the added moisture from the corn kernels has the tendency to turn the cornbread quite pudding-like.)
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Mackenzie Campbell

Jun 26, 2016

The recipe doesn't lie. It truly is "insanely moist and delicious," maybe in part to the rather large amount of butter, oil, and sugar. But, hey, who am I to complain—it tastes pretty amazing. And anyways, the fresh corn hints at healthy decisions. This stuff is the end-all recipe for buttermilk cornbread (in the sweet category). So far it has lent itself to a myriad of uses in my household: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It accompanied red beans and rice one night, and a healthy slice was given a good sear and served with eggs and a healthy dose of Sriracha the next morning. I grew a tad bit nervous, as my cooking time continued to increase, and the center of the bread just seemed to get soupier and soupier. I assume this was due to the oil and liquid content. After about 50 minutes at 350°F (180°C), the top was pretty browned, and the rest was clearly not done. I decreased the oven temp to 300°F (149°C), hoping to halt the top from burning while the inside caught up, and it took another 15 minutes at that temperature before the cornbread seemed sufficiently set. Mine turned out just fine with the extra time in the oven. It is so worth the calories! Tuck it away as a keeper.

Testers Choice
Steve Dunn

Jun 26, 2016

I've never understood how people can buy boxed mixes or pre-made cornbreads from the bakery department of their local market and be satisfied. Perhaps it's because they've never experienced a truly great hunk of cornbread and so can accept the overly sweet and bone-dry bread that it seems is the norm. Having had a few ethereal cornbreads at great Southern restaurants over the years, I knew there was so much more potential for cornbread than what can be made from the ubiquitous blue box mix. I have been searching for years for a "go-to" cornbread from scratch, and I'm pleased to say that my search is over...this buttermilk cornbread recipe is THE ONE! This cornbread has it all. It's dense and moist with a perfect balance in texture and taste between the cornmeal and the fresh corn kernels. I found the sweet-salt balance of the bread to be perfect. In fact, I can't remember the last time I had a piece of cornbread that I didn't slather with an obscene amount of salted butter, both to combat the dryness and also the overly sweet flavor profile. But I enjoyed this au naturel and didn't miss the butter one bit. I was a little concerned with the stated cooking time of the recipe, as it seemed high for an 8-inch pan at 350°F (180°C), but the batter is so liquid-y when poured into the pan that it took a full 45 minutes to cook to moist perfection. I ended up tenting the pan with foil around the 30-minute mark because the top of the cake was perfectly browned, and I feared it would burn. Aside from that caveat, I found the recipe well-written and the resulting bread to be absolutely ideal.

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Jun 26, 2016

This buttermilk cornbread is so good that it could be dessert.  It's super moist, surprisingly quick and simple to put together, and bursting with corn kernels and flavor. We ate it without butter. I adhered to the recipe exactly, and my baking time was 50 minutes. The top of the cake, I mean bread, was a deep golden brown, but the inside was moist and dense. Cornbread is typically one of my least favorite quick breads because it's usually dry and mealy. This one is neither. I'm looking forward to trying the jalapeño Cheddar variation.

Testers Choice
Martha T.

Jun 26, 2016

Winner. I made this buttermilk cornbread with olive oil and it was heavenly. It is definitely not your light Southern cornbread. It has a very thick consistency that is surprisingly pleasant but very filling. We had it with spaghetti and they went well together.  While it sounds like a long time, the 50-minute timing is spot on.

Testers Choice
Irene Seales

Jun 26, 2016

This could be the best cornbread we've ever had. Cornbread is usually a disappointment with its uninspired dryness. But this recipe completely goes in the opposite direction—moist, flavorful, and savory, especially if you go the jalapeño and Cheddar route. Seed and rib the jalapeños and use a couple, even if they are huge. I made a couple of batches. I used fresh corn in each (go for the best in-season corn or leave it out), a really nice Cheddar (I used a Somerdale), and a generous 1/3 to 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro. It was best when I extended the cooking time to just over an hour, checking with a thermometer, getting the center to about 190℉ (88°C) and the top an even golden brown with small cracks across the entire surface, resembling a dry lake crackle. Anything less and you will not have a pudding-like interior but an uncooked soupiness instead. This is a very wet batter, and the fresh corn adds even more moisture. I found the baking to be more even in a metal pan than a glass pan. I used a stone-ground cornmeal from Bob’s Red Mill. In the third batch, my prep took a little longer, and the butter was getting too soft, so I popped the mixer bowl in the fridge. I think that batch actually creamed fluffier, with the butter being a bit firmer than room temp. In version 4.0, I used a smoked Cheddar, ~1/4 cup chopped cilantro, and 2 chopped red Fresno chiles (which are slightly milder than jalapeños). It had a beautiful crumb and was finished at 50 minutes, registering ~197°F (92°C) in the center. And it was festive! I think the best version of this recipe is without the fresh corn. If using the fresh corn, I'd leave out the whole milk and just use the 1 cup buttermilk, but the overall result is better without the fresh corn. We are converts—cornbread could be a regular thing here. Stop me before I make another!

