October 19, 2022| By

Grandma's Buttermilk Cornbread

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
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My grandma’s buttermilk cornbread recipe is a moist and fluffy cornbread that literally melts in your mouth. It's filled with buttery vanilla flavor and sweet corn taste for the perfect side dish to any meal!

It's the quintessential soul food for Sunday dinner, the holidays, and any family gathering. Your thanksgiving table is not complete without this it! Pair this sweet cornbread with my Cheesy Black Bean Chili and it's a match made in heaven!

For more cornbread recipes, try this Sweet Potato CornbreadBrown Butter Bacon and Jalapeno Cornbread and these Corn Muffins with Cinnamon Maple Butter too!

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sliced cornbread in a skillet
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My grandma always made the best cornbread. It had a tender crumb, lots of vanilla and sweet corn flavor, and it was so moist it literally melted in your mouth. She held onto her recipe for years and after incessant begging on my part - I finally got the recipe.

Now, my recipe has a bit of a twist and a fun special ingredient that makes my grandma's buttermilk cornbread ... dare I say, even better (sorry Gram). I wanted to make a cornbread recipe that tasted like home as soon as I took that first bite - and this is hands down the most delicious cornbread ever. It's one of those easy recipes where after you make it, you'll be making it over and over without even needing the recipe.

Not only is my grandmother’s buttermilk cornbread insanely delicious, it's the perfect cornbread for literally any meal. Furthermore, if are you tired of making homemade cornbread that's dry and just doesn't taste quite like how you thought it would pan out? This recipe is for you.

To me, that means sweet but not too sweet. Soft and tender but will not fall apart in your hands. Moist, flavorful, and perfect with or without butter.

I also wanted it to taste buttery because it gives that signature cornbread taste that has a slight hint of vanilla, but again - not too much!

a fork cutting into sliced cornbread

Ingredients

  • Buttermilk - buttermilk tenderizes the cornbread and helps make it moist. It also adds flavor and works with the leavening agents to allow it to rise while baking in the oven.
  • Sour Cream - to add flavor, fats, and moisture.
  • Unsalted butter - melt butter for this recipe. I used unsalted butter to control the amount of salty flavor in the cornbread.
  • Vegetable oil - this is for moisture. It also prevents the cornbread from drying out - grandma’s cornbread is anything but dry!
  • Brown Sugar and White Sugar - for sweetness, flavor, and moisture.
  • Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix - this is my secret ingredient. It make this recipe SO good. Grandma’s sweet buttermilk cornbread isn't the same without it! And no, it doesn't turn the cornbread into corn pudding. It sounds crazy a little bit right? The pudding mix also adds a beautiful texture to this cornbread, keeping it moist (sorry I know folks hate this word) and adding that fluffiness that we all love!
  • Vanilla extract - yep. This tasty comfort food recipe may not traditionally have vanilla but I'm here to tell you - you have to try it.
  • Eggs
  • All purpose flour
  • Cornmeal - you can use yellow or white cornmeal. Both work!
  • Leavening agents - baking soda and baking powder.

Substitutions

  • If you don't have buttermilk, no worries! Here's a guide on how to make buttermilk from scratch - you only need a cup of milk and 1 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar to make a cup of buttermilk.
  • Substitute sour cream for full fat greek yogurt if that's what you have on hand.
  • If using salted butter, decrease the amount of kosher salt to ¼ tsp as opposed to ½ tsp.
  • To make this gluten free, use your favorite 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour.
  • For a vegan version, use vegan buttermilk, vegan sour cream, and vegan butter. No worry about converting quantities, use the same amounts listed in the recipe card.

Tips

  • Allow the cornbread to cool for at least 15 minutes before you dig in. It'll still be nice and warm but it needs a little time to set fresh out of the oven. Then you can lather it in butter and eat your hearts fill!
  • Use room temperature ingredients. Do not skip this! Ensuring your ingredients are at room temp allows the batter to come together without separating and also ensures that your baked good is not crumbly and dry.
  • Ensure that the batter is smooth to prevent any clumps of flour or salt in the finished baked good. To do this, be sure to whisk all of the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately then folding them together until just combined. Avoid overmixing as this will yield a tough and chewy cornbread.
  • Be sure not to overbake the cornbread as this will result in a dry, tough bread that no one will enjoy!

