Never Fail Buttermilk Cornbread

Never fail Buttermilk Cornbread. #cornbread #recipe @MJsKitchen


When I posted my Green Chile Succotash recipe I strongly suggested serving it with buttermilk cornbread. So here is my never fail buttermilk cornbread recipe!

I have no idea how many years I’ve been making this buttermilk cornbread. I don’t even know where it came from because I’ve been making it from memory forever.  Back in the pre-computer days I finally had to write it down in one of my recipe journals so Bobby could make it when I was out of town. It’s one of his favorite foods and that goes for me too!  This buttermilk cornbread recipe is fast and easy, and the result is a moist and oh SO delicious cornbread. Enjoy!

Buttermilk Cornbread

Never Fail Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe
15 mins
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
This is my go-to cornbread recipe.  It is always delicious and never fails!

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: bread, Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern US
Yields: 4 servings
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
  • 1 tsp. bacon drippings or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup fine ground cornmeal
  • ½ cup AP unbleached flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 - 2 tsp. red or green chile powder (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400º F (~200º C).
  2. Put the bacon drippings in an 8″ cast iron skillet or other similar sized dish.  Place in the oven until the drippings have melted and the skillet is hot (about 5 minutes). While the skillet is heating, make the cornbread batter.

  3. Put all of the dry ingredients and the onion in a bowl and mix.
  4. In another bowl, beat the egg. Add 1 cup buttermilk and mix with the egg.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir briefly with a fork, then fold the ingredients together with a spatula until moistened. The stirring/folding should only take about 30 seconds. Batter will be lumpy, but that’s o.k. You don’t want to over stir so you don't kill the baking powder.

  6. Pour batter into the skillet. Cook in oven for 20 to 25 minutes. You can check to see if it’s done by sticking a toothpick in the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s done.
  7. Serve with butter or honey or with nothing at all.
Kitchen Notes

Bacon Drippings - Yes, I use bacon drippings. The drippings work great at keeping the cast iron skillet seasoned and the cornbread from sticking.  How’s that for a rationalization? 🙂  Of course, if you’re vegetarian you could always use vegetable or canola oil.


Buttermilk – If you don’t have enough buttermilk, use a mix of buttermilk and milk.


Onion – The onion not only adds flavor, it also adds moisture.  Chop, dice or mince to your preference.


Variations – If you want to jazz it up a bit, add a little crumbled bacon, minced jalapeno, or chopped green chile.


Leftover Cornbread – I have to admit that neither of us are big on warmed up leftover cornbread, so I guess this is where I can say how spoiled we are.  Whenever we want cornbread, even if it’s the next night and there is leftover cornbread in the fridge, I’ll still make a fresh batch!  However, never fear – the leftovers do not go to waste. Here are a few ideas for leftover cornbread:

  • Freeze it and use it later on in a cornbread dressing (When the holidays roll around I always have enough cornbread in the freezer for a big batch of cornbread dressing.)
  • Make this Green Chile Breakfast Bake.
  • Cut a piece in half and use as the bread for an “egg in a hole”
  • Make cornbread croutons by cutting leftovers into 1/2″ pieces, toss with a little oil and seasoning, and toast in a hot oven.
  • Use as a topping for a bowl of beans, soup or chili.
  • From my friend over at Food Jaunts suggests – crumble it up and use it as a thickener for soups or topping for casseroles.


This recipe was featured on Made With Love Mondays, March, 2012 and Foodie Friday on April, 2012.






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69 Responses to “Never Fail Buttermilk Cornbread”

  1. April @ The 21st Century Housewife October 18, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    Your cornbread looks delicious and I love how easy the recipe is!

  2. Michelle October 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    This cornbread sounds amazing! I was just telling my friend over the weekend that I don’t save my bacon drippings like she does. I guess that’ll be changing the very next time I cook bacon! lol
    Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Thursday. Can’t wait to see what you share this week! Have a wonderful week.

  3. Magic of Spice April 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    I have not had cornbread in such a long time…this looks fantastic!

  4. Adelina Priddis April 13, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    Thanks for linking up to Foodie Friday last week. I wanted to let you know I’ve featured this recipe on our linky this week.

    • mj April 13, 2012 at 9:43 am #

      Thanks Adelina! It’s always flattering to be featured by a fellow blogger! Have a great weekend!

  5. Biren @ Roti n Rice April 9, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    I have not eaten cornbread in a while and would love to try your recipe. It looks really moist and delicious!

  6. Miz Helen April 9, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Good Morning MJ,
    We could eat Corn Bread at every meal and your Buttermilk Cornbread looks delicious! Hope you have a wonderful week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  7. April @ The 21st Century Housewife April 8, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    This sounds like such a delicious cornbread recipe! I love the traditional flavours of the bacon drippings and onion that you have used as well. The uses for leftover cornbread sound wonderful too, especially the croutons.

  8. Diane Balch April 6, 2012 at 7:33 am #

    Between the buttermilk and the bacon drippings my mouth is watering. Please share this on my foodie friday linky today.

