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Cornbread Woes... 
 
Sep. 23, 2009 7:25 am 
Updated: Mar. 5, 2014 4:17 pm
I've tried making cornbread and everytime it's just turned out awful :( I've tried the different recipes, sweet, savoury, light, everything you can imagine and it's just not working out. I end up getting this uber dense, heavy, extremely bland 'thing' that's a good substitute for hockey pucks. I even got a tried-and-tested recipe from my best friend, and she's an amazing cook, and it still didn't work out for me!
I realize Im doing something wrong. But I don't know what? Does anyone have any good tricks for making a good cornbread? Are there little secrets you're supposed to know?
For example, is it like pancake/ banana bread batter, where the more you stir it the heavier it becomes?

Also, is it that my expectations are just too high? I always imagined cornbread to have a fluffy cake-like texture, but this is more like a really heavy (almost cheesecake-like heavy) texture!

If anyone could help me with my cornbread woes, I'd be grateful! I'm determined to make this work!
 
Comments
Sep. 23, 2009 7:36 am
HAVE YOU TRIED GETTING YOUR PAN HOT BEFORE COOKING YOUR CORN BREAD?
 
Sep. 23, 2009 10:01 am
Honestly, I've had about the same results when I've made my own as using the Jiffy Cornbread Mix (shhh!!!) I do always use a cast-iron skillet to bake it, though. I actually LIKE my cornbread to be kind of dense (it usually means it's more moist for me.) Good luck!!
 
Sep. 23, 2009 10:06 am
Here's my favorite cornbread from AR. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Great-Grandmother-Steinbecks-Johnnycake-Cornbread/Detail.aspx A couple tips for ya'...Don't over mix the batter. Don't let it set very long before putting in the oven. Also, after your oven is preheated, grease your pan and put it in the oven to get it good and hot. Then pour your batter in your hot, greased pan, this will make it have a nice 'crust' on the bottom. The recipe I just told you about only requires about 20 minutes in the oven...30 minutes (as the recipe states) would be too long. Good Luck!
 
Sep. 23, 2009 11:50 am
I've heard heating the pan before putting the batter in makes a big difference. The recipe I use also mentions not to overstir so that could be part of the "heaviness" problem you are experiencing. I wish you the best of luck perfecting this heavenly treat!
 
KBots 
Sep. 23, 2009 12:08 pm
Check to see if your baking powder has expired.
 
Sep. 24, 2009 7:57 am
My secret is a can of creamed corn. Before I started doing that I had rock cornbread. Also, dont' over mix it.
 
inthekitchen 
Sep. 24, 2009 9:45 pm
I use a glass baking dish; take spoonful of butter flavored Crisco shortening, drop into dish put into preheated oven of 350 degrees until it melts, remove the pan from the oven, and leave it alone. mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup yellow cornmeal, 2/3-1/2 sugar(however sweet you like it)1 tablespoon baking powder, dash of salt, blend well then add your 1 cup milk, 1 egg, 1/3 cup Wesson oil and mix just until well blended, pour into your dish, and as you pour, the heated buttered Crisco will spread on it's own, if a little gets on top, so what. Bake for amount 20 minutes depending on your oven, don't over bake, you'll know when it's done, by sticking a fork in the middle and it comes out clean, while it's still hot take some melted unsalted butter and spread on the top. Cornbread comes out perfect every time, not heavy at all; once you master this you can get creative and add just about anything to this recipe, such as jalapenos and cheese, kernel corn, you could even make tamale pie, etc., whatever your taste. I use this same recipe when I make dressing (stuffing), but I only use 1/4 sugar. I hope this works for you.
 
IB2Q 
Sep. 25, 2009 2:34 am
The problem is probably in your ratio of cornmeal to flour. Good cornbread is a mix of both. I like to use half cornmeal and half flour for a lighter texture. You can add more cornmeal if you wish a coarser texture. Add dry ingredients and make a well in the center for liquids.Buttermilk gives a nice texture and taste. Don't overmix.Hope this helps!
 
