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Best Sweet Cornbread Recipe {Buttermilk Cornbread}

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You have found it, the best sweet cornbread recipe on the internet — well, we think so! This Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread is a deliciously moist quick bread, with a slightly sweet and tender crumb; serve warm dripping with butter and honey. The perfect winter side with chili, soups and stews or for a summer potluck or BBQ! And you cannot celebrate Halloween without a big pan of sweet cornbread!

I have never been a fan of dry, tasteless cornbread, which is why I love this recipe! It’s a bit like Marie Calendar’s sweet cornbread; almost like a cake, but not as sweet!

If you are making this delicious cornbread recipe with buttermilk, then you need something to go with it? Our favorites are of course Firecracker Chili (spicy, but not hot, unless you want it to be), my brand new Colorado Green Chile recipe and so delicious with this Creamy Poblano Chicken Soup.

Best Sweet Cornbread Recipe with buttermilk square image with melting butter and a swirl of golden honey.

We also really enjoy it with barbecue; like this Oven Baked Beef Brisket or Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.

Isn’t everything better with bread? For me it is, like these delicious Sweet Molasses Brown Bread Rolls or this quick and tasty Beer bread.

Why You Will Love this Cornbread Recipe with Buttermilk

I love this sweet buttermilk cornbread, it’s not overly sweet and is just bursting with good corn-iness (yes I am corny and proud of it, it’s a German thing). Nothing like what you will get out of a box! Toss that box out, this comes together so darn quick and the taste is far superior to any box mix.

  • Superior to anything you will make from a boxed mix! Trust me!
  • Comes together in just a few minutes!
  • Use hand or stand mixer, or easily mix by hand.

Ingredients for Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread

Here is a picture of all of the ingredients, but the full list of ingredients and directions are in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Best Sweet Cornbread Ingredients L-R flour, buttermilk or substitute, milk, butter, sugar, cornmeal, eggs, baking powder and salt.
  • BUTTERMILK | Can you make a cornbread recipe without buttermilk? YES! Will it be as good? NO! If you do not have buttermilk have no fear, you can QUICKLY make your own. See the tip below!
  • CORNMEAL | Be sure not to use cornbread mix, that has all of the ingredients already in it, we just want plain cornmeal, since it’s kind of the star of the show, use a high quality cornmeal. This is what I used.
  • BUTTER | This is almost a lighter version of a cake, butter will give it richness, and a tender crumb.
  • BAKING POWDER | Not to be confused with baking soda and we’ll use a lot, this will give the sweet cornbread a beautiful lift. Try and use a brand that doesn’t have added aluminum.
  • DRY INGREDIENTS | You will also need all-purpose flour and some sugar, I used unbleached flour and all-natural cane sugar, but whatever you have should work just fine!

HINT | No buttermilk? No problem! Using a 1 cup liquid measuring cup, add 2 teaspoons of vinegar (white is best) or lemon juice to the measuring cup, then fill with milk to the ⅔ mark. Stir, let sit for 5 minutes.

Simple Directions

In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer; cream together butter and sugar using a hand mixer (or use a wooden spoon and whip well!)

Add eggs mixing until combined. Then add milk and butter with mixer on low speed, so you don’t slosh it all out!

With mixer on low or stir, pour in the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt and slowly incorporate, scraping down the sides of the bowl once.

Pour mixture into greased 9×13 inch baking pan (or line with parchment paper).

TFC PRO TIP | This sweet buttermilk cornbread freezes great, sometimes I will make in two 8×8 pans and freeze one for another day!

Cornbread recipe without Buttermilk

So maybe you don’t like buttermilk, okay, I understand that. The good news is that buttermilk doesn’t really flavor the cornbread, instead it adds some much needed acidity to the batter, providing lift, tender crumb and an overall great taste. But if you still don’t want to use it, try these substitutions:

  • Substitute an equal amount of regular milk
  • Try replacing with sour cream or Greek yogurt which will bring that acidity back to this tender quick bread.
Sweet buttermilk cornbread recipe baked and in pan with butter and honey.

Bake in preheat 400°F for 22-27 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Try not to overbake this cornbread recipe! Pulling away from the sides of the pan and a slight golden color indicates doneness! The one above was a slightly over baked to be honest!

Cut into squares and serve warm with honey and butter. These mini spatulas are one of the most used tools in my kitchen. I have 3 of them and use them multiple times a day.

This cornbread recipe was first posted October of 2017, I am updating for a better reader experience.

Best sweet cornbread recipe with square on a plate with melting butter.

Variations

We love this buttermilk cornbread with butter and honey, we don’t eat this everyday, so when I make it we indulge a bit!

  • SPICY? | If you love things with a little kick, add a 4 oz can of diced green chiles (drained) or jalapeños to the batter and be sure to serve with this Copycat Mikes Hot Honey!
  • CHEESY JALAPENO CORNBREAD | Add 8 oz of shredded cheese, our favorites for this would be Colby Jack and Sharp Cheddar cheese, plus add 3 tablespoons minced (seeded) jalapeños, bake as directed. Same as above with the hot honey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add corn to cornbread?

I think that cornbread should be kept pure, made without whole corn, but a good cornmeal. When you add corn it turns into a spoon bread, corn soufflé or corn pudding.

Is cornbread supposed to be sweet?

This California born and raised girl, now Colorado girl thinks so, but hey, I am not Southern. I loved this from article from Southern Living it’s a screaming-hot topic every day around the Southern Living offices. The truth is, Southerners have strong opinions about their cornbread. Sweet or Savory? From what I read, the jury is out, it’s split, some love it with sugar, some love it without!

Can I make Buttermilk Cornbread in a Cast Iron Skillet?

Yes! Melt a tablespoon or two butter in the cast iron skillet ahead of time, I place in the oven while preheating use at least a cast iron skillet (my favorite). Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and pour in cornbread batter, bake 20-25 minutes.

Gluten-Free Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread

While I have not tried this, since you are using cornmeal which is naturally gluten-free, I would substitute the all-purpose flour with your favorite GF AP-Flour. Let me know how it turns out!

How do I reheat sweet cornbread?

Cover dish with aluminum foil, or remove desired number of pieces and wrap in foil and reheat in preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Can I make cornbread in two 8×8 or 9×9 inch pans

YES! Be sure to grease the pans well, may be made in 8 or 9 inch square or round pans. Start checking for doneness at about 18 minutes.

Best sweet cornbread recipe in pan with butter and honey behind ready to cut.

What to Serve with Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we love it best with any chili recipe! But here are a few others you might enjoy it with:

Storage

Cornbread will keep for 4-5 days on the counter, in an airtight container. Be sure to reheat before serving!

Freeze cornbread that has been well wrapped for up to 4 months. Reheat by wrapping in aluminum foil, warm for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

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12 Comments

  1. This recipe is absolutely delicious. It went with our Chili Verde perfectly. It’s so moist and I love slathering it with a bit of honey for a sweet/spicy combination.