Great-Grandmother Steinbeck's Johnnycake (Cornbread) Recipe -
Great-Grandmother Steinbeck's Johnnycake (Cornbread) Recipe
  • READY IN 45 mins

Great-Grandmother Steinbeck's Johnnycake (Cornbread)

Recipe by  

"This recipe is out of my great-grandmother Bertha Iva Steinbeck's recipe box. She really was John Steinbeck's aunt. She lived in Hollister, California, and died in the '30s. I've been making this since I was about 5 years old when my grandmother, Agnes Steinbeck Bowman decided I was old enough to learn to cook. It was actually the second thing I learned to cook...she wanted to see how I handled scrambled eggs before she introduced me to something that demanded some technique! I've never tasted better cornbread in my 47 years."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    10 mins
  • COOK

    35 mins

    45 mins


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch glass baking dish.
  2. Sift the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, corn oil and egg. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix just until blended. Pour into the prepared pan, and shake gently to level it out.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown. Serve hot. Just with butter will do, it is plenty sweet enough!
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Sep 10, 2009

If you're looking for a light textured, slightly sweet cornbread......This is for you. My husband doesn't even like sugar in his cornbread and we finished off the whole batch of them last night with our Gumbo!! As he is stuffing his face he's reminding me "I don't like sugar in my cornbread!" Guess that isn't true anymore. It only took 20 minutes to bake. 30 would have been too long. Also, didn't have buttermilk---substituted 1 TBsp. vinegar in 1 c. milk (let it sit for 5 minutes first). I'll be making this again for sure!! EDIT: Just made this again so I could submit a photo of it.I used yellow cornmeal. I had maybe 2 tsp. of baking powder left (much less than called for) and my cornbread came out great again! Second EDIT: I realized that I left out the fact that when making cornbread I always place my greased pan IN the preheated oven til it gets hot...that way, when you pour your cornbread batter in, it forms a really nice 'crust' on the bottom of the cornbread.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Oct 15, 2009

I was looking for a recipe that isn't too sweet since i had a pot of chili on the stove cooking and my favorite cornbread recipe was missing (we just moved). This looked fairly similar and the recipe was followed to the letter but it was awful. Perhaps the 4 tsp of baking powder? It was slightly bitter and salty to me and I'm a salt lover! I would not recomend. We threw most of it away. Disapointing since it had recieved good reviews. LT

Dec 13, 2006

I made this to go with dinner at bible study and it was a hit! Will certainly be making this again! The only change I made was to use yellow corn meal, as that was what I had on hand, and to use soured milk (1c. milk with 1-2Tbsp. vinegar)and veggie oil, not corn. Awesome recipe!

Nov 23, 2005


Oct 04, 2008

Simply wonderful, no changes need. (Well I did sub yellow cornmeal since I don't have white, but I'm sure white would have been just as fabulous!) Serve warm with a drizzle of honey for the best dadgummed cornbread you've ever had.

Oct 23, 2006

This is a great cornbread recipe. It came out fluffy and it was not sweet. I love it. I did not have buttermilk so I just used the milk I had on hand. Thanks for the recipe.

Sep 11, 2011

I only made one change and that was using melted butter instead of corn oil. I baked this in my cast iron skillet--I just added a couple tablespoons of butter to my cast iron skillet and let it melt in the skillet while the oven preheated before I added the batter. 350* for just about 30 minutes. This reminds me of MY grandmother's johnnycake which is such a wonderful feeling as I miss her terribly. I'll make this again.

Feb 09, 2007

Just what I was looking for. Changes made: whole wheat flour, yellow corn meal, and milk soured with lemon juice since I had no buttermilk, cooked in iron skillet. Great texture and good flavor. Thanks.


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  • Calories
  • 383 kcal
  • 19%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 52 g
  • 17%
  • Cholesterol
  • 49 mg
  • 16%
  • Fat
  • 16.4 g
  • 25%
  • Fiber
  • 2 g
  • 8%
  • Protein
  • 8.1 g
  • 16%
  • Sodium
  • 1053 mg
  • 42%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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