Tasty Ways To Make Boxed Cornbread Mix Even Better

It may not be from scratch, but it sure tastes like it.

Many Southern cooks enjoy making everything from scratch, from simple salad dressings to elaborate cakes to pans of hot cornbread. Sometimes it's best to use a convenience store-bought product rather than making something from scratch when you're short on time. There is no shame in making cakes or brownies from a box mix. I love to bake from scratch, but I have often used packaged cornbread mix, adding a little extra something to the ingredients and making the finished product taste more homemade. My favorite thing to add is sugar—a hot topic for another conversation! Beyond that, sour cream is my favorite thing to add to a package of cornbread mix. Here are ways to change a store-bought recipe to make it even better.

Ben Mim's Perfect Cornbread Recipe

Brian Woodcock

Add Some Fat

Most cornbread mixes contain relatively little fat compared to cakes or cupcakes. A hot pan of cornbread doesn't need much to be tasty, but even a slight increase in the amount of fat can make cornbread more moist and rich. Prepare the cornbread mix according to package instructions, and add two tablespoons of sour cream, stirring well to incorporate it into the batter. If your cornbread mix uses oil as a fat, substitute an equal amount of melted butter or bacon grease for the oil. Both ingredients will add extra flavor and richness to your cornbread.

Add Some Corn

Beyond adding or changing the fat, there are other ways to make your cornbread mix taste homemade. If you are making a package mix, you probably don't have time to cut fresh kernels off an ear of corn, but you can open a can of corn or pull a bag out of the freezer (no need to thaw the kernels), and stir in as much as you like. Start with half a cup. If you want your cornbread cornier, stir in more.

Add Some Mix-Ins

Need more ideas? Stir in diced jalapeno peppers, grated cheese, chopped country ham, or crumbled bacon. Bacon makes everything better.

Add Some Sugar

Ok, we can't discuss making cornbread mix better without talking about sweetening the mix. Sorry, but I like sugar in my cornbread. I was born to Southern parents and reared with the best Southern customs and values, but I still like sugar in my cornbread. A tablespoon or two makes the cornbread bottom crunchy while creating a caramelized, crunchy top. I love this effect when I make mini cornbread muffins.

After you make your recipe tweaks, follow the package instructions for baking, and check for doneness with a wooden skewer. Some stir-ins may add a couple of minutes to the bake time, so checking for doneness is essential.

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