Testers Choice
Susan Bingaman

Jun 26, 2016

I can’t decide. Is this cake or bread? Whatever it is, it’s pretty darn delicious. I made it plain (I didn’t add the corn) and cannot wait to try the variations. This cornbread is pretty sweet and has a lovely tender crumb, but it’s slightly greasy for my taste. I’m not sure it needs quite so much oil, but definitely don’t decrease the butter, as it gives the bread such a lovely flavor. Start checking the doneness of the cornbread after about 35 minutes. Due to all that sugar and honey, the bread will brown quickly and deeply, so keep an eye on it. Mine baked to perfection in 45 minutes. Serve it warm. It doesn’t even need butter.

Testers Choice
Rebecca Sullivan

Jun 26, 2016

I love cornbread, and this recipe was definitely excellent. I tested it both with fresh corn and then with jalapeño and Cheddar. I felt as though the fresh corn kernels made it almost too wet, but the sweetness was very nice. The jalapeño Cheddar, in contrast, was not as sweet (I chose not to add fresh corn), and it was perfectly moist and easily cut into squares. I found the baking time to be close to 45 minutes.

Testers Choice
Elsa M. Jacobson

Jun 26, 2016

I certainly had my doubts when I looked at the very loose batter in the bowl, but those doubts are now completely gone! Wow! This is a fine cornbread recipe, especially for anyone who’s ever had dry crumbly cornbread and wished for a moist one instead. Here it is! Pudding-like is an apt description—rich and pudding-like is perfect! It was “almost like eating cake,” according to one of my happy testers. And mine was this rich despite using homemade buttermilk made with 1% milk and using 1% milk instead of the whole milk specified. I had a couple of the 16 squares on their own before I thought to slather one with butter, which was delicious but completely unnecessary. Then I drizzled a piece with a bit of honey just as a test, and that, too, was completely unnecessary. I used the full 3 ears corn, which amounted to a bit more than 1 1/2 cups. A little confession: I skipped the stand mixer and hand mixer and mixed straight by hand instead, from start to finish, and it worked perfectly. I did pre-mix the dry ingredients, but even that doesn’t seem necessary at this point. I had no troubles with lumps of butter or flour. As previously noted, the batter was very loose, almost like pancake batter, and there was no scraping of batter into the pan, as it was pourable. I feared the volume would be too great and anticipated seeing a rising tower of cornbread in the oven, but this didn't occur. Instead, it rose perfectly, baked for the full 50 minutes, and could perhaps have even gone another 5 minutes beyond that. I'm eager to try the jalapeño Cheddar version next. I baked this in a Pyrex pan, and I’ll also be trying it in a cast-iron pan. I cooled the cornbread for 10 minutes, my idea of ever so slightly. In my house, we’ll never know if it keeps for up to 2 days, since I think it’ll be gone within the first hour of being set out for tasting. Warm cornbread on a cool evening...unbeatable!

Testers Choice
Mike S.

Jun 26, 2016

This buttermilk cornbread recipe worked well and came out nice and moist. The recipe didn't specify the grind of cornmeal to use, so I went with an extra fine, which gave the cornbread a light, cake-like texture that worked really well. Using fresh corn brightened up the flavor. I found that in my oven, it only took about 40 minutes to cook fully. I'm looking forward to trying other variations.

Testers Choice
M.K. Morgan

Jun 26, 2016

This buttermilk cornbread recipe is a winner. Gathering the ingredients took the most time. Aside from that, the cornbread came together in about the time it took to heat my oven. After 40 minutes in the oven, the edges were very brown but not burned. This is definitely a moist, sweet cornbread and does not need butter or honey in my opinion. If my husband would eat spicy, I would try the jalapeño version, but alas, he is not spicy sort. Sigh.

Testers Choice
Megan M.

Jun 26, 2016

This buttermilk cornbread recipe results in a very sweet, cake-like cornbread. When corn was in season, I froze some fresh corn and I used that in this recipe. I found it to be delicious and, as the author promises, very moist as well. Given the amount of oil, this is certainly a decadent cornbread.

Testers Choice
Adrienne Lee

Jun 26, 2016

The flavor of this buttermilk cornbread is good but a little sweet. I would definitely reduce the amount of sugar next time. The combination of buttermilk, whole milk, and oil with so many eggs makes this a very moist cornbread that stayed good and moist for a long time. I liked the added corn kernels, but it took a long time to get the corn off the cob.

Testers Choice
Frances Kim

Jun 26, 2016

I made the fresh corn variation of this buttermilk cornbread recipe for the Fourth of July, along with LC’s Fall-Off-the-Bone Baby Back Ribs, Classic Coleslaw, and Mashed Potatoes, and it was phenomenal—rich, sweet but not cloying, and with just the right amount of toothsome summer corn. I only added the kernels from 2 ears of corn because I was nervous that the cornbread would turn out mushy. I used 1/3 cup sugar, substituted all-purpose flour for the whole-wheat, and grapeseed oil instead of olive oil. I also used low-fat buttermilk because that was the only kind available at the market, and I don’t think the flavor or texture was any worse for the wear. I baked the cornbread in a 9-by-13-inch glass pan for about 45 minutes, so it was probably a bit thinner than the author intended, but it was still incredibly moist. The leftovers made a great breakfast, toasted and slathered with some salted butter. I can’t wait to try the Cheddar and jalapeño version!

