Scrumptious buttermilk cornbread with a glorious hint of honey. This quick and easy recipe will be on the table in 30 minutes. The perfect side, or to mop up stews, or dunk into chowder. Of course, you could simply eat it warm smothered in butter, and drizzled with honey.
The smell of cornbread baking is deliciously intoxicating. Only surpassed by devouring a fresh warm slice out of the oven. An unusual side for an Aussie gal to regularly bake, but it has become a family fave.
The bread is soft with a unique texture from the cornmeal. The taste is delightful with a touch of honey. Though I wouldn't class it as sweet. It's also the basis for cornbread dressing/stuffing, which is one of my favourite turkey stuffings.
- Cornmeal: The ingredient that makes this cornbread. Cornmeal is a coarsely ground flour made from dried corn. Can you substitue polenta? Sort of. I explain the difference betweeen cornmeal and polenta in more detail below.
- Bicarbonate of Soda: Also known as baking soda. Along with the baking powder acts as a raising agent in the recipe.
- Eggs: As always, freerange eggs if you can. Eeggs are not only a raising agent, but a binding aid as well and will result in a less crumbly texture.
- Flour: Plain/all-purpose flour. You could also use wholemeal or spelt flour.
- Baking Powder: Helps the bread rise and become light.
- Salt: Omit if you end up using salted butter.
- Buttermilk: Butter milk can be substituted with normal milk in a pinch. Or make your own buttermilk; 1¼ cups of room temperature milk + 4 teaspoons of white vinegar (or fresh lemon juice), mix together and let sit for 5 minutes, then use.
- Butter: I use unsalted in this recipe, if you do use salted omit the salt from the ingredients list.
- Honey: Adds a delightfuly honey scent and mild taste to the bread. You could substitute the honey with maple syrup or golden syrup.
The difference between cornmeal and polenta
Are cornmeal and polenta the same? From the first glance of the above side by side image the answer is no, they are not. As you can see they are different.
Cornmeal is softer in texture and a different colour. But as you can see from above it does have some little specks of what looks like polenta through it. That's because the product sold as polenta and cornmeal are both made from ground dried corn.
Packets marked polenta generally refer to coarse ground cornmeal and the Italian dish made with it. Polenta can be served warm like porridge, or left to cool and solidify, then cut up, baked or fried to make many things including polenta bites or polenta chips.
Simply, both cornmeal and polenta are made from ground dried corn. Polenta is coarser than medium ground cornmeal used in this recipe.
Can you substitute polenta if you can't find cornmeal? Yes you can, but the final result will be slightly different in texture, taste, and colour.
How to Make Cornbread
Scroll to the bottom of the page for a printable version of this recipe.
Preheat the oven at 200°C/400°F. Place all the butter in a 23 cm/9 inch round baking tin/cake Pan. Alternatively, you can use a 23 cm/9 inch skillet.
Put the pan into the oven and allow the butter to melt while gathering the rest of your ingredients.
Place flour, cornmeal, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk ingredients until just incorporated.
Remove the pan from the oven as soon as the butter has melted. Let the butter rest for a couple of minutes.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients in the bowl. Add buttermilk and eggs to the bowl. Pour the slightly cooled butter from the pan into the bowl with the buttermilk and eggs. Whisky ingredients until thoroughly combined.
Using a pastry brush grease the inside of the pan with the remaining dregs of butter. Pour batter into the greased pan.
Bake in the oven, on the middle shelf, for 25 minutes or until the cornbread is golden and cooked through. Test the cornbread with a skewer, it is fully cooked when the skewer comes out clean. Serve the cornbread warm. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Sara's Top Recipe Tips
Let the cornbread batter sit
This step isn't essential and is why I haven't included it in the main recipe. If you have time let your cornbread batter rest for 15-20 minutes. Allowing the batter to rest, the baking powder and bicarb/baking soda do a little more work before baking. This results in a lighter cornbread.
The top of the cornbread cracked.
If the top of the cornbread cracks while baking it means your oven is too hot. If you notice it rising in the centre rather quickly turn the oven down a few degrees.
Don't over mix your batter
Whisk the ingredients until the batter has formed. Don't over whisk. A few lumps are fine. If you over mix the batter you could end up with bread that is very crumbly.
Where to buy cornmeal
Cornmeal is a little trickier to find in Australia and other parts of the world than it is in the USA. Look for it in larger greengrocers that stock international foods. The International food section of large supermarkets, or buy it online.
Corn grits or polenta make a good substitute for cornmeal.
Freshly baked cornbread will keep for 1-2 days in an airtight container at room temperature. It will keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge. Cornbread can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Wrap any leftover cornbread in plastic wrap or greaseproof paper and store it in an airtight container. Keep it at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the fridge for up to a week.
Easy Buttermilk Cornbread
- 125 grams (½ cup) unsalted butter
- 150 grams (1 cup) plain/all purpose flour
- 200 grams (1 cup) cornmeal | medium grind
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 315 mls (1 ¼ cups) buttermilk
- 65 mls (¼ cup) honey
- Preheat the oven at 200°C/400°F.
- Place all the butter in a 23 cm/9 inch round baking tin/cake Pan. Alternatively, you can use a 23 cm/9 inch skillet.
- Put the pan into the oven and allow the butter to melt while gathering the rest of your ingredients.
- Place flour, cornmeal, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk ingredients well until incorporated.
- Remove the pan from the oven as soon as the butter has melted. Let the butter rest for a couple of minutes.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients in the bowl.
- Add buttermilk and eggs to the bowl. Pour the slightly cooled butter from the pan into the bowl with the buttermilk and eggs. Whisk ingredients until just combined.
- Using a pastry brush grease the inside of the pan with the remaining dregs of butter.
- Pour batter into the greased pan.
- Bake in the oven, on the middle shelf, for 25 minutes or until the cornbread is golden and cooked through.Test the cornbread with a skewer, it is fully cooked when the skewer comes out clean.
- Serve the cornbread warm. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- 1 teaspoon equals 5ml
- 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml (Nth America, NZ & UK use 15ml tablespoons)
- 1 cup equals 250ml (Nth America use 237ml)
- 4 teaspoons equal 1 tablespoon
- I use the below unless specified in my recipes.