Grandma’s Cornbread. Slightly sweet with a tender, moist crumb. A 1951 original from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, passed down through generations.
As a food blogger and recipe developer I love trying new foods in new ways, but there is something so warm and familiar about using a tried and true recipe that has been passed down through generations. In my family, grandma’s cornbread has always been one of those recipes.
It’s light and tender, yet crumbly and chewy at the same time. It goes great with soup, stew, chili, and is a staple for a barbecue. It is a sweeter version of cornbread, but it’s just the way I like it.
Almost every time I make this for friends someone asks for the recipe. Since my family has never been one to keep recipes secret, I would happily give it out.
When I decided to use it for this post, I called my mom to try and learn where the original recipe came from. Luckily, I caught her while visiting my grandma and the two of them let me in on what was the only secret behind this recipe – the source.
My mom sent me a photo of the original recipe from my grandmother’s well worn, well loved 1951 copy of Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. She received it as a wedding present in December of 1952, and what is left has survived for over 60 years.
You can see from the included instructions that the intended audience was someone who didn’t need a lot of instruction. Recipe writing sure has changed a lot over the years. Like most good cooks, my grandmother has made her own notes on additions and subtractions in her lovely cursive scrawl.
If you look closely above the recipe for Corn Muffins you can see where she wrote “best for cornbread.” I have no idea how long ago she wrote that, but it’s still true to this day.
When my mom started making this cornbread she chose to use a cast iron skillet. When I started making it for myself, I tried an 8″ square cake pan, but something just wasn’t right.
The bread still smelled the same, but the crust was not as thick and it didn’t have the same savory chewiness. Once I tried it again in a cast iron skillet, it turned out exactly as I remembered growing up.
This recipe does need to be mixed in 3 seperate bowls, then combined together. Don’t overlook this step. The butter and sugar need to be creamed together. The egg needs to be thoroughly whisked into the milk. The baking powder and salt need to be evenly distributed into the flour.
It’s also very important not to overmix the batter with the cornmeal. The result will be tough instead of chewy and light. Mix the batter until the cornmeal is just incorporated then pour it into the pan. To get the best lift, get the batter into the oven immediately.
You’ll know it’s done when the top turns golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If it pulls out any gooey batter, continue to bake, checking every 3 – 5 minutes.
If you find yourself with leftovers, this makes a great pan toast for breakfast. Cut a wedge and slice in half like you would if you were going to butter the inside. Except, put the butter into a small frying pan and melt it over medium heat. Then add the toast with the inside edges down in the pan. The inside will toast up and absorb the butter.
From summertime BBQs to warm winter soups, cornbread makes a great side for year round meals. Try it with my Citrus Glazed Pork Chops, Carrot Ginger Soup, Carolina BBQ Chicken Salad, or Potato and Parsnip Soup.
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Grandma's Cornbread. Slightly sweet with a tender, moist crumb. A 1951 original from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, passed down through generations.
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup butter softened
- 1 cup flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup cornmeal
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and liberally butter your pan.
- In a small mixing bowl measure out sugar, and softened butter then cream together.
- In a large mixing bowl, measure out flour, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine.
- In a 4 cup measuring cup beat one egg, add 1 1/4 cups of milk and mix together.
Whisk the milk and egg mixture into the butter mixture.
Mix the liquid mixture into the flour mixture. Do not over mix.
Add in cornmeal and stir until just combined.
Pour into your buttered pan and bake for 25 - 30 minutes.