This cornbread is exactly what you need when you’re staying at home a LOT more often. It’s the perfect comfort food, a great addition to dinner and is simple and quick to make. Every time my sister-in-law, Ashly, brings this cornbread to family parties, I’m blown away by how good it is. She’s been using the recipe for over 10 years and it’s always a crowd pleaser.
When I finally asked her for the recipe, I realized it’s very similar to a popular Martha Stewart cornbread recipe I’ve used before, but Ashly’s recipe turns out better. A LOT BETTER. Maybe because it came with love? 🙂 In reality, this one tastes better because it has more sugar and more butter, so not quite as healthy but it’s a LOT tastier and honestly, it’s worth it. You gotta live once in a while. And we deserve extra butter and sugar in our lives right now, right? (Don’t tell me otherwise… I’m eating a cookie as I type this.)
I now foresee plenty of cornbread in my future because this recipe is that good and really so simple.
Better Than Martha Stewart Cornbread Recipe
I love that this such a quick bread to make! There’s no rising and it bakes quickly so you can easily make this on a weeknight. You can even make it on a weeknight. I made this for my husband’s birthday last week and I went for seconds of the cornbread over seconds of the strawberry cake I made that day too!!
Your go-to guide for the best cornbread
Butter is one of the biggest flavors you’ll taste in this recipe. So all the butter-lovers out there, this one is for you (and me).
Buttermilk makes most baked goods moist, which is a big reason it’s used in many baking recipes. Note: I highly recommend using buttermilk over regular milk since the buttermilk will help make the bread moist.
Eggs help give this bread structure and hold together!
Sugar adds a nice little flavor pop in this recipe. It’s almost as if a little sweetness enhances the corn flavor.
Cornmeal is simply dried, ground-up corn!
Flour is used in a cornbread recipe when you want a lighter texture. Used in equal parts with cornmeal, flour lightens the corn flavor as well.
Baking soda helps the batter to rise. To ensure that you have an even rise throughout the cornbread, it’s important to mix the dry ingredients well (refer to Step 1 below).
Salt is another flavor enhancer and also helps with the rising.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Then, mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and mix the wet ingredients in another medium bowl. This helps ensure all the ingredients are well mixed and eliminates unnecessary amounts of clumping.
Note: DO NOT mix the butter in with the wet ingredients just yet.
Once you pour the wet ingredients into the larger dry ingredients bowl, whisk until everything is thoroughly combined.
Now it’s time to mix in the butter. I find it easier to use melted butter rather than cold or room temperature for better mixing results. Just pop the butter into the microwave for 10-15 seconds MAX and pour it into your bowl with the other ingredients. Mix well.
The butter will start to harden as it comes in contact with your cold buttermilk and eggs. So mix fast!
Note: A way to reduce this ‘butter-hardening’ problem is to make sure the eggs, buttermilk, and butter are all at room temperature prior to mixing. I usually just set mine out about an hour before I start to make everything so it’s ready when I am!
Grease an 8×8 pan using butter or nonstick spray. You can use a glass or metal pan, but I highly recommend using a cast iron skillet. I especially like this method since it makes the edges extra crispy and buttery. If you use cast iron, grease that with butter, not nonstick spray.
Put your cornbread into the oven and set a 25-minute timer. I recommend checking your cornbread anywhere from the 20 to 25 minute mark. Depending on your oven settings, cornbread tends to cook fairly quickly and overcooked cornbread is sad.
Check to see if your cornbread is done baking. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the baked cornbread will tell you if it is cooked all the way through. If it’s not ready or underbaked, the middle of the cornbread will fall or your toothpick will come away with batter clinging to it. If this happens, just leave your cornbread in the oven and keep checking it every 2-5 minutes until your toothpick in the center comes out clean.
After your cornbread is done cooking, and sporting a lovely golden brown color, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Or eat it piping hot, completely up to you!
Slather your cornbread with butter and honey and ENJOY! Oh, and try not to eat the whole pan, if you can.
Martha’s Cornbread Modifications, Variations and Add-Ins
Like I mentioned above, this recipe has more sugar and more butter than Martha Stewart’s cornbread recipe. But it’s worth it! And one of the best parts about cornbread is that you can add almost anything to it to get a different flavor. I love adding new things so that I can pair my cornbread with a variety of dishes rather than just sticking to chilis and BBQ. This gives me an even bigger excuse to keep making cornbread, too. So let’s see what awesome ingredients we can add to spruce up our cornbread recipe.
Adding a spicy element to cornbread is definitely my favorite go-to add-in. Jalapeños pair so nicely with corn to make a nice savory flavor. Dice the jalapeños up into small pieces (removing the ribs seeds first if you don’t want it too spicy) and then fold them in after you combine the wet and dry ingredients.
Cheddar Cheese & Bacon Crumbles
I love these add ins! Feel free to add just cheddar cheese OR bacon crumbles, but adding both (and maybe a few chives) makes a delicious combination that will impress any cornbread snob. I usually do about ¼ cup shredded cheese and 3-4 pieces of crumbled bacon.
Dried Cranberries & Walnuts
This is an especially great combo for the holidays. Do about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of each!
To make an even sweet cornbread, add ¼ cup of honey to the recipe. Better yet, drizzle some on top of when it’s finished for an extra sweet kick.
Fold in 1/2-3/4 cup of blueberries at the very end. I’ve only used fresh, so I can’t vouch for frozen berries.
Dairy Free Version
Use non-dairy milk and add vinegar to make buttermilk. (See the tips below on how to make buttermilk!) Replace the butter with Earth Balance or another vegan butter of your choice. I have never tried this without eggs so I can’t speak to how a flax egg or any other egg substitute would go. If you try it, let me know!
How to make buttermilk
I recommend getting real buttermilk, if you can! But, since we’re all minimizing grocery store trips, you can make it at home. All you need is milk and whichever acid is on hand at the time – lemon juice or vinegar. A tablespoon of the acidic ingredient per 1 cup of milk will do. Stir and let it stand for 5-10 minutes. It should be slightly thickened (but not as thick as regular buttermilk).
Using a cast-iron skillet
I love using my cast-iron skillet whenever I get a chance. If you want to cook your cornbread in the true Southern style, just substitute your 8×8 square baking dish for a cast-iron skillet. This makes the edges extra crispy and buttery, which I love!
Make a larger batch
This recipe makes enough batter to fill an 8×8 pan so if you want to fill a 9×13 pan, just double the recipe.
Happy cornbread cooking! Let me know what you think of this recipe by commenting below. I would love to hear from you.