Best Buttermilk Cornbread

5 from 2 votes

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Everyone should have a great buttermilk cornbread recipe. I have baked countless versions to get the right balance of buttery corn flavor and a touch of sweetness. Made in a square baking pan, the batter for this moist cornbread has 10 ingredients and comes together very quickly. Then it bakes in the oven to a golden brown in just over 20 minutes. 

You can also bake these cornbread muffins with corn kernels mixed into the batter and make cornbread croutons with leftovers.

Cornbread cut into squares with the tops spread with butter and drizzled with honey.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Its super simple to make. You don’t need a mixer. The batter is best mixed by hand with a spoon.
  • Balance is key when it comes to cornbread. There are Southern and Northern versions, with and without sugar, and other variations like the amounts of flour vs. cornmeal. My cornbread does have sugar, but it doesn’t go anywhere near the cake-like softness and sweetness that you sometimes find.
  • The recipe calls for vegetable oil and melted butter. Often cornbread is made with one or the other. I like to use oil to keep the crumb moist and butter for flavor. 
  • Most people get excited when cornbread is a side dish option. Can this be scientifically proven? No, but we all know it’s true. From-scratch cornbread is easy to bake and it goes with barbecue, chili and more, and it should have a place at the Thanksgiving table. 

The Ingredients

Ingredients including cornmeal, flour, sugar, eggs, salt, baking powder, baking soda, oil, buttermilk and melted butter.

This is what you need:

  • Flour: The recipe calls for all-purpose flour.
  • Cornmeal: You can use medium grind cornmeal or fine grind. Medium will give the cornbread more texture, and fine will make the crumb a little denser.
  • Granulated sugar: I think some sugar brings out the flavor of the corn and butter, but I don’t like the bread to be very sweet. That’s why I only stir in 1/4 cup sugar.
  • Baking powder & baking soda are the leavening agents that make the bread rise.
  • Kosher salt seasons the batter.
  • Buttermilk is distinctly tart and adds a wonderful tang to pancakes, waffles and cornbread. When cream is churned to make butter, the fermented liquid that’s leftover is buttermilk. 
  • Eggs: This cornbread recipe requires 2 large eggs. Let them sit out at room temperature before you mix them with the rest of the wet ingredients.
  • Vegetable oil: You can use types such as canola oil or sunflower oil.
  • Butter: To go with the quarter cup of oil in the recipe, you also need an equal amount of butter. As mentioned, that balance of butter and oil is for texture and taste.

How To Make This Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.  

1. Combine the dry ingredients in a big bowl. That includes the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

2. Whisk together the wet ingredients (except the melted butter). Combine the buttermilk, eggs and oil.

Dry ingredients in a large bowl. Wet ingredients in a small bowl.

3. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Do this gently. And stop before they are completely combined. You should be able to still see some of the dry ingredients.

4. Slowly stir in the melted butter. Once the batter has absorbed the liquid and you can’t see the flour-cornmeal mixture, stop stirring. 

Wet ingredients poured into flour-cornmeal mixture in a bowl. Melted butter stirred into batter.

5. Pour the batter into the pan.

6. Bake the cornbread until it is golden brown. This will take 20-22 minutes. It’s done baking when it pulls away from the edges of the pan and if you press the center, the cornbread will spring back. The top should have some cracks.

Cornbread in a pan before and after it is baked.

What To Serve with Cornbread

It’s up to you if you like your cornbread slathered with butter, drizzled with honey, both or just plain. I love a piece of cornbread with soups, stews, chilis or anything barbecue. Here are some recipe ideas:

Black Bean Chili
Three Bean Chili
Pumpkin Chili
Vegan Poblano White Bean Chili
Quinoa Chili
Chile Verde with White Beans
Barbecue Veggie Tofu Skewers
Dry Rubbed Turkey (for Thanksgiving)

Cornbread is also great with salads:
Fall Harvest Salad
Mexican Chopped Salad
Kale Apple Salad
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
Roasted Corn Salad

Leftovers, Storage & Freezing

Cornbread is best eaten warm on the day it is baked, but you can store it in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days. Wait till it cools to room temperature before you store it.

If you want to keep it longer, you can wrap it tightly and put it in the freezer. Let the cornbread thaw. Then put it on a sheet pan and cover it with aluminum foil and reheat it in a 350-degree F oven until it is warm. 

Cornbread cut into squares and arranged in rows.

Recipe Tips

  • Make sure your milk and eggs are at room temperature. This will help them better mix together with the rest of the ingredients. 
  • Don’t over-mix the batter. If you do, you will end up with tunnels running through the cornbread and it will be dense. Be gentle with your stirring. Fold the ingredients together.
  • Don’t boil the butter when you melt it. I melt the butter in a glass in the microwave. I do it in short blasts. When I still see some solid chunks in the melted butter, I stir it until it is smooth. Also, this will allow it to cool faster and be ready to mix into the batter.
  • Only cut the amount of cornbread you are planning to eat at once time. Every cut edge means more of a risk of the bread drying out. Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap.

Recipe FAQs

Do you have to use buttermilk for this cornbread recipe?

 I recommend it for taste and because you will end up with cornbread that’s more tender.

Is there a substitute for buttermilk?

Yes, you can mix 1 tablespoon white vinegar or fresh lemon juice into 1 cup regular milk. Make sure to stir it really well. 

Can you make corn muffins with this recipe? 

Yes, you can bake it in a 12-cup muffin pan. Just grease it with non-stick cooking spray. They will bake in 18-20 minutes.

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Best Buttermilk Cornbread

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 22 minutes
Total: 32 minutes
Servings: 16
Baked in square pan, this buttermilk cornbread recipe has the perfect balance of buttery corn flavor with just a touch of sweetness.


  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, stir the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and vegetable oil in a medium bowl.
  • Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until they are almost combined, but you can still see some of the flour-cornmeal mixture.
  • Slowly and gently stir in the melted butter until the batter is just combined. Be careful not to over-mix it. 
  • Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake the cornbread for 20-22 minutes until it is golden brown and the edges pull away from the pan. When you press it in the middle, it should spring back.
  • Let the cornbread cool for 10 minutes before cutting it. You can serve it warm or at room temperature.


If you don’t have buttermilk, you can mix 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup regular milk.
You can bake this recipe in a 12-cup muffin pan. Grease it with non-stick cooking spray and bake for 18-20 minutes.
Serve cornbread with softened butter and/or honey.
Cornbread is best eaten warm when it is freshly baked. To store it, first let it cool to room temperature. You can keep it in an airtight container up to 2 days.
To freeze cornbread, wrap it tightly and then put it into an airtight container. To rewarm it, let it thaw. Then place it on a baking sheet. Cover it with aluminum foil and reheat it in a 350-degree F oven until it is warm, about 10 minutes. 


Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 143IU | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Quick Breads & Muffins
Cuisine: American
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Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

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1 Comment

  1. A delicious recipe! I baked in a 8” cast iron pan with bacon drippings, with jalapeño slices on top. Fluffy texture and great flavor.