Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread | Swanky Recipes (2024)

Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread | Swanky Recipes (1)

An easy homemade cornbread recipe made from scratch! This Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread is a southern recipe staple served as a side dish, appetizer or dessert next to your favorite comfort foods.

This buttery oven-baked casserole style cornbread bakes up moist, tender, dense, and cake-like. If you like sweet cornbread, try my recipe made with traditional and modern ingredients. If you’re considering serving cornbread for Thanksgiving, Christmas or served as a dish to your favorite entrees, consider this sweet southern cornbread recipe because it’s better than any bakery, store brand, or boxed Jiffy cornbread mix around townand so easy to make.

Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread | Swanky Recipes (2)

Buttermilk Cornbread is the ultimate Southern dish. While cornbread is served throughout the United States, it’s a beloved Southern staple and is served all throughout the south like Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Virgina, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and Oklahoma. It’s an especially popular dish to serve with fall and winter dishes and it has grown to be one of my favorite recipes to make this time of year.

Homemade sweet cornbread is a southern delicacy. It is often cooked in a cast iron skillet over the stove top, campfire or it is baked in the oven in a casserole dish or a sheet pan.Ingredients for the BEST Sweet Cornbread:

  • BUTTER is an essential ingredient that adds moisture to the crumb while flavoring the dish.
  • CORNMEAL is the start of this recipe. It wouldn’t be cornbread without cornmeal. I like to use Martha White Medium cornmeal.
  • FLOUR adds a delicate balance to the cornmeal. It helps to refine the texture of the cornbread without sacrificing the bold flavor of cornmeal.
  • BUTTERMILK is the key to making the BEST cornbread recipe. The buttermilk makes the texture of the crumb cake like, moist, and delicious. I highly suggest using buttermilk in the recipe but if you can’t get your hands on any, try using this buttermilk substitute recipe here.
  • EGGS help to hold the cornbread together. It also adds a velvety smooth texture the dish. Generally, the more eggs, the more cake like the cornbread.
  • SUGAR is used to sweeten. It add moisture and helps to soften the crumb texture. PRO TIP: To make a savory cornbread using my recipe, reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup like in this savory cornbread recipe I made.
  • HONEY is another ingredient used to sweeten this sweet bread. I like the distinct flavor honey adds to dishes and it’s often served with cornbread.
  • BAKING SODA/POWDER helps give this otherwise dense sweet bread a lift.

Steps to Make Cornbread

  1. Mix together cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch.
  2. Melt butter and mix with sugar and honey. Whisk in 1 egg at a time.
  3. Pour buttermilk into wet egg mixture. Stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.
  5. Pour cornbread batter into a prepared casserole dish and bake for 45-50 minutes.
Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread | Swanky Recipes (3)

Northern VS. Southern Cornbread; What’s the Difference?

One of the main differences in cornbread is the ingredients. Sweet cornbread uses sugar, honey, or molasses as an ingredient while savory cornbread is not made with any sugar. I often get called out for saying that this sweet style cornbread is not truly southern because of it’s use of sugar. Here’s the thing, in New Orleans, sweet cornbread is almost always served at restaurants and holiday parties.

Traditionally thought amoung deep root southerners is that northern cornbread is sweet, moise, dense and cake like while deep south cornbread is savory, dry and has a crumble texture due to it’s lack of sugar. I’m here to tell you that cornbread styles are much more a preference based on family lines. That said, it can still be a regional preference. Several counties or parishes in the deep south may only make a claim to sweet or savory cornbread and that’s fine.

Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread | Swanky Recipes (4)

This distinctly sweet cornbread recipe is a cornmeal recipe made with, flour, eggs, buttermilk and sugar. There are a few varieties of cornbread served throughout the U.S. and each variety serves a different purpose. This recipe calls for a good portion of sweetness so if you were hoping for a non-sweet recipe, try excluding the sugar like in this savory cornbread recipe I made last year.

Buttermilk Cornbread is an awesome dish to make for the holidays and is good when served with chili, mac and cheese, Thanksgiving dinner and so much more!