How to make Cornbread from Scratch

cast iron skillet cornbread sliced on a kitchen towel
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Spray a 10-inch cast iron skillet or 10-inch round or square pan with oil and set aside.
  • Prepare the cornbread batter. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, sour cream, melted butter, vegetable oil, brown sugar, and sugar. Whisk together until ingredients are combined. Add instant vanilla pudding mix and vanilla extract and continue to whisk together. Add one egg at a time and continue whisking.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix together. Add to wet ingredients.
  • Pour batter to prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  • Allow cornbread to cool for 5-10 minutes on a wire rack. Enjoy the smell of toasty corn bread as you wait. Then cut yourself a huge wedge and melt a sinfully large pat of cold butter on top. It's one of the best things ever.

What to eat with Cornbread

My grandmother's buttermilk cornbread recipe literally goes with everything. The moist crumb and vanilla flavor make it a great option for both sweet and savory meals!

The next time you make cornbread and need something to eat it with, try these delicious recipes below:

Storing Leftovers

Store any leftover cornbread in an airtight container. I recommend storing at room temperature because storing in the refrigerator can cause it to harden and dry out, even when covered with plastic wrap.

Be sure to keep it out of the sun. It'll last at room temperature for 2-3 days.

If freezing, wrap it in plastic wrap and then store in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. After 2 months, it'll begin to lose its flavor so keep that in mind. When you're ready to eat it again, let it thaw and warm it in the oven at 300 degrees F for about 10-20 minutes.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make buttermilk from scratch?

Yes! Here's a guide to making homemade buttermilk from scratch. Simply add one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to one cup of milk and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

How do you keep cornbread from sticking to cast iron?

The best way to prevent anything from sticking to cast iron is to coat it in a neutral oil like vegetable oil or canola oil. This cast-iron skillet cornbread recipe asks for vegetable oil to coat the cast iron skillet before adding the batter and it works like a charm!

Do you need cornmeal to make cornbread?

To make good cornbread, yes. However, you can substitute cornmeal for corn grits, semolina, or even ground oats. These work in a pinch but you won't get that true cornbread flavor without cornmeal.

cornbread made in a cast iron skillet

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

sliced cornbread in a skillet

Sweet Cornbread Recipe

Cast Iron Skillet Buttermilk Cornbread is a deliciously fluffy cornbread recipe! Add a little melted butter and it's sheer perfection!
Serving: 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Calories: 180kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • ¼ cup Sour Cream
  • ¾ cup Unsalted Butter, melted (about 1 ½ sticks)
  • 2 tbsps Vegetable Oil
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 pack Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Cornmeal
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Salt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, buttermilk, sour cream, melted butter, vegetable oil, brown sugar, and sugar. Whisk together until ingredients are combined. Add instant vanilla pudding mix and vanilla extract and continue to whisk together. Add one egg at a time and continue whisking.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix together. Add to wet ingredients.
  • Spray a cast iron skillet or 9 inch round baking pan with oil. Add batter and bake 35-40 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  • Allow cornbread to cool for 5-10 minutes.

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Nutrition

Calories: 180kcal
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast
Cuisine: American

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    This cornbread skillet tasted amazing! It was moist, filled with flavor and had the perfect flavor. I plan to make some on Mother's day too. Thanks for sharing this one!

  2. 5 stars
    Perfect excuse to pull out my cast iron skillet. I never would have believed the instant pudding tip had I not made it myself. This was a hit with the whole family!

  3. 5 stars
    I've never really found a cornbread recipe I love until now. I was really skeptical about the vanilla pudding mix but it's pretty much magic. I think this is the only recipe I'll use from now on!

  4. 5 stars
    I loved the texture of my corn bread, the crumb was super moist and round too. I will be making this time and time again. Thank you for sharing!

  5. 5 stars
    Wow! I would have never thought to put instant pudding in my cornbread but I am happy I found your recipe and tried it! The flavor is amazing --I love the butteriness of the cornbread and the subtle hint of vanilla. I will definitely be making this again!

  6. 5 stars
    I would have never thought to add instant pudding mix to my cornbread. You're onto something Britney! This was absolutely delicious!

  7. 5 stars
    This skillet cornbread was so buttery, moist and delicious, I now have another reason to use my cast iron!

  8. You've done it again! I thoroughly enjoyed this, as it was moist, had great texture, and taste divine! This cornbread is amazing.