Old Fashioned Sweet Cornbread Recipe (2024)

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Bake this sweet homemade cornbread recipe in a cast-iron skillet for a moist and delicious old-fashioned cornbread with a crispy crust. It’s our favorite cornbread recipe!

Originally published March 2020; this post has been updated.

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While I think many of us will agree that a crispy crust on the cornbread is ideal, a lot of people balk at the idea of a sweet cornbread.Southern cornbread, they say, has no such thing as sugar in it. And they aren’t wrong.

But you know, it’s such an indulgent comfort food for me, and in my opinion this continues to be the best cornbread recipe I’ve used. It has just the right amount of sweetness, and it tastes delicious with a little pat of butter.

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Golden Sweet Cornbread Recipe

This easy cornbread recipe has been in my recipe file for years upon years and it never fails to make us happy. It makes a cake-y sweet and moist cornbread that tastes delicious with a little pat of butter or a drizzle of honey. If you’ve never made cornbread from scratch, you’re going to love this easy recipe.

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This moist cornbread recipe starts with real food ingredients. If you maintain a well-stocked pantry, it’s very likely that you have most (if not all) of these ingredients on hand.

Butter — Allow the butter to come to room temperature for easy mixing. I used salted butter; if you prefer unsalted, that will work fine. Many recipes call for vegetable oil, but I prefer using butter.

Sugar — Use your favorite brand of granulated cane sugar. I prefer organic.

Eggs — Fresh eggs, store bought, use what you have readily available.

Milk You can use whole milk, skim milk, or if your family is dairy free, an alternative nut milk. For best results, I don’t recommend using buttermilk in this sweet cornbread recipe, as it is more acidic and will impact how the baking powder performs.

Flour When I bake with all purpose flour I opt for the unbleached option. Bleached flour is very white, but it’s also treated with bleaching agents that I don’t really need in my food.

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Cornmeal — This is what gives this quick bread it’s recognizable flavor. Cornmeal comes in fine, medium, or coarse grind. I suggest sticking with the fine or medium grind yellow cornmeal for this recipe. I also make sure that I’m using an organic cornmeal, to avoid the genetically modified corn that has been altered to survive being sprayed with poison.

Leavening — Baking powder gives this cornbread recipe its lift.

Salt Use your favorite table salt or sea salt.

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Making this Homemade Cornbread

Start by creaming the sugar and butter together. It’s easiest to do this with a stand mixer or hand mixer, but a good old wooden spoon works, too. It will just take a bit more work on your part.

Once creamed, add the eggs and milk.

Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then stir into the wet ingredients.

Stir the cornbread batter just until the ingredients are combined.

To get the crispy edges on this made-from-scratch cornbread, heat a cast iron skillet in the oven. Pouring the batter into an already-hot pan is the trick. Bake until the top of the cornbread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cut the cornbread into wedges and serve with butter and sweet honey, if you like. This sweet cornbread makes a perfect side dish for chili and for soups or stews. It’s also good with fried eggs — it’s perfect for sopping up the soft yolk of an over-medium egg.

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Serving Suggestions

Warm cornbread is a natural (a must have?) when serving ground beef chili, of course, but don’t stop there! It’s a great side dish for so many other meals. Or serve it for breakfast with a little dab of honey butter or maple syrup.

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Storing Leftover Cornbread

Store leftover cornbread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. For longer storage, wrap bread in a layer of waxed paper followed by a layer of aluminum foil, and store in the freezer for up to three months.

You can also use leftover cornbread to make cornbread French toast the next day or reheat it and spread on some of this slow cooker apple butter.

★ Did you make this sweet cornbread recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★

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Easy & Delicious Sweet Cornbread Recipe

Yield: 8

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

This cornbread recipe is sweet and might just end up being your favorite. It really is the best cornbread recipe and it comes together using simple pantry ingredients. You can bake it in a skillet for extra crispy edges or a standard baking dish.


  • 2/3 cup butter + 1 tablespoon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Put a 12” cast iron skillet in the oven while it preheats. (See notes for using a baking dish instead.)
  2. Cream 2/3 cup butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in milk and eggs.
  3. Combine dry ingredients; stir into wet ingredients until just combined.
  4. Remove hot cast iron pan from oven and drop 1 tablespoon of butter into the pan and swirl it around to coat the bottom and sides of skillet.
  5. Pour batter into hot skillet and return it to the hot oven. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cut into eight wedges and serve warm with butter and/or honey.


To get the crispy edges on this made-from-scratch cornbread, heat the cast iron skillet in the oven. Pouring the batter into an already-hot pan is the trick.

If you'd like to bake this in a 9" x 11" glass baking dish or cake pan instead, grease the pan with melted butter and do NOT put it in the oven before adding the batter. You don't want to shatter the pan!

Store leftover cornbread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. For longer storage, wrap bread in a layer of waxed paper followed by a layer of aluminum foil, and freeze for up to three months.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 8Serving Size: 1 wedge
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 378Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 310mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 6g

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Old Fashioned Sweet Cornbread Recipe (2024)


What is the difference between southern cornbread and sweet cornbread? ›

A quick Google search will tell you that Southern cornbread is oftentimes devoid of any sugar, while its Northern counterpart is light, sweet, buttery and cakelike.

What does adding an extra egg to cornbread do? ›

Eggs are responsible for giving baked goods structure, which means the amount you use directly affects the resulting texture. Using too few eggs will make your desserts dense, but using too many will make them rubbery.

Why do Southerners not put sugar in cornbread? ›

Sugar in the cornbread interferes with the flavor of the vegetables. Don't put sugar in your cornbread! Traditional cornbread isn't sweet, but many favorite recipes have sugar in them.

Which makes better cornbread white or yellow cornmeal? ›

Southerners, on the other hand, tend to prefer white cornmeal. Many people believe that it is because, in the old South, families used white cornmeal as it more closely resembled “fancy” European wheat flour. In any case, today it remains a main component in traditional Southern buttermilk cornbread.

Was cornbread originally sweet? ›

In the beginning – and for Twitty, that goes back further than Emancipation – no breads made with cornmeal were sweet, no matter who was making them. What we call cornbread today, puffy and leavened with egg, was corn pone. It originated with British colonists who adapted their baking to meal ground from white corn.

What is cornbread called in the South? ›

It is commonly called "cornbread" in the Southern United States and is not known by a different name in this region. Cornbread is a simple bread that is made by mixing cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and milk to form a batter, which is then baked in the oven.

Can you put too many eggs in cornbread? ›

If there isn't enough egg, your batter or dough may not be able to hold its structure or could end up overly dry or dense. On the other hand, if there is too much egg, your baked goods could lose their shape due to excess liquid, or have a rubbery (or even overly cakey) texture depending on the recipe.

How to jazz up cornbread? ›

Heat and spices

You can stir in 1 cup of roasted chopped jalapeños or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne into the batter. Or, you can mix in 3 tablespoons of your favorite chile paste. Fields also recommends trying a little NOLA flair by adding a rounded ¼ teaspoon Cajun spice blend to your cornbread mix.

Can I leave the egg out of cornbread? ›

Yes, but we recommend using an egg substitute, like applesauce. Eggs, or egg substitutes help add structure to the cornbread. Without an egg or substitute, the cornbread may crumble and fall apart easily.

Why is cornbread not healthy? ›

The exact nutritional profile of cornbread can vary depending on the specific recipe and ingredients used. However, cornbread generally contains high amounts of carbs, phosphorus, and sodium in each serving. One piece of cornbread prepared from a commercially prepared mix contains ( 2 ): Calories: 198.

Which cornbread mix is not sweet? ›

For people who prefer cornbread without much sugar: Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.

Can diabetics eat sweet cornbread? ›

Neither cornmeal, sugar or "flour" (which is non specified so am assuming its wheat flour) are suitable for type 2 diabetics. Use a natural sugar substitute and the recipe might work with buckwheat flour perhaps?

What is the most flavorful cornmeal? ›

Yellow cornmeal has the most prominent corn flavor, while white cornmeal has a more subtle, delicate flavor (it's especially nice in a ricotta cornmeal cake). Blue cornmeal is usually an heirloom variety with indigenous roots across the American South. It has a sweet, unique flavor and striking lavender-blue color.

What grind of cornmeal is best for cornbread? ›

It ranges in texture from fine to coarse. For this recipe, I like to use coarse cornmeal because it adds that traditional cornbread texture. When you mix it with flour, it provides the perfect crumb. I prefer to use stone-ground cornmeal, which you can find in the baking aisle or bulk bins.

What kind of corn is best for cornbread? ›

But one of the easiest ways to jazz up a basic cornbread is by adding sweet corn, which creates more layers of that sweet and sunny flavor. Fresh corn is always best if it's in season, cut straight off the cob, but frozen is nearly as good. Just let the corn thaw and then drain it completely, patting dry if needed.

Is real Southern cornbread sweet? ›

Real, traditional, Southern-style cornbread is savory, not sweet, and always has been.

Should Southern cornbread be sweet? ›

In 1892, a Times correspondent, after enumerating the many types of corn-based breads eaten in Virginia, noted, "It will be observed that in none of them is sugar used. There are cornmeal puddings served with sweet sauces, but no Southern cook would risk the spoiling of her cornbreads by sweetening them."

What is the difference between southern cornbread and New York cornbread? ›

The Difference In Cornbread Lies In These Key Ingredients

Also, Southern-style cornbread should contain very little sugar and flour, and if you can, get your hands on stone-ground cornmeal. If you favor moist, sweet Northern-style cornbread, use flour and sugar liberally in your mix.

What is sweet cornbread made of? ›

In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil, melted butter, honey, eggs, and milk. Pour into a greased 8-inch square pan. Bake for 35 minutes.


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