Buttermilk Cornbread

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Sometimes I bake things, then need to immediately give them away so I don’t gobble down the whole pan. You know how that goes? This cornbread is like that. It’s sweet, light, and soft�with just the right amount of bite from stone-ground cornmeal.

And since it’s made with low-fat buttermilk and olive oil (instead of milk and butter), it’s slightly better for you.

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can use soured milk, too. Just add a few drops of white vinegar or lemon juice to whole milk. Let it sit for about 5 minutes on the counter before adding to the mixture. You can also totally use regular milk, too.

The cornbread batter is quick to whip together, and bakes in about 20 minutes. It’s very forgiving, and is a very satisfying thing for a novice baker to make.

I think my favorite way to eat cornbread is lightly toasted with cold butter and a little kosher salt.

Buttermilk Cornbread

1 cup stone ground cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
spray oil or butter

Yields 1 8-inch x 8-inch cornbread

Buttermilk Cornbread: Prep your pan

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Generously grease an 8-inch x 8-inch baking pan with butter or spray oil. Line the bottom with a square of parchment paper. Set aside.

Buttermilk Cornbread: Mix the dry ingredients together

Put the cornmeal in a mixing bowl.

Toss in the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Stir them together with a whisk until you have a uniform mixture.

Buttermilk Cornbread: Add the wet ingredients to the dry

Pour in the olive oil.

Add the buttermilk.

Crack in the eggs.

Whisk it all up until the dough comes together and is fairly uniform in consistency.

It will be thick, and look about like this:

Thick, as in, really thick:

Buttermilk Cornbread: Into the oven!

Scrape the dough out into your prepared pan.

Smooth the surface down with a rubber spatula.

Pop it into your preheated 400 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Buttermilk Cornbread: How do I know when it’s done?

Good question. Your cornbread is done when the edges turn a wee bit brown. (They should be lightly brown, not dark brown and hard.) There may be a few slight cracks closer to the edges of the pan.

The surface should be firm to the touch when you press on it with a finger. (The indentation your finger makes should spring back, not stay depressed.)

Oh, and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the middle of the cornbread.

Cool completely in the pan before cutting.

Serve and enjoy!


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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. Thanks for the recipe. I made it and it is really moist- but think there's a bit too much baking powder in there. It has a bitter taste. :( Maybe it could be reduced?
    • Hmmmm...my cornbread wasn't bitter at all. :/ You could totally probably reduce the baking powder, or substitute in some baking soda for part of it. It also might have been your cornmeal. I've read that it can get bitter over time, but haven't experienced that myself. If you revise the recipe, let me know how it comes out! +Jessie
  2. I made your recipe a few weeks ago and it is incredible! It is so moist and flavorful. I have never baked with olive oil but it added a slight lemony flavor that I loved. I used Rumsfield baking powder--it doesn't have aluminum in it, which might be the reason G. Allen thought it was bitter. Thank you so much for the recipe--now I'm off to make muffins to go with chili.
  3. I am wondering why there is no baking soda in it? It is my understanding if corn bread is made with buttermilk it not only needs baking powder but baking soda. Wonder if you would clarify please?? BTW plan to make this corn bread to go with chili beans which I just love............
  4. so happy that i came across your website. it's very illustrative and made the instructions so easy to follow. just baked the buttermilk cornmeal. it was really so delicious but i could still feel the cornmeal grits. is it really like this? or should i boil the cornmeal first to soften them and if so does the amount of the other ingredients remain the same? thanks all the same
  5. I had polenta so I used that and I had some corn flour on hand. Used my LeCreuset cast iron grill pan. Result: airy, moist and great crumbly texture. Exactly like the pictures! I'm serving it with crock pot pinto beans and rice. Delicious! Thanks for the recipe
  6. This was a very easy to make and great tasting cornbread. The whole family enjoyed it. It did not taste gritty; it was light and moist. Thanks!
  7. […] Cornbread:  I found this take on cornbread made with polenta out of necessity. I really, really wanted to make cornbread but realized I had no cornmeal. I did have polenta, though, and thought to myself, “Isn’t that really just coarse corn meal?” I had to go to the market anyway for the buttermilk, but it was worth the trip. The cornbread had a bit of a crunchiness to it that I found really appealing. I found the recipe in a fun cooking blog called “Muffin Top“, but they correctly credited the recipe to another cooking site called The Hungry Mouse. […]
  8. I just tried this recipe. I made muffins with it and they turned out great! Two very enthusiastic thumbs up! I didn't have buttermilk. It's difficult to get in Sweden, so I just used "lantmjölk" which is like the fattest milk you can get here and I really like using it when I bake anyway. We have something called "filmjölk" which is like sour milk, but it has an almost yogurt like consistency. Also, I just don't like the taste. I think it's gross. We don't have corn meal as such, so I also have to use Polenta instead which I guess is the same thing only slightly more course? I also used half cornflour/flour. It came out very tasty but a bit too crumbly but that may have been a mistake I made along the way since I did use a mixer instead of whisking it by hand. Anyway, I have been making A LOT of cornbread recently trying to find the perfect recipe and this is definitely my favorite so far and my family's favorite as well. They really loved these! Also, I really appreciate how forgiving this recipe is and that it allows for some experimentation for a novice baker like me. Next time, I will use the full amount of regular flour and half the Polenta with the corn flour. I want to try to get a slightly less grainy texture. I will also add a bit of honey to see if that will help make it less crumbly and try using sunflower oil instead of olive oil. Maybe I'll even try the filmjölk since honey seems to make everything super sweet. It might provide a nice balance. I wish I had buttermilk and proper cornmeal so I could make this recipe exactly as it is written here, because I'm sure it would be even better! But thanks so much for this! I'm definitely going to recommend this recipe and site to my friends and family!
  9. Hello! My word, this thread has aged... rather like a fine wine and not an open pack of bologna! I followed the recipe tonight, using whole milk and lemon juice, polenta, bread flour and the rest. Oddly, I had no sugar, but some light corn syrup worked a treat! (I'm out of cumin also... Darn). Of note: I put the ingredients together in a food processor. Faux buttermilk first and powders, followed by the polenta and flour. A Southern Boy. It is mandatory that cornbread has to be made in a rocket-hot cast iron skillet, oiled and heated until it smokes. And so I did. Light, crunchy crust, brilliantly "corny", not too crumbly... I will have this again and again! Best Wishes! Lipto