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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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.


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    1. Good taste, but very crumbly. I’m glad I tested it before making it for company. I’m sticking with Fannie Farmer’s Rich Cornbread Recipe — my standard recipe.

      1. Hi Anita, I am so sorry that you had issues with the cornbread. It is so surprising as out testers loved the moistness and texture. There are several possibilities why your cornbread turned out crumbly. The first culprit is over mixing the batter. Additionally, if the cornbread was overcooked, or the oven temperature was off, it can cause a drier crumbly texture. Several testers noted in their reviews that their cook time was closer to 20 minutes. How long did you bake yours? Did you use a wooden tester to test the doneness?

    2. I cannot count the number of times I’ve made this. I have 2 cup measures of the sweet potato bagged and in the freezer for just this recipe. I pick up some sour cream and I’m good to go.

      I cook and many times serve this right from the cast iron pan. For a casual dinner, it looks pretty cool. Enough flavour to forgo the butter … but really, don’t hold back. Over the top with a slather of creamy butter.

    3. 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. 🙂

      1. 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!

      1. 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.

      1. 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!

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