A good piece of cornbread is so satisfying, but a bad piece of cornbread is just … sad. I’m sure we’ve all been served a sad piece of cornbread, one that’s either too dry, too dense, too crumbly, too flavorless, or waaaaay too sweet. That’s why, when I decided to create my own recipe for homemade cornbread mix, I really wanted to get it right. I wasn’t going to be satisfied until my homemade cornbread mix was just as good as my favorite from-scratch recipe – Best Ever Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread.
This homemade cornbread mix bakes up buttery soft and tender, not dry or crumbly. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, and it holds together without being tough.
I’ve never tried a commercial cornbread mix that I really liked, because they’re either extra sweet or have a chemical taste. I thought it would be easy to throw together my own homemade cornbread mix, but I had to go through seven or eight different combinations to get the taste and texture I wanted. My kitchen was full of cornbread for three days straight! We had so much cornbread, we were eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with some left over to share with the neighbors!
For this cornbread, I like to use a cornmeal that has a fine texture. Some people prefer stone-ground, crunchy cornmeal for cornbread, but that’s not what I was going for with this recipe.
To make homemade cornbread mix, simply combine cornmeal, flour, dry buttermilk powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. You can find dry buttermilk powder in the baking section of most grocery stores. It’s handy to have around, not only for cornbread, but for pancakes, biscuits, cakes, and other baked recipes. Whisk the cornbread mix thoroughly, because dry buttermilk powder can get lumpy.
When you want to make cornbread, just grab this mix from your pantry and combine it with milk, eggs, melted butter, and a little vinegar. The vinegar reacts with the baking powder and baking soda to create gas bubbles that help the cornbread rise. This cornbread recipe has a lot of leavening ingredients, so it has an airy texture. If you want less airy cornbread, you can cut the amount of baking soda by a third.
There are a couple of optional ingredients in this recipe: plain yogurt and creamed corn. Plain yogurt is acidic, like vinegar, so it reacts with the baking powder and baking soda and helps with leavening. The protein in yogurt also improves the cornbread’s structure. Creamed corn is added for moisture and flavor. I never buy creamed corn unless I’m making cornbread, so I store the leftovers from the can in the freezer to use next time I make cornbread.
My favorite way to bake this cornbread is in a cast iron skillet:
You can also bake this mix in a regular baking pan, make it into muffins, or use it for cornbread waffles. Having this homemade cornbread mix in your pantry will probably unleash your creativity, and you’ll think of a dozen ways to use it!
- 4 cups flour
- 4 cups cornmeal
- 1 cup dry buttermilk powder
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablepoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 2/3 cups homemade cornbread mix
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ¾ cup milk or water
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar or white vinegar
- ¼ cup plain yogurt (optional)
- ½ cup creamed corn (optional)
- Place the cornmeal, flour, buttermilk powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Combine thoroughly with a wisk.
- Store your cornbread mix in an airtight container in the pantry or other cool, dry place. Keeps for six months in the pantry, or two years in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Generously grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet, or a 9-inch square baking pan, with butter or shortening, or spray with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place cornbread mix in a medium mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, or large measuring cup, whisk together the wet ingredients.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients all at once. Stir with a spatula until well combined.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 22-25 minutes. Allow cornbread to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Spray the wells of a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
- Make batter as instructed above.
- Fill muffin cups only 2/3 full. You may have a little leftover batter, especially if you have used the optional ingredients.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
Notes: Recipe makes enough mix for four batches of cornbread. Baking soda can be reduced to 4 teaspoons for a less airy texture.