An easy homemade cornbread recipe made from scratch! This Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread is a southern recipe staple served as a side dish, appetizer or dessert next to your favorite comfort foods.
This buttery oven-baked casserole style cornbread bakes up moist, tender, dense, and cake-like. If you like sweet cornbread, try my recipe made with traditional and modern ingredients. If you’re considering serving cornbread for Thanksgiving, Christmas or served as a dish to your favorite entrees, consider this sweet southern cornbread recipe because it’s better than any bakery, store brand, or boxed Jiffy cornbread mix around town and so easy to make.
Buttermilk Cornbread is the ultimate Southern dish. While cornbread is servered throughout the United States, it’s a beloved Southern staple and is served all throughout the south like Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Virgina, North Carolina, Flordia, Tenessee, Kentucky and Oklahoma. It’s an especially popular dish to serve with fall and winter dishes and it has grown to be one of my favorite recipes to make this time of year.
How to Make Cornbread from Scrath
Homemade sweet cornbread is a southern delicacy. It is often cooked in a cast iron skillet over the stove top, campfire or it is baked in the oven in a casserole dish or a sheet pan. Ingredients for the BEST Sweet Cornbread:
- BUTTER is an essential ingredient that adds moisture to the crumb while flavoring the dish.
- CORNMEAL is the start of this recipe. It wouldn’t be cornbread without cornmeal. I like to use Martha White Medium cornmeal.
- FLOUR adds a delicate balance to the cornmeal. It helps to refine the texture of the cornbread without sacrificing the bold flavor of cornmeal.
- BUTTERMILK is the key to making the BEST cornbread recipe. The buttermilk makes the texture of the crumb cake like, moist, and delicious. I highly suggest using buttermilk in the recipe but if you can’t get your hands on any, try using this buttermilk substitute recipe here.
- EGGS help to hold the cornbread together. It also adds a velvety smooth texture the dish. Generally, the more eggs, the more cake like the cornbread.
- SUGAR is used to sweeten. It add moisture and helps to soften the crumb texture. PRO TIP: To make a savory cornbread using my recipe, reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup like in this savory cornbread recipe I made.
- HONEY is another ingredient used to sweeten this sweet bread. I like the distinct flavor honey adds to dishes and it’s often served with cornbread.
- BAKING SODA/POWDER helps give this otherwise dense sweet bread a lift.
Steps to Make Cornbread
- Mix together cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch.
- Melt butter and mix with sugar and honey. Whisk in 1 egg at a time.
- Pour buttermilk into wet egg mixture. Stir in vanilla extract.
- Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.
- Pour cornbread batter into a prepared casserole dish and bake for 45-50 minutes.
Northern VS. Southern Cornbread; What’s the Difference?
One of the main differences in cornbread is the ingredients. Sweet cornbread uses sugar, honey, or molasses as an ingredient while savory cornbread is not made with any sugar. I often get called out for saying that this sweet style cornbread is not truly southern because of it’s use of sugar. Here’s the thing, in New Orleans, sweet cornbread is almost always served at restaurants and holiday parties.
Traditionally thought amoung deep root southerners is that northern cornbread is sweet, moise, dense and cake like while deep south cornbread is savory, dry and has a crumble texture due to it’s lack of sugar. I’m here to tell you that cornbread styles are much more a preference based on family lines. That said, it can still be a regional preference. Several counties or parishes in the deep south may only make a claim to sweet or savory cornbread and that’s fine.
This distinctive sweet cornbread recipe is a cornmeal recipe made with, flour, eggs, buttermilk and sugar. There are a few varieties of cornbread served throughout the U.S. and each variety serves a different purpose. This recipe calls for a good portion of sweetness so if you were hoping for a non-sweet recipe, try excluding the sugar like in this savory cornbread recipe I made last year.
Buttermilk Cornbread is an awesome dish to make for the holidays and is good when served with chili, mac and cheese, Thanksgiving dinner and so much more!
From Scratch Cornbread Pro Tips:
- MIXING: It’s important to slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just incorporated and a few dry crumbs remain. The batter should be a little lumpy and wet.
- TEXTURE: The batter to this cornbread is HEAVY. That’s because we are using a lot of heavy ingredients. The cornmeal, flour, sugar, and buttermilk are going to add weight. The end result is a dense, but very moist cake like cornbread. One reader commented on Pinterest that they were not sure if they did something wrong as it turned out dense but delicious.
- BUTTERMILK: Fresh buttermilk is always best. If for some reason you cannot get buttermilk, use this buttermilk substitute recipe.
- CAST IRON CORNBREAD: If making in a cast iron skillet, half the recipe. Then, melt a 3 tablespoons butter in skillet over high heat. Pour cornbread into a hot skillet and bake in oven.
- HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN CORNBREAD IS DONE? Cornbread is done when when the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- HOW TO PREVENT BURNT CORNBREAD: Cornbread should be covered with foil once a golden brown crust has formed on top then baked until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If your cornbread is burnt on the sides, your oven may be burning to hot or you may be using a dark nonstick pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake longer next time.
- HOW TO WARM CORNBREAD: Simply reheat in a 300 degree oven or cut a slice and microwave it for 45 seconds. Serve with butter or honey.
How to Serve Cornbread
My Louisiana cornbread recipe is a southern staple and it’s served nearly everywhere from the deep south to the northern parts of the south. If there is one thing I love about the south, it’s the comfort food and the fact that I can find this side dish nearly everywhere. What does cornbread go with? Traditionally, cornbread is served for breakfast, and holidays like Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Serve cornbread with these southern recipes.
- RED BEANS AND RICE
- CREOLE JAMBALAYA
- COLLARD GREENS
- MARDI GRAS KING CAKE
- CHEESE BACON EGG POTATO CASSEROLE
If you’re planning your Thanksgiving Day dinner menu, serve cornbread as a side dish bread or dessert with these holiday recipes.
- INSTANT POT MASHED POTATOES
- HOMEMADE CRANBERRY SAUCE
- CRANBERRY FLUFF SALAD
- GREEN BEAN BUNDLES
- SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
- CHEESY MASHED POTATO CASSEROLE
Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted ( 2 sticks )
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal ( I used medium Martha White )
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 2 1/4 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.Prepare a 9 x 13 casserole dish with foil. Grease foil with spray or butter; set aside.In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch; set aside.In a large bowl, add melted butter, sugar and honey.Whisk in eggs one at a time.Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla extract.Carefully whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients a little at a time. Stir until incorporated.Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Center should not jiggle when done. Cover top with foil when the top is golden brown to prevent it browning darker.Allow to cool. Cut into square pieces.Serve with butter or honey.
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