Sep. 25, 2009 5:46 am
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Grandmothers-Buttermilk-Cornbread/Detail.aspx This is my new favorite cornbread recipe. Heat the butter in the pan and then quickly add remaining ingredients to the melted butter (off the heat), transfer to a greased 8x8 pan and bake. I had wonderful results. However, this is a dense and moist cornbread recipe, so it will be heavier, but it is delicious and sweet. There is another recipe I've used from this site many times that is more the light, cakelike texture you mentioned (its a bit crumbly, but delicious): http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Golden-Sweet-Cornbread/Detail.aspx I do think you should be easy on the batter, don't over mix. Maybe you just haven't found "THE" recipe for you yet! :)
 
Mel K 
Sep. 25, 2009 7:11 am
Be careful and don't overmix the battter. Personally I prefer to use Buttermilk in my batter as it gives a nice texture and taste. In agreement with others I also like to preheat the skillet before I pour the mixure in it to bake the bread. Cornbread is a big thing at our house so I understand you wanting to get it perfect. Good luck!
 
Sep. 25, 2009 7:43 am
Thank you guys! This is so helpful.. Just wondering, was I wrong in my expectation that cornbread would / should have the texture of (regular) cake? Is it just a dense bread to begin with (and can have variations?)
 
Sep. 25, 2009 7:56 am
Favorite cornbread story: When I was about twenty, I made Thanksgiving dinner for my BF, brother, and mom. The only thing I asked my brother to do was make the cornbread. Whereas I made everything from scratch, he decided to use Jiffy mix. I supported this decision wholeheartedly because I didn't want him to screw anything up. My BF made the cranberry sauce. My mom came over for dinner and raved about everything: "The turkey is so moist. I love the stuffing. The mashed potatoes are great! The greens are good. I love the sweet potatoes. The cranberry sauce is delicious...This cornbread is TERRIBLE!" My brother cracked up...
 
roterdirndl 
Sep. 25, 2009 11:26 am
Jiffy cornbread truly is the best! I never make my own anymore. It's also nice to substitute buttermilk then grease up small cast iron forms generously for a Johnny cake effect.
 
Keri 
Sep. 25, 2009 12:28 pm
I know package mixes aren't always the greatest, but the absolute BEST cornbread I've ever made uses two packaged mixes: A Jiffy Corn Muffin mix and a Jiffy Yellow Cake Mix (it might be called Golden Cake Mix). Mix up each of the batters separately, according to package directions, then GENTLY combine the batters together. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Pour the combined batter into the prepared pan and bake according to the directions on the package that calls for the longest baking time (I can't remember which one it is...sorry). This cornbread will come out almost exactly like Marie Callender's - DELICIOUS!
 
mimi52 
Sep. 25, 2009 4:00 pm
I also use Jiffy most of the time. My variation is to add a spoonful of sour cream to the batter.
 
Sep. 25, 2009 6:41 pm
I make the same recipe as Keri! When I was pregnant with my son I craved corn bread from Boston Market. A friend of mine gave me this recipe and it taste just like it! :)
 
Sep. 25, 2009 8:57 pm
The BEST Cornbread I have ever eaten is Marie Callendars mix. It is extremely simple, not a dense bread, and tastes wonderful. We also mix a bit of margarine and butte with honey to taste and spread on the hot bread, fresh out of the oven. Let it cool before cutting. So easy and SOOOO delish!!!
 
LAMBIESGRAMMY 
Sep. 25, 2009 10:46 pm
Cornbread is a dense heavy product, depending on the ratio of corn meal to flour. Corn meal is coarse and absorbs quite a bit of moisture, and so will be heavy, compared to all flour quickbreads. But the key to lightness in all quickbreads is to handle the batter as little as possible, even leaving it slightly lumpy. I really like Jiffy mix, also. It's just too easy not to use, instead of making it from scratch, since it makes really good cornbread too.
 
