Sweet Potato Cornbread

This sweet potato cornbread may upend all your notions about what cornbread ought to be. It’s easy, stealthily healthy, and turning heads and drawing raves wherever it’s made.

A cast-iron skillet filled with a cooked sweet potato cornbread with two pats of butter on top and a dish of butter pats beside it.

How do we love this sweet potato cornbread? What we find far more telling and compelling than us gushing about it are the words that came straight from the mouths of those who’ve tasted this tender, barely sweet, almost cake-like, not-at-all-dry-or-crumbly cornbread. Most are raving it’s the best cornbread they’ve ever experienced. If you want to delay your gratification, by all means, read their comments, which you’ll find beneath the recipe. Otherwise, stop dallying and do what you already know you want to do.–Renee Schettler Rossi

What's the difference between Northern and Southern Cornbread?

This particular cornbread recipe is neither a Northern or a true Southern recipe but it happens to straddle both. We know, we know—the only true cornbread is the one passed down through your family. But in very generalized terms, Northern cornbread is generally sweeter and more cake-like. A Southern-style cornbread isn’t sweet at all (some say there should be absolutely no sugar in the batter) and has a denser, more crumbly texture.

Sweet Potato Cornbread

  • Quick Glance
  • (13)
  • 15 M
  • 50 M
  • Serves 8 to 12
4.8/5 - 13 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Southern Living: No Taste Like Home cookbook

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Ingredients


Directions

Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Slide a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to warm for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal mix, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice, if using. Using a spoon, 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 or slick it with oil, tilting the skillet to coat the sides, and then spoon the batter into it.

Bake the cornbread for 20 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick or tester inserted in the center comes out clean or darn near almost clean with no crumbs clinging to it.

Serve warm or at room temperature, slicing the cornbread into wedges or squares. (You can bake the cornbread early in the day and either serve it at room temperature or loosely cover it with aluminum foil and slide the skillet back in the oven until it’s warmed through.) Originally published November 6, 2013.

Print RecipeBuy the Southern Living: No Taste Like Home cookbook

Want it? Click it.

    Homemade Self-Rising White Cornmeal

    • To make your own self-rising white cornmeal, mix 1 1/2 cups plus 6 tablespoons white cornmeal, 2 tablespoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon table salt.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    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 this sweet potato cornbread to serve alongside some hearty chili. The result was a soft, luscious, rich cornbread 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 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. 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.

    The batter fit perfectly in my 10-inch cast iron skillet—even if you think it’s going to overflow, it won’t. 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.

    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 wasn't too cakey or too dry. Even at room temperature, it wasn’t crumbly at all and cut very clean and neatly.

    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).

    It looked absolutely gorgeous in the cast-iron skillet after 35 minutes of baking. A wonderful accompaniment to Senate Bean Soup or a Moroccan Lentil Soup.

    HUNGRY FOR MORE?

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    Comments

    1. I made this for a potluck dinner party. The hostess made a pork roast, and this sweet potato cornbread went over VERY well. Very little to bring home. There were about 18 people, so the recipe was doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan. I doubled the baking time, and it still needed another 5 minutes on 325 degrees in a convection oven! Didn’t even need butter it was so moist.

      Haven’t even tasted it with butter yet. but probably will fry it in a little butter this morning to warm it up! VERY easy to make.

      I put the sweet potatoes in a pressure cooker (took 15 to 20 min) then mixed up the batter. I did substitute maple syrup for the white sugar. So much healthier and gave it a caramel depth of flavor. Oh, and I added a 1/2 lb of cooked bacon to the batter right before it went into the oven.

      1. Wow. Awesome suggestions, BrilliantFoodLover. I’d imagine the maple syrup gave it incredible flavor, and you can never go wrong with bacon!

    2. Seven months ago I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Being a cook, this was no great challenge. I could adapt most everything. I love corn bread and I wondered if I could use a GF corn bread mix in place of your 2 cups of dry ingredients? I might just try it. I like the look of our recipe. I see you put butter on top of the finished corn bread…..I mix butter and honey in a custard cup, put it in the microwave to heat it then using a pastry brush paint the entire top with honey butter as soon as it comes out of the oven. it glazes the corn bread and makes a great visual first impression. I also use a 10″ cast iron skillet in which I melt and almost brown butter then sprinkle the bottom with yellow corn meal and spoon the batter on that. When you cut the slices of the baked corn bread and bite into a wedge, you get a little crunch and a buttery flavor from the bottom which hits your tongue first. stu borken

      1. Hi Stu, you can certainly use white cornmeal, baking powder and salt. All gluten free. And there is nothing better on a slab of cornbread than some honey butter!

    3. This is a winner in my book. I’m always looking for more ways to incorporate sweet potato in my diet since it is one of my favorite foods. I saw this and my heart stopped. I thought, this is brilliant! The sweet potato makes for a great moist cornbread, and the bread does look just as stunning as in the picture when it comes out of the oven. This cornbread is also great because it is not overly sweet!

      1. (Laughs) Lovely how this sweet potato cornbread just sorta works an all levels for you, Johnisha! I know that feeling of needing to sneak in good things whatever it takes. Glad that this recipe makes it easy for you to do so! Many thanks for taking the time to let us know…

        1. I just made this recipe. Was so looking forward to tasting this. Blech! I couldn’t find white cornmeal so I used regular medium coarse cornmeal and amended per the the instructions (baking powder, salt). Not sure what I did wrong but the bread has terrible after taste. I assume it’s the baking powder.

          1. Kevin, I am so sorry to hear that. It’s very likely the baking powder, as that’s usually the culprit to a truly unpleasant aftertaste. Was it a sorta metallic taste? We’ve never had that issue with this recipe before when we or others have used a homemade self-rising cornmeal, so I’m at a loss as to think of another issue. You may want to ditch that can or box and buy a new one. And, if you dare, try this recipe again. We and others have always had a smashing success with it. So sorry that this happened to you on Thanksgiving. Wishing you and yours the best with no more disastrous cooking issues!

    4. Ahh this looks amazing. Any ideas of what to use as a dairy substitute for the sour cream? Of course it would taste better as written but alas it is not to be for me. Thanks

      1. Hi Carli, though we haven’t tested it, you might try using a non-dairy soy or coconut based yogurt. Let us know if you give it a try.

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