  9. Lisa April 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    I love cornbread and yours looks divine! Thanks so much for sharing at Mix it up Monday 🙂

  10. sally April 5, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    I was hoping you’d post this recipe. Looks fantastic!

  11. Liz April 4, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    I MUST make this…the idea of bacon drippings in corn bread sounds simply amazing!!! YUM.

  12. vianney April 3, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    buttermilk makes EVERYTHING better and add in the bacon drippings..winner!!

  13. Food Jaunts April 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    Looks amazing. I just got some cast iron (yay!) so I’m definitely bookmarking this to give it a shot. Random suggestion – but if you ever have leftover cornbread and you process it up in to a fine crumb it’s awesome for thickening soup (as in Chicken Tortilla, etc.) or make breadcrumbs with it to top a casserole 🙂

    • mj April 8, 2012 at 11:24 am #

      What a great idea! I’m adding to the Kitchen Notes!

  14. Javelin Warrior April 3, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    MJ, I know I’ve already dropped a comment, but just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing this recipe with Made with Love Mondays =)

  15. Peggy April 3, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    Oh I just love cornbread! This sounds like it would go perfectly with any hearty meal =)

  16. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious April 2, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    Cornbread is one of my favorite things to make. My personal favorite is adding some jalapeno slices on top, giving it that extra spice.

    I love that your version is made in a cast-iron skillet. Will have to try that next time 🙂

  17. Soni April 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    Love the idea of bacon drippings!This recipe is so easy to put together MJ, that I cannot wait to try it!Haven’t made cornbread in a long time.Thanks for reminding me 🙂

  18. kitchenriffs April 2, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Any cornbread recipe that used bacon drippings is OK in my book. Those drippings are pure gold – and too many people (including me, too often) just waste them. I don’t use buttermilk enough, but I should change that. And I haven’t made corn bread in ages, so that should change too. This post has been an inspiration – thanks.

  19. Tes April 2, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    Oh this looks so fresh and perfect 🙂 The color of it is so gorgeous 🙂

  20. Jay April 2, 2012 at 5:21 am #

    love your ultimate version..;)

  21. Benefits of Eating April 2, 2012 at 3:51 am #

    Thanks for your comment MJ! It seems that we are thinking along the same lines again! A week of real butter and buttermilk cornbread seems in order…

  22. Choc Chip Uru April 2, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    This cornbread seems so perfect – I am absolutely in love with it 😀
    Great post!

    Choc Chip Uru

  23. Angie@Angie's Recipes April 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    This would go perfectly with some bean stew for my lunch! Homey and delicious!

  24. Chaya April 1, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    I absolutely love corn bread and yours looks so fresh and pretty.

  25. balvinder ( Neetu) April 1, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    I have tagged you for a well deserving award @ Please do come and accept.

  26. wok with ray April 1, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    I would like this cornbread with my beef stew – it looks airy and light. And yes, I love your idea of using bacon drippings which is a great idea! Thank you, MJ and have a wonderful week ahead.

  27. Charles March 31, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    Hi MJ – I *love* cornbread! It’s not common at all in Europe, but my wife found an American store online which shipped to France and we bought some things for fun, one of them being cornmeal (another uncommon item here) and she made cornbread – damn that stuff is amazing when fresh from the oven smothered in butter! Interesting twist to make it with buttermilk – I’ll remember this for the next time we’re going to bake some up! 🙂

    • mj April 1, 2012 at 8:07 am #

      I can’t imagine not having cornmeal readily accessible! However, you two must really love it if you order on-line! 🙂 Hope you get a chance to make this. You’re going to love it!

    • Donna November 5, 2012 at 2:02 am #

      @Charles….You can save a bundle by purchasing Italian polenta!!!!…There are several varieties…fine..medium and course!…The ex-pats stores are OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive…I find…In the Geneva area…a regular-size box of Cheerios (original)…costs nearly 8 euros!!!…Crazy stuff!

  28. Dee at Deelicious Sweets March 31, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    I love cornbread! This sounds fantastic!

  29. Healthy cooking Blog March 31, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    The texture look is very uniform and cannot spot that minced onion.

    • mj April 1, 2012 at 8:05 am #

      If you look really hard,you can see a little piece of onion at the bottom around the middle. I mince them up pretty good and they kind of dissolve into the bread. So tasty!

  30. Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef March 31, 2012 at 6:22 am #

    Not living in the South any more, I forget how much I love cornbread. Thanks for the reminder. I’m going to try your recipe next. I’m making butter tomorrow and I’ll have nice fresh buttermilk for it.

  31. Jayasri March 30, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Wow, beautiful texture, looks fantastic, they look so airy…

  32. Cucina49 March 30, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    I was drooling over the succotash earlier this week, and now this–it looks moist and wonderful!

  33. Javelin Warrior March 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Cornbread (like most bread) is high on my list of favorites – and I’ve never used buttermilk when making it. I always have buttermilk in the fridge for other recipes, so I’ll have to give that a try. And bacon drippings! Woot woot! 🙂

  34. balvinder ( Neetu) March 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Corn bread when I make it, gets dry. Yours look nice with holes. got to try yours.