KIT1 
Sep. 26, 2009 12:05 am
I use jiffy cornbread mix and add sour cream, butter and eggs and it is delicious
 
304NANC 
Sep. 26, 2009 3:57 am
Hi, from the south i dont make a sweet corn bread. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Start with white self-rising cornmeal mix such as white lily or martha white. Add no flour, to your corn meal mix add 1 egg and enough milk to make a medium batter, mixing well. Generously grease iron skillet or stick pans, enough that it will run over the pan when hot. Place pan in oven and get VERY HOT. Pour in batter and bake at 500 til nicely browned. You'll get a light crusty corn bread, not heavy at all. (dont use oil to grease) use lard or shortening. Nancy Booginan@aol.com
 
granny annie 
Sep. 26, 2009 6:56 am
My grandmothers receipe was on the Jim Dandy Cornmeal bag for many years. Try this. Use cornmeal mix, any brand. In an iron skillet heat a stick of oleo margarine until melted. My grandmother always set the oven at 450 degrees. In large bowl put the cornmeal mix & either plain milk or buttermilk, beating in one egg. Pour 2/3 of the melted margarine into the mixture. Return skillet to oven with rest of margarine until it lightly smokes. Pour batter into hot skillet and cook until browned. Enjoy. Light, Fluffy, and moist.
 
Sep. 26, 2009 8:23 am
I'm from the south, and we don't like sweet cornbread. I use an iron skillet, heated, and melt a Tbs of bacon grease in the skillet, the pour the hot grease in the batter and stir lightly, then pour in the skillet and bake. Everyone loves it. I know bacon grease is supposed to be bad for you, but I use it in lots of things. It's delicious to cook with, and my cholesterol is perfect!
 
JessiB 
Sep. 26, 2009 9:10 am
You've gotta try the sweet cornbread cake recipe. It is fluffy and has more of a texture of cake. And not all Southerners want the traditional cornbread. I am born and bred Southern and I definitely prefer the sweet and fluffy version.
 
Angie 
Sep. 26, 2009 9:12 am
I use to have recipe woes until I talked to my grandmother so here is what she told me. USE CAST IRON!! 1) put about a tablespoon of oil in a cast iron skilit. Place in oven while it preheats. 2) Make cornbread according to the directions on the back of martha white cornmeal. It is true southern cornbread.
 
Sep. 26, 2009 9:30 am
"Altitudes" and "Attitudes" can make a difference in all your baking it is wise to research that for your climate. As a flat land southern gal, I moved to the mountains I found out first hand, there's a difference! For you, I'll share my secret and hope it helps. 1) A stick of real butter sizzling in a oven heated Hot Skillet? ...just makes it better all the way; better crust and even baking. 2) Don't use water down milk if you can help it; the thicker the better! 3) Adding an extra egg makes my cornbread light and fluffy while... 4) ...a tablespoon of real mayonnaise makes it moist and more flavorful, especially when making my most requested "Sweet Yellow Yum" my friends and family call it! Now, here's where the "Attitude" part comes in...It's even loved by those who never liked cornbread before! Fattening? Well of course! Otherwise it wouldn't be any good...No matter how great it taste if you want to cut calories, don't cut corners, just cut back on your servings! Enjoy!
 
Nani 
Sep. 26, 2009 6:16 pm
The message from Keri on Sept. 29, 2009 is THE RECIPE for folks who like a more cake-like,lighter cornbread. Using buttermilk and mayonaise also help. This is the recipe my sister-in-law uses, and she gets raves; not even the crumbs are left. Barely mixing the cornbread mix is the trick! Use real butter, or half butter-half mayonaise. I don't care for dense cornbread, and I recommend this recipe to try. Keep trying, you'll find a mixture you can post here for us! Enjoy!
 
Sep. 26, 2009 8:08 pm
It all depends on how you like your cornbread. I've had ones that have a cake-like texture and I prefer the coarser texture... it holds more butter. By definition though cornbread is denser than regular cake.
 
