Classic Southern cornbread recipe

No sugar is allowed in my grandma’s recipe!

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I grew up with cornbread that was not the least bit sweet and dry enough to absorb all the juices from the meal, because that’s how my grandpa wanted it. It’s also a perfect snack -- an end-of-the-day glass of cornbread and milk!

Southern cornbread

Serves 8


  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 4 cups self-rising cornmeal
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • Scant (a little less than) 4 cups milk


  1. Spray an 8-inch cast-iron skillet with nonstick spray, toss in the shortening and place into an oven preheated to 450 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, eggs, milk and mix until combined.
  3. Remove the melted shortening from the oven and pour into the mixture. Stir until blended.
  4. Pour batter into the skillet and bake for 30-35 minutes or until it is golden brown on top.
  5. Turn out onto a plate, slice, serve, butter and consume.

Ways to make your cornbread more exciting

*Sweet Southern cornbread: If you want a sweeter batch of cornbread, add a few tablespoons of granulated sugar to the recipe. You may want to turn your oven temperature down and bit and start checking the cornbread for doneness a few minutes earlier.

*Corny cornbread: Try adding 1/2 cup creamed corn or 3/4 cup whole kernel corn for a unique and delicious texture.

*Chile cornbread: Add 1/2 cup chopped green chiles or 1/4 cup chopped fresh jalapeno peppers.

*Cheesy cornbread: Add about 3/4 cup cheddar cheese or pepper jack cheese to the mix. Again, reduce the oven temperature by about 15 degrees and start checking for doneness about 5 minutes earlier than suggested.

*Confetti cornbread: Add about 1/4 cup of each of the following: diced tomatoes, diced onion, chopped cilantro, diced red peppers.

*Bacon cornbread: Pan fry 3-4 slices of bacon, then either crumble or slice it and add it to the cornbread mixture.

More cornbread

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Chili cornbread casserole
Ultimate cornbread