Hi, y’all – Amanda here!
In the South, a well-seasoned cast iron skillet is worth its weight in gold. When my great-grandmother Lorene Carpenter passed, the only thing my mother asked for was her cast iron skillet. Making cornbread in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet enhances flavor and gives cornbread an irresistible crunchy crust.
In fact, Papa – my maternal grandfather – used to eat cornbread crumbled up in buttermilk every night before bed. He considered it his dessert! Cornbread is such a southern staple that I don't remember a meal ever eaten at my grandparents' house when warm cornbread and softened butter weren't served. And there’s good reason for that. Cornbread is the ultimate side, pairing beautifully with everything from chili to chicken and vegetables.
Below is my foolproof recipe, developed from my grandmother’s, for the best skillet cornbread you’ll ever taste. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has!
With love and pie,
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon plain fresh-ground cornmeal, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons bacon grease
1.) Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2.) Combine 1 cup cornmeal, salt, baking soda, baking powder, buttermilk, oil, and water in a bowl and mix well.
Chef’s Tip: Don’t have buttermilk on hand? You can make your own! Pour 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a 1 cup measurer and fill the rest with milk. Let sit for about 5 minutes. (Yes, it’s that easy!)
3.) Add bacon grease to a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven for 5 minutes to melt.
This will give the cornbread a crunchy crust and add flavor. Remove from oven and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of corn meal into the skillet before pouring in the cornbread mixture. The batter should sizzle when it hits the hot skillet. Bake for 25 minutes.
Tip: Freshly milled cornmeal makes all the difference in the texture of cornbread. You must store it in the refrigerator or freezer to keep its freshness as there are no preservatives. If you can't find a source for freshly milled, store-bought stone-ground coarse-grind will do.
Pairs Well With: Pair this with our favorite hearty, winter recipe – Chili Mac, and a side salad topped with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. Then, satisfy that sweet tooth with one our favorite sweet pies, or Chocolate Pie Pops!
Did you like this recipe? What did you top your pie pops with? Leave a comment here and tell us what you think – we can’t wait to hear!
For more great recipes and ideas, check out Amanda’s cookbook, Southern Baked: Celebrating Life with Pie, and the rest of the blog!
Shop this recipe: