Cooking Up Some Cornbread
Crisp autumn days are the ideal time to make a batch or two of homemade cornbread. Its moist, coarse texture and sweet corn flavor are a perfect complement to pots of chili and fall soups. So easy. Scoop your batter into a Pyrex® glass loaf pan, pop it into the oven, then cozy up on the couch with a great book while enjoying the wonderful aroma wafting through your home.
If we haven’t convinced you yet to get your cornbread on, here are our favorite cornbread-making tips and tricks that will get you going. We’ve also included favorite cornbread recipes, creative mix-ins and topping ideas. So what’s stopping you now?
COOK UP CORNBREAD LOAVES
Cornbread is traditionally baked in cast-iron skillets and baking pans, but here’s a little-known secret—loaf pans make even better batches. Why? First, it’s easy to slice, as you would a normal loaf of bread (no cake knives or spatulas needed). Second, as a stand-in for white bread, these Southern-inspired slices are excellent for kicking up a hearty brisket or pulled pork sandwich. But best of all, cornbread loaves make a pretty gift to give friends or family. Looking for more loaf magic?
- Loaf conversions. Wondering how to fit your favorite cornbread recipe into a loaf pan? A 9×5-inch loaf pan like the PYREX® EASY GRAB® 1.5 QUART LOAF DISH WITH RED PLASTIC COVER fits 8 cups of batter, so recipes designed for 9-inch skillets should be doubled to fit. Recipes made in a 13×9-inch baking dish will yield 15 cups of batter, just enough to split into two loaf pans (expect slightly shorter loaves).
- Easy store. If you have leftovers, small loaves of cornbread fit nicely in the fridge. Bake in the stylish and functional PYREX® 1.5 QUART SCULPTED LOAF BAKING DISH W/ RED PLASTIC COVER. Then, cool completely and cover with the perfect-fit plastic lid—and you can store several ready-to-go loaves on top of each other. Or, tie baked loaves with a bow and you have a wonderful hostess or housewarming gift in your hands.
MAKE IT CLASSIC
Classic cornbread is “classic” for good reason. It’s absolutely delicious and offers plenty of versatility. Whether eaten plain, served alongside chili, crumbled for a casserole or used to bookend a sandwich, it’s guaranteed to be delicious any way you slice it. We love adapting the sweet corn muffins on JustJENN to fit a PYREX® 1.5 QUART LOAF PAN; just up the baking time to about 35 minutes. It’s ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
EVEN BETTER WITH BACON
What happens when you take classic cornbread and turn it into our Sun-Dried Tomato and Bacon Cornbread? Piping-hot loaves that you’ll want to eat straight out of the oven, that’s what! Made moist with buttermilk, studded with crumbled bacon and chopped sun-dried tomatoes, we think this recipe is one of the best savory quick breads ever. An absolutely must-make if you love cornbread.
DIY FLAVORED BUTTER
If you’ve opted to keep your cornbread mix basic and simple, jazz up a slice with flavored butter. A stick of butter can be quickly mixed with a variety of toppings that everyone will love slathering on warm-from-the-oven slices.
- Strawberry Butter. Make strawberry butter by beating 1 cup of room-temperature unsalted butter with 1/4 cup powdered sugar and a dash of salt; stir in 1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries.
- Blueberry-Jalapeño Honey Butter. Follow the recipe above, but replace the sugar with 1/4 cup honey and mix in blueberries instead of strawberries. Toss in some diced jalapeño to taste (seeded if you want less heat).
TRY HOMEMADE PRESERVES
If fruit and vegetable preserves are more up your alley, turn to an array of jam ideas as cornbread topping alternatives. Molly Sheridan of the blog Wonderland Kitchen whips up a Spicy Tomato Jam that absolutely bursts with flavor, thanks to the addition of sugar, lime, salt, chiles, cumin, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.
CREAMY IS DREAMY
Like butter, a dollop of sour cream adds even more richness to a slice of cornbread. The cool, creamy add-on can also easily smooth over a batch of cornbread that’s not so moist. To elevate your sour cream, try adding a chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, along with a squeeze of lime, to a cup-sized sour cream container. Bonus: The smokiness of the adobo pairs wonderfully with any kind of chili, too.
EXPERT TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR OWN CORNBREAD
- Nix the Mixing. When combining wet and dry ingredients, stir just until combined. Avoid overmixing, as it can make cornbread less tender.
- Mix-Ins to Infinity. There are so many ways to play around with mix-ins, like chopped green chiles for heat, shredded pepper Jack or Cheddar for a cheesy flavor, or creamed corn for an extra flavor boost. The possibilities are endless!
- Fresh is best. Cornbread is best serve on the day it’s baked. If you have leftovers, bake in a fridge-friendly pan like the PYREX® 1.5 QUART SCULPTED LOAF BAKING DISH W/ RED PLASTIC COVER. It comes with a convenient lid to help keep leftovers fresher longer.