From Scratch Cornbread Pro Tips:

  • MIXING: It’s important to slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just incorporated and a few dry crumbs remain. The batter should be a little lumpy and wet.
  • TEXTURE: The batter to this cornbread is HEAVY. That’s because we are using a lot of heavy ingredients. The cornmeal, flour, sugar, and buttermilk are going to add weight. The end result is a dense, but very moist cake like cornbread. One reader commented on Pinterest that they were not sure if they did something wrong as it turned out dense but delicious.
  • BUTTERMILK: Fresh buttermilk is always best. If for some reason you cannot get buttermilk, use this buttermilk substitute recipe.
  • CAST IRON CORNBREAD: If making in a cast iron skillet, half the recipe. Then, melt a 3 tablespoons butter in skillet over high heat. Pour cornbread into a hot skillet and bake in oven.
  • HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN CORNBREAD IS DONE? Cornbread is done when when the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • HOW TO PREVENT BURNT CORNBREAD: Cornbread should be covered with foil once a golden brown crust has formed on top then baked until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If your cornbread is burnt on the sides, your oven may be burning to hot or you may be using a dark nonstick pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake longer next time.
  • HOW TO WARM CORNBREAD: Simply reheat in a 300 degree oven or cut a slice and microwave it for 45 seconds. Serve with butter or honey.
Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread | Swanky Recipes (5)

How to Serve Cornbread

My golden Louisiana cornbread recipe is a southern staple and it’s served nearly everywhere from the deep south to the northern parts of the south. If there is one thing I love about the south, it’s the comfort food and the fact that I can find this side dish nearly everywhere. What does cornbread go with? Traditionally, cornbread is served for breakfast, and holidays like Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Serve cornbread with these southern recipes.


If you’re planning your Thanksgiving Day dinner menu, serve cornbread as a side dish bread or dessert with these holiday recipes.


Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread | Swanky Recipes (6)

Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread

Favorite Recipe

A classic Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread recipe that's supremely moist, dense, and full of sweet honey butter flavor. You've never had moist golden country cornbread this tender before! Easy to make from scratch and made with traditional ingredients, it will quickly become your go to recipe year round! Serve as an appetizer, side dish, or dessert.

5 from 19 votes

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 45 minutes mins

Total Time 55 minutes mins

Course Appetizer, Breakfast & Dessert, Side Dish

Cuisine American, creole

Servings 24 servings

Calories 262 kcal


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted 2 sticks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal I used medium Martha White
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • cup buttermilk


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.

  • Prepare a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with foil.Grease foil with spray or butter; set aside.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch; set aside.

  • In a large bowl, add melted butter, sugar and honey.

  • Whisk in eggs one at a time.

  • Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla extract.

  • Carefully whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients a little at a time.Stir until incorporated.

  • Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

  • Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes.Center should not jiggle when done.Cover top with foil when the top is golden brown to prevent it browning darker.

  • Allow to cool.Cut into square pieces.

  • Serve with butter or honey.


MIXING: It’s important to slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just incorporated and a few dry crumbs remain. The batter should be a little lumpy and wet. This batter will be heavy and bake up dense but very moist.

BUTTERMILK: Fresh buttermilk is always best. If for some reason you cannot get buttermilk, use this buttermilk substitute recipe.

CAST IRON CORNBREAD: If making in a cast iron skillet, half the recipe. Then, melt a 3 tablespoons butter in skillet over high heat. Pour cornbread into a hot skillet and bake in oven.


Calories: 262kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 4gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 189mgPotassium: 112mgFiber: 2gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 325IUCalcium: 40mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.

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Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread | Swanky Recipes (7)
Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread | Swanky Recipes (8)

updated 2021

31 Responses

  1. Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread | Swanky Recipes (9)
    This is my fave recipe! I love a heavier cornbread and this was perfect. My family even said it was the best I have ever made! I was wondering if I could cut down on the sugar? Will it affect the outcome? This will be my go to recipe!


    1. Glad you enjoyed it! If you pull back a little on the sugar it will just be a little less sweet.


  2. Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread | Swanky Recipes (10)
    So so good. My whole family enjoyed it!


    1. So glad you and your family enjoyed it =)


  3. Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread | Swanky Recipes (11)
    I’m a Canadian and I’m obsessed with corn bread, it’s not very popular in Canada, I have tried many recipes and was left disappointed, this recipe is 1000% the best I have ever had or made. Better than some I have tried in the southern US states. Thank you, thank you it’s a WINNER.


  4. I needed cornbread to go with my chili and this was the right recipe! I’ll make this every time I want cornbread from here on out!


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Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread | Swanky Recipes (2024)


What is the difference between southern cornbread and sweet cornbread? ›

A quick Google search will tell you that Southern cornbread is oftentimes devoid of any sugar, while its Northern counterpart is light, sweet, buttery and cakelike.

Why do Southerners not put sugar in cornbread? ›

Sugar in the cornbread interferes with the flavor of the vegetables. Don't put sugar in your cornbread! Traditional cornbread isn't sweet, but many favorite recipes have sugar in them.

