Cornbread – Box or Skillet?

by kimgerber on 07/22/2012

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Credit for my children’s love of cornbread can be rightfully given to Mrs. Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Yes, the author of the “Little House on the Prairie” series of books owns the right to my boys love of cornbread as well as other favorite pioneer dishes such as Baked Beans and Fresh Churned Butter (though I admit ours usually comes churned fresh from the Farmers Market or Whole Foods).  If you haven’t read the series of books yet with your children, do.  We actually loved listening to the books-on-cd in the car on the way to and from school.  My kids were given joy and a sense of wonder from tales of pioneer adventure, and I was given the gift of quiet contentment from the back seat.  A win-win!

These classic tales of a simpler way of life, though certainly not easy, are inspiring on many levels for both girls and boys.  Pa’s strong presence in the stories, give boys a masculine look at those times, and the tales of Ma’s cooking is a treasure everyone will love.  We loved them so much we went out and found “The Little House Cookbook” by Barbara M. Walker.  Working our way through that book has been a great compliment to the Laura Ingalls Wilder originals.

But as the prairies and  horse-drawn wagons have been replaced by skyscrapers and sports cars, yet another casualty of modern day advancement is indeed — the Cornbread.  Through the magic of marketing, we as consumers have been made to believe that boxed cornbread mixes are the easy, convenient way to go.  Truth-be-told, homemade cornbread from scratch is equally quick, easy and definitely more delicious than it’s boxed counterpart.   This Cast Iron Skillet Buttermilk Cornbread recipe is chock-full of whole, real ingredients and bakes up crisp around the edges when made in a cast iron skillet.  It’s time to bring back the good ‘ol days of Ma and her open fire, and take our families’ meals back Out of the Box.



(All ingredients followed by an * can be referenced at by clicking on the ingredient)


**Note – “Enriched” just means the ingredient has been processed and stripped of it’s nutrients, and then had the vitamins & minerals added back in (enriched) to meet appropriate standards.

Betty Crocker Authentic Cornbread & Muffin Mix


  • enriched degermed yellow corn meal (niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)**
  • enriched flour bleached (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)**
  • sugar
  • corn syrup*
  • leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate)
  • partially hydrogenated soybean oil and/or cottonseed oil*
  • dextrose*
  • salt
  • modified corn starch

***All listed product ingredients are taken from product’s package label.  Though Out of the Box Food makes every effort to provide complete ingredient information, please check the package for the most current information.


Cast Iron Skillet Buttermilk Cornbread

Special Equipment: 10 ” cast iron skillet

Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp butter


To make in oven:

  1. Place skillet in oven, and preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, corn meal, baking powder and sea salt.
  3. In another medium bowl, beat eggs, then whisk in buttermilk and honey until combined.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. (batter will be lumpy)
  5. Remove hot skillet from oven and add butter into the skillet to melt.
  6. Pour batter into skillet and return to oven
  7. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes.

To make over campfire:

  1. Prepare campfire coals.
  2. When coals are ready, top coals with a grill grate and place skillet on grate to preheat.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, corn meal, baking powder and sea salt.
  4. In another medium bowl, beat eggs, then whisk in buttermilk and honey until combined.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. (batter will be lumpy)
  6. Remove skillet from fire and add butter in skillet to melt.
  7. Pour in batter , cover with a lid and and place away from the coals on the grill grate – corn bread must be baked over indirect heat.  Do not place skillet directly on top of coals.
  8. Bake covered over grill for 20-25 minutes – (check periodically to be sure not to burn)


Until next week…



© 2012, kimgerber. All rights reserved.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Theresa July 29, 2012 at 12:58 am

We made your cornbread — campfire style, over coals — and it is the best we have EVER HAD, without a doubt. We forgot to get buttermilk, so we substituted whole milk and it still tasted divine. Great texture, great flavor, and excellent with Dutch oven chili! Thank you for such an awesome recipe.


Liz July 26, 2012 at 8:18 am

Sounds delicious! What would be a suitable substitute for the buttermilk for those with dairy allergies?



kimgerber July 29, 2012 at 10:52 am

I have to throw this question out to our dairy-free readers. Anyone have a substitution for buttermilk to share with Liz?


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