The Best Homemade Cornbread

homemade cornbread
This is the best homemade cornbread. Brown sugar and Parmesan make it perfectly sweet and savory.

Cornbread sounds like a pretty straightforward, uncomplicated dish.

Actually, it’s quite controversial.

Lovers of this centuries old bread debate almost everything about it, from texture to sweetness level.

Interestingly enough, both the cornbread texture and sweetness debates can be traced back to one important change in cornmeal production.  This change explains why sugar is a common ingredient in most cornbread recipes today, and why cornmeal is now (usually) yellow and fine.

homemade cornbread

From Stone to Steel

Until the 1900s, corn kernels were milled into cornmeal on stone mills.  Stone mills produced a coarse cornmeal that, unlike most cornmeal today, was white in color.  The stone milling process also retained much of the corn kernel’s natural sweetness.  As a result, sugar was not a necessary ingredient for cornbread made from this naturally sweet, stone milled cornmeal.

The introduction of steel roller mills in the 20th century changed everything. Not only did steel rollers reduce the size of cornmeal particles, the heat they produced during milling changed the color of cornmeal from white to yellow.  The heat from steel rollers also took much of the corn kernel’s natural sweetness out of the resulting cornmeal. 

So the reason most cornmeal today is yellow and fine is steel mills.  And the reason most cornbread recipes today include sugar is steel mills.

Homemade Cornbread

Sweet or savory, fine or coarse cornmeal, I’ve never had a homemade cornbread I didn’t enjoy.  But for the best cornbread, make this recipe.

To keep my homemade cornbread accessible, I use the standard, fine cornmeal found at any grocery store.  I like sweetness in my cornbread, but not too much.  To produce the perfect sweet/savory ratio, my recipe includes brown sugar and freshly grated (or ground) Parmesan.

Yes, Parmesan.

This is an admittedly unique ingredient.  But you just have have to trust me.

homemade cornbread

The Best Homemade Cornbread

The brown sugar/Parmesan combination, the crunchy exterior, and soft interior of this cornbread cannot be matched.  

Serve this cornbread when it’s warm with honey and/or butter for breakfast or a snack; or serve it for lunch or dinner with my Chipotle Bean Salad or my Jimmy Stewart Vegetarian Chili.  

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However you choose to enjoy this homemade cornbread, it will not disappoint.

homemade cornbread
5 from 7 votes

The Best Homemade Cornbread

This is the best homemade cornbread. Brown sugar and Parmesan make it perfectly sweet and savory.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 8
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups cornmeal
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan, freshly grated or ground
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ⅓ cup almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted, for greasing the pan

Instructions

Preheat the oven and baking dish

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put an ungreased, 9 inch circular dark metal pan or cast iron skillet in the oven while it preheats. We want the pan to be hot before we grease it and fill it with batter.

Mix the dry ingredients

  • While the oven and baking dish preheat, make the batter.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, Parmesan, sea salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Add the wet ingredients

  • Now add the almond milk and eggs to the dry ingredients. Whisk until combined, then add in 6 Tbsp of melted butter. Whisk until the butter is completely combined.

Bake the cornbread

  • Take your baking dish out of the oven. It will be hot! Carefully pour the remaining 2 Tbsp butter into the dish. Very carefully move the dish around to coat the bottom and sides of the dish with the melted butter.
  • Pour the cornbread batter into the baking dish.
  • Bake the cornbread for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the top of the cornbread is dark golden brown.

Serve and enjoy

Notes

This cornbread is vegetarian.
Serve this cornbread with my Chipotle Bean Salad or my Jimmy Stewart Vegetarian Chili.
© Copyright 2024 Vanguard of Hollywood

5 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    Best cornbread ever! First time I made it I forgot to preheat the baking dish. It was still delicious. Second time, I remembered to preheat the baking dish and the edges of the bread were AMAZING. A crisp/crunch bite before getting to the soft center of the bread. Delicious!

    1. Thanks for making the cornbread Isabet! I agree, you can’t beat that crisp edge that comes from preheating the baking dish! So happy you enjoyed the recipe, thanks for commenting!

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