Skillet Cornbread with Honey Butter: Leave your presumptions about dry cornbread behind. Glistening with honey butter and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, this recipe is soft, moist, and utterly delicious.
Why is it that cornbread is one of those foods that just seems to get forgotten about? I mean, people go completely nutso about biscuits.
But cornbread? Cornbread really deserves a slow clap of its own in the best way possible. It’s kind of like the dark horse of carby sides.
It’s easy to make, comes out of the oven hot and steamy, and yet, it’s completely unassuming. With a plain yellowish top that’s lacking in pizazz, you’d never know the deliciousness that lies beneath.
But if you’ve had good cornbread (all the Ina Garten happening in my head right now), you know what I’m talking about. And if all you know of cornbread is dry, crumbly squares of baked cornmeal, listen up.
Good cornbread is like a gift from above. This skillet cornbread with honey butter is just that. It’s soft, moist – yes, I went there – and packed with flavor.
And no, it doesn’t have to be of the jalapeño cheddar variety to have a lot of flavor. Although, YES always to jalapeño cheddar cornbread!! Basic cornbread can be SO good!
Skillet Cornbread in the Oven
Since I started making cornbread 20 years ago, I’ve been baking it in a glass baking dish. I attempted to make cornbread in a cast iron skillet before back when I made our favorite beef chili for the first time but honestly, I hated the way it turned out.
It was ridiculously dry and crumbly: the exact reasons why people tend to shun cornbread in the first place. I simply assumed that the intense heat retention of the cast iron skillet over baked the cornbread and made it dry.
And while I vowed to redeem myself, I secretly also felt like that’s how skillet cornbread in the oven was meant to turn out.
Boy, was I wrong!
The buttermilk in this skillet cornbread recipe is actually what helps to keep the cornbread soft and moist without an overpowering tanginess that buttermilk sometimes imparts in baked recipes.
So rather than blaming the skillet for my awful cornbread that first time, I embraced it and used ingredients that would combat the dry and crumbly issues.
How to Make Skillet Cornbread
Like any other cornbread recipe, this one is dead simple. It’s a mix of dry ingredients: coarse cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and wet ingredients: buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs.
Once you mix all of the ingredients into a thick batter, you’ll spread the batter out in a well-buttered and cornmeal-dusted cast iron skillet and pop the skillet into a 375° F oven for about 25 minutes.
Let’s Talk about the Honey Butter
OK, so what completely sets this skillet cornbread apart from the rest of the thousands of recipes out there is the honey butter that I brushed on top before serving. It adds another level of sweetness to the cornbread but let me be clear: the honey butter doesn’t saturate this cornbread with sweetness.
Instead, it adds just enough to let you know it’s there without making the cornbread cloyingly sweet. Are you with me?
Along with the honey butter, I sprinkled a little flaky Maldon sea salt on top of the honey butter to add the tinsiest bit of crunch and a contrasting flavor profile that just explodes on the taste buds. In my book, sweet and salty is the BEST flavor combination and the salt and honey butter hit alllll the marks atop this cornbread.
Seriously, it’s the best!!
What I Love About this Skillet Cornbread with Honey Butter
Right off the bat, let me just reiterate how easy this cornbread is to make. Forget opening a box of cornbread mix. The ingredients here are as basic as basic gets and odds are, you have all of them in your kitchen right now to make it.
If you don’t have buttermilk, mix the milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes. Stir it up and you have a quick buttermilk to use. No excuses here, people!
Baked in a cast iron skillet, the cornbread emerges from the oven with an impossibly soft center and slightly crunchy edges. So if you’re a brownie edge lover like I am, you’ll love the crunch of this cornbread as much as I did.
The honey butter and sprinkle of salt not only make this skillet cornbread glisten, they also make it sing! The sweet and salty combination of flavor atop this savory and slightly sweet cornbread is the absolute best and I guarantee that you won’t find a better cornbread recipe anywhere on the web.
That’s saying a lot. I know. But like with all of my other recipes, I fully stand behind this one. And I wouldn’t lead you astray.
What Goes with Cornbread?
In my opinion, cornbread is excellent for dipping into chili and soup so some of my favorite meals to serve cornbread with are:
- chile con carne with black and pinto beans
- smoky black bean soup
- crock pot vegetarian quinoa chili
- roasted sweet potato and apple soup
But there’s also no reason to relegate cornbread to being dipped into something. This skillet cornbread would also be absolutely perfect alongside some grilled steak, Ina’s turkey meatloaf, this chicken with country gravy, this butterflied and grilled chicken, or even bacon and onion jam burgers!
For the cornbread:
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp table salt
- 1 cup liquid buttermilk, well-shaken
- 4 oz (8 tbsp/1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
For the honey butter and topping:
- 1 ½ tbsp honey
- 1 ½ unsalted butter
- Flaky sea salt
- To make the cornbread: Preheat oven to 375°. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch cast iron skillet and dust with cornmeal; set aside.
- Stir the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Measure buttermilk into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup or pour it into a medium bowl. Whisk in the cool melted butter and eggs. It's ok if the mixture becomes a little lumpy.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir them together until just combined with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Transfer the cornbread batter to the skillet and smooth out the top.
- Bake on the center rack of the oven for 25 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. It should be very lightly golden and bounce back when lightly pressed. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
- To make the honey butter: Add the honey and butter to a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, then stir and microwave for another 15 seconds or so, just until the butter is melted. Whisk to combine.
- For serving: Brush the warm cornbread with the honey butter and sprinkle with some flaky sea salt. Serve with extra butter on the side in case anyone wants extra (and they probably will!).