This is my favorite homemade cornbread recipe! It is very moist thanks to a little oil added to the batter, and extra sweet thanks to some sugar and honey. No more dry cornbread! This skillet cornbread is baked in a hot cast iron skillet for that extra crispy edge, perfect for dunking in a bowlful of chili. Originally posted October 23, 2019.

cornbread being drizzled with honey, on a plate, with a pat of butter melting on top.
Table of Contents
  1. The Best Cornbread Recipe
  2. What is Southern cornbread?
  3. What is Northern Corn Bread?
  4. Sweet Cornbread Recipe Ingredients
  5. What type of cornmeal is recommended for sweet cornbread?
  6. How to make the Best Cornbread Recipe
  7. Why Sweet Cornbread should be made in a skillet
  8. If I don’t have a skillet, what other type of pan can be used to make corn bread?
  9. Ways to top homemade cornbread (topping ideas!)
  10. What to eat with Corn Bread
  11. Storing and Reheating Cornbread
  12. Moist Cornbread Recipe FAQ
  13. Best Cornbread Recipe (Sweet & Moist) Recipe
  14. Making this cornbread recipe in a 9×13 inch pan
  15. Buttermilk:
  16. More recipes you are going to love!

Eric has hidden all the Halloween candy from me. I really can’t find it anywhere. I made the mistake of buying it too early and have been snacking on it a bit too much while the kids are at school.

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cornbread being lifted from a pan with a spatula, topped with a pat of butter melting.

Truman came in from the kitchen the other day and was like, “Mom, did you start eating the Halloween candy already??”

“How did you know??”

“I saw all the wrappers in the trash!!”

The days of putting one over on my kids are long gone you guys.

a piece of cornbread on a plate topped with butter and honey on the side.

The same EXACT conversation happened not even an hour later when Charlotte found all the Reese’s wrappers in the trash. “Mom, stop eating all the Halloween candy!”

I remember a few years ago when my kids were much smaller and easier to deceive, I was over at my friend Amy’s house. Her husband came into the kitchen and asked where their daughter’s Halloween stash was. Amy told him that their daughter COUNTS it, so don’t even try sneaking some when she’s not around. I knew right then that this is what my children would have to resort to in the future. I either need to stop candy thieving or get better at hiding the evidence. (I’m thinking the latter is going to win out.)

The Best Cornbread Recipe

Who’s heading to a chili cook-off this weekend? Did you sign up to bring a side of cornbread? Tis the season for this classic chili side dish.

I have always been extremely ho-hum about cornbread. Offer me dinner rolls or cornbread, and I will take the dinner rolls every time. Most of the time sweet cornbread is dry and sad and not worth the carbs.

So I set out to create a recipe that would be worth it!

There is a lot of debate surrounding cornbread. Southern cornbread? Northern cornbread? Sugar, no sugar? Skillet or cake pan? I’m from California. I claim no grandmotherly secrets. I didn’t know the first thing about cornbread or why people have strong opinions about it. But I wanted to get the dirt on all the controversy, so the answer?

7 different batches of cornbread in different trays and pans with slices cut out of them, laid out on a table.

Make a million batches of cornbread (or 8. The last one was still in the oven when I snapped this.) I tried Southern cornbread, Northern cornbread, and a bunch of in-between cornbreads. My final recipe is my personal favorite, but it’s clear that there are lots of opinions about this! My recipe is fluffy and sweet, with crispy edges.

What is Southern cornbread?

Southern cornbread is not sweet. The recipe I tried had only 2 teaspoons of sugar in the whole pan, and I thought it was awful. I made everyone who passed through my house try it, and my friend Jen literally took it out of her mouth and threw it in the garbage. (Right next to all the Reese’s wrappers). Stuff was dry as a bone.

Southern cornbread is baked in a preheated skillet with hot bacon grease, so that the edges get super crispy. It’s also thin: only about 1 inch tall. If you are from the South and you love this type of cornbread, please tell me what I am missing.

What is Northern Corn Bread?