JaLane 
Sep. 26, 2009 8:43 pm
Ok, this is news to me. I had no idea that we Southerners (I'm from Eastern NC)are not supposed to be into sweet cornbread. If you want to go the boxed mix route, Jiffy brand really is amazing and it's sweet, which I love. I swear I can eat the whole thing in no time flat and I hope they don't revoke my Southerner Card for loving sweet cornbread! Also, my Great Grandmother, Minnie Craft made the best fried cornbread ever and thank God my Dad, who's passed on, taught me how to make it. It's not sweet but just a little salty. You just mix cornmeal with a little salt and enough water until you get a good consistency. You want this one a little runny because the pieces are going to be thin and flat. Then drop spoonfuls into a shallow pan of hot grease or oil. Now there should be enough oil that these babies are floating, not sitting on the pan and cast iron is key, as always. You might want to flip 'em once to get them evenly browned on both sides. When they're done, let them drain on a paper towel. I think these are wonderful. My Daddy used to always make them when we'd have a fish fry or BBQ chicken at our house. It was a real treat. Now some people might try to tell you that all fried cornbread is called a hushpuppy but these are normally sweet as this recipe is not. I'm not a fan of huspuppies anyway. Give this a try sometime if you get a chance and I am going to try that cake mix recipe as soon as I can get myself to the grocery store!
 
dt0709mc 
Sep. 27, 2009 5:53 am
There are as many dif receipes as there R people. I found quick easy packet that is good and NOT sweet unless you add a little sugar. Go to local Wal-mrt look where package mix n bake muffins and cornbread is get Morrisons ( Corn-Kits) The trick is if U like brown on outside use cast Iron skillet and put little bacon grease in skillet on stovetop while oven is preheated let grease get hot enough to fry remove from stove add mix and bake for aloted time. Quick easy and Good. Hope U like
 
swellduck7 
Sep. 27, 2009 10:12 am
I agree with Nashville Nosher: Jiffy Cornbread Mix. Honestly for 33 cents, or 59 if it is not on sale, this is the best. Add one egg and 1/3 cup milk per box (we make 3 boxes at a time, so that's 3 eggs and 1 cup milk), spray the pan, bake just as the box says, and it's gone in 2 days. I let it cool a little before I saran wrap it, or it will get moist. Note: for a special treat, let the cornbread batter sit in the pan 3 minutes before putting in oven. Sprinkle just a little granulated sugar on the top. This will give the top a nice thin crust texture.
 
Sep. 27, 2009 11:39 am
Everyone has all the right tips. But here is a little trick I use. I heat my iron skillet on the stove top with oil or shortening. Once hot, I sprinkle a small handfull of cornmeal evenly on the bottom of the pan and remove from heat. I immediately transfer my mix into the pan and bake. I am also from the south and use no sugar. I use self rising corn meal, an egg, and enough milk (or buttermilk) to make the mix moist and pourable. It's my favorite!
 
IngridW 
Sep. 27, 2009 1:26 pm
I've never preheated my pan as others have mentioned but I think the most important point is to avoid overmixing the batter - use a light hand.
 
Sep. 27, 2009 2:36 pm
Everyone always asks for my cornbread recipe..2 boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix, add egg and milk from package directions, add 15oz. can creamed corn,add 4oz. can chopped green chilis, add 1c. shredded cheese, fold in 8oz. sour cream. Pour into prepared 9x13 pan. Sprinkle 1c. shredded cheese over top. Bake at 350 for about 30 min. Top should be slightly browned and pulled away from the sides.I use fat free powdered milk, fat free cheese and sour cream and no one ever believes that part because it tastes soooo good!
 
Claire 
Sep. 27, 2009 2:39 pm
My grandmother's recipe works everytime for me and it is mixed with an electric mixer. If you're looking for a recipe I'd be happy to share it.
 
Hathaway 
Sep. 27, 2009 3:43 pm
I owned a country cafe in East Texas for 6 years. Made fresh cornbread every morning. Equal amounts of cornmeal and flour, fresh baking powder, a little sugar and regular milk....not buttermilk. Buttermilk cornbread sounds good, but using regular milk makes it lighter and not as heavy. My customers raved about my cornbread and old pawpaws in East Texas are tough critics!!
 
Hathaway 
Sep. 27, 2009 3:45 pm
Also for the oil, use melted real butter and don't forget the eggs. Pouring it into a preheated pan is a good thing.
 
