How to Make Sweet Cornbread (Best Homemade Recipe!)

Bake this sweet homemade cornbread recipe in a cast-iron skillet for a moist and delicious old-fashioned cornbread with a crispy crust. It’s our favorite cornbread recipe! 

Originally published March 2020; this post has been updated.

wedges of cornbread on a wire rack.

While I think many of us will agree that a crispy crust on the cornbread is ideal, a lot of people balk at the idea of a sweet cornbread. Southern cornbread, they say, has no such thing as sugar in it. And they aren’t wrong. 

But you know, it’s such an indulgent comfort food for me, and in my opinion this continues to be the best cornbread recipe I’ve used. It has just the right amount of sweetness, and it tastes delicious with a little pat of butter. 

SKILLET CORNBREAD FROM ABOVE

Golden Sweet Cornbread Recipe

This easy cornbread recipe has been in my recipe file for years upon years and it never fails to make us happy. It makes a cake-y sweet and moist cornbread that tastes delicious with a little pat of butter or a drizzle of honey. If you’ve never made cornbread from scratch, you’re going to love this easy recipe.

ingredients for homemade cornbread recipe

Ingredients

This moist cornbread recipe starts with real food ingredients. If you maintain a well-stocked pantry, it’s very likely that you have most (if not all) of these ingredients on hand.

Butter — Allow the butter to come to room temperature for easy mixing. I used salted butter; if you prefer unsalted, that will work fine. Many recipes call for vegetable oil, but I prefer using butter.

Sugar — Use your favorite brand of granulated cane sugar. I prefer organic. 

Eggs — Fresh eggs, store bought, use what you have readily available. 

Milk — You can use whole milk, skim milk, or if your family is dairy free, an alternative nut milk. For best results, I don’t recommend using buttermilk in this sweet cornbread recipe, as it is more acidic and will impact how the baking powder performs.

Flour When I bake with all purpose flour I opt for the unbleached option. Bleached flour is very white, but it’s also treated with bleaching agents that I don’t really need in my food. 

dry ingredients for cornbread recipe

Cornmeal — This is what gives this quick bread it’s recognizable flavor. Cornmeal comes in fine, medium, or coarse grind. I suggest sticking with the fine or medium grind yellow cornmeal for this recipe. I also make sure that I’m using an organic cornmeal, to avoid the genetically modified corn that has been altered to survive being sprayed with poison.

Leavening — Baking powder gives this cornbread recipe its lift. 

Salt Use your favorite table salt or sea salt.

4 panel showing the process of adding each ingredient to a glass bowl.

Making this Homemade Cornbread

Start by creaming the sugar and butter together. It’s easiest to do this with a stand mixer or hand mixer, but a good old wooden spoon works, too. It will just take a bit more work on your part.

Once creamed, add the eggs and milk.

Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then stir into the wet ingredients.

Stir the cornbread batter just until the ingredients are combined. 

To get the crispy edges on this made-from-scratch cornbread, heat a cast iron skillet in the oven. Pouring the batter into an already-hot pan is the trick. Bake until the top of the cornbread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cut the cornbread into wedges and serve with butter and sweet honey, if you like. This sweet cornbread makes a perfect side dish for chili and for soups or stews. It’s also good with fried eggs — it’s perfect for sopping up the soft yolk of an over-medium egg.

skillet corn bread from above

Serving Suggestions

Warm cornbread is a natural (a must have?) when serving ground beef chili, of course, but don’t stop there! It’s a great side dish for so many other meals. Or serve it for breakfast with a little dab of honey butter or maple syrup.

wedges of sweet corn bread on a wire rack

Storing Leftover Cornbread

Store leftover cornbread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. For longer storage, wrap bread in a layer of waxed paper followed by a layer of aluminum foil, and store in the freezer for up to three months.

You can also use leftover cornbread to make cornbread French toast the next day or reheat it and spread on some of this slow cooker apple butter. 

★ Did you make this sweet cornbread recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★

wedges of cornbread on a wire rack.

Easy & Delicious Sweet Cornbread Recipe

This cornbread recipe is sweet and might just end up being your favorite. It really is the best cornbread recipe and it comes together using simple pantry ingredients. You can bake it in a skillet for extra crispy edges or a standard baking dish.
4.62 from 242 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Kris Bordessa

Ingredients

  • cup butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ⅔ cups milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ⅓ cups cornmeal
  • 4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter for the pan

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF. Put a 12” cast iron skillet in the oven while it preheats. (See notes for using a baking dish instead.)
  • Cream 2/3 cup butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in milk and eggs.
    3/4 cup sugar, 3 eggs, 1 2/3 cups milk, 2/3 cup butter
  • Combine dry ingredients; stir into wet ingredients until just combined.
    2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/3 cups cornmeal, 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Remove hot cast iron pan from oven and drop 1 tablespoon of butter into the pan and swirl it around to coat the bottom and sides of skillet.
    1 tablespoon butter
  • Pour batter into hot skillet and return it to the hot oven. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cut into eight wedges and serve warm with butter and/or honey.