  1. boomdog02 says:

    OK..I’ve re-read this 5 times and I keep reading about the wonderful flavor of the corn kernels…where is the fresh corn in the recipe??? Am I losing it?

  2. Ira says:

    I made it tonight and it was excellent. I followed the recipe to the letter and baked it exactly 50 min – it turned out great. I can”t wait to try the other variations

  3. Chris says:

    I love cornbread and it sounds so delish! What is your suggestion please, since I am new to being gluten-free, regarding which gluten-free flour to use in place of the all-purpose flour? I am also diabetic, do you have the carb amt per serving and what is considered a serving? Thanks so much :)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Chris, each gluten-free flour blend is slightly different and will work slightly differently in each recipe. I’m sorry, I haven’t tried this with a gluten-free flour, although if we’re talking homemade gluten-free flour blends, I’m partial to this one as we’ve made it in several different recipes with terrific success http://leitesculinaria.com/97040/recipes-gluten-free-all-purpose-flour.html. As for the carb amount, we don’t do the nutritional analysis on recipes but you can run the numbers for this—or any recipe—using an online nutritional analysis calculator. There are a number of free online calculators that can help you do this. I haven’t used any of these calculators myself so I can’t vouch for any one in particular, but I hear terrific things about the online calculator from Spark People found at http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp.

  4. linda Osborn says:

    I had a similar cornbread at a wedding 17 years ago and have searched for it since. It was a pig roast with fabulous sides….Everyone went through the line, sat down tasted the cornbread and got up and back in line for another piece. This is the recipe I’ve been looking for!!! Thank you so much! I used olive oil with a bit too much of an opinion the first time. But wow, it was still wonderful. Making it again tonight with a lighter oil. The soupiness is a bit scary but in 50 min …perfect!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      That’s so spectacular to hear, Linda! Many, many thanks for taking the time to let us know. I am soooo craving this cornbread right now…

  5. Judy says:

    This is it! My favorite cornbread. I made it as written—the plain version—and baked it in a glass 9-by-9-inch pan for about 45 minutes. It was perfectly browned and not dense but moist and flavorful. My family, who is usually “meh” about cornbread, loved it and could not stop nibbling at the rest of it after dinner. Really easy to mix—I did it by hand since my butter was pretty soft. Thank you for a new, great recipe.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      That’s exactly the sorta response we love to hear, Judy! Incredibly glad to hear you and your family feel the same way we do about this cornbread. You are so very welcome. I’m already looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try and love next…

  6. Becky Davey says:

    My daughter frequently asks for cornbread, and until I made this one, she was always disappointed. It’s pleasantly moist, and though definitely on the sweeter side, it stops short of the syrupy canned corn versions. No need to try anything else.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      I think your daughter and I have the exact same taste in cornbread, Becky. Love that you found this recipe and made it for her with such success! (I suspect she knows how lucky she is, but it’s okay to gently remind her now and again…)

  7. grace costa says:

    I have two questions: First is if I want to make a larger batch to fit to fit a 9 x 13 pan would I just double the recipe? Second, on the flour would there be a difference if I used all AP flour (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) or use 1/4 cup whole wheat flour as recommended ? Thank you in advance

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Grace, I’m always reluctant to double baking recipes. I would suggest two batches if you are tying to have more servings. As far as the flour, the whole wheat flour will add a bit more texture but the recipe works equally as well with just all-purpose flour

  8. Meredith says:

    I love to bake. This is the best thing I have ever baked. Hands down. Every review on this site was correct! You definitely don’t need butter, this bread is stand alone. I used 1% milk and 1% buttermilk and it turned out great. I used a convection oven and the edges began to burn (just barely) at about 35 minutes, so keep an eye on it and cover if needed. 45 minutes cooked it to perfection.

    Whoever made this recipe is officially my idol.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Zoe Nathan. That’s the name of your idol, Meredith. Crazy happy to hear that you love this cornbread as much as we do. We so appreciate you taking the time to let us know! Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

  9. Sauerte says:

    Where do you find full fat buttermilk?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      It depends, Sauerte. Some stores carry it, some don’t. If you can’t find it, you can use “low-fat” buttermilk and it will be fine. Just try not to use “non-fat” buttermilk.

      • Sauertea says:

        Thanks. I always have low fat buttermilk, the full fat seems not to be readily available in my area.

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          You’re very welcome. That’ll work just fine. Hope you find the cornbread to be as obscenely crazy irresistible as we do!

  10. Harold James says:

    Anyone that would put sugar in cornbread is a Communist heathen who don’t love Jesus.

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