Why do you put buttermilk in cornbread? ›

I recommend using buttermilk in this cornbread recipe for the best texture; it helps keep it soft and moist. If you use just regular milk for this recipe, your cornbread will come out drier than I personally care for, but since cornbread is classically crumbly, you might be able to get away with it.

What is cornbread milk and sugar called? ›

Also referred to as “crumble-in,” this hearty snack of cornbread doused in milk is beloved among communities in the Southern United States, stretching from Appalachian West Virginia to the heart of Texas.

What is cornbread called in the South? ›

It is commonly called "cornbread" in the Southern United States and is not known by a different name in this region. Cornbread is a simple bread that is made by mixing cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and milk to form a batter, which is then baked in the oven.

Can you add sugar to cornbread mix? ›

I love to bake from scratch, but I have often used packaged cornbread mix, adding a little extra something to the ingredients and making the finished product taste more homemade. My favorite thing to add is sugar—a hot topic for another conversation!

Why is cornbread not healthy? ›

The exact nutritional profile of cornbread can vary depending on the specific recipe and ingredients used. However, cornbread generally contains high amounts of carbs, phosphorus, and sodium in each serving. One piece of cornbread prepared from a commercially prepared mix contains ( 2 ): Calories: 198.

What is the difference between New York cornbread and southern cornbread? ›

A typical contemporary northern U.S. cornbread recipe contains half wheat flour, half cornmeal, milk or buttermilk, eggs, leavening agent, salt, and usually sugar, resulting in a bread that is somewhat lighter and sweeter than the traditional southern version.

Can diabetics eat sweet cornbread? ›

Neither cornmeal, sugar or "flour" (which is non specified so am assuming its wheat flour) are suitable for type 2 diabetics. Use a natural sugar substitute and the recipe might work with buckwheat flour perhaps?

What is buttermilk and cornbread called? ›

It's usually buttermilk, although some people prefer "sweet milk", a vernacular term for regular fresh milk. In some corners, people call this Crumble In, or simply Bread and Milk.

Can I use heavy whipping cream instead of buttermilk for cornbread? ›

They're not completely interchangeable. Yes, you can swap them in a recipe, but it's not as simple as switching buttermilk for heavy cream/heavy cream for buttermilk. For example, if you're replacing buttermilk with heavy cream you'll probably need to switch out your baking soda for baking powder.

Why do bakers love buttermilk? ›

Buttermilk is made up of a variety of acids – the results of the fermentation process, which give baked goods a couple of benefits. First, the acidity provides tangy flavor to balance all kinds of sweet baked treats. Second, it activates baking soda, producing the gas that makes dough or batter rise.

What is the difference between Yankee cornbread and Southern cornbread? ›

The thing that distinguishes Southern cornbread from, say Yankee cornbread, or any other cornbread one is likely to eat outside of the southern states, is that it is savory, not sweet, and it is made mostly with cornmeal.

What did Native Americans call cornbread? ›

Among them was a version of Indian bread made of cornmeal, salt and water called pone or corn pone. The name came from the Algonquin word apan, meaning "baked." The Narragansett word for cornbread, nokechick, became no-cake and then hoe-cake.

Why is it called hot water cornbread? ›

It is called hot water cornbread because you add boiling water to the cornmeal to soften and cook it a bit. How do you store hot water cornbread? Hot water cornbread is best eaten the day you make it. If you need to store it, place it in an airtight container.

Is real Southern cornbread sweet? ›

Real, traditional, Southern-style cornbread is savory, not sweet, and always has been.

Should Southern cornbread be sweet? ›

In 1892, a Times correspondent, after enumerating the many types of corn-based breads eaten in Virginia, noted, "It will be observed that in none of them is sugar used. There are cornmeal puddings served with sweet sauces, but no Southern cook would risk the spoiling of her cornbreads by sweetening them."

What does Southern cornbread taste like? ›

While on its own, Southern cornbread may be underwhelming, it's neutral flavor and crumbly texture make it the perfect vessel to soak up liquidy foods, like cranberry sauce or turkey gravy. Or, it can be eaten on its own, perhaps mixed with gooey cheese or spicy jalapeños.

What is the difference between southern cornbread and New York cornbread? ›

The Difference In Cornbread Lies In These Key Ingredients

Also, Southern-style cornbread should contain very little sugar and flour, and if you can, get your hands on stone-ground cornmeal. If you favor moist, sweet Northern-style cornbread, use flour and sugar liberally in your mix.


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