This Cast Iron Cornbread is made with brown butter and honey in a cast iron skillet. It’s an easy-to-make, slightly sweet cornbread that will be your go-to whether you’re making chili, braised country style ribs for pulled pork, or cornbread stuffing.
Read on to learn all about the best type of corn meal to use in this skillet cornbread and all the tips and tricks for cooking with cast iron. Or just grab your cast iron skillet, hit that Jump to Recipe button, and let’s make cornbread!
- Cornmeal – You can buy fine, medium, and coarsely ground corn meal. A fine grind yellow corn meal creates the softest, cake-like texture and classic yellow color. Feel free to sub in a medium grind or even white corn meal in this recipe.
- Flour – Wheat flour provides a bit of structure to keep your corn bread from falling apart.
- Leavening – Baking powder and baking soda keep the cornbread from being dense.
- Buttermilk – Buttermilk adds tang to balance out the sweetness in the honey cornbread. Sub in milk or make homemade buttermilk with milk and a tablespoon of vinegar.
- Brown butter – Brown butter adds a nutty flavor to the cornbread. Even better, browning it in the cast iron skillet saves you from cleaning yet another thing!
- Corn kernels – Use frozen or fresh corn. For suggestions how to cut corn kernels from the cob, check out my sweet corn soup recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
Cast iron cooking
If you have just one frying pan in your kitchen, it should be an inexpensive cast iron skillet. Because cast iron skillets can move from stove top to oven, they’re great for making this brown butter cornbread, a one-pan bourbon pork tenderloin, cast iron chicken breasts, shakshuka, or a bacon frittata. You can even cook with cast iron on a camp fire or use it to make s’mores indoors!
You can even buy your cast iron “pre-seasoned” these days. Or season your skillet yourself with Crisco or oil and put it in a hot oven for 2 to 3 hours.
Cleaning is where gentleness is needed. Don’t use steel wool or hard scrubbing. And make sure to dry it completely. But even if you aren’t gentle, you can always bring your cast iron skillet back to life by re-seasoning it!
Variations and substitutions
- Sub out the corn and green onions for bacon and chopped jalapeno.
- Make your brown butter cornbread in a square baking pan, or make cornbread muffins in a muffin tin.
- Use your day old skillet cornbread to make cornbread stuffing!
Recipe tips and tricks
This cornbread post was first shared in February 2021 when I was cooking from Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin. Tipton-Martin’s cookbook lists a “flight” of five cornbread recipes: hot water cornbread, cornmeal griddle cakes, extra-light buttermilk cornbread (“light” meaning only 6 tablespoons of butter), Spanish cornbread, and spoon bread.
But that’s just the start of cornbread possibilities. The cornbread chapter in Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads is 24 pages long and includes 18 different recipes! I make several different types of cornbread, but this cast iron cornbread recipe I’m now sharing here is the version I make most frequently.
Recipe tips and tricks
Step 1: Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Brown the butter in the cast iron skillet. To brown butter, melt the butter slowly until the popping stops and the butter solids have just started to brown. Remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool slightly as you make the cornbread batter.
Note that if you are familiar with browning butter, this recipe stops the process sooner than you would because it’s challenging to see how brown the butter is getting in a cast iron pan. The butter will continue to cook in the retained heat of the cast iron.
Step 3: Whisk all of the dry ingredients (fine yellow cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda) together in a large bowl.
Step 4: Measure out the buttermilk in a 2 or 4 cup glass measuring cup. Then add the egg and honey and beat lightly.
Step 5: Add the liquid ingredients from the measuring cup and the brown butter to the dry ingredients, scraping out the butter with a silicone spatula. Stir only until you can no longer see any pockets of flour.
It will be lumpy. That’s ok.
Step 6: Add in the corn kernels and chopped green onions and stir gently to mix. Do not over mix.
Step 7: Add the cornbread batter to the cast iron skillet, being careful if the skillet is quite warm. Smooth out the top as much as you can with your spatula.
Step 8: Turn down the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the skillet for at least 10 minutes before serving, but please enjoy this brown butter cornbread when it’s still warm.
What to serve with cornbread
Serve your cast iron skillet cornbread with your favorite chili, or try one of these other combinations:
- BBQ! Make pulled pork or Dutch oven pulled chicken, or BBQ chicken meatballs. Don’t forget the apple pie baked beans and purple cabbage slaw!
- With fried chicken or these baked coconut panko chicken tenders.
- As a side to soups like this roasted broccoli and almond, garbanzo bean soup, or 4-ingredient potato soup.
- With a main course salad like a rainbow salad bowl or taco salad.
Remove your cornbread from the cast iron, and store the cornbread leftovers for a day or two at room temperature in an airtight container. Any longer than that, and you should make cornbread stuffing. You can freeze corn bread, but it’s definitely best on the day it’s made.
Brown butter is great in so many things, from pasta to cookies. Once you’ve gotten a taste for how good it is, try it next in these sourdough apple muffins, mini chocolate chip cookies or cherry bakewell blondies!
Yellow corn meal comes from yellow corn, and white corn meal comes from white corn. There’s little difference between the two, other than yellow corn has beta-carotene. Both can be made in fine, medium, and coarse grinds.
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.
Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread
- 1 9 inch cast iron skillet
- ½ cup (1 stick, 8 tablespoons, or 113 grams unsalted butter
- 1 cup (160 grams) fine yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (245 grams) buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup (84 grams)honey
- ½ cup corn kernels fresh or frozen
- ¼ cup finely chopped green onions or chives
- Heat your oven to 400℉.
- Brown the butter in the cast iron skillet. To brown butter, melt the butter slowly until the popping stops and the butter solids have just started to brown. Remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool slightly as you make the cornbread batter.½ cup (1 stick, 8 tablespoons, or 113 grams unsalted butter
- Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.1 cup (160 grams) fine yellow cornmeal, 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Measure out the buttermilk in a 2 or 4 cup glass measuring cup. Then add the egg and honey to the measuring cup and beat the liquid ingredients together lightly.1 cup (245 grams) buttermilk, 1 large egg, ¼ cup (84 grams)honey
- Add the liquid ingredients from the measuring cup and the brown butter to the dry ingredients, scraping out the butter with a silicone spatula. Stir only until you can no longer see any pockets of flour.
- Add in the corn kernels and chopped green onions and stir gently. Do not over mix.½ cup corn kernels, ¼ cup finely chopped green onions or chives
- Add the cornbread batter to the cast iron skillet, being careful if the skillet is quite warm. Smooth out the top as much as you can with your spatula.
- Turn down the oven to 350℉ and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, but this brown butter cornbread is best when still warm. Enjoy!
Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking?