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Small Batch Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread

by on January 24, 2011 · 27 comments

A few years ago I bought myself a little baby cast iron skillet. It’s about 5 inches across and as cute as can be. I bought it thinking I’d make a bunch of small frittatas, but what I mostly use it for is cornbread. The hot iron combined with a little melted fat gives the cornbread that golden brown, crispy, crust.

cornbread

This recipe is my new favorite cornbread recipe. It’s not too sweet, but it’s got enough sugar to taste balanced. In other words, my father (who insists cornbread should not be sweet) would like this recipe just fine.  You can make this with unsalted butter, salted, or even a melted spread. Vegetable oil would work too, but in this case the flavor from the butter (or spread, which is what I used) really comes through and pairs nicely with the corn.

The full batch recipe for cast iron skillet cornbread is here.

Below is how I made it using the little 5 inch skillet. If you want to keep the small batch but don’t have the mini skillet, you could do it in an 8×4 inch loaf pan or possibly two mini loaf pans. Or you could just do the full batch on the above link. Either way, it’s a great cornbread recipe.

Small Batch Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornmeal (I used slightly coarse)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons salted butter or I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter spread, melted

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a 5-inch cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter.

In a medium size or mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk in the milk, buttermilk, and egg. Whisk in almost all of the melted butter spread, reserving about 1/2 tablespoon for the skillet later on.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

Add the reserved butter to the hot skillet. Pour the batter into the skillet (it should sizzle and butter should pool around it) and place it in the center of the oven. Bake until the center is firm and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

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Published on January 24, 2011

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline January 25, 2011 at 8:44 am

You had me at cast iron. There is nothing quite like cornbread baked in a cast iron skillet. Cast iron always reminds me of cooking over the campfire when I was younger. I can’t begin to tell you how adorable your little skillet is! My cornbread is made in a cast-iron cornstick pan, usually. One of my favorites!

Yet another Anna January 25, 2011 at 9:23 am

My grandmother made cornbread in a pan like that all the time! So good.

Erin @ what the fork January 25, 2011 at 9:41 am

Mmmmm! Sounds delicious! I’ve been looking for a tasty corn bread recipe I can’t wait to try this.

Sue January 25, 2011 at 10:06 am

We love cornbread and I’m looking forward to trying this. Do you have a favorite brand of cornmeal? For years I was happy with the Quaker Oats/Aunt Jemima cornmeal, but lately it seems so fine and bland. The Hodgson Mill seems too course. I’m sounding a little like Goldilocks, but I’d really like to find a cornmeal that’s just right.

Paige January 25, 2011 at 10:35 am

Looks delish! Do you also have a good recommendation for sweet cornbread? Every once in a while, I do prefer a sweet version, but have never found a recipe that I’ve been happy with.

Helena January 25, 2011 at 10:49 am

I’ve never tried cornbread before, but I guess I have to start looking for cornmeal now :)

Gloria January 25, 2011 at 11:15 am

My grandmother always made her cornbread in a cast iron skillet. A little trick I learned from her is to put a little oil or bacon grease in the skillet and sprinkle a little dry cornmeal in it and put the skillet in the hot oven while you’re preparing the batter. Pour your batter into the hot pan and when done, you’ll have a wonderful crust on the bottom side that you can’t get any other way.

Anna January 25, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Sue, I’m not sure what brand of cornmeal I used for this batch. It was something I got out of the bulk bin at the local grocery store. I think the one I usually buy is Aunt Jemima. I also liked the flavor of the cornmeal I made by grinding popcorn in the Nutrimill.

Paige, I have to look through my files when I get home. I’m actually on the road today, but when I get back in the kitchen I’ll test some sweet cornbreads. I have one recipe made with buttermilk and honey that I remember as being good, but I haven’t made it in a while.

Gloria, that’s the method used here. It’s what makes the crust so good.

vanillasugar January 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm

i love this. and do make it a lot, sometimes adding in a layer of mozza cheese w/ ketchup-hoisin glaze. yum

tamarindpup January 26, 2011 at 7:07 am

We use slightly less sugar, and because we happen to have it on hand – duck or goose fat instead of butter. Like the poster above, we put the fat in the pan in the oven and both preheating/greasing the pan while melting the fat. Once melted, the fat that’s poured off goes into the batter. We’ve also tried the more traditional bacon fat, but that tends to make a greasier, sometimes unpleasantly too bacony cornbread. Duck/goose fat is lighter.

Josie January 27, 2011 at 10:01 pm

That is the cutest little skillet I’ve ever seen. Yum! And so psyched to hear more about your not-butter trip!

bakingblonde January 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm

I love my castiron skillet but rarely use it. I always forget.
My grandma used to make these one cookies in it, i should find that recipe. I remember them being almost carmelized on the bottom with a big scoop of icecream with each piece, MMM
Your cornbread sounds great!

