When I was little, I was known as “the cornbread kid” in my family because goodness, I could put back some cornbread! Decades later, cornbread is still one of my favorite side dishes to serve with soups, stews, and other hearty meals.
There are a lot of regional variations on cornbread, but this honey-sweetened version is a favorite in my house. It’s sweet enough to cut spicy foods like chili, but not so sweet that it tastes like you’re eating dessert. Let’s get baking!
What is cornbread made of?
If you occasionally bake, you probably already have most of the ingredients for honey cornbread in your pantry: all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, vegetable oil, egg, and honey.
This recipe calls for whole milk, but you can also use buttermilk for a tangier flavor. Plant-based milk or other types of cow’s milk will also work, but the fat in whole milk will give the cornbread a richer, deeper flavor.
And of course, cornmeal is a necessity for cornbread. Both white and yellow cornmeal will work, though many Southern bakers will argue that only white cornmeal will do.
Traditionally, the only flour in cornbread is—you guessed it—straight cornmeal. While that’s great for an authentic, rustic flavor, we prefer the softness and tenderness you get when you cut cornmeal with wheat flour.
How do you make honey cornbread?
Start to finish, cornbread will be ready in about half an hour.
To make honey cornbread:
- Preheat the oven and grease a 9″x9″ baking pan.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Add all the wet ingredients, except for the honey, and stir thoroughly.
- Fold the honey into the cornbread mixture, stirring until just mixed.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top and edges are golden brown.
That’s it—cornbread is ready!
Is oil or butter better for cornbread?
This is a great debate among cornbread aficionados. Some swear that melted butter makes a superior cornbread, while others believe that oil will give a more tender cornbread. We don’t want to take sides, but for this particular cornbread, we use oil.
The butter flavor would get overpowered by the honey anyways, and oil does just as good a job at keeping the cornbread from drying out.
What kind of oil do you use for cornbread?
Any kind of mildly flavored oil will work for this cornbread: vegetable, canola, avocado, or grapeseed are all good choices. We don’t recommend super distinctive oils like extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil, because the taste of the honey will get lost beneath them.
Can I make this cornbread gluten-free?
Sure can! Just swap in a high-quality one-for-one gluten-free all-purpose flour (we like Cup 4 Cup Multipurpose Flour) in place of the all-purpose flour. Also double-check to make sure the baking powder you use is gluten-free—most are nowadays.
Can I make this honey cornbread vegan, dairy-free, or egg-free?
Yup, easy peasy! Just swap the dairy milk for plant-based milk (we like unsweetened almond milk or oat milk here) and use your favorite egg replacer. The final results will be a little less rich and fluffy than the original recipe, but it’ll still do the trick! This does depend on whether you consider honey to be vegan or not.
What’s the best pan to make this cornbread in?
We recommend either using a 9″ x 9″ cake pan or a 10″ cast iron skillet. Both work beautifully!
Can I make this into corn muffins instead?
Absolutely! Pour the batter into a greased or lined muffin tin. Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
How do you serve honey cornbread?
This sweet cornbread is delicious as-is, but for an even better experience, spread the bread with butter and drizzle with more honey.
What goes well with honey cornbread?
- Cornbread and chili is a classic combination (we like it with this chili or this one, too).
- Most thick, cozy soups are even better with a slab of cornbread.
- Serve cornbread alongside baked beans.
- Use it in dressing.
- Put it with other classic Southern dishes, like these green beans and potatoes.
- Cornbread is a great substitute for rolls as a side to roasted chicken or ham.