This bacon cornbread, a Southern staple, is made with corn kernels and bacon–plenty of bacon–and, of course, bacon drippings for a super moist and flavorful bite.
There’s cornbread. And then there’s cornbread enhanced with bacon, corn, and good ol’ bacon drippings. Just as God intended, according to some. An unapologetically richer, sweeter, moister cornbread that’s still gosh darn versatile as can be. Originally published August 9, 2001.–Renee Schettler Rossi
How to Make Bacon Cornbread Muffins
There’s cornbread, and then there’s cornbread enhanced with bacon, corn, and ample good ol’ bacon drippings. Just as God intended. If, like us, you swoon to the crusty corner pieces—you know, the ones with ample contrast of crunchy exterior to super duper moist interior—you may wish to consider increasing the exterior surface area of each serving by making muffins with this batter. Just fill a dozen or so buttered muffin cups and bake at 350°F (175°C) for about 30 minutes, until the center of each muffin is springy. You’re welcome.
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Makes one 10-inch bread
- 1 cup coarse cornmeal, which is also packaged as “polenta”
- 2 cups buttermilk, either low-fat or full-fat
- 8 ounces (approximately 10 slices) bacon
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 1/2 cups (16 ounces) fresh or frozen corn
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings or mild vegetable oil
- 1. The night before baking the cornbread, soak the cornmeal in the buttermilk. Cover and leave it at room temperature overnight.
- 2. The next day, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- 3. Place the bacon on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp. Using tongs or a fork, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain the fat from the skillet into a stainless-steel bowl and reserve it. When the bacon has cooled, crumble it into coarse pieces.
- 4. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C). Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Stir in the granulated and brown sugars. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Dissolve the honey in the melted butter and then stir the warm honey-butter mixture into the eggs. Add this to the soaked cornmeal mixture. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon or whisk until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and the batter is blended and smooth. It should be the consistency of thick pancake batter. Stir in the corn kernels until they are evenly distributed.
- 5. Place 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat into a 10-inch round cake pan (you can also use a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or a 12-inch square pan). Place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the fat gets quite hot. Using pot holders or oven mitts, remove the pan, and tilt it to coat all the corners and sides. Pour in the cornbread batter, spreading it from the center of the pan to the edges. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon pieces evenly over the top over the cornbread batter, gently pressing them into the batter.
- 6. Bake the bacon cornbread for about 30 minutes, or until the bread is firm and springy (the baking time will depend on the size of the pan) and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top will be a medium golden brown. The internal temperature at the center of the bacon cornbread should register at least 185°F (85°C).
- 7. Let the bacon cornbread cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before slicing it into squares or wedges. Serve warm.
Cornbread Muffins Variation
- If, like us, you swoon to the crusty corner pieces of cornbread—you know, the ones with ample contrast of crunchy exterior to super duper moist interior—you may wish to consider increasing the exterior surface area of each serving by making muffins with this batter. Just fill a dozen or so buttered muffin cups and bake at 350°F (175°C) for about 30 minutes, until the center of each muffin is springy. You’re welcome.