Northern cornbread looks just like the cornbread most of us are used to, but the recipe I tried (Cook’s Illustrated for Northern and Southern) only had 4 teaspoons of sugar for the whole pan. It is taller and fluffier, but in my opinion still dry and bland. It is baked in a normal 8×8 inch pan (as opposed to the skillet). It does not have crispy edges.

cornbread with butter melting on top, sliced in a skillet, a spatula lifting the center piece.

(embrace the crispy edggge)

I took the crispy edges from Southern cornbread and the fluffy texture of Northern cornbread to make my own hybrid version of the best homemade sweet cornbread. Plus a whole lot more sugar. Because, guys, let’s be real, we are topping it with butter and honey, let’s just accept the fact that it is basically a cake with some cornmeal in it. And it is DELICIOUS. This is not an apology.

cornbread on a plate, shot close up, topped with melting butter and drizzled with honey.

(why would I apologize for this)

Sweet Cornbread Recipe Ingredients

Full instructions can be found in the recipe card below!

  • Flour (spooned and leveled)
  • Yellow cornmeal
  • Kosher salt
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder (SEE NOTE)
  • Butter
  • Vegetable oil
  • Granulated sugar
  • Honey
  • Eggs
  • Buttermilk. You can use cheater buttermilk for this recipe. For 1 cup of cheater buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup, then add milk until you reach 1 cup. Stir and let sit 5 minutes before using. (For the 1 and 1/4 cups that the recipe calls for, use 4 teaspoons vinegar and fill to the 1 1/4 cup mark.)

A goodly number of people say white cornmeal is best for Southern (less sweet) cornbread and yellow cornmeal is best for Northern (sweeter) varieties. A goodly number of people say either color is fine for either recipe. A hopefully small number of people will argue until breathless over the “right” answer. You can join any category. I personally stay out of this one! For this recipe, we are using yellow cornmeal.

How to make the Best Cornbread Recipe

Oil is the answer to all of your dry cornbread woes. It is also the ingredient that makes for a supremely moist cake, so you know it’s going to help out a humble cornbread! We are also using plenty of butter to get that perfect honey butter flavor. Oh and don’t forget the buttermilk. It adds that perfect tang. (You can use cheater buttermilk if you want. See notes)

pouring honey into wet ingredients in a bowl, dry ingredients in a bowl, to make cornbread.

You need two bowls for this recipe, and one of them only has dry ingredients, so when you are done you can wipe it clean and put it away. (Can you tell I hate dishes?) The batter is slightly lumpy, and that’s okay.

melting butter in a hot cast iron skillet, adding cornbread batter to skillet.

Preheat your cast iron skillet in the oven, then grease with a bit of butter. The cornbread batter going into a hot skillet is part of what makes the edges crispy.

cornbread batter bubbling and cooking on the edges in a preheated cast iron skillet.

You can see it bubbling and cooking on the edges of the pan before you even put it in the oven! Yesssss

Why Sweet Cornbread should be made in a skillet

There is a reason that seasoned cooks swear by cast iron skillets. They give you the BEST crispy edges for baked goods like homemade cornbread. You will not get edges QUITE as crispy if you bake in a square or 9×13 pan, and that might be totally okay with you. (See notes for the changes you will have to make if you are not using cast iron.) But I love the combination of a super moist and tender center, right next to a crispy crackly edge that you can dunk in your chili.

If I don’t have a skillet, what other type of pan can be used to make corn bread?

You can use a 8×8 inch, 9×9 inch, or 9×13 inch pan but first you have to do two things:

  1. You have to put “cast iron skillet” on your wishlist.
  2. You have to look at the notes on the recipe before you start because you need to change the amount of ingredients you use in the batter. I’ve got all the notes you need in the recipe itself.
cornbread on a plate with melting butter and honey being drizzled on top.

Ways to top homemade cornbread (topping ideas!)

