My mother’s longtime favorite cornbread recipe. Stick around for advice on how I season my cast iron pans to keep them in tip-top shape for many years to come.
First off, I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to all those who commented and provided advice on my current predicament on my last post, Soul Searching. I took all of your advice to heart and appreciate it more than you know. I think at this point, it really is a “only time will tell” kind of moment.
Now onto what you really came here for–some soul food.
Ah, cornbread. A true Southern household family meal staple. You can’t find very many families with Southern roots who don’t have their own tried and true recipe for cornbread.
Some people like cornbread with hidden bits of corn kernels. Some like their cornbread sweeter. Others prefer it to have more of a spicy kick. Then there’s the moistness level of the bread you have to consider. With so many varieties and factors to consider, how does one go about choosing which cornbread recipe to try?
That’s why I wanted to share this recipe with you. While I never pass up a chance to try a unique recipe with a twist on an old classic, sometimes you just need to go back to the basics. My mother’s cornbread recipe is just that. It may be simple, but it’s not lacking in the flavor department.
And there are 2 secrets to this basic recipe that you MUST know in order to come out with the equivalent of my Mother’s Best Cornbread.
Secret #1: Use a high-quality, well-seasoned cast iron pan. Preferably one that has seen a few years on it, because in my personal opinion, those are the best.
For this recipe, I used my mother’s square cast iron skillet.
Secret #2: Add lots of love while baking this recipe. Yes, you heard me, LOVE. If your emotions and thoughts while preparing food are well-intended and filled with love, the end result will always be better. Call me crazy, but I’ve held onto this belief for years now.
I remember my mother telling me countless times how if she’s in a bad mood, her cooking never comes out right. After spending the past few years developing more recipes in the kitchen myself, I can attest to this.
If you’re playing with your food while in the cooking process, you’re doing it right. Pausing to take a moment to draw a smiley face in the cornmeal resting in the bowl is accepted and encouraged.
Another tip I must mention is to make sure you are extra careful when transferring and handling the large, square, very HEAVY cast iron skillet. I was strong enough and able to transfer it through the cooking process just fine, but if you’re worried about dropping the skillet please make sure to have an extra person on hand.
If nothing else, it was a great workout lifting and moving the old skillet around the kitchen. Always a perk to get an extra workout in right before diving into a cornbread frenzy.
Mom’s Best Cornbread
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 Tbsp. stevia
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs (whisked)
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in small bowl. Whisk together the eggs. Add eggs and buttermilk to a medium-sized bowl.
Begin to melt butter in large, square cast iron skillet on low heat. Wait until butter is about half melted and transfer skillet with butter to preheated oven. Allow the skillet to stay in oven until the butter is fully melted and pan is “good and hot” as my mother told me.
Once pan is “good and hot” pull it from the oven and carefully pour the melted butter from pan into buttermilk and egg mixture.
Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the medium-sized bowl and mix just until well-incorporated. Do not overmix as it will produce a tougher bread. Pour into heated skillet.
Place skillet back into hot oven and bake 20-25 minutes, just until the top is turning a lovely golden brown and edges are just beginning to crisp. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving from pan. Best served with honey and/or butter.
Healthy Recipe Tidbits
- Cornmeal, one of the key ingredients of cornbread, is a whole grain. Whole grain contains ample amounts of fiber which is known to aid in absorbing cholesterol and lowering blood sugar. as it passes through the digestive system.
- Store-bought and pre-made mixes of cornbread may contain extra sodium, sugars, and animal fats. Homemade cornbread is the way to go-it tastes better too, trust me.
- Cornmeal has roughly 3 mg of iron per 1 cup serving (recommended dietary allowance of iron is 8 mg for males and 18 mg for females) Cooking with the cast iron will emit small amounts of iron into your foods as well. We need iron to help get sufficient oxygen to our bodies. Iron is also necessary to help maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails.
How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet
1. Wipe the dirty cast iron skillet out with a damp towel with very little soap; rinse until clean. NEVER submerge the cast iron skillet in water and NEVER put a cast iron skillet in the dishwasher.
2. If there are residue stains or food is hard to clean off the skillet, use kosher salt and a damp towel or soft sponge to scrub the residue away gently. You don’t want to damage and scrape your skillet.
3. Make sure skillet is dry and drizzle 1-3 tsp. oil into skillet. Wipe the oil around until well-coated on the inside. For each typical use of the skillet, you can just put it away at this point. If you want to season the skillet in the oven, move on to step 4. My mother seasons her skillets in the oven roughly every 5-6 uses and now I do as well.
4. To season skillet in stove after rubbing down the inside with oil, place skillet in preheated oven of 500 degrees UPSIDE DOWN. Make sure you have some foil place on another rack below the skillet to catch any dripping oil. Allow skillet to rest in hot oven for 30min.-1 hr. Take skillet out of oven, allow to cool, and store away for next use.
What is your favorite accompaniment to soups and stews? Bet you couldn’t guess mine is cornbread.
Do you agree that baking and cooking with love really does make for better foods?