made from scratch cornbread

Grandma’s Fried Cornbread

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Who here loves cornbread? If you’re anything like me, you know that cornbread can be eaten with every single meal! I’m still obsessed with my Grandma’s Fried Cornbread recipe after all these years! 

Grandma used to make the best fried cornbread in the whole world. Some may call them hoe-cakes, but she just called it cornbread. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I asked Grandma for the recipe. Well, there isn’t really a formal recipe. You just have to learn how to do it correctly. She told me how she did it, but it took me several attempts before I got it right.

We used to eat it with almost every meal at her house when Mama took us to visit her and Grandpa in North Carolina. Since we moved onto our farm here in Mississippi, everyone we’ve entertained has eaten and enjoyed Grandma’s cornbread. You might enjoy it as well.

*Please note that affiliate links are used in this post. This comes at no additional cost to you but might earn me a small commission from items purchased through the links. 

Grandma’s Fried Cornbread

Like most delicious recipes from the “good ol’ days”, there isn’t really a recipe….but just more of a feeling. This recipe is made with love and is one of my favorite memories of cooking in the kitchen with my grandma that I have. 

First things first…you have to start with finding a good cast iron skillet for your cornbread. 

You have to start with a good cast iron skillet, preferably one that’s good and seasoned. You need to pour vegetable oil in the skillet until it’s sitting in there about half an inch high. Turn your heat on medium or a little higher, but not high. This cornbread will cook too quickly if your heat is too high. Medium should do fine for most stoves.

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet with Red Silicone Hot Handle Holder, 12-inchLodge Cast Iron Skillet with Red Silicone Hot Handle Holder, 12-inchLodge L8SK3 10-1/4-Inch Pre-Seasoned SkilletLodge L8SK3 10-1/4-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet

Preparing to Make Your Cornbread

While the oil is heating up, get your cornbread ready. (The oil needs to heat up for about 10 minutes. If it’s not hot enough, the cornbread will be soggy and stick to the bottom of the skillet.) I’ve never used a measuring cup for the cornbread, but you need four simple ingredients: white cornmeal (preferably from a good mill in the South), water, salt, and pepper. Do not use milk or eggs. It will ruin the recipe.

Pour your cornmeal in a bowl, about 2 cups I would say. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of salt in the bowl, and a healthy dose of pepper. Just use your discretion.

Take and put your water in the bowl, a little at a time, until the mixture is about the same consistency of a pancake mix, maybe a little thicker.

Here’s where the art comes in.

If your mixture is too thick or thin, it will not turn out perfectly. You want the cornbread mix to be thin enough to spread out in the pan, but thick enough to stop spreading out in the pan when the mixture reaches a size of about 3 inches wide.

Once the mixture reaches a consistency you think appropriate, take a tablespoon and gently pour a dollop of cornmeal in the pan. The cornmeal will spread out by itself, don’t spread it around. Just drop the dollop and leave it alone. You should be able to place three dollops in your pan easily, but no more.

Let the cornmeal fry until it starts to float a bit, maybe 3-5 minutes. Turn it over, let it fry another 2-3 minutes or until it floats a little, lift it, place it on a plate lined with paper towels, then serve hot. Just keep frying until the batter is gone.

What are some good meals to eat with homemade cornbread? 

I like it with butter beans, collards, beef roast, or just about anything really. I’ve even eaten it in the morning for breakfast with a little bit of butter and honey…Seriously, made from scratch cornbread is the best. 

I’ve often heard stories of people crumbling up leftover cornbread and adding in a splash of milk so that they eat it like a cereal the next day as well. Who knew that cornbread could be so versatile?!

Topping ideas for cornbread

It’s also important to point out that you can add so many fun toppings to your cornbread as well. Some simple suggestions include:

  • Honey
  • Butter
  • Homemade Jams and Jellies
  • Cheese

It all just depends if you’re wanting your honey to have a sweeter taste, or more savory! 

I hope you take the time to make up this delicious recipe that I love so much. Most people have heirlooms to help remember their loved ones. I have Grandma’s cornbread, a tasteful legacy that never grows old.

When’s the last time that you make homemade cornbread in a cast-iron skillet?

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