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perfect, forever cornbread

Here is my almost-summer wish for us: I think we should bring a pan of freshly-baked, thick, buttery, crisp on top, and plush with a flavor that absolutely reverberates with corn underneath, to your next park/picnic/potluck. It goes so well with summer salads and snacky things. And when cornbread is good, really good, it feels criminal not to share. This is.

what you'll need

what you'll needgrind the corn with sugar and saltcornmealswirl into a skillet

If you go way back on this site, you might know I’ve been on the hunt for my forever cornbread recipe for almost as long as I’ve been blogging here. I’ve shared a few over the years that I like very much, they’re good cornbreads, I tell them while scritching them amicably behind their ears. But it wasn’t until more recently that I found the cornbread that will end my cornbread studies. Whatever will I do with my newfound free time? [Yes, write that next cookbook, I know.]

perfect, forever cornbread

perfect, forever cornbreadperfect, forever cornbread

It started with a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, but I’ve tweaked it a bit in the approximately 38 batches I’ve made in the last two years — less sugar, more corn, no waiting for ingredients to warm up, and one bowl — we’re going to make the whole thing in a blender or food processor. We’ll melt the butter in the skillet we bake the cornbread in, and it’s going to swirl around the top as it bakes, lucky us.

The edges get crunchy. The rise is gorgeous. You’ll throw some foil over it and take it to the nearest park, along with some salted butter (yes, buttery cornbread needs more butter on each piece, it’s not even up for debate) and regular or hot honey, if you’re into it. You’re going to spend as much of the summer as you can outside with your favorite people, away from endless screens. You have definitely earned this, and I hope it’s as delicious as it can be.

perfect, forever cornbread

perfect, forever cornbread

Next Wednesday, June 9th: I have something new and fun to share! I’ll update right here.


6 months ago: Vanilla Custard Slices
1 year ago: Beach Bean Salad
2 year ago: Raspberry Crumble Tart Bars
3 years ago: Ice Cream Cake Roll
4 years ago: Strawberry Graham Icebox Cake and Broccoli Rubble Farro Salad
5 years ago: Almond-Rhubarb Picnic Bars
6 years ago: Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake, Fake Shack Burger, and Swirled Berry Yogurt Popsicles
7 years ago: Carrot Salad with Tahini and Crispy Chickpeas
8 years ago: Greek Salad with Lemon and Oregano and Two Classic Sangrias
9 years ago: Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice and Tzatziki Potato Salad
10 years ago: Classic Cobb Salad, Lime Yogurt Cake with Blackberry Sauce and Blue Cheese Scallion Drop Biscuits
11 years ago: Asparagus, Lemon and Goat Cheese Pasta and Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
12 years ago: Martha’s Mac-and-Cheese, Crisp Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies
13 years ago: Cherry Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
14 years ago: Homemade Oreos and Cellophane Noodle and Roast Pork Salad

Perfect, Forever Cornbread

I bake this in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet but you could also use a 9-inch skillet, 8-inch square or 9-inch round cake. Each will bake slightly thinner, so check in at the 25-minute mark, just to be safe. For cornmeal, almost any kind can do, but this medium-grind is my pantry go-to.
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
  • 1 cup (135 grams) fresh or frozen corn kernels, no need to defrost
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) light brown or granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1 cup (235 ml) buttermilk, well-shaken, cold is fine
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (155 grams) cornmeal
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut butter into chunks and place in an 8-inch cast-iron or other oven-proof skillet in the oven until the butter melts. Remove the pan, leaving the oven on.

In a blender or food processor, blend corn, sugar, salt until well-chopped. Pour in buttermilk with the machine running. Add in all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, leaving the rest in the pan. [Roll it around the bottom and sides of the pan to coat it.] Add the eggs and blend to combine. Add baking soda and baking powder and blend well, then scrape down the sides. Add cornmeal and flour, blending just to combine. Pour the batter into the buttered skillet and spread it flat — the extra butter will roll over the top.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm, in wedges or squares with more butter on top, and a squeeze of honey, if you like.

Leftover cornbread keeps for two days at room temperature; for longer than two days, I think the fridge is best in the summer. Rewarm before eating, either wrapped in foil in a 350-degree oven or briefly in the microwave.

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