Notes

  • To get the crispy edges on this made-from-scratch cornbread, heat the cast iron skillet in the oven. Pouring the batter into an already-hot pan is the trick.
  • If you'd like to bake this in a 9" x 11" glass baking dish or cake pan instead, grease the pan with melted butter and do NOT put it in the oven before adding the batter. You don't want to shatter the pan!
  • Store leftover cornbread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. For longer storage, wrap bread in a layer of waxed paper followed by a layer of aluminum foil, and freeze for up to three months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1wedge | Calories: 491kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 561mg | Potassium: 224mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 688IU | Calcium: 215mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @attainablesustainable or tag #attainablesustainable!

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About the author: Kris Bordessa is an award-winning National Geographic author and a certified Master Food Preserver. Read more about Kris and how she got started with this site here. If you want to send Kris a quick message, you can get in touch here.

98 comments… add one
  • Wanda Ward Apr 7, 2024 @ 9:47

    This cornbread was very good and substantial, great with beans and potatoes! Wish I had browned more but was afraid I would dry out. But this was moist enough to not worry about that.

    • Kris Bordessa, National Geographic author/certified master food preserver Apr 15, 2024 @ 6:51

      Glad it worked for you!

  • Tina Gospodarec Apr 5, 2024 @ 16:30

    Absolutely delicious! I reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup because we were serving with honey butter and it was perfection. Voted best cornbread ever by my whole family 🙂

    • Kris Bordessa, National Geographic author/certified master food preserver Apr 15, 2024 @ 6:52

      Well, that’s fantastic!

  • Rebecca Mar 10, 2024 @ 4:48

    Hi! Sounds delicious, but curious if I can make this with less sugar? Would it mess up the consistency?

    • Kris Bordessa, National Geographic author/certified master food preserver Mar 14, 2024 @ 13:58

      I’ve had readers say they cut the sugar successfully.

  • Joe Glueck Mar 7, 2024 @ 10:03

    I was craving an old-time southern dinner, so I made this cornbread along with collard greens and a glass of iced tea…loved it! Brought back so many memories of my time living in Memphis where sweet cornbread is a staple!

    • Kris Bordessa, National Geographic author/certified master food preserver Mar 14, 2024 @ 13:58

      Love it!

  • Stephanie Morris Mar 4, 2024 @ 10:10

    Hello,
    Can you provide the name of the cornmeal brand you use?

    • Kris Bordessa, National Geographic author/certified master food preserver Mar 14, 2024 @ 14:01

      Bob’s Red Mill.

  • Stephanie Morris Mar 3, 2024 @ 13:05

    I want to make this I’m currently trying to get the Ingredients, what brand of organic cornmeal do you usually go with? I have Bobs red mill organic medium grind cornmeal (whole grain/ stone ground)?

    • Kris Bordessa, National Geographic author/certified master food preserver Mar 14, 2024 @ 14:07

      I use Bob’s. That should work!

  • Karen Shepard Feb 10, 2024 @ 11:18

    The buttered cast iron pan is the secret! The only way I make mine. This recipe sounds like a perfect substitute for the Jiffy mix packaged mix-a good sweet southern style cornbread mix- but with cleaner ingredients!
    Thanks for the recipe- I’ll try it soon!

  • Jodie Jan 29, 2024 @ 15:32

    This is the best corn bread ever …. and make it in the cast iron pan it is so good!!!! Have made it several times now and will not make another recipe ever again.

    • Kris Bordessa, National Geographic author/certified master food preserver Feb 2, 2024 @ 14:10

      I’m so glad!!

  • Annette Jan 21, 2024 @ 5:55

    My family really enjoyed this. I used buttermilk and added a can of creamed corn. It turned out amazing.

  • frank ferrara Dec 18, 2023 @ 15:42

    Made my first from scratch cornbread in an iron skillet, this recipe is absolutely delicious. I really amazed…

    • AttainableSustainable Dec 21, 2023 @ 7:22

      So glad you love it! 🙂

  • Kati Barnhill Dec 13, 2023 @ 16:16

    If I have self rising corn meal, do I need to add the baking powder?

