Jump into this sourdough cornbread recipe, baked in a cast-iron skillet! Golden brown, cripsy edges together with a tender crumb make this moist sourdough cornbread a recipe you'll reach for again and again. It makes the perfect side dish for so many things, but can also be served as a snack or meal in its own right.
You'll need 200g of sourdough starter or sourdough discard for this easy sourdough recipe. This really is a great recipe to use up extra sourdough starter!
Why You'll Love This Recipe!
Simple Ingredients - this sourdough skillet cornbread utilises pantry staples to create a versatile dish that can be served in so many ways. It not only makes a great side dish, but can also be served as a meal in its own right.
No Wait Sourdough Recipe - while you can ferment the batter for this sourdough cornbread, you don't have to! You can use either active sourdough starter or sourdough discard and mix and bake the batter immediately, creating a delicious no wait sourdough recipe.
Sweet or Savory - this recipe lends itself to both sweet and savory palettes. Top with maple syrup or whipped honey butter for a sweeter side or serve plain with a myriad of savory dishes. I love melting this spicy jalapeño honey butter on top when it first comes out of the oven!
What Is Cornbread and Where Did It Originate?
Cornbread has a rich history deeply ingrained in the culinary traditions of the Americas. Early iterations of cornbread consisted of simple blends of cornmeal, water, and occasionally salt, cooked on hot stones or in cast iron pans over open flames.
Over time, cornbread has emerged as a cherished staple dish across the United States, particularly in the South, where it holds a prominent place on the table alongside barbecue, chili, and fried chicken. Its enduring popularity can be attributed to its versatility, affordability, and nostalgic appeal, cementing its status as an indispensable element of American culinary heritage.
The texture and taste of cornbread can vary significantly based on the recipe and geographical region, ranging from dense and savory to airy and subtly sweet. It can be prepared in diverse forms, including skillet-baked, muffins, or loaves, and often incorporates additional ingredients like flour, eggs, milk, buttermilk, sugar, and leavening agents such as baking powder or baking soda ... or in this case your own sourdough starter!
How To Make Sourdough Skillet Cornbread
I've used 200g of sourdough starter and 150g of yellow cornmeal to make this easy sourdough cornbread. You can use white cornmeal if you prefer. I love making this with the buttermilk leftover from making homemade butter. It pairs so well with the sourdough starter!
Preheat oven to 200C/390F and place your cast iron skillet inside while the oven heats up.
Mix together all of the wet ingredients. Whisk them together until they are well combined.
Now, add the dry ingredients onto the top of the wet ingredients and gently fold them altogether, being careful not to over mix (as this will give you tough cornbread).
Cornbread batter is quite thick, like a slightly thick pancake batter.
Carefully remove the preheated skillet from the oven and place the pat of butter inside. Carefully (wearing high heat oven mitts) swoosh the butter around the pan so it melts and coats the cast iron.
Pour the cornbread batter into the buttered skillet (use a spatula to get it out of the bowl if you need to).
Bake your sourdough skillet cornbread at 200C (390F) for around 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Watch it carefully after 20 minutes, as you don't want it to dry out.
Allow it to cool in the skillet - you can eat fresh hot cornbread straight from the skillet if you like. For an extra bit of indulgence, add a knob of butter to the top of the hot sourdough cornbread and allow it to melt into the cornbread (you can do this with whipped honey cinnamon butter if you like too). YUM!
Tips for Making the Best Sourdough Skillet Cornbread
Preheat the skillet - To achieve a golden, crispy crust, preheat your cast iron skillet in the oven before adding the batter. This helps create a nice sear on the bottom of the cornbread as soon as it hits the hot surface. Make sure you add butter to the hot cast iron skillet before pouring the batter in. If you don't want to use butter, you could use any neutral oil you like or even coconut oil.
Use sourdough discard - Incorporating sourdough discard into your cornbread batter adds depth of flavor and a subtle tanginess. It also helps tenderize the crumb and adds moisture to the final product. Equally, active sourdough starter can be used in this recipe with no consequence.
Mix the wet ingredients first - Make sure you mix the wet ingredients together really well before adding the dry ingredients on top.
Don't overmix - When combining the wet and dry ingredients, mix just until everything is incorporated. Overmixing can lead to a tough and dense texture in the finished cornbread. A few lumps in the batter are perfectly fine.
Bake at the right temperature - For optimal results, bake your sourdough cornbread at a moderate temperature, typically around 375°F to 400°F (190°C to 200°C). This allows the cornbread to cook evenly without burning the edges or drying out the interior. Keep an eye on it towards the end of the baking time to prevent over browning and drying out.
Flavor Variations for Sourdough Cornbread
While this sourdough cornbread tastes fantastic just as it is, there are a few flavor variations you can do that make it out of this world delicious!
- Jalapeno Cheddar Sourdough Cornbread - Add 100g of shredded cheddar cheese and 50g of diced pickled jalapeños for a spicy twist! You could also top it with this delicious whipped jalapeño honey butter.
- Corn Kernals - Add a can of corn kernals to the wet ingredients when mixing the cornbread together. This gives you a really lovely, moist sourdough cornbread.
- Sourdough Honey Cornbread - For honey cornbread, melt a generous amount of honey butter into the top of your cornbread once it comes out of the oven.
- Rosemary Parmesan Sourdough Cornbread - adding some fresh or dried rosemary and up to 100g of shredded parmesan gives a great savory flavor.
What To Serve with Sourdough Skillet Cornbread
There are so many creative ways you can serve this delicious sourdough discard cornbread recipe. Here are a few of my favorites!
Chili - The hearty and slightly tangy flavor of sourdough cornbread complements the rich and spicy flavors of chili perfectly.
Barbecue - Serve alongside barbecue ribs, pulled pork, or brisket for a delightful contrast of smoky and tangy flavors.
Soup - Enjoy a slice of warm sourodough cornbread with a bowl of comforting soup, such as tomato soup, vegetable soup, or chicken noodle soup.
Fried Chicken - The crunchy exterior and moist interior of fried chicken are enhanced by the rustic texture and subtle sourness of sourdough cornbread.
Roasted Vegetables - Pair with roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, or carrots for a satisfying and nutritious meal.
Stews and Braises - Sop up the flavorful juices of beef stew, chicken cacciatore, or lamb tagine with a slice of sourdough cornbread. It even goes with this beef & Guinness stew!
Grilled Meats - Serve alongside grilled meats like steak, chicken, or sausage for a comforting and flavorful meal.
Salads - Enjoy a slice of cornbread with a crisp and refreshing salad for a balanced and satisfying meal.
Eggs - Enjoy a slice of cornbread alongside scrambled eggs, omelets, or fried eggs for a delicious breakfast or brunch option.
How To Store + Freeze
This sourdough cornbread is best eaten warm, straight from the oven. You can store leftovers in a ziploc bag for airtight container for up to three days. Warm gently before serving.
Baked sourdough cornbread does freeze well. If I'm freezing it, I will bake in a square pan as it's easier to wrap this in aluminum