Most everyone has a cornbread recipe and there is no better way to make cornbread than in cast iron. With cast iron you get the benefit of a very hot pan, a non-stick surface and making cornbread is one of the best ways to build up your pan’s seasoning.
The basics are quite simple: Heat the pan in a 400-degree oven for at least 20 minutes. Grease the cooking surface of the hot pan very well (including the sides). Pour your batter into the hot pan and back in the oven it goes for 20 minutes or so and there you have it. We’ve attached a short video of a recent cast iron cornbread bake.
I won’t even try to suggest a one size fits all cornbread recipe. Everyone has their personal preferences. I’ve created a list below of very basic ingredients and have added some annotations to provide a starting place:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- You can use course or finely ground cornmeal. What you use will make a big difference in texture.
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- This is the right amount if you like sweet cornbread. I’ve found that even 1/3 cup sugar will give you a sweet cornbread.
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 cup neutral oil or melted butter or other fat for the batter plus more to grease the hot pan.
- The debate rages on what to use to grease the pan: Some people swear by bacon grease. Others insist that you have to use real butter to get a rich flavor. I’ve used a variety of ingredients including vegan butter, canola oil and Crisco. All seem to work well but I agree that butter and bacon grease imparts the most flavor.
- 1 cup milk
- I like the flavor that comes with using buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand but want the flavor, put a tablespoon or so of vinegar in regular milk and let it stand for a few minutes. This will create a reasonable buttermilk substitute.
- 1 large egg
That’s your starting place. From there the sky is the limit. Here are just some ideas for add-ins:
- Diced jalapeno
- Bacon and scallion
- Green chile and cheddar cheese
- Crumbled sausage and poultry seasoning
- Fresh corn and basil
- Pepperoni, parmesan, and black pepper
- Spicy shrimp and creole seasoning
- Brown sugar and pecan
- Cranberry and maple syrup
Enjoy and let us know your favorite cornbread tricks and add-ins!