Honey Butter Cornbread

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Honey butter cornbread is a classic, comforting side dish with a delightful balance of sweet and savory flavors. It’s made by adding honey and butter to a traditional cornbread batter, resulting in a moist, tender crumb that’s full of flavor.

a slice of honey butter cornbread sliced and placed on top of other slices of cornbread on a table
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Sweet Southern Cornbread

Honey butter cornbread is a beloved side dish, particularly in Southern cuisine, where it’s known for its delightful balance of sweet and savory flavors and its tender, moist texture. The dish is an innovative take on traditional cornbread, which is typically a savory bread made from cornmeal. In honey butter cornbread, honey and butter are added to the batter, creating a delightful sweetness and an enhanced richness that sets it apart from its traditional counterpart.

The process of making honey butter cornbread starts with combining cornmeal with regular baking ingredients like flour, baking powder, and salt. To these dry ingredients, a mix of melted butter, honey, and often buttermilk, is added. The buttermilk further adds to the tenderness of the cornbread, creating a crumb that’s moist and just slightly crumbly. The batter is then poured into a baking dish or a cast-iron skillet and baked until golden brown. The result is a beautifully honey-colored bread with a slight crust on the outside and a tender, flavorful interior.

Serving honey butter cornbread warm is a treat unto itself. Often, additional honey butter – a mix of softened butter and honey – is spread on top, melting into the warm bread and adding another layer of sweet, buttery goodness. It’s a comforting, indulgent touch that elevates this simple bread into something truly special.

Despite its sweetness, honey butter cornbread is a remarkably versatile side dish. It pairs beautifully with savory dishes, particularly those with rich gravies or sauces, as it can help to balance out strong flavors. It’s a classic accompaniment to dishes like chili, barbecue, and Southern-style collard greens. But it can also hold its own as a sweet snack or breakfast item, particularly when served with that extra dollop of honey butter. Whether it’s a casual family dinner or a festive holiday meal, honey butter cornbread is a delicious and comforting dish that brings a touch of Southern hospitality to any table.

a loaf of cornbread with a slice cut out of it

How To Make Honey Butter Cornbread

To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • All-Purpose Flour: Provides structure to the cornbread, allowing it to hold its shape once baked.
  • Yellow Cornmeal: The key ingredient that gives cornbread its distinctive flavor and texture.
  • Granulated Sugar: Adds a touch of sweetness to balance the cornmeal’s naturally earthy flavor.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients and balances the sweetness.
  • Baking Powder: A leavening agent that helps the cornbread rise and become light and fluffy.
  • Vegetable Oil: Adds moisture to the cornbread, resulting in a tender crumb.
  • Large Egg: Works as a binding agent, helping to hold all the ingredients together, and also contributes to the rise and color of the cornbread.
  • Milk: Adds moisture and helps to create a tender texture in the cornbread. It also works with the baking powder to help the bread rise.
  • Unsalted Butter, melted: Half is mixed into the batter for richness and flavor, and the other half is combined with honey to create the honey butter topping.
  • Honey: Adds sweetness and a subtle floral note to the cornbread. When combined with the melted butter, it creates a sweet and savory topping that enhances the flavor of the baked cornbread.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following method:

  • Prep. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan or cast iron skillet well and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine well. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and add your oil, milk, and egg. Stir just until the mixture comes together add half the melted butter (¼ cup) and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is a deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Make honey butter mix. Mix the remaining melted butter and honey in a small bowl. While the cornbread is still hot, use a pastry brush to soak the cornbread in the butter-honey mixture.
  • Enjoy! Serve warm or at room temperature.
a slice of honey butter cornbread sliced and placed on top of other slices of cornbread on a table

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Honey Butter Cornbread

  • Quality Ingredients: Start with high-quality ingredients. Fresh cornmeal will provide the best flavor. When it comes to honey, consider using raw or organic for a richer, more robust sweetness.
  • Mixing: Avoid overmixing your batter. Mix just until the ingredients are combined. Overmixing can result in a tougher texture.
  • Buttermilk Substitute: If you want an even more tender crumb, consider substituting the milk with buttermilk. The acidity in buttermilk can help to tenderize the gluten in the flour, resulting in a softer texture.
  • Baking Dish: Consider using a pre-heated cast-iron skillet to bake your cornbread. This can create a beautiful, crispy crust on the bottom and sides of your cornbread.
  • Testing Doneness: To check if your cornbread is done, insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs, your cornbread is ready.
  • Resting: Let your cornbread rest in the baking dish for a few minutes after removing it from the oven. This makes it easier to slice and also allows it to finish cooking from the residual heat.
  • Honey Butter: Don’t skip the extra honey butter on top! It’s what makes this cornbread special. Spread it on while the bread is still warm for a delectable, melted topping.