What did I put on top of my cornbread? Let’s see. Butter, check. Honey, check. More butter, check. More honey, check. Listen, there might be other options but why would you ever use them? Okay fine here are some ideas:

What to eat with Corn Bread

Try this cornbread with The Best Chili Recipe I’ve Ever Made! It’s a match made in heaven! Try these other chili recipes too:

You could also try cornbread with:

  • Pulled Pork and a side of Coleslaw!
  • Any kind of BBQ like this Tri tip
  • Dunk it in this Beef Barley Soup 
  • Fried chicken, I mean right? Try this recipe from Recipe Tin Eats.
  • Jam. Listen, if you put on enough jam, and eat enough cornbread, who says it’s not a meal? (I know. I know. I said I only ate cornbread with honey and butter but…sometimes I eat it with jam too, okay?)
cornbread sliced in the cast iron pan, topped with melting butter and being drizzled with honey.

Storing and Reheating Cornbread

This cornbread will last in covered on the counter for 2 days, in the fridge for up to a week, or wrapped tightly in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you take it out of the freezer, thaw the cornbread at room temperature, then serve as-is, or warm in the oven at 350ºF until heated through (or microwave single slices).

overhead shot of cornbread in a cast iron skillet with a pat of butter melting on top.

Moist Cornbread Recipe FAQ

Should cornbread be refrigerated?

Not necessarily, but it will last longer if stored in the fridge. The cornbread will stay more moist if it’s stored at room temperature, but will only last for a couple of days. It may dry out slightly if stored in the fridge but will stay fresh for up to one week. 

What makes cornbread moist?

There are a few ingredients at work here to make this homemade cornbread super moist, but the key ingredient is buttermilk! The acidity in buttermilk creates a super moist and tender texture that just can’t be achieved with regular milk. Cheater buttermilk (made with milk and vinegar) has the same effect, so don’t worry, you’ll still get incredible moistness. The other secret ingredient is oil, which is 100% fat and brings the MOIST.

And that’s it! Cornbread is one of the easiest side dishes ever. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to mix up the ingredients and get it in the oven. Make it! Love it! Happy Halloween everyone!

UPDATE February 2024: This recipe was developed for a 9-inch cast iron skillet. But, very often I need to take a big batch of cornbread to an event, and the cast iron is not practical for that (plus doesn’t make a ton.) So I went back to the drawing board on making this recipe in a 9×13 inch pan. I’ve included my updated notes at the bottom of the recipe card!

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Best Cornbread Recipe (Sweet & Moist)

4.76 from 357 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 28 minutes
Total: 38 minutes
Servings: 10
This is my favorite homemade cornbread recipe! It is very moist thanks to a little oil added to the batter, and extra sweet thanks to some sugar and honey. No more dry cornbread! This skillet cornbread is baked in a hot cast iron skillet for that extra crispy edge, perfect for dunking in a bowlful of chili


  • 1 cup flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon for 8×8 pan, SEE NOTE
  • 1/2 cup butter, (1 stick)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 & 1/4 cups buttermilk*


  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place your 9-inch cast iron skillet in the oven while the oven preheats. (If you are baking this in an 8×8 or 9×9 inch square pan, see note.)
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 2 teaspoons baking powder. (Use 1 teaspoon baking powder if using a square pan.)
  • Slice off about 1/2 tablespoon from your 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter and set aside (you will grease the pan with it soon). 
  • Melt the remaining butter in a large bowl in the microwave.
  • Add 1/4 cup oil, 1 cup of sugar, and 1/3 cup honey to the large bowl with the melted butter. Stir well until combined. 
  • Add 2 eggs and 1 and 1/4 cups buttermilk.* Whisk until fully incorporated. 
  • Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (then wipe out the dry bowl and put it back in your cupboard!) DO NOT over mix! Make sure the dry ingredients are fully incorporated but don’t worry if there are a few lumps. 
  • Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven and shut the door. Grease the bottom and sides (all the way to the top) with the remaining half tablespoon butter. I use a butter knife. If it melts too fast, use a pastry brush to spread it around. 
  • Pour the batter into the hot pan and smooth out the top. 
  • Use hot pads to place the skillet back in the oven. Bake at 375 for 28-32 minutes. The cornbread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter on it. You can also shake the skillet a little, and if is at all wobbly, leave it in a couple more minutes. The top should be golden brown and the edges should pull away from the edges of the pan. 
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. This is best served right away so the edges are nice and crispy! Top with butter and honey, and/or serve with The Best Chili Recipe I've Ever Made!
  • Store the cornbread tightly covered on the counter for up to 3 days. If you made it in a cast iron pan, remove the cornbread from the cast iron once cool, and store in a sealed container (otherwise it will start to taste all iron-y. no thanks.)



