This Southern-style Buttermilk Cornbread recipe from my grandmother (Nama) is an easy to make side dish that’s always a crowd pleaser. It’s a classic recipe that has been passed down for generations, and, like most traditional Southern cornbread recipes, doesn’t contain any added sugar. Tangy buttermilk and nutty Parmesan cheese add depth of flavor while keeping the cornbread moist and tender. And, an unusual ingredient – chopped onion – elevates the flavor and adds a bit of crunch!
This Buttermilk Cornbread recipe is scrumptious!
My mom loved cornbread, especially this recipe for Parmesan-Buttermilk Cornbread, which came from her mom. The buttermilk and Parmesan cheese give this bread a nice tangy flavor.
Why you’ll enjoy this Cornbread Recipe with Buttermilk
Here are the reasons why I love this cornbread recipe more than any other and think you’ll enjoy it, too:
- The addition of Parmesan cheese adds a rich and savory flavor, which enhances both the overall taste and texture of the cornbread.
- Using buttermilk instead of regular milk adds moisture and gives the bread a a tender crumb and a slightly tangy taste, that balances well with the Parmesan cheese.
- Chopped onion is stirred into the batter, infusing the entire cornbread with its aroma and taste, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
- Nama’s tip to heat the baking dish before adding the cornbread batter results in a crispy exterior with a tender interior.
Buttermilk Cornbread Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this tender, moist cornbread:
- All-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
- Cornmeal (stone-ground)
- Parmesan cheese
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Buttermilk – see substitutions below
- Vegetable oil
- Chopped yellow onion
Parmesan Cornbread Substitutions and Variations
In place of the buttermilk: add 1/4 cup powdered buttermilk to the dry ingredients and 1 cup water to the wet ingredients. Alternatively, King Arthur Flour recommends whisking together 1/3 cup Greek yogurt and 2/3 cup 1% milk.
In terms of variations: add green onion, cooked bacon bits, diced green chiles or chopped fresh herbs (dill, chives, parsley).
How to make Easy Buttermilk Cornbread
By following these easy steps, you can have fresh, hot cornbread on the table in around 30 minutes:
- Prep oven and baking dish.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 7 by 11-inch baking dish and place in oven while it preheats (works best not to use a glass dish).
- Combine dry ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, cheese, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Combine wet ingredients.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, water, oil and chopped onion.
- Mix wet and dry ingredients.
Pour wet ingredients into the flour mixture all at once and stir until thoroughly blended.
- Pour batter into heated pan.
Remove baking dish from oven and spoon in batter; bake for about 25 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cut into 10 squares and serve warm.
Is it better to bake cornbread in glass or metal pan?
For this recipe, because the pan is heated while empty (before adding the cornbread batter), it’s best to use a metal or cast iron pan. An empty glass dish could shatter.
Easy Parmesan Cornbread Tips
Here are my tips for ensuring your cornbread comes out perfectly every time:
- Don’t overmix the batter. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together just until they’re combined. Overmixing can lead to tough, dry cornbread.
- Preheat the baking dish. Follow Nama’s method and preheat the baking dish before adding the batter. A hot pan results in a crispy exterior with a tender interior.
- Serve warm, and with butter. Cornbread is best served warm, and Nama (and my mom!) always insisted it had to be served with butter.
How to store Cornbread with Buttermilk
Cornbread can be made up to 3 days ahead, well wrapped or placed in an airtight container and refrigerated.
How long does cornbread last?
Well wrapped and refrigerated cornbread will last around 4 days.
Does cornbread need to be refrigerated?
Because of the Parmesan cheese in this cornbread, it needs to be refrigerated.
Can you freeze cornbread?
Yes, this cornbread can be well wrapped or placed in an airtight container and frozen for up to 1 month.
How to reheat Cornbread
Bring to room temperature, wrap in foil and warm in a 325 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
What to eat with Cornbread
I like to serve this scrumptious cornbread with these recipes:
What to do with Leftover Cornbread
There are many uses for leftover cornbread. Here are a few ideas:
- Cut into 1/2-inch squares, toast and use as croutons.
- Use in place of (or mix in with) cubed bread in your favorite breakfast casserole.
- Coarsely chop leftover bread and process in a food processor to make bread crumbs. Use in place of fresh or panic breadcrumbs in your favorite recipe.
Cornbread Recipe with Buttermilk FAQs
Buttermilk adds a richer, slightly tangy flavor that complements the cornmeal. Because of its acidity it also makes the bread more tender.
Chances are you overcooked it. Always check a recipe for doneness 5 to 10 minutes before the recipe indicates it will be done, as oven temperatures can vary, affecting cook time.
Southern cornbread uses buttermilk, traditionally doesn’t have added sugar and uses less flour. The result is a more tender, moist, slightly tangy bread.
Yes, you can but I don’t recommend it. It will change both the flavor and the texture, and not in a good way. Instead, use one of my recommended buttermilk substitutions (see above in this post and also in the recipe card below).
Cornbread calls for wheat flour, so it isn’t gluten free. To make this recipe gluten free, substitute 1 cup gluten-free flour for the AP flour and add 1?2 teaspoon xanthan gum
More Family Favorite Recipes
- Southern Corn Pudding
- Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches
- Benedictine Cheese Canapés
- Pimiento Cheese Spread
- Farfalle Bolognese Pasta
- Oven Baked Shrimp
- Roasted Salmon Steaks
- Pecan Snowball Cookies
- Cheesecake Squares
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
- 1 cup cornmeal (stone-ground)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk – see substitutions in Notes below
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 7 by 11-inch baking dish and place in oven while it preheats (works best not to use a glass dish).
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, cheese, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, water, oil and chopped onion. Pour into the flour mixture all at once and stir just until blended; don’t overmix.
- Pour the batter into the hot baking pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cut into 10 squares and serve warm.
Buttermilk substitutions: In place of the buttermilk, add 1/4 cup powdered buttermilk to the dry ingredients and 1 cup water to the wet ingredients. Alternatively, King Arthur Flour recommends whisking together 1/3 cup Greek yogurt and 2/3 cup 1% milk.
High altitude: No adjustments are necessary.
Make ahead: Can be made up to 2 days ahead, well wrapped and refrigerated. Can also be frozen for up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature, wrap in foil and warm in a 325 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Category: side dishes, quick breads, easy entertaining
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Southern