How To Know What Color Cornmeal You Should Use In Your Cornbread

Alongside grits and fried okra, cornbread has a history deeply rooted in the South. It started as a humble dish in the colonial Southern United States, where it was made with just cornmeal and water, explains the Stanford Daily. Fast forward to today, and it's become a staple side dish on many tables across America — whether it's made from scratch or from a box mix. Fluffy and moist, cornbread is often served fresh and warm out of the oven smeared with melted butter. 

If you want to try your hand at making homemade cornbread, you'll find tons of recipes. While you can go with a classic old-fashioned cornbread recipe, you can also choose from plenty of other unique variations — from sweeter dessert-like versions to those with mix-ins like cheddar cheese or jalapenos. No matter which recipe you choose, there's one ingredient you'll need for all of them: cornmeal. But what type of cornmeal should you use? It turns out that the color of your cornmeal matters. Here's the color cornbread connoisseurs recommend.

The color makes a big difference in the final product

Cornmeal comes in a rainbow of colors, including white, yellow, red, and even blue. But according to experts, not all cornmeal is equal when it comes to cornbread. Despite the golden hue of traditional cornbread, many Southerners swear by white cornmeal. Because it is ground finer than its yellow counterpart, white cornmeal lends itself to a better texture for cornbread, notes Martha White. "That canister of Quaker Oats yellow cornmeal is too coarse," Anne Byrn, a food writer for Southern Kitchen explains. Moreover, the flavor is different as well. "White corn tends to have a muted, less sweet flavor than yellow corn," says chef and food blogger, Sabrina Snyder at Dinner Then Dessert.

That's not to say you can't use yellow cornmeal for cornbread, however, especially if you like it less savory. Some say that yellow cornmeal has a sweeter and bolder flavor, and may even be more nutritious as it's higher in vitamin A (via Bake It With Love.)