    Made this recipe before and it’s amazing!

    • AttainableSustainable Dec 21, 2023 @ 8:36

      I don’t *think you need to add baking powder to self rising corn meal. Check to see if it already has baking powder in it, because you don’t want to have too much baking powder for the best results.

  • Leya Dec 11, 2023 @ 7:02

    Hello,
    Reading your recipe.
    Is the dash after the first numbers 1 and 2/3 cup milk? 1 and 1/3 cup cornmeal? 4 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder?
    I just want to make sure I don’t mess up my portions! Thank you

    • AttainableSustainable Dec 21, 2023 @ 8:40

      Yes, you are correct. Enjoy!

  • Dora DeRossett Oct 23, 2023 @ 18:01

    I made this recipe to take to a friends house for dinner! It was a hit and everyone wanted the recipe!! You wouldn’t have other cast iron recipes would you?! Since the cornbread recipe was so SO delicious, I was hoping you had a skillet pizza or bread recipe!!!

    • AttainableSustainable Nov 2, 2023 @ 5:24

      So glad it was a hit! I don’t have a skillet pizza or bread recipe, sorry!

  • Jessica Oct 22, 2023 @ 10:22

    Made this tonight paired with Chili and my husband and house of teenage boys loved it!! This is by far the only recipe we will use now on ( followed directions exactly and made no substitutions )

    • AttainableSustainable Nov 2, 2023 @ 5:25

      Perfect, glad everyone loved it!

    • Amy Apr 3, 2024 @ 10:31

      Could you omit the sugar altogether in this recipe? I personally love it sweet, but my husband prefers it not sweet, lol. I am not a cook, but I have made this by the recipe a few times and it is so good every time!

  • Homer in Texas Sep 23, 2023 @ 15:16

    Made 2 batches; baked one in a 12″ skillet and the other in a 10″. Had to add about 10 more minutes to get the 10″ done. In the future will just use a 12″ skillet I think. Very tasty, the whole family and the dinner guests loved it. Did not change anything in your recipe. Thank you.

    • AttainableSustainable Sep 28, 2023 @ 6:39

      Glad you all enjoyed it! 🙂

  • Adriana Sep 10, 2023 @ 8:12

    Made it and it is in the oven now. I cant wait to try it

    • AttainableSustainable Sep 14, 2023 @ 8:44

      I hope you love it!

  • Ginny H. Jul 16, 2023 @ 9:31

    This recipe looks really good, I haven’t yet tried it. Wondering if honey can be substituted for the sugar. Everything else looks fabulous! If the substitution doesn’t work, I don’t want to ruin the whole recipe. 🙂

    • AttainableSustainable Jul 26, 2023 @ 6:55

      I haven’t tried that, it could work but look at conversion amounts from a dry to wet sweetener.

    • Deb Sep 12, 2023 @ 17:56

      YUMMMMMMMM…
      Made it using Half&half and baked it in a 9″ square pyrex pan for. 35-40 minutes. I just like a thicker pie e to split and toast. Sooooo good! Gonna make this often!
      Deb
      Westport, MA

  • Grace Jul 4, 2023 @ 1:28

    Currently have two in the oven they look amazing.
    Can’t wait to take them to our 4th of July gathering.

    • AttainableSustainable Jul 5, 2023 @ 5:15

      Perfect, I hope they were enjoyed!

  • Cindy Dreilin May 30, 2023 @ 11:42

    This is the best cornbread recipe I have ever tried. We loved it. Thank you for sharing.

    • AttainableSustainable Jun 1, 2023 @ 11:17

      So glad you loved it! 🙂

  • Sara May 25, 2023 @ 13:12

    Mine is still cooking after 30m in a 12in cast iron because the center is not cooking..I did recipe to a “T” amd smells amazing but definitely had to throw foil over it because it was browning to much 🙁 what did I do wrong lol

    • AttainableSustainable Jun 1, 2023 @ 11:55

      It’s hard for me to know from way over here! Best guess is double check that your oven temp isn’t off.

  • Denise Apr 13, 2023 @ 12:30

    Can you substitute the sugar with splenda? Thanks .

    • AttainableSustainable Apr 20, 2023 @ 4:30

      I haven’t tried that with this recipe, but I think it would work.

  • Tricia Mar 24, 2023 @ 10:35

    Is it possible to make this in a 10” cast iron skillet?

    • AttainableSustainable Mar 30, 2023 @ 4:41

      Sure! Cooking time may vary a little so keep your eye on it. Another option is a 9″ x 11″ glass baking dish.

