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.



    1. Hello!! So I am extremely interested in making this for my family dinner on Saturday but my skillet is 12 inches instead of the 10 you used. Do you think that I will have to adjust the amount of ingredients I use or just adjust the cooking time?

      1. Gennifer, I usually don’t advise tweaking a recipe especially when making it the first time for guests, but with this recipe, I really think you can simply adjust the cooking time and you’ll be fine. Just be prepared for a slightly squatter cornbread! The oven is pretty hot so I would start checking the conrbread for doneness at 12 and 15 minutes and take it from there. Kindly let us know how it goes!

        1. Okay great! Thank you so much for your timely response! I definitely agree that experimenting on the first try can be a little tricky. I’ve been wanting to buy a smaller skillet so this just might be the perfect time! =) thank you again!

          1. Ah, well, you should have said, Gennifer! I am always available to help rationalize or justify the purchase of additional cast iron cookware! I really think you’re going to love this as much as we do.

            1. RIght?! lol I should have started with that!! You can never have enough cookware! But yes, I think I will LOVE this recipe! I look forward to trying it!

    2. maybe this has been addressed already, but does this recipe call for yams (orange inside) or sweet potatoes?(starchier and yellow inside)


      1. I run across that question with recipes all the time. I don’t think the stores mis-mark the potatoes, I think that most people think that a “yam” is a sweet potato and have no idea of the difference and buy the darker ones thinking they are sweet potatoes. A perfect example of that is when yams are used for “sweet potato pie.” You can tell right away by the color of the pie.

      2. Erin Z, it’s a terrific question, and the answer is it works with either. We tested it both ways because so often the two are wrongly labeled at the store. Hope you enjoy!

    3. Hi, quick question. I can’t find white cornmeal mix. I will use the information you have on making your own. My question is, does this recipe not contain flour? Does the cornmeal mix you use contain flour? Thanks for any info you can give me.

      1. Hi Terry, depending on where you live, self rising cornbread can be tricky to find but it’s easy enough to make your own following our guide. Although flour is used is some recipes, the basic recipe is just cornmeal, salt and a leavening agent.

        1. Thank you so much! I will be making your recipe on Thanksgiving. I’ll let you know how it turned out!

            1. Wow! Turned out great! It’s on the menu for Christmas too! Thank you for the recipe. I made my own self rising cornmeal mix and it turned out wonderful.

    4. This sweet potato cornbread will definitly be on my table for the coming holidays. The pumpkin spice I would have never thought to put in or that it would ever work with this bread.

      1. The pumpkin pie spice is sorta a surprise ingredient, isn’t it, Linda? Of course, you could make the recipe without it if you like, although we’ve been hearing quite lovely things about it with the spice…love to know what you think when the time comes!

    5. I’m curious whether one can simply substitute stone ground cornmeal for the white cornmeal… for various reasons. I’m in Germany where white cornmeal can”t be found, and I have a lot of what some call bramata in my cupboard. Or will that make the bread too coarse and crumbly? One of the commenters said she had used stone ground when she made it but said person also frowned on the large amount of eggs, sour cream and butter.

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