The Last Word on Cornbread

Sweet or savory? The debate goes on.

Ben Mim's Perfect Cornbread Recipe
Photo: Brian Woodcock

Do you make your cornbread with or without sugar? That was the topic of today's Facebook Face-off. And it's a screaming-hot topic every day around the Southern Living offices. The truth is, Southerners have strong opinions about their cornbread. Make it with yellow stone-ground cornmeal. Or make it with white. Cornbread should be savory. Cornbread should be sweet. Sweet? Just how sweet? "Save the sugar for your cakes," says Lisa Lee Gunter. (We hear you, Lisa.) Our Test Kitchen weighed in too. The cornbread we consider our best, includes fine yellow cornmeal, butter, and a touch of sugar. Yes, just a touch. There are a lot of opinions on the topic, and a few of our favorites are below. What we can all agree on: Nothing tastes better than that first bite of piping hot cornbread.

Here's what y'all have to say about your cornbread. And the debate goes on:

This is a perennial argument in our house. My husband, who is from New Orleans is a sugar-man, and I am from Texas, and I say it's ho-cake not cornbread. Real cornbread doesn't have sugar! -Tracy Jamison Wood

Grew up with hard, grainy salty cornbread, but as an adult I like mine a tad bit sweet. And I'm as Southern as Southerner can get! -Connie Coppedge Brinley

A little sweet is nice. Sometimes I substitute unsweetened applesauce for the fat, and it comes out just right. -Janet Hicks

Always with sugar. As far back as my family can remember, it has to have sugar. All Texans. -Brenda McLain

With a little sugar. My mother made hers with pineapple juice and it was so good. -Tanya Dalton

With green chilies, corn, and cheese! No sugar. -Karen Smith Thomason

Without---sugar in dressing tastes awful. -Glenda Michael Bullard

No sugar! Real cornbread isn't sweet. I don't like sugar in my cornbread. -Jill Sossamon Poteat

NO SUGAR!! My grandma made the best cornbread…I wish I could duplicate it. I have thousands of recipes to go through to see if Ican find it, but so far I've had no luck. In a cast iron skillet with bacon grease melted in it, and a very hot pan before putting it in the oven. She used buttermilk or sour milk. One day I will get it right! -Linda Martin

I add a little applesauce, keeps it from being dry and crumbly. -April Martin

I use half a teaspoon of sugar and you can't taste the sweet flavor but it makes it so much better. -Sandy Moore

Sugar is for cake! Not cornbread. -Lisa Lee Gunter

Make it from scratch with 1/2 cup of sugar. Yum. Love my cornbread sweet!! -Alee Mosier

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