IMPORTANT! If you plan to make this recipe in an 8×8 or 9×9 inch square pan:
  1. Only use 1 teaspoon baking powder. (Your cake will overflow the pan if you use 2 teaspoons.)
  2. Do not put the pan in the oven while it is preheating. Spray the pan with nonstick spray. There is no need to set aside the 1/2 tablespoon of butter from the stick of butter called for in the recipe. 

Making this cornbread recipe in a 9×13 inch pan

UPDATE February 2024: There have been a lot of reviews saying that a doubled recipe overflows. This never happened for me, but I experimented with reducing the amount of batter for a 9×13 and am happy with the results. If you bake in a metal pan, the edges will still get pretty crispy, which is awesome.  Below is my updated recipe for a 9×13 pan; it’s 1.5x the recipe, not a full double. 
Grease a metal 9×13 inch pan and do not put it in the oven while preheating. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, not 375. 1.5x all the ingredients except for the baking powder:
  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 3/4 cup butter (this is 1 and 1/2 sticks)
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 and 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
The 9×13 recipe takes about 35-38 minutes to bake at 350. About halfway through the bake time, cover the cornbread loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Take it out when the center is no longer jiggly and a toothpick comes out clean. 


*You can use cheater buttermilk for this recipe. For 1 cup of cheater buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup, then add milk until you reach 1 cup. Stir and let sit 5 minutes before using. (For the 1 and 1/4 cups that the recipe calls for, use 4 teaspoons vinegar and fill to the 1 and 1/4 cup mark.)


Calories: 366kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 376mg | Potassium: 115mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 387IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Calories: 366
Keyword: cornbread, homemade, Honey, moist, Sweet
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  1. Anyone else get absolute liquid still at 40 minutes of baking the 9×13 version? I’m so confused; I followed the recipe exactly, with the exception of using the cheaters’ buttermilk.

    1. Hi Caroline! Every oven is different, if it’s not done, just add more time on to the end and keep checking with a toothpick!

  2. 5 stars
    I don’t usually like cornbread but I loved this recipe. Made it exactly as written the hubby and I ate the whole thing in 2 day, will definitely make again

    1. That’s amazing Debra, so glad you and your husband loved it so much! And thanks so much for taking the time to come let us know how much you enjoyed it. It means a lot!

  3. This is my family’s favorite cornbread recipe ever! I want to make this recipe in cast iron muffin pans. Has anyone done this? If so how long did you bake them?

    1. Hi Lisa! We haven’t tried this in a cast iron muffin pan yet, but if you try it, come back and let us know how it turns out! So glad to hear that this is your family’s favorite :-)

  4. 5 stars
    I like cornbread like a dessert and this was it. I followed recipe exactly but the only thing I changed was oven temp as my oven runs hotter. I was worried when the top was darker than expected but it was just the sugar and honey creating a crunchy caramel crust.

      1. I haven’t tried this Francine! I *think* it would be ok. you might want to use half milk half yogurt, and mix that together first. Let me know how it goes!

  5. 1 star
    Oh my word this was just awful. The top of it was like burnt honey and then it was soooo dense and sweet that you couldn’t taste the corn part of the corn bread. I love sweet corn bread but I’ll stick to just adding honey on top when it’s done being cooked.

  6. I see in the 9×13 version of the recipe that the baking soda and powder weren’t doubled. Typo or is there a reason? Thinking of making these in muffin form to go with our employee appreciation dinner this weekend.

    1. Hi Kerri! I have been experimenting with changing the amounts of leavening on a doubled recipe. I just updated the recipe card with my final version. I switched to 1.5 the amount of batter, instead of double, but we are still NOT increasing the baking powder. All the details are in the note of the recipe card. I hope this helps! Enjoy!

  7. 5 stars
    This is the second time I’ve made this recipe. This time I added 2 cups of homemade 5 bean chili to the recipe before cooking it in a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Delicious!!!

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