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Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread Loaf

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Butter up.

This sweet cornbread recipe is my favorite. It’s an easy, moist, mildly sweet cornbread with buttermilk and fresh corn, baked as a homey loaf that’s ready in about an hour.

sweet cornbread recipe with corn and buttermilk

Meet this sweet cornbread recipe with buttermilk

I love cornbread (and baking with cornmeal, generally). Whether savory or sweet, cornbread feels intrinsically homey and tastes deeply satisfying.

I grew up on sweet cornbread. Recipes abound. Some sweet cornbread recipes taste almost like cake. Some cornbreads bake up crumbly and dense. But this recipe is my favorite sweet cornbread recipe. With buttermilk, corn, and sugar, melted butter, this lovely cornbread loaf is:

  • Sweet, but not overly so,
  • Dense and moist, and 
  • Keeps fresh for several days without drying out

I adapted this cornbread recipe from well-known Philadelphia bakery Le Bus’s cornbread loaf recipe. I simplified the baking time and ingredients, but the result is the same: the best cornbread loaf ever.

sweet cornbread recipe ingredients

Sweet cornbread recipe ingredients

This sweet cornbread loaf recipe with buttermilk and corn can be made in minutes with little more than a wooden spoon. You will need the following ingredients:

  • Flour
  • Yellow cornmeal (white cornmeal is fine, too, but the color will not be as rich)
  • Sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Eggs
  • Melted butter
  • Buttermilk, and
  • Corn kernels, such as fresh frozen corn

sweet cornbread batter folded with corn

How to make this easy buttermilk cornbread loaf

To make this sweet cornbread recipe, you will need only two mixing bowls, a spoon, and a greased standard loaf pan.

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Separately mix together the eggs, melted butter, and buttermilk.
  2. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix just until combined, adding the frozen or fresh corn kernels.
  3. Pour the batter into a standard loaf pan. Bake for about one hour. Test for doneness: a toothpick or cake tester should come out clean. The top of the loaf should look golden brown.
  4. Cool for about 15 to 20 minutes in the loaf pan before turnout out onto a wire rack to cool.

sweet cornbread batter in loaf pan

Is cornbread supposed to be sweet?

Yes! Cornbread is supposed to be sweet. Cornbread is also “supposed” to be savory. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the sweetness of cornbread, only differing tastes and opinions based on regionalism and tradition.

This sweet cornbread recipe is just as “correct” as its savory cousin. Neither is better or worse, just different. Some are both, such as this sweet and savory skillet cornbread recipe from Toni Tipton-Martin. More below.

sweet cornbread loaf with buttermilk and corn

What’s the difference between sweet cornbread and southern cornbread? The great cornbread debate.

The great cornbread sweet vs. savory debate elicits strong opinions. But the answer is that both sweet and savory cornbreads are correct.

Do southerners put sugar in cornbread?

The general assumption is that sweet cornbread is Northern cornbread, and savory cornbread hails from the South. But while generally accurate, this explanation is too general.

The history of Northern vs. Southern/sweet vs. savory cornbread also touches on race, slavery, poverty and wealth, and indigenous American and African-American foodways.

moist sweet cornbread recipe loaf slices

What’s the secret to moist cornbread?

Baking wise, is anything worse than a dry, crumbly cornbread? Shudder. Luckily, this homemade cornbread bakes up very moist, helping to make it the best cornbread recipe I know. Here’s why.

There are two secrets to making moist cornbread:

  1. Bake at the correct time and temperature. Too high or too long, and the moisture will cook out of the cornbread and become dry. This moist cornbread recipe bakes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 hour.
  2. Use the correct ratio of liquids and fats to dry ingredients. If there is not enough liquid or fat, the cornbread will be dry. Luckily, this recipe uses a good amount of eggs, melted butter, and buttermilk. The result is a very moist loaf.

homemade cornbread loaf sliced

Extra Credit: How to Make Jiffy Cornbread Mix Sweet

Ok, this is a bit of an aside since this sweet cornbread recipe is made from scratch. But for all the Jiffy cornbread mix true believers out there, I have a great article all about how to hack Jiffy cornbread mix to make it sweet — plus lots more Jiffy mix add-in ideas and improvements.

How to Serve This Cornbread

Enjoy this simple homemade cornbread loaf on its own, or warm with good butter and a drizzle of honey for breakfast or afternoon snack. This cornbread also tastes wonderful on a cheese board, and makes a particularly nice pairing for sharp cheddar cheese. And of course, nothing makes a more perfect side dish for soups, especially chili, than cornbread.

Love this easy cornbread loaf recipe? You’ll also like:

sweet buttermilk cornbread recipe.

Sweet Cornbread Loaf

This lightly sweet cornbread recipe with buttermilk and corn kernels bakes up an easy cornbread loaf that's dense, moist, and absolutely essential.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Course: Baked Goods, Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keywords:: acorn squash, baking, buttermilk, cornbread loaf, easy, sweet cornbread recipe
Servings: 1 standard loaf
Print

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter, slightly cooled (1 stick, or 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a standard loaf pan.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together: flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, bakings soda, and salt.
  • In another mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter.
    PRO TIP: You can temper the butter and prevent it from seizing in the cold buttermilk. To do this, whisk a tablespoon or two of buttermilk into the melted butter, then add the tempered butter into the mixing bowl with the remaining buttermilk and eggs.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the liquid along with the corn kernels, and stir just until combined.
  • Bake the cornbread on the center rack for about 1 hour, give or take a few minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean and top is light golden brown. Cool in the loaf pan for about 20 minutes before turning onto a wire cooling rack.
    Serve warm or at room temperature, maybe with some soft butter or a drizzle of honey.

Notes

This sweet buttermilk cornbread loaf keeps for several days at room temperature, wrapped or in an airtight container. But cornbread tastes best right away, since it will get dry.
This recipe also freezes well, and will keep in the freezer for several months, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
You can also use this batter to bake corn muffins. Baking times will be about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.

9 comments

  • Lillian Laux

    Is it ok not to add corn to the cornbread?

    • Unpeeled

      Absolutely. You can easily leave it out and the cornbread will still be very good.

  • Mary in Philly

    5 stars
    I used to go to Le Bus years ago when it was in Manayunk. Maybe it is still there? I don’t know. It was, and remains, a very good cornbread recipe if you like a moist, dense and sweet cornbread loaf. I am so happy to have this recipe.

  • 5 stars
    Delicious, I love cornbread.

  • This was outstanding! If you are seeking a sweeter cornbread I highly recommend this recipe.

    • Unpeeled

      So glad you liked it, Andi! It’s always been a family favorite.

  • Janelle

    5 stars
    Very moist and I loved the corn. What about adding dried or chopped cranberries to this? Which do you think would be better?

  • 5 stars
    This turned out very well and was very easy to make. I think I might try this as muffins next time!

  • 5 stars
    My favorite cornbread recipe!! It’s absolutely delicious. Thanks for this easy yummy recipe
    Ricki

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