Cornbread

This classic cornbread is made with flour, cornmeal, eggs, buttermilk, and maple syrup, is a foolproof recipe for a slightly sweet side dish.

A cake pan of golden brown cornbread with a slice removed

This moist, ever-so-slightly sweet, faintly maple-y cornbread can be tossed together almost as quickly as it disappears. But before you start gathering ingredients, allow us to share our theory about how folks tend to have very specific expectations about what they want from cornbread. We think it has everything to do with what you experienced growing up. (Yes, just like your therapist, we’re taking this back to your childhood.) If your grandma made you cornbread that was spare on the sweetness, be forewarned, this isn’t it. If your momma made something sufficiently sweet and with a cakey enough crumb to pass as dessert, this ain’t it either. If you crave something smack in-between that’s versatile as heck and goes equally well with fried chicken, ribs, a crock of beans, chili, and a tall glass of cold milk, well, now we’re talking. This slightly sweet cornbread is inspired by a recipe from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion (Countryman Press, 2003). In the words of cookbook author Alana Chernila, “It’s entirely risk-free, quick to make, and will never fail you.” And who couldn’t use more of that? Originally published August 27, 2012.Renee Schettler Rossi

Cornbread

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 6
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (either low-fat or full-fat)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 oz), melted, plus more for the pan

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking dish, a 9-inch round baking pan, or an approximately 9-inch cast-iron skillet.
  • 2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt and whisk together until thoroughly combined.
  • 3. Break the eggs into a large measuring cup or a medium bowl and whisk them to combine. Add the buttermilk, maple syrup, and melted butter and whisk again until thoroughly combined.
  • 4. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and gently stir just until combined, using only a few strokes. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cornbread is lightly browned, pulling away from the sides of the pan, and a cake tester or butter knife comes out clean when inserted into the center. Serve the cornbread warm, preferably with butter. [Editor’s Note: Or with ribs. Or fried chicken. Or a tall glass of cold milk. Or, well, you tell us….]

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Recipe Testers Reviews

This recipe produced a no-fail, trusty cornbread that I could make over and over again. The crumb was perfect, and the man of the house thought it was perfect served warm with butter. I prefer a sweeter cornbread, as this one had a slight tang (probably from the leavening agents), but a honey butter balanced it nicely.

I think this cornbread is foolproof! I like that the maple syrup gives it a slight sweetness. It also gives it a unique flavor, but not so much that it overpowers the apple butter my family likes to put on the bread.

I added the liquids to the dry ingredients and whisked for about 15 strokes. I also baked mine in a dark round 9-inch cake pan, whereas normally I would use cast iron, which I think would work for this. The bread was done right at 20 minutes and popped right out of the pan.

This recipe does exactly what it promises and serves up comforting cornbread. It’s easy to make and you’re left with a fragrant kitchen and a pan full of goodness. I particularly liked the addition of maple syrup. That sweetness plays off against some fried chicken and a lovely mushroom gravy quite, quite wonderfully.

OK. I admit it. I just finishing pigging out on this cornbread—just couldn’t stop. This may just be my go-to cornbread recipe from now on. It simply could not have been improved.

First of all, it was dead easy to make gluten-free. I just used a gluten-free AP blend. There is absolutely no way one would be able to tell it is gluten free.

Second, the maple syrup added such a lovely maple-y flavor. Usually I have cornbread with maple syrup drizzled over it, but I did not feel the need this time.

Third, this would go amazingly well with a host of things. What did I have it with? Apple cider, because apple and maple have an affinity for one another. Lashings of butter went on one piece, apple butter on another, and raspberry jam on a third. All delicious, but the apple butter was my favorite. Normally we would eat it with chili, braised bean and chorizo dishes, beef stew, as dumplings with chicken, or even as a stuffing in roast chicken or Cornish game hens. But today was simply a cornbread day without all that. And now that the pan is a third empty, I am pleasantly full.

What makes this recipe different from most of the cornbread that I’ve made before is the extra sweetness that comes from the maple syrup. While the sweetness is balanced by the buttermilk tang, it didn’t work as a side with the smoky and spicy chili we ate with it.The flavors seemed to compete more so than complement. Had the cornbread had bacon or chilies in it, it may have worked better. But this recipe is still a keeper. When we had the leftover cornbread the next day with breakfast, that’s when the appreciation for this recipe kicked in. The maple syrup sweetness went well with the turkey bacon and a side of fresh blueberries and this time, the cornbread was a hit!

