Sweet Southern Buttermilk Cornbread

55 minutes
9 servings

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Sweet Southern Buttermilk Cornbread is that little extra embellishment that everybody looks forward to, baked and on your table in just about an hour!

A hunk of cornbread with butter melting on top and honey drizzling down the sides.

If you want one more meaningful but EASY recipe to prepare for your table for holiday guests, consider my Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread recipe. Sweet cornbread is best served with a pat of salted sweet cream butter and a drizzle of honey.

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On my holiday groaning board, I cut this easy, quick bread into squares and placed it at the end of the line. You’d be surprised how many guests get to the end of the buffet and have that “happy-surprised” look when they recognize delicious cornbread made with love.

Cornbread recipes are everywhere, it seems. Every momma has a ‘family favorite’ for the best cornbread recipe. What sets mine apart? I honestly do not know! All I can tell you is that it’s difficult to keep around, absorbs a spoonful of salted butter or honey butter while still hot, and tastes out of this world drizzled liberally with honey.

And why use buttermilk in cornbread, you ask? Why not just melt butter and whisk in a few eggs? This sweet, buttery cornbread recipe would be nothing without the acidic balance of buttermilk. It levels the ‘sugar playing field,’ so to speak, and that’s alright by me. A sweet and savory cornbread without buttermilk would be texturally grainy, dry, and super sweet.

Some darn good additions make your cornbread stand out. Buttermilk cornbread with Vidalia onions, chopped jalapeños, cooked kernel corn, cooked chopped bacon or smoked ham bits, pimentos, or even tiny cubes of roasted butternut squash are fantastic variations of this recipe and also make fabulous, sweet buttermilk cornbread muffins.

up close picture of Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread with butter and honey

The sweet cornbread recipe I share today comes from experimenting in the kitchen. The original goal was to come up with a sweet and savory cornbread crouton to use atop a lobster salad in conjunction with a lemony gremolata. The best cornbread recipes are not always buttermilk cornbread recipes. There was something about the lemon gremolata that did not go well with sweet, unbalanced cornbread. It just tasted…bad. Bitter almost.

Well, when trying to reverse a flavor profile, often, it’s easiest to introduce that same flavor profile in a different element of the dish. From this, you get balance. My recipe for buttermilk cornbread worked as opposed to cornbread made without buttermilk because the acidity in the buttermilk balanced the lemon. It’s science. I get it, but explaining it is something different altogether.

A cut cornbread sitting on top of a table

I almost always add cornbread to my bread baskets on the table. You’d be surprised how many people will grab sweet bread over crusty, savory bread to start their dinners!

Does your best recipe for cornbread call for buttermilk? Even if it does, I would like your thoughts after trying this one. Such is the method for a not-overly-sweet cornbread with buttermilk. I begin by melting butter in a 9-inch cast iron skillet. I add sugar, lightly beaten eggs, flour, cornmeal, and baking powder to the melted butter. Stirred together using the tines of a fork and in a still-warm skillet, this cornbread takes no time. You’ll get a lovely, finished bake if the dry ingredients are incorporated and the lumps are smoothed.

I like my cornbread cut into squares. I pour the batter into an 8″ x 8″ cake pan to bake to get perfect squares. If you prefer wedges, bake it up in a cast iron skillet. I have made cornbread this way but used a separate skillet to bake it, as whatever you use to bake MUST BE GREASED.

jar of honey to drizzle over top Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread
Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread with butter and honey on a wire cooling rack, with a butter knife.

Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread

Jenny DeRemer
If you are looking for one more meaningful but EASY recipe to prepare for your table for holiday guests, consider my Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Servings: 9 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 9 servings
Calories 300 kcal


  • ½ cup butter I prefer salted butter for this recipe
  • cup sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal white or yellow
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Grease an 8 inch square pan liberally with butter on bottom and all sides. Set aside.
  • Melt butter slowly in large skillet. You do not want the butter to brown, only to foam, so medium heat is enough.
  • Once butter is melted, remove from heat and stir in sugar and the beaten eggs and stir quickly with the tines of a fork until well blended.
  • Combine the buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and smooth out any lumps. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • I like to cut these squares while the bread is still hot. I enjoy this bread best with a BIG (probably too much) pat of salted butter, and a healthy drizzle of raw local honey. It's the bees knees.

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 300kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 6gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 327mgPotassium: 125mgFiber: 2gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 426IUCalcium: 43mgIron: 1mg
Did you love this recipe?Leave a comment and Let me know how it was!

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing at the Lazy Gastronome’s What’s for Dinner party. Have a wonderful week – Happy Holidays!