Cornbread from Ruth Johnson

Thank you to Ruth Johhson for contributing this family recipe.

“Skillet cornbread has been made in my family for generations. Cornbread tastes best when made in an iron skillet, which must be hot when the batter is added to give it a beautiful golden crust. It’s fast and easy cooked on the stovetop or in the oven using a well seasoned cast iron skillet. The best are those passed down from generation to generation. My son now makes his own version on the bbq, usually adding chopped jalapeno peppers.”

– Ruth Johnson


1 1/3 cups cornmeal

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar (optional). Note traditional cornbread is not sweetened.

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup buttermilk*

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil, plus 2 – 3 tablespoons more for skillet

*Buttermilk substitute: Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 1 cup milk. Stir and let sit for 1 minute.


In a large bowl stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar (if using), baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium-size bowl, combine egg, buttermilk and oil. Add to the cornmeal/flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Stovetop: Heat 2 – 3 tablespoons of oil in small (8” – 9”) cast iron skillet on medium-high heat on stovetop, until the oil is shimmering. Pour batter into hot skillet. Immediately turn heat to low. Cover skillet. Cook until the batter is mostly set on top (almost dry on top and the batter no longer ‘jiggles’), about 8 – 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula carefully flip the cornbread to other side, cover and continue cooking another 8 minutes or until golden brown on bottom. Remove from skillet, slice and serve warm.

Oven baked: Alternatively, cornbread can be baked in 425 degree oven in a well-greased, hot 8” X 8” baking pan or cast iron skillet (remember the handle will be extremely HOT when removing from the oven). You can heat the oil in the skillet on the stovetop, as shown above, add batter then place in preheated oven. Bake uncovered for 22 – 24 minutes or until golden brown on top. Slice and serve warm.

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