Cher 
Sep. 27, 2009 10:36 pm
add raw egg with abouy 1/4 cup of self rising flour use a wire whip a start adding butter milk. You want the mixture to be very thin and you should beat briskley for about 5 minutes. Beating process is vey important, preheat oven to 400 derees.Hot oven is important,Put about 3 or 4 tabspoons of oil. Will be done when the top browns! Enjoy
 
Mel K 
Sep. 28, 2009 6:29 am
Here in SC one of the things my family loves for me to prepare is what we call lace cornbread. My Mother taught me to make these.I am sure women have been cooking this type of cornbread for years. I use plain corn meal(I like to use white corn meal. I will take about 5 tablespoons of corn meal, add salt,and add warm water until I get it to a thin pancake consistency. Then I will pour onto a greased, hot flat iron skillet and cook on both sides until browned. I flip my cornbread with a spatula, but my mother could flip them in the air without using anything. The edges will have little areas that look similar to hand made lace. I have some friends who stand in the kitchen as I cook them asking for one to eat while they are still piping hot. We love to have this corn bread with stews and soup and it is so easy to make and inexpensive. I can make a good meal including bread when the budget is stretched really tight.
 
DJ 
Sep. 28, 2009 6:35 am
Use Martha White Yellow Cornbread mix, I follow the recipe on back of the pkg with one exception that works for anyone who's tried it. Put 2 Tbsp. Crisco [butter flavored] in cast iron pan, 400 degree oven. When it's good and hot stir melted crisco in the batter, then pour right back in pan and cook til brown on top. Cornbread will NEVER turn our like cake~different animal all together. GOOD LUCK!!
 
Sep. 28, 2009 9:58 am
my cornbread comes out heavy much of the time too.. so recently I switched from making a pan cornbread to making hush puppies in the deep fat fryer. They are crispy on the outside and light and airy on the inside. Plus you can mix in onions, green onions, or any other flavors you like... I found a nice recipe on http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1954,133187-243192,00.html
 
Shu 
Sep. 28, 2009 2:03 pm
Check the expiration date on the Baking Powder? I get a new can every 6 months
 
Sep. 28, 2009 3:10 pm
2 eggs for higher rise, 450 degree oven, have your bacon grease heating up and pour a lil of the hot grease into your batter. Always use white meal for savory corn bread and yellow meal for sweet corn bread. In your savory bread use buttermilk w/a lil extra soda. Alwyas use sweet milk in w/your sweet cornbread. Hope this helps plus practice practice :) tTe lil birdies love it when I mess up my breads ;)
 
acolvin 
Jul. 1, 2012 11:07 pm
Buy it from a good restaurant, put it on a plate at home, and tell everyone how you sweated over a hot stove with grandma's recipe to make it JUST FOR THEM, because they're SOOO special. ;)
 
Rodney 
Mar. 5, 2014 4:17 pm
After using IBQ2 suggestion use a cast iron skillet with enough bacon grease to cover the bottom and sides then heat too corn bread directions then pour your corn bread mix in your hot skillet and bake. A couple table spoons of sour cream mix in the corn bread mix makes it moist.
 
 
 
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Hadipolo

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Im a stay-at-home mom and student who enjoys reading cookbooks more than textbooks :)
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I like trying new things and making foods that are easy but appear to be very difficult to make :)
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Making huge feast-like meals for thanksgiving, Eid, and family members' birthdays... I like having a whole table loaded with different kinds of new (and old comfort) foods
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generally when something turns out as good as it looks in a cookbook or when it actually turns out, that's a triumph to me. I can't get rid of the habit of tweaking recipes, no matter how much I know I really shouldn't. So when things turn out despite the tweaking, that's a success. Oh and when I can pull off dinner for a large group of guests, that's great too.
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I'd have to say it would be in the baking department. I just can't follow rules to the tee. The worst was when I bought a bunch of supplies to make an 'owl' cake, and didn't use the right tools. The cake was a mountain of goop. What a waste of time / money! I ended up buying a store-bought cake.
 
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