Easy & Delicious Sweet Cornbread Recipe

Bake this sweet cornbread recipe in a cast iron skillet for a moist and delicious old-fashioned cornbread with a crispy crust. 

Serve it up with this easy homemade chili recipe for a delicious meal.

wedges of cornbread on a wire rack.

While I think many of us will agree that a crispy crust on the cornbread is ideal, some people balk at the idea of a sweet cornbread. Southern cornbread, they say, has so 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 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

Sweet Cornbread Recipe

This skillet 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. It’s my favorite cornbread recipe, bar none. If you’ve never made cornbread from scratch, you’re going to love this.

ingredients for homemade cornbread recipe

Ingredients

This 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. 

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. 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. 

Cornmeal — This is what gives this quick bread it’s familiar flavor. Cornmeal comes in fine, medium, or coarse grind. I suggest sticking with the fine or medium grind 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.

dry ingredients for cornbread recipe

Making this sweet cornbread

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

Once creamed, add the milk and eggs. 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 the 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 an excellent 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.

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 freeze for up to three months.

skillet corn bread from above

★ 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

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This cornbread is for those who like a sweet, cake-like cornbread. You can bake it in a skillet for extra crispy edges or a standard baking dish.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup butter + 1 tablespoon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Put a 12” cast iron skillet in the oven while it preheats. (See notes for using a baking dish instead.)
  2. Cream 2/3 cup butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in milk and eggs.
  3. Combine dry ingredients; stir into wet ingredients until just combined.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Cut into 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 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 Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 378Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 310mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 6g

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wedges of sweet corn bread on a wire rack

Originally published March 2020; this post has been updated.

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About the author: Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle. She’s a certified Master Food Preserver and longtime gardener who loves to turn the harvest into pantry staples.

32 comments… add one
  • 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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