  35. France @ Beyond The Peel March 30, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    I love that there’s hardly any flour in this recipe. I have a bunch of buttermilk left over from making butter and this sounds perfect! And I happen to have a jar of bacon fat on my counter begging to be used. PERFECT.

  36. Deeps @ Naughty Curry March 30, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    the cornbread looks so airy, croutons outa it sounds heavenly!

  37. Tina (PinayInTexas) March 30, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    The texture of your cornbread looks absolutely perfect, MJ. I have tried making cornbread before but it didn’t come out as gorgeous as yours. I will have to try your recipe!
    Enjoy your weekend!

  38. spiceblogger March 30, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    I love, love, love cornbread.
    But I must admit, as often as I make it I have never put onions in mine. Makes sense when you consider the moisture it adds–as well as the flavor. I’m gonna have to try this the next time.
    I switch my recipes up all the time. I love adding bacon or jalapeno. :))))

  39. Katherine Martinelli March 30, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    I love cornbread and don’t think I’ve ever had buttermilk cornbread – but it looks and sounds amazing!! Great recipe, MJ – thanks for sharing!

  40. Nami | Just One Cookbook March 30, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    Hi MJ! Naturally from what you told us, this recipe is going to be in my next to make list! I can’t wait to try it. You kept making this for a long time – that tells everything. It looks very moist and I am sure my family will enjoy it. I often rely on Trader Joe’s cornbread mix…. Time for change! I really liked that there are minced onions. I’ve never seen a recipe like that. Making me hungry!

    • mj April 1, 2012 at 8:02 am #

      Nami, if you need more than the 4 servings, this recipe double quite easily. However, if you do double it, I would recommend 1 cup buttermilk and 1 cup regular milk. Hope you make it and love it as much as we do!

  41. Giulietta | Alterkitchen March 30, 2012 at 1:10 am #

    For an Italian, this cornbread is a complete stranger… but I love it!
    And I love this baker MJ. You actually followed your good intentions 😉

    On a totally different topic, I’m sorry I didn’t send you the prizes from my giveaway, yet. I’m trying to find a US e-store where I can pay by paypal, to send everything being sure it arrives to you… This afternoon I’ll search better and I’ll send!
    Sorry for my delay, though!

  42. Baker Street March 30, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    Any recipe that starts with a teaspoon of bacon drippings is my kinda recipe. Love the texture of your bread.

  43. Anne@FromMySweetHeart March 29, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    MJ….that cornbread is just beautiful! I know you suggested it with your amazing succotash. But I would love to have a slice of that with a drizzle of honey with my cup of tea for breakfast! What a lovely texture. And I am always in such awe of your beautiful photography! : )

  44. Jane March 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Yum! I love cornbread, and I agree about the bacon drippings — I am always saving them, and then figuring out how to use them! haha

  45. Ivy March 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    Looks so beautiful and so airy almost like a cake.

  46. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles March 29, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    I have this thing with the word ‘buttermilk’ – whenever I hear it, I start to swoon; it’s rather involuntary and I don’t even have to see the recipe, I’m there… ;-). In this case, I’m glad I came over to view… what a lovely, airy cornbread MJ *with* bacon drippings – Oh.My.Goodness… sounds positively divine! I should treat my boys to this as an after school snack… and I just happen to have some cornmeal in the pantry; genius.

    • mj April 1, 2012 at 7:59 am #

      Kelly – for the boys you might add a tablespoon of honey or sugar to the batter, or honey or jam as a topping. YUM!

  47. Nisa Homey March 29, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Cornbread with buttermilk..YUM!

  48. Eftychia March 29, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Nice recipe. In Cyprus it is difficult to find buttermilk though… Can I use Greek style yogurt?

    • mj April 1, 2012 at 7:57 am #

      I don’t see why you couldn’t use yogurt; however, I would probably use half yogurt and half milk, otherwise the batter might be way to thick and the result gummy. Thanks for stopping by!

  49. Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen March 29, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Mmmmm cornbread. I’m a big fan. Buttermilk does something really special to baked goods.

  50. Monica @ TheYummyLife March 29, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    This reminds me of my grandmother’s cornbread. She put a little bit of bacon grease in almost everything! (No wonder I loved her cooking so much.) I do love cornbread–a staple around here, too. 🙂

  51. Eri March 29, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    It looks amazing, I’ve never ever tried to make cornbread, I think I will do it asap!
    I love the leftover ideas!

  52. Ramona March 29, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    This cornbread looks perfect! I love the idea of making an egg in a whole with cornbread. Mmmmmm! 🙂

  53. Bobby March 29, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    You said cornbread. Yummmmm!

    • mj March 29, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      🙂 🙂 You should make it for folks! You know they love it!

  54. Michelle @ Simplify, Live, Love March 29, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    Yum! We love cornbread around here. I have my staple recipe memorized. I also make it in a cast iron skillet. I’ve never used bacon grease – but that is a GREAT idea! 🙂


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