I never used to be a big cornbread fan when I was younger. Since then, I’ve learned that what I am really not a fan of is the dry, crumbly cornbread. It seems that there are two main schools of thought on how cornbread “should” be: dry, crumbly, and meant for eating with soups and chili, and then the moist, sweet, dense, buttery cornbread, that can be eaten that same way but, let’s face it, is also a borderline dessert.
Turns out I didn’t know what I was missing until I tried the latter.
This is the perfect, plain old buttery cornbread recipe that can be used as a base to dress up, dress down, or leave as is. I made this cornbread a few days ahead of time to use for the cornbread stuffing I made for Thanksgiving and it worked beautifully. I also snuck a piece (or a few) right after it came out of the oven and it was exactly the way I liked my cornbread-almost a dessert but it’s called bread which makes it a perfectly reasonable accompaniment to a meal.
I’m keeping this recipe on file as a go-to cornbread recipe and I think you should too.
Adapted from this recipe
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2-3 tablespoons butter
- 1 2/3 cups milk (I used almond milk and it worked wonderfully)
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoons salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk and let stand for 5 minutes.
Add 2-3 tablespoons butter to an 11×7 baking pan (can use 9×13 or 8×8 but will need to adjust cooking times accordingly) and place in oven for 5 minutes, until melted. Swirl butter in pan until bottom and sides are coated. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs, and oil until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
Moving on to the cornbread stuffing……to make this, I used my grandmother’s classic stuffing recipe, which, in her true fashion, is not really much of a recipe at all. I actually e-mailed my mother a few days before Thanksgiving to ask for the recipe, which launched an e-mail thread between her and my aunts on how to make it, and everyone had different versions and modifications! So, I used some of those suggestions as a starting point and put my own twist on it, and it came out so good. I’m not usually huge of stuffing at Thanksgiving, but we couldn’t stop eating this.
Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Sage
- 1 batch cornbread chopped into 1 inch squares
- 3-4 cups water
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 3-4 stalks celery, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh sage
Add water to large saucepan and add celery. Bring to boil and cook until celery is softened.
While celery is cooking, heat medium skillet on medium heat and add olive oil and onion. Saute until onion is softened. If you have a cast iron skillet, you can use this and then add all other ingredients to skillet (that is how I made this). If not, proceed with the directions below.
Crack egg in small bowl and lightly beat with fork.
Drain celery but keep celery water. Set aside.
In 9×13 pan, combine cornbread, onions, celery, chicken broth, egg, salt, pepper, and sage. Mix until saturated. Add celery water as needed, if more liquid is needed. You want the cornbread mixture to be just covered with liquid. Don’t worry if it looks like too much; it will absorb in the oven.
Cover with aluminum foil and cook on 375 for 45 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Not the greatest photo because I was pretty much running around in my kitchen during most of Thanksgiving day….but gives you an idea, right?
And if you need any help re-purposing leftovers, we got creative last week and simply had the cornbread stuffing with leftover sweet potato casserole topped with fried eggs. So simple and delicious.