Cast Iron Cornbread Recipe

Private practice registered dietitian and recipe developer Kristen Carli of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness has come up with a cornbread recipe that blends the best of both Northern and Southern cornbread traditions. According to Feast Magazine, in the North, cornbread is crumbly and doesn't have a super sweet taste. It also calls for less yellow cornmeal and eggs than the Southern version. In the South, this delightful treat is prepared with either yellow or white cornmeal, it's pretty buttery, and it's more cake-like than cornbread you'd find in the North.

Carli's recipe is meant to be baked in a cast iron skillet — not just for tradition's sake, but also because the dietitian sees it as a great opportunity to increase iron intake, especially if your diet is largely plant-based. However, in keeping with Northern sensibilities, ¼ cup of sugar adds a mild sweetness, and unlike traditional Southern cornbread, Carli relies on milk rather than buttermilk. (In case you're in the mood for a fun baking fact, Carli's choice to use milk rather than buttermilk is why this recipe contains baking powder in addition to the usual baking soda).

Gather the ingredients to prepare this cast iron cornbread recipe

"This cornbread is awesome, because it really is easy," Carli assures. Just a few minutes of prep work, and in well under an hour, you'll have straight-out-of-the-oven, piping hot cornbread to enjoy as a side dish, snack, or even for breakfast. To make Carli's cast iron cornbread, you'll need 1 cup each of both flour and cornmeal, ¼ cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 ½ cups of whole milk, two large eggs, and one stick of unsalted butter. The butter will need to be melted, but you can do that in the next step, as you'll see.

The prep is minimal, but you'll be glad you did it

The importance of preheating your oven cannot be overstated. That's because there's no easier, or, frankly, pointless, way to dry out and otherwise ruin your baked goods than to place them into a cold oven to warm up along with the ambient temperature inside. So, be sure to preheat your oven to 375 F before you get started on this recipe. And if you want to be extra diligent, use an oven thermometer to double check that your oven is actually 375 F. 

Now that your oven is getting hot, you can melt your stick of butter by placing it directly in your cast iron skillet and placing the skillet in the oven for a few minutes. Allow it to melt for two minutes, but remove it from the oven while you can still see a chunk of un-melted butter. This will melt outside the oven, thanks to cast iron's amazing ability to retain heat, but it will also help to lower the temperature of the melted butter. In addition, there's another secret benefit of melting butter this way, which you're about to find out.

Next, combine all of the ingredients — but in two mini steps

Next, grab your 9-inch cast iron skillet. Although a well-seasoned cast iron skillet is, by definition, nonstick, best results here call for giving that nonstick surface a boost. But guess what? You've already done that. Simply swirl the butter you melted around to coat the surface, and set it aside while you whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then, pour the melted butter over the dry ingredients, add the milk and the eggs, and whisk this well to form a well-combined, if mildly lumpy, batter (as shown). 

You're just 25 to 30 minutes from fresh, hot, cast iron cornbread

Pour the cornbread batter you just made into your buttered iron skillet, and bake in your preheated oven for 25 minutes. Check on it at 25 minutes, and if it's not yet set and golden on top, give it another five. When it's out of the oven, it will be ready to serve, and Carli suggests serving it with chili or a barbecued meal. "I love serving cornbread with chili, but of course you can serve it with BBQ, grilled chicken, etc.," Carli notes. "Chili and cornbread is such a natural pairing for me. Nothing like a cold rainy day with cornbread and chili."

So there you go. Your entire family will love this yummy recipe.

Cast Iron Cornbread Recipe
5 from 31 ratings
This cast iron cornbread recipe will be your new favorite side to pair with chili and barbecued meat.
Prep Time
Cook Time
cast iron cornbread fully baked
Total time: 30 minutes
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Melt the butter, and grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet.
  3. In a large bowl, use a whisk to combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add the whole milk, eggs, and melted butter. Whisk well to combine.
  5. Pour the batter into a cast iron skillet.
  6. Bake the cornbread for 25 to 30 minutes, until set and golden.
Calories per Serving 239
Total Fat 11.6 g
Saturated Fat 6.8 g
Trans Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 59.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 29.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Total Sugars 7.2 g
Sodium 211.3 mg
Protein 4.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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