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. I am getting a bit of a bitter aftertaste from my recipe, and we all agreed it wasn’t very corny (ha!). I did omit the sugar and the pumpkin pie spice, I was going for savory. Any thoughts on the bitter taste? The kids didn’t pick up on it, they loved it, and it was a gorgeous outcome!

      1. Hi Ashley, did you use self-rising cornmeal or did you make your own? Some baking powders that contain aluminum will leave a bitter, metallic aftertaste. I always recommend using an aluminum free baking powder such as Rumford or Bob’s Red Mill.

    2. I tried this last night and really enjoyed it with a chicken mole stew from the slow cooker. It wasn’t like a traditional cornbread at all. It was super rich, almost like a custard or bread pudding. We really enjoyed it!

    3. Looking forward to making this recipe this weekend to have with chili! It will be the perfect fall day dinner with friends. Judging by the reviews, I can not wait to try this.

        1. I made this recipe this weekend, just changed it up to muffins, and it was incredible. Definitely a keeper. Moist, lightly sweet, perfect. And paired like a charm with some chili verde!

          1. Love it, Lynell! Nothing’s better than tweaking a recipe to suit your needs and desires. Many thanks for taking the time to let us know. Do you happen to recall about how long you left the muffins in the oven? If so, I’d love to know. And I can’t wait to hear what recipe from the site you try next…

            1. I put my oven on 400 and baked the muffins for 15 minutes. I made 24 smaller muffins out of the recipe. Great for a crowd that way.

    4. As if a Leite’s referral wasn’t enough, once I read the other comments, this cornbread was all but in the oven. Coincidentally, my husband brought home a back of sweet potatoes grown in a co-worker’s garden just a few days before this recipe was posted.

      My husband is usually a bit fussy about texture, so I was apprehensive of the inclusion of sweet potatoes and sour cream, which would no doubt lend a softer crumb. Not only did he eat a piece, but he raved, and requested more. His comment? “Excellent!” There you have it. Once he gives that kind of rating, nothing more need be said. However, I can’t help but to sing it’s praises just a little more.

      The color, flavor and texture of this cornbread is absolutely wonderful. Indeed, it pairs well with a spicy chili or soup. I will definitely make this cornbread again, though I wonder if maybe I should have pureed the potato, maybe with the sour cream, to help cool it off before combining it with the rest of the ingredients. I did not go out of my way to finely mash the potato, so there were wonderful chunks of beautifully colored sweet potato in a few of the cornbread squares.

      For those who may not care for the softer texture, let the bread cool a bit, slice it in half and place it in a toaster oven for just a few minutes. No need for extra butter, as the flavor is simply wonderful!

      Thank you, LC! Another one well worth printing!

      1. LOL. I just realized I’d typed ‘back’ of potatoes. Not sure what I was thinking, but either pack or bag must have been the target. I missed!

    5. David, every time I vow that I *will not* add one more recipe to my “must make” list, someone comes along and posts something my heart of hearts knows will be spectacular (or I’d be a fool for not trying.) This is one of those recipes.

      1. Kim, no one can accuse you of having a foolish heart. Go unto the kitchen, my child, and bake knowing that everyone will plotz (|pläts| verb
        collapse or be beside oneself with strong emotion
        ) when they taste this.

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