While I’m not normally a fan of cornbread, I found this recipe to really work well. As I was gently stirring the wet ingredients into the dry, the maple aroma filled the kitchen, and when we pulled the pan from the oven, we had a tender, moist, buttery cornbread. It had a touch of maple flavor, but overall it tasted more savory than other cornbreads. It is truly excellent eaten warm. This recipe produces a fantastic cornbread.

A passport back to the States for me! Now living in India and surrounded by so many flat breads, I’ve forgotten about this delicious American classic! I absolutely loved this recipe. The texture, taste, time of cooking, and the simplicity of it are all simply divine!

I served the cornbread with Rajma (curried kidney beans) on Tuesday. On Wednesday I served the yummy corn bread with shrimp sautéed with a sofrito topped with chopped cilantro and scallions. And on Thursday had it with a couple fried eggs topped with a homemade roasted chili salsa. HEAVEN!

I loved that this cornbread was not just delicious but also fast and easy. It was quickly inhaled by everyone in my family, accompanied for some with honey and, for others, with butter and rosemary salt. I would make this again in a heartbeat, not only to eat by itself but as a base for other recipes that call for cornbread.

This recipe was very simple and really quick to put together. The maple syrup gave it just the right amount of sweetness, whereas the buttermilk added tanginess and tenderness. The bake time was right on. It was a little crisp on top and moist inside. I served it with some maple butter I made by whisking pure maple syrup into some softened, unsweetened butter. Simply delicious. Would be wonderful with a bowl of chili, a slab of ribs…or spread some jam on it and enjoy with a cup of tea.

This is a cinch to make. The batter was quite sweet to taste; however, once I baked it, I could taste just a hint of the maple syrup. It is more like a cake-like bread.

I discovered that this recipe CAN fail you…if your timer doesn’t get turned on, you move on to other things outside of the kitchen, and, 40 minutes later, you realize you had something in the oven. Unbelievably, the cornbread was still palatable but fairly overdone. I saved that batch for cornbread stuffing.

I gave the recipe another shot on a different night, and I’m so glad I did. It’s an incredibly easy recipe that yields a bread with just the right amount of sweetness to it. This may be my go-to recipe now for cornbread, with easy additions such as Cheddar cheese, scallions or chives, or sauteed and diced bell pepper.

This really is a wonderful and easy-to-make go-to cornbread recipe. I was curious to put this recipe up against my current go-to cornbread recipe from the fantastic Joy of Cooking cookbook. I really enjoyed the maple syrup in this cornbread–I am used to adding maybe a tablespoon of sugar for that tiny bite of sweetness, but the maple syrup gave it a wonderfully smooth sweetness.

It took exactly 20 minutes to bake through and start to brown slightly around the edges like the recipe reads. I really suggest serving this with a touch of butter–that creaminess goes well with the maple taste of the cornbread.

In response to your question, “How do you like to serve your cornbread?” My response is, “I build the meal around the comfort of the cornbread.” In other words, I think of comforting foods from childhood to pair with the cornbread. What I did last night was pair this with a classic meatloaf recipe, braised greens, and roasted fingerling potatoes. This cornbread would be great with a lot of comforting meals–beef stew, chili, fried chicken….or by itself for breakfast, in my opinion!

Comments

  1. I’ve never made corn bread with maple syrup before, so will have to give this a try. I grew up eating grit bread, which is basically non-sweet cornbread made with stone ground grits to give it crunch. It’s great smushed into a glass of buttermilk, which is the way my father always ate it, although perhaps an acquired taste! Kendra

    1. Thanks for your willingness to consider something this side of sweet, Kendra. We know lots of Southerners who wouldn’t even glance at a corn bread recipe with sugar or syrup in it. Trade you recipes?

      1. You bet Renee! This is my dad’s recipe, Kent Graybeal Bailey, hence the K.G. in the title :) It’s a denser cornbread with a little crunch from the grits. It’s awesome sliced open and pan fried in butter in a cast-iron skillet or with buttermilk like I mentioned.

        By the way, I believe I still owe you a funeral cake recipe ;) Haven’t forgotten. Trying to get this book out of my hair first!

