Buttermilk cornbread is fluffy and just lightly sweet. It’s the perfect addition to your holiday table or accompaniment to chili.
Whenever we made cornbread when I was a kid, it came right from the Jiffy box. It was light, fluffy, and definitely sweet — just what a kid likes.
That’s why it was such a shock to taste cornbread in Texas for the first time. Texas-style cornbread is not sweet and oftentimes is rather hefty to hold up against chili.
Neither cornbread is wrong, of course!
My family’s favorite cornbread is in the middle of those two versions, with plenty of flavor from the cornmeal and just enough sweetness to set off any extra-spicy dishes I’m serving.
It’s great for muffins, too, and forms the basis of my chorizo cornbread stuffing. Over the years, this cornbread recipe has definitely become our go-to!
Why use buttermilk in cornbread?
You’ll notice that this recipe calls for buttermilk instead of regular milk.
Buttermilk adds not just a richer, buttery flavor, but also makes baked goods more tender.
I know that some people are turned off by the idea of buttermilk because it is slightly sour, curdled milk, but when combined with baking soda, it makes beautifully light baked goods.
If you’ve ever compared buttermilk pancakes to pancakes made with regular milk, you know what I mean!
How to make buttermilk substitute
The easiest way to make your own sour milk is to combine lemon juice and milk.
In a liquid measuring cup, first pour in 1 tablespoon lemon juice, then fill to the 1-cup line with milk.
Stir. Let sit for about 3 minutes, and your milk will be curdled.
You can also use white vinegar if you don’t have lemon juice on hand. Now you’re ready to make cornbread with buttermilk!
Cornmeal for cornbread
The main ingredient in cornbread is cornmeal, of course. Cornmeal is made from field corn, not the corn we enjoy on the cob during the summer.
It comes in coarse, medium, and fine grinds.
It most commonly comes as white or yellow, but if you are lucky enough to live near a local miller, you might be able to find blue or red cornmeal.
You can generally use whichever kind of cornmeal you prefer for this buttermilk cornbread.
Finer textured cornmeal will result in a lighter crumb, while coarser cornbread will be a bit more toothsome.
Want to jazz up your cornbread? Think of it as a blank slate and add your favorite ingredients.
Chile peppers are excellent in cornbread, and my hatch and bacon corn muffins make great use of the popular pepper.
Some of my other favorite additions include:
- Cheddar cheese
- Diced sauteed onions
- Fresh corn kernels
- Chopped fresh herbs like sage or rosemary
- Ground chile powder
- Chopped ham
Store leftover cornbread in an airtight container for about 2 days at room temperature.
Make sure it is completely cooled before storing to not introduce moisture from condensation on the container.
You can also store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
For longer storage, freeze it!
Wrap tightly in foil or freezer paper, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Store for up to 3 months.
To thaw, remove the package from the freezer and place in the refrigerator overnight. You can also thaw in the microwave if you’re in a hurry (be sure to remove the wrapping!).
This buttermilk cornbread recipe is a staple in my house, and it will be in yours too!
- 8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pinch ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°F and lightly grease a 9x9-inch square pan.
- In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugar until blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
- Combine buttermilk and baking soda and let rest a moment to foam, then stir into butter mixture.
- In another bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, salt, and pepper. Pour into wet ingredients and stir until fully incorporated.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, until golden and edges are pulling away from the sides. Let cool slightly before serving.
If using this recipe for muffins, reduce baking time to 15-18 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 238Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 341mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 5g