Buttermilk Cornbread

With a little brown sugar and medium-grind cornmeal, this cornbread is darn good.

buttermilk cornbread
Photo: Photographer: Isaac Nunn, Prop Stylist: Julia Bayless, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
30 mins

The question of whether to add sugar to cornbread is a highly debated topic. So much so, that it is best not to bring it up at your holiday table unless you want your celebration to potentially tailspin into a lively (if not heated) debate. Differences aside, we might have found something we can all agree on, and that is that this cornbread—which surprisingly calls on brown sugar—is good, darn good. We kicked up the texture gradient by calling for medium-grind cornmeal. It creates a nice crust and helps the interior stay pleasantly fluffy. Heating the skillet before adding the batter is a technique that many cornbread recipes call for—and was likely a trick used by Mama, Memaw, and the many who came before. When it comes to the flavor, you'll find that this take skews slightly tangy with lovely buttery notes mixed in. If you're looking to kick things up, fold in fresh corn or jalapeños or serve with hot honey.


  • 1 ½ cups (about 7 ½ ounces) medium-grind cornmeal

  • 1 cup (about 4 ¼ oz.) all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 ⅓ cups whole buttermilk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, divided 


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in oven for 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

  3. Whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and 4 tablespoons of the butter; stir into cornmeal mixture just until combined.

  4. Remove skillet from oven, and add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to skillet; swirl butter around skillet until heated through, about 30 seconds. Carefully pour batter into hot skillet. Bake in preheated oven until cornbread is golden and pulls away from sides of skillet, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool 3 to 5 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack; slice and serve warm.

Related Articles