Simple Skillet Cornbread

from 3 votes

Skip the box mixes and preheat your oven for the ultimate recipe for Simple Skillet Cornbread. Packed with corn kernels and drizzled with honey, it’s savory, sweet and ideal for eating on its own or with Chipotle Chili con Carne.

Honey being drizzled over sliced cornbread in a cast iron pan. The cornbread is topped with butter and minced chives and small bowls of more chives and honey are beside the skillet.

Now, cornbread and I go way back to my elementary school days, when my mom, Noni, would whip up mini corn muffins to accompany everything from Turkey Taco Stew to Salsa Corn Chowder (my childhood fave!). There’s just something about its texture and sweet-savory taste that makes it the perfect accompaniment to soups and stews of all kinds.

This variation is loaded with corn kernels (fresh or frozen), and while the batter can be poured into just about any size muffin pan or baking dish, these wedges of golden brown perfection are served up skillet-style!

I’ve been cooking and baking more and more with my go-to cast-iron skillet (hello, Easy Skillet Lasagna and Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie), but this simple skillet cornbread gets my vote for the easiest and tastiest skillet side. It requires just 10 minutes of prep time—really!

The real secret to the best skillet cornbread is to slather it with unsalted butter right when it comes out of the oven and then drizzle generously with honey. If you want, a shower of chopped fresh chives adds a touch of oniony flavor to every bite.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Minimal ingredients. Requiring just 10 ingredients (most of which you likely have in your pantry), this is an anytime side. 
  • The perfect side for cozy season. Whether it’s my Slow Cooker Chicken Chili or Butternut Squash Apple Soup, this skillet cornbread with corn kernels is the ideal side.
  • Adaptable. Eaten on its own, crumbled over chili, slathered with butter (or honey butter or cowboy butter!), drizzled with honey or sprinkled with minced chives, this skillet cornbread is delicious any which way.

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter: You’ll need to grease your cast iron skillet to make sure the cornbread doesn’t stick. Adding a slick of butter also makes the cornbread come out beautifully browned. You can also use vegetable oil, bacon grease or cooking spray.
  • Buttermilk: Buttermilk adds a pleasant tang. For the best flavor, use full-fat buttermilk. It also reacts with the baking powder to help the cornbread rise.
  • Eggs: Eggs help to bind the ingredients together, making sure the bread doesn’t fall apart when sliced and removed from the skillet.
  • Vegetable oil: Fat adds flavor! You could use another neutral oil, like canola, instead.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour gives this cornbread structure. You could use a gluten-free flour, like Cup4Cup.
  • Cornmeal: Avoid using coarse cornmeal here and instead opt for a medium-grind cornmeal.
  • Sugar: I love slightly sweet cornbread. Sugar also makes sure the bread is tender and moist.
  • Baking powder: Baking powder helps things rise!
  • Corn kernels: For a pop of fresh corn flavor, corn kernels get folded into the batter. You can use fresh or frozen corn, depending on what’s available.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Use fresh or frozen corn. If you’re using frozen corn, it doesn’t have to be thawed since it’ll cook in the oven. If using frozen, thaw it before adding it to the batter. 
  • Customize with mix-ins. Grated cheese, jalapeños, chopped herbs, corn kernels or even diced bacon Ould all be delicious additions.
  • Try a different baking dish. Swap out the cast iron skillet and bake this cornbread in a muffin tin, cake pan, square baking pan or 9 x 11-inch casserole dish. Make sure to grease whatever pan you use. You can still bake the cornbread at the temperature this recipe calls for, just be aware that the baking times may change depending on the dish. (You’ll know the cornbread is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.)

How to Make Cornbread in a Cast Iron Skillet

  1. Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet with butter.
  2. Whisk together the wet ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs and vegetable oil together. 
  3. Add the dry ingredients and corn kernels. Add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt to the bowl and whisk until just combined. Then, fold in the corn kernels. 
Cornbread batter in a glass mixing bowl with corn kernels on top of the batter and a rubber spatula propped against the side of of the bowl.
  1. Bake. Pour the batter into the cast iron skillet and bake for 35 minutes.
Cornbread batter in a cast iron skillet.
  1. Cool. Cool for 15 minutes, then slice and serve.