FAQs

Can I use white cornmeal instead of yellow cornmeal?

Yes, you can use white cornmeal if that’s what you have on hand. The main difference between white and yellow cornmeal is the type of corn used. They can be used interchangeably in recipes, but note that yellow cornmeal often has a slightly sweeter, more robust flavor.

Can I substitute buttermilk instead of milk?

Yes, you can replace the milk with buttermilk. It can add a tangy flavor to the cornbread and may make it even more tender due to the acidity of the buttermilk.

What can I use instead of honey?

If you don’t have honey or prefer not to use it, you can substitute it with maple syrup or agave nectar. Keep in mind this will alter the flavor slightly.

Can I make honey butter cornbread vegan?

Yes, you can make this recipe vegan. Use plant-based milk, replace the egg with a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 2.5 tablespoons water), use a vegan butter substitute, and ensure your sugar is vegan.

How do you store leftover cornbread?

Store any leftover cornbread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or refrigerate for up to a week. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.

Why is my cornbread dry?

If your cornbread is dry, it might be overbaked. Next time, check for doneness a few minutes earlier. Adding more fat or liquid can also help.

Can I add anything to the batter for more flavor?

Absolutely! Feel free to add extras like corn kernels, jalapenos, or even cheese to your batter to switch things up.

a hand holding a slice of honey butter cornbread

What to Serve With Honey Butter Cornbread

Chili: A hearty bowl of chili and a side of honey butter cornbread is a classic combination. The sweetness of the cornbread complements the spicy, savory flavors of the chili.

BBQ: Whether it’s pulled pork, brisket, or ribs, the sweet cornbread is a perfect match for smoky, tangy barbecue flavors.

Soups and Stews: Honey butter cornbread is great for sopping up the flavors of any soup or stew, be it vegetable soup, chicken stew, or gumbo.

Southern Dishes: Traditional Southern dishes like collard greens, fried chicken, or black-eyed peas pair beautifully with cornbread.

Salads: Serve a slice of cornbread alongside a fresh, crisp salad like Kale Apple Salad for a lighter meal option. The cornbread can balance out the freshness of the salad.

Holiday Meals: Cornbread is often served as a side during holiday meals, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, as it pairs well with roast turkey, ham, or any kind of stuffing.

Breakfast/Brunch: Cornbread isn’t just for lunch or dinner. You can serve it at breakfast or brunch along with scrambled eggs and bacon, or even with a bit of jam or extra honey butter on top.

Find some of our BBQ party favorites below:

a slice of honey butter cornbread sliced and placed on top of other slices of cornbread on a table

Honey Butter Cornbread Recipe

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a wedge of honey butter cornbread sliced and placed on top of the loaf of cornbread on a table

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a wedge of honey butter cornbread sliced and placed on top of the loaf of cornbread on a table

Honey Butter Cornbread

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Sweet, salty, tender southern style cornbread with honey butter.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • ¼ cup honey

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan or cast iron skillet well and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine well.
  3. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and add your oil, milk, and egg. Stir just until the mixture comes together add half the melted butter (¼ cup) and stir to combine.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is a deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Mix the remaining melted butter and honey in a small bowl. While the cornbread is still hot, use a pastry brush to soak the cornbread in the butter-honey mixture.  
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 416Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 56mgSodium 509mgCarbohydrates 51gFiber 2gSugar 27gProtein 5g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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2 Comments

  1. I’m making your corn bread stuffing. It says to use 10 cups of corn bread. How many corn bread cakes would I need bakefollowing your honeynut corn bread recipes?

    1. The honey cornbread recipe makes one 9″ round corn bread and that is how much I use when making this stuffing. So one cornbread is enough to make the stuffing. Hope that clears it up. Make sure you cut it up and leave it out on the countertop the night or two before making the stuffing so it gets stale and will soak up the stuffing flavors.