Buttermilk Cornbread is a yummy treat that is slightly sweet, fluffy, and just crunchy enough to make your palate sing. This might be your favorite cornbread recipe if you are on team buttermilk.
Cornbread with Daddy
I have nothing but fond memories of all things cornbread. Cornbread is the first thing I ever saw my daddy cook. Buttermilk was difficult to find at the commissary where we shopped. It was not a regular purchase for my mom, who liked her list simple, and new that my brother and I did not love the smell of buttermilk.
My thoughts changed when my dad came back from deployment overseas the last time in his career. He honest to goodness old fashioned buttermilk corn bread in a cast-iron skillet. It came out piping hot with a crunchy crust, moist center, and slathered with some good fresh real butter.
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My momma was a margarine gal back then! The seventies were all about a big old tub of Parkay.
Back to the cornbread. Oh my sweet southern heart, I loved that cornbread. It was amazing to see my dad in the kitchen and he made something delicious, so my child’s heart overflowed with awe! I still feel blessed today from this memory.
A hunk of buttered cornbread is a taste of old-fashioned timeless goodness. Frequently paired with a savory chili or comforting soup it is just the best darn thing.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to make cornbread. It has a rich history here in the United States and often found nestled next to a plate of greens and beans, or a steaming bowl of spicy chili.
Cornbread can be sweet, savory, or both! It can be spicy with jalapenos and other good chilis or filled with lemons and sugar for a pretty impressive after-dinner treat.
My daddy grew up eating a big crumbled hunk of buttermilk cornbread with a spoon from a glass swimming in whole milk.
Most often you will find old-fashioned southern cornbread, with little to no sugar or its cousin, Buttermilk Cornbread, light, a hint sweeter and truly a treat buttered, sliced and sitting on a plate ready to eat.
What Goes in Buttermilk Cornbread?
Cornmeal! And I say that with laughter in my head, because cornmeal is a little different in different cultures. But honestly, for this cornbread, the biggest decision you will need to make is white or yellow? Your choice, I love the hint of yellow in the cornmeal and the texture. Martha White company states white cornmeal is ground longer to make it a finer, and just turn white naturally from the process.
I prefer yellow cornmeal, the color just pops, and it makes me happy. It is just one of the silly choices we make in life, and either will make wonderful bread.
Flour is a must for soft, moist cornbread. Many southerners will roll their eyes if you even mention adding flour to a batch of cornbread. But if they give you sass, remind them that cornbread is about making bread for the heart, some hearts love a pure cornbread and some hearts love a soft cornbread with the help of a little flour!
Buttermilk is the magic of a moist cornbread. I mean it is not a deal-breaker, many happily use plain ol’ milk and are happy cornbread campers. However, buttermilk works a little magic in the cornbread and it always just seems moister.
No buttermilk? No Problem! Make your own by adding 4 teaspoons of white vinegar to whole milk or whatever you have on hand. Allow to“sour for 5 minutes before adding to the batter.
Fat makes cornbread crunchy!
Well, some kind of fat to put in the skillet to crisp the crust and keep it from sticking. Growing up, we used vegetable oil, because you know the 70s and its corn-by products. These days I use butter or a little of both. When I buy canola oil, I try to find cold-pressed. This recipe is a butter purist, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
History would point us to lard or a good scooping of bacon drippings! I am sure it was mighty tasty, but honestly, I only make loads of bacon for Christmas. I grew up eating green beans cooked with bacon grease, so I am no stranger to what some would call the liquid gold of the bacon.
Why eggs in buttermilk cornbread?
Eggs are a binding ingredient that also gives a better structure to the bread. but does not prevent the exceptional crunch from the skillet.
How To Make Buttermilk Cornbread
The trick to a cook crispy outside and moist inside is following the ingredients list and making sure your skillet is hot and oiled before you add the batter.
If using an oven-proofed skillet, you can heat it on the stove and add vegetable oil or butter to get that crispy crust. Again, this buttermilk cornbread calls for butter!
I love using my Lodge Cast Iron skillets!
But for crowds, I have this amazing pan from Nordicware that makes tons of cornbread I can crumple for dressing or cut in serving-sized squares for serving.
What To Eat With Cornbread
- 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
- Preheat oven to 425° F. Place a 10inch cast iron skillet or an equivalent sized oven-proofed baking dish.
- While your skillet is heating prepare the batter.
- In a large bowl combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a medium glass bowl combine, buttermilk, and eggs, and half of the melted butter. Whisk to combine.
- Pour buttermilk mixture over dry ingredients and mix well, taking care that all the batter has mixed and is moist.
- Remove skillet from oven, add remaining butter to coat the skillet.
- Add batter to hot skillet and place in oven 25-30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Serve with whipped butter and/or honey.
Replace melted butter with vegetable oil or vegan butter spread.