        Kendra

  2. Strangely enough, for as much as I love corn bread, I only make it once every several years because my Frenchmen don’t eat it. They think it is too sweet– like eating cake with a meal. Too bad! Since I have a bag of cornflour in my pantry brought back from a trip to the UK I must try this recipe. I love the King Arthur recipes but haven’t tried their corn bread yet.

    1. Jamie, this corn bread is only very slightly sweet, so they may be surprised. Still, quite simply, their loss is your gain. Bake a pan as soon as you can. There are soooo many things you can do with leftover corn bread other than eat a hunk straight from that pan. Crumble it into a glass of milk. Slice a thick chunk and sizzle it in a skillet with some butter and serve alongside ham or eggs. (Need I go on…?)

  3. This corn bread looks wonderful, however, it would be extra special if two things were added: bacon fat and jalapeno’s.

  4. The first time I made this, I used a light, 9-inch round and it turned out fine after about 23 minutes but the second time, I used an 8-inch dark cake pan and had to put it in for about 38 min. It browned quickly, so I covered it in foil. I also added a bit of sugar, as I like my cornbread sweeter.

    Hope this helps others!

    It’s the best cornbread recipe I’ve ever used.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Lola. The cornbread needed extra time in the small pan because there was less surface area so it took longer for the interior to cook. Darker pans are notorious for turning out darker baked goods.

      How much extra sugar did you add?

  5. I haven’t had a chance to try the recipe yet, but it is very similar to my family recipe, except for the maple syrup:
    http://thecookslife.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/cornbread-in-a-jiffy-from-scratch/.

    We always had Southern cornbread when I was growing up – no sugar or other sweetener allowed. Ever. But over the years my more “northern” mother has brought my dad around to sweet jelly or honey on top of the non-sweet cornbread, at least sometimes. I’m the hybrid – I like sweet cornbread sometimes. Don’t tell my dad.

    I can’t wait until I have time to try this one – maple is a favorite flavor of ours.

  6. “Cornbread is… safety in a pan.” What a beautiful, true sentiment. I grew up with plain, ol’ Johnny Cake (with maybe a smidge of sugar added) in the North, but your maple-hinted cornbread sounds like North meets South in heaven. By the way, I was salivating over the prospect of beans & ham with cornbread at a local diner yesterday, but ended up settling on Fried Green Tomatoes (dipped in a cornmeal batter.) Somehow the “ideeyah” of ribs with this… or fried chicken… or a glass of milk… makes me so glad I moved to the South!

    1. That very line is what initially drew my attention to this recipe, Kim. As you say, it’s beautiful and true. I envy you your childhood of johnny cakes, although this lovely recipe is pretty decent compensation. And yes, I couldn’t agree more, it’s the quintessential sidekick to ribs or chicken or cold milk. Let us know when you think of it when you make it.

  7. This cornbread recipe offers a butter-flavored goodness. We did not have buttermilk and substituted with 1 cup of milk + 1 teaspoon of vinegar. I usually add whatever oil I have on hand to my cornbread, but never butter and I loved the butter…

  8. Tasty. I was out of cornmeal, so I substituted grits. Worked like a champ. I preheated the oven with the cast iron skillet inside. A tablespoon of ghee in the pan melted beautifully. In the batter went. Rose beautifully. And it was tough to let it cool enough before cutting into it. Great texture. The sweetness was just right with chicken and rice. Dessert here I come.

  9. Mine is in the oven now. Used part bacon fat and part butter. Added chiles and crumbled bacon. No buttermilk on hand so regular whole milk had to do.

    I know I’ll love the result; never tried maple syrup before. Great idea! Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Well it really IS foolproof. (I suspect that means I am both the fool and the proof!) I followed it exactly as written, but made it in a pie plate because that’s what I was able to put my hands on… It comes together quickly and it came out perfectly. I happened to make both this cornbread and the Buttermilk Cornbread recipe, and each one had its set of fans. Those who loved this one thought it was the “cornbreadier” of the two. Despite the maple syrup, the sweetness is very subtle and there’s just a little bit of crunchiness, which made it a great addition to Thanksgiving.

    Pie pan with warm cornbread inside

    1. Janet, we love that you entrusted your Thanksgiving to our cornbread recipes! Grateful that it worked so well for your guests. We, too, like this cornbread for the very reasons you mention—-not too sweet and with subtle textural intrigue. Wishing you and yours all the magic of the season…

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