  • Candis Mar 18, 2023 @ 16:37

    My new favorite cornbread recipe. Love the instructions using cast iron too. Family sized recipe & they love it.

    • AttainableSustainable Mar 23, 2023 @ 5:15

      So glad to hear that!

  • Em Mahoney Feb 25, 2023 @ 11:50

    Can you explain how you wrote your fractions? The dash is throwing me off. Did you mean one and one thirds ? I sure hope so!

    • AttainableSustainable Mar 2, 2023 @ 4:26

      Yes, one and one-third!

  • Dsn Jan 11, 2023 @ 11:37

    Great cornbread I just ad a little avocado oil so the butter doesn’t burn in the 400 degree skillet. We neve have leftovers!!!

    • AttainableSustainable Jan 12, 2023 @ 7:19

      Great idea, so glad you love it! 🙂

  • Tammi Nov 21, 2022 @ 7:37

    I used this recipe for the first time ever making a cornbread and it came out sooo good! Everyone loved it, even my picky 5 year old! I was soo impressed with myself lol! I’m about to make it again this week for Thanksgiving and pray that it wasn’t just a fluke, but that this recipe really is the best!!
    The only adjustment I made (after reading everyone else reviews and browsing other recipes prior) was that I did pull it out of the oven at 20 minutes, I checked it with a toothpick and it was squeaky clean! It didn’t crumble AT ALL either. Love this recipe!

    • AttainableSustainable Nov 22, 2022 @ 4:27

      I’m so glad you loved it and will make it again!

      • Maesie Dec 7, 2022 @ 11:27

        Made this recipe once before and it is by far the BEST!!! lil butter and honey outs it over the top! Entering it for a chili and cornbread cook off tonight!

        • AttainableSustainable Dec 8, 2022 @ 7:48

          That’s awesome, love it!

  • Joanne Tempera Nov 20, 2022 @ 2:49

    Is it better to use whole milk? I usually buy 1% but will buy whole milk if it’s better for this recipe. I have celiac so follow a gluten free diet. I’m going to try it with gluten free cornmeal and cup for cup gluten free flour. Do you know if the cornmeal you use has gluten? If not, can you share the name? I will let you know the outcome.

    • Kris Bordessa Dec 6, 2022 @ 15:26

      I usually use Bob’s Red Mill products since they are made using non-GMO corn. No need to go buy whole milk – what you have should be fine!

  • Lee Cleveland Nov 12, 2022 @ 15:45

    Made this for the first time tonight to accompany a big batch of crockpot taco chili. Absolutely delicious! Turned out perfectly!

    • AttainableSustainable Nov 17, 2022 @ 8:33

      So glad to hear!

  • Carol Oct 23, 2022 @ 17:31

    Hi can I add jalepeno and cheddars cheese to them? Will it alter the rest of the ingredients at all?

    • AttainableSustainable Oct 27, 2022 @ 9:06

      That sounds delicious! I would try just adding it as is without altering anything, I haven’t tried it but I think it should work.

  • Wendy Oct 2, 2022 @ 13:14

    Mine turned out with a pancake like texture. It was more cake than cornbread.

    • AttainableSustainable Oct 4, 2022 @ 6:24

      It is a sweet cornbread!

  • Irma Romero Jul 2, 2022 @ 14:02

    I made this cornbread for tonight’s dinner , it was the best that I have ever had , I wouldn’t change anything !!! I served it with homemade chili beans ❤️
    I’m going to post it on F.B. For sure !
    A grandma from Southern California

    • AttainableSustainable Jul 5, 2022 @ 3:46

      Love it, thank you! 🙂

  • Sapp Willy Jun 11, 2022 @ 10:25

    Nutritional info say serving size 1 gram. I guess two zeroes are missing here. I’ll Loosen my belt and enjoy this tasty treat!

    • AttainableSustainable Aug 16, 2022 @ 8:35

      I will have to take a look at that, glad you love it! 🙂

  • Nicole Apr 17, 2022 @ 9:22

    FANTASTIC! I make this often with no changes to the recipe. Be sure to not overbake it though. Yum!

    • AttainableSustainable Apr 19, 2022 @ 6:26

      So glad you love it! 🙂

  • Tracey Feb 21, 2022 @ 8:33

    Thank you! THIS is the sweet cornbread recipe I’ve been looking for all my life! It’s moist, with a crispy bottom (When cooked in the cast iron pan), with just enough sweetness! It’s not a cake, just a slightly sweet cornbread that would go great with chilli. I’ll try your chilli recipe next!