Kelly’s Recipe Tips

  • Buttermilk Swap: If you’ve run out of buttermilk, you can mix any milk with distilled white vinegar (a good ratio is 1 cup of dairy and 1 tablespoon of vinegar) and wait for a few minutes while the milk curdles. It’s DIY buttermilk! See my buttermilk substitutions guide for more ways to make your own buttermilk substitutes.
  • A Pop of Freshness: I love topping this cornbread with minced chives. For super-easy minced chives, you can use kitchen shears to snip a bundle of the herbs into tiny bits.
  • Cut Down on Sugar: Sweet cornbread is amazing. However, you could scale back the amount of sugar to ½ cup if you’re being conscious about sugar consumption.
A person drizzling honey over a sliced cornbread in a cast iron pan. Surrounding the pan is a plate with a slice of cornbread on it, a small bowl with minced chives and a small bowl of honey.

Storage Tips

  1. Leftover cornbread can be stored in an airtight container for 1 to 3 days.
  2. Refrigerate for longer storage. When stored in an airtight container in the fridge it can last up to 1 week unless exposed to excess moisture.
  3. Freeze for long-term storage. Frozen cornbread, when well-sealed in a heavy-duty freezer bag or airtight container, can maintain its quality for up to 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best pan to bake cornbread in? 

I love baking cornbread in a cast iron skillet, which gives in a beautiful browned (delicious!) crust.

How do you cook cornbread in a cast iron skillet without it sticking? 

To avoid sticking, you’ll want to thoroughly grease your skillet. Make sure to grease the corners and walls too. Butter is ideal for greasing since you can really spread it around the pan. 

Should I preheat my cast iron skillet for cornbread? 

The answer is: You don’t have to. Preheating your skillet before adding the batter will make your cornbread come out extra browned. However, your cornbread will be delicious even if you skip this step.  

How do I know when my cornbread is done baking?

Cornbread is done when a toothpick or a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, and the top is golden brown.

More Cast Iron Skillet Recipes

Baked, sliced cornbread in a cast iron skillet topped with butter, minced chives and honey. Small bowls of more minced chives and honey are beside the skillet.
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Side Dish

Simple Skillet Cornbread

Ditch the boxed mix in favor of this flavor-packed recipe for Simple Skillet Cornbread made with fresh or frozen corn kernels.
Author: Kelly Senyei
5 from 3 votes
Honey being drizzled on simple skillet cornbread topped with fresh chives
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing skillet
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen (See Note)
  • Honey, for serving (optional)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  • Grease a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or 9×11-inch with butter. 
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and vegetable oil. 
  • Add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and mix just until combined then stir in the corn kernels.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and bake the cornbread for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
  • Allow the cornbread to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving topped with honey (optional).

Kelly’s Notes

  • If you’ve run out of buttermilk, you can mix any milk with distilled white vinegar (a good ratio is 1 cup of dairy and 1 tablespoon of vinegar) and wait for a few minutes while the milk curdles. It’s DIY buttermilk!
  • I love topping this cornbread with minced chives. For super-easy minced chives, you can use kitchen shears to snip a bundle of the herbs into tiny bits.
  • Sweet cornbread is amazing. However, you could scale back the amount of sugar to ½ cup if you’re being conscious about sugar consumption.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Nutrition

Calories: 425kcal, Carbohydrates: 73g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 46mg, Sodium: 124mg, Potassium: 467mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 29g, Vitamin A: 147IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 161mg, Iron: 3mg

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5 from 3 votes

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made cornbread using your recipe, my husband said it was super good. He’s from the South so I trust his opinion. Thank you for sharing this recipe with the rest of us, I will be making this again real soon.

    1. Hi Nivashni! The cornbread will last up to a week when wrapped securely in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge. If you see excessive moisture or mold, your cornbread has started to spoil and you should throw it out.

  2. 5 stars
    I have been thinking about cornbread for days! Its been raining here in La Jolla. Chili and cornbread what could be better! I’m going to try this tomorrow. Thank you for great recipes.