Shanna C February 1, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I’ve got two cast iron skillets, a ‘baby’ one like you have, plus a square 8″. I did have my mother-in-law’s round skillet but have now passed it on to my daughter. There’s just nothing better than hot cornbread out of a cast iron skillet on a chilly evening; in fact, I made some tonight in the baby skillet for just Hubby & me!

Davie March 12, 2011 at 8:55 am

Are these measurements US or UK cups? I’m assuming US?

Anna March 12, 2011 at 8:58 am

Hi Davie,

Yes, those are US measurements. For a while I was including grams in the recipes, but I wasn’t sure whether people were using them so I just stopped. I try to put in gram or oz weights for things like flour, though.

Davie March 12, 2011 at 9:07 am

Okay thanks Anna,

I’m doing a Pedernales River chili for tomorrow’s Calcutta Cup (Rugby) and want to serve it with skillet cornbread – I’d like to cook this recipe as it sounds perfect! Any idea what the approx weight of cornmeal in gram/oz is – I’m thinking 170g?

Davie March 12, 2011 at 9:39 am

Found it – 1/2 Cup is approx 75/80g – glad I checked :D

Anna March 12, 2011 at 9:53 am

Davie, you were right! I just edited this. My book says 1 cup of cornmeal is about 4.8 oz or 134 grams, so 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons would be about 80 grams. Sounds like you’ve got it all right.

Small Batch Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread

(83 grams) 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornmeal
(48 grams) 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
(24 grams) 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
(45 ml) 3 tablespoons whole milk
(120 ml) 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
(60 grams) 4 tablespoons salted butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a 5-inch cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter.

In a medium size or mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk in the milk, buttermilk, and egg. Whisk in almost all of the melted butter spread, reserving about 1/2 tablespoon for the skillet later on.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

Add the reserved butter to the hot skillet. Pour the batter into the skillet (it should sizzle and butter should pool around it) and place it in the center of the oven. Bake until the center is firm and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

Small Batch Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread

(83 grams) 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornmeal
(48 grams) 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
(24 grams) 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
(45 ml) 3 tablespoons whole milk
(120 ml) 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
(60 grams) 4 tablespoons salted butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a 5-inch cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter.

In a medium size or mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk in the milk, buttermilk, and egg. Whisk in almost all of the melted butter spread, reserving about 1/2 tablespoon for the skillet later on.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

Add the reserved butter to the hot skillet. Pour the batter into the skillet (it should sizzle and butter should pool around it) and place it in the center of the oven. Bake until the center is firm and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

Davie March 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Just finished my first one … tasted great! Now I’m off to make some for my guests! Thanks for this Anna.

Anna March 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Great news! I’m glad you were able to convert the recipe to metric fairly easily and that it worked. Now I feel like making cornbread.

Nina June 11, 2011 at 3:05 am

It was delicious! Funny thing is my mom is from dwn south…mississippi and so the cornbread is made alll the time n my family but I have thr same 5 inch cast iron skillet I jus took frm my mommas house to cook some cornbread n so I was lookin for recipes I could cut in half to make fit n ran across urs and girl was it good. I mite keep her skillet now. I’m stuffed with cornbread beans in rice. Yummm not good it s 105 in the morning but boy did it taste good

Anna June 11, 2011 at 7:03 am

Nina, thanks for taking the time to post a review. I’m really happy to hear the scaled down version came in handy for your.

Scott November 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Just made this recipe and It was excellent. I confess that I used self rising corn meal / flour. Very light texture. I use Moss and Southern Biscuit brands respectively.

I inherited a 5″ cast iron pan when I left home to live on my own in 1994. It had been so long disused at the time that my Uncle had to remove the rust from it with the wire wheel on his electric grinder. It doesn’t get a whole lot of of use now either but no rust.

Anna November 24, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Hi Scott,
I’m happy the recipe worked for you *and* that I’m not the only person in the world with a 5 inch skillet. Mine doesn’t get a lot of use either, but I keep thinking one day I’ll try to develop a very tiny frittata recipe.

Karen Schmidt-Dill October 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Made a big batch of split pea and ham soup today, will put most in the freezer. But I wanted a small batch of cornbread to eat tonight for supper. Oh yum, this looks so good. I have the tiny cast iron pan along with 3 other graduating up sizes. Mostly I use the little one for my bacon and eggs in the mornings.

Anna October 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I hope you like it! This is my favorite cornbread recipe.

JZ October 24, 2013 at 9:06 pm

This turned out beautifully!

I didn’t have buttermilk, so i used homo milk that i’d let sit for 5 minutes with 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice.

I also used butter in the pan with some cornmeal to make a bit of a crust.
(thanks for that bonus tip in the comments!)

Delicious!

Thanks heaps. this was exactly what i was looking for.

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