    • AttainableSustainable Feb 22, 2022 @ 7:14

      You’re welcome, I’m so glad you love it! 🙂

      • Bella Apr 9, 2022 @ 9:15

        What kind of corn meal do you suggest I use

        • AttainableSustainable Apr 12, 2022 @ 6:20

          I would go with whatever you can find that is organic and a fine to medium grind.

  • Carmen Feb 14, 2022 @ 16:10

    I added a small container of unsweetened apple sauce for extra moisture (I don’t care for crumbly corn bread). The top never turned golden brown but it was still very good. I like sweet cornbread and this had just the right amount of sweetness. This recipe was definitely worth the extra effort of making homemade.

    • AttainableSustainable Feb 15, 2022 @ 7:20

      I’m glad it worked out for you! 🙂

  • Sheree Norton Feb 13, 2022 @ 13:02

    Awesome cornbread. It’s sweet and has the best density. Moist and doesn’t crumble. I like to melt a tablespoon of butter on top when it first comes out and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

    • AttainableSustainable Feb 15, 2022 @ 7:25

      Those sound like delicious additions! Glad you love this recipe 🙂

  • Mel Goss Jan 11, 2022 @ 5:33

    SO GOOD! I made some baked beans from scratch but forgot the cornbread mix at the store. Luckily I had almost everything for this recipe (subs: used ghee, less sugar & added some honey, and oat milk) and I will never go back to the pre-made mix again. Thank you for sharing this recipe with the world!

    • AttainableSustainable Jan 11, 2022 @ 8:16

      That’s so great, and those subs sound perfect! Glad you loved it 🙂

  • Renee Dec 16, 2021 @ 10:11

    Can I use buttermilk instead?

    • AttainableSustainable Dec 21, 2021 @ 9:43

      You can substitute the milk for buttermilk 1:1, but you may need to also add 1/2 tsp of baking soda. Give it a try!

  • Jane Nov 23, 2021 @ 6:20

    This was perfect! I generally only have oat milk on hand so that’s what I ended up using. This wasn’t too sweet either so I can still sneak some into my stuffing!

    • AttainableSustainable Dec 2, 2021 @ 10:14

      I’m glad the oat milk worked well! Sounds delicious in stuffing 🙂

  • Brenda Oct 21, 2021 @ 11:55

    Made this tonite!! Very good with chili!!

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 21, 2021 @ 17:19

      I’m so glad to hear it!

  • Tricia Sep 29, 2021 @ 14:51

    Great recipe to make again and again!

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 13, 2021 @ 14:58

      I’m glad you liked it!

  • Jill Elaine Metrusias Jun 25, 2021 @ 7:29

    Should the 2/3 cup butter be softened or melted? Thanks!

    • Kris Bordessa Jul 6, 2021 @ 16:35

      I usually take it out of the fridge 10-15 minutes before making the recipe.

  • Maureen Apr 11, 2021 @ 17:54

    I made this tonight, DELICIOUS!!!! & very easy!

    • Attainable Sustainable Apr 24, 2021 @ 9:20

      Glad you enjoyed it Maureen. Thank you!

  • Tim Mar 18, 2021 @ 5:12

    Can I use a 10” skillet for this recipe or do I need to alter the amount of ingredients?

    • Kris Bordessa Mar 23, 2021 @ 17:18

      I haven’t actually *tried a 10″ skillet, but I suspect it would be fine. A little bit thicker, so you might have to cook a tad longer.

      • Angie Sep 11, 2021 @ 6:53

        The only cast iron pan I have is a 10” skillet so I used it. Each time it’s come out perfectly!

        • Kris Bordessa Sep 12, 2021 @ 8:31

          Glad to hear it!

  • Christine Mar 3, 2021 @ 5:27

    Love thisrecipe but after creaming eggs and sugar when I add the milk and eggs the butter clumps up which makes it difficult to make sure the buttervis evenly distributed. should the milk and eggs be room temp?

    • Kris Bordessa Mar 11, 2021 @ 8:07

      You could certainly let the milk sit out for an hour or so ahead of making the recipe!

  • Teri Sugg Nov 5, 2020 @ 21:55

    I HAVE to make cornbread-sausage stuffing every Thanksgiving… Jim’s from Tennessee. But no sugar or flour is allowed in the cornbread. (Did that once and got an earful about “Yankee cornbread. Wrong wrong wrong, evidently). The Southern recipe calls for bacon fat, but I use olive oil.

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 9, 2020 @ 13:41

      Teri! Yes, I’ve discovered that people are quite passionate about the “proper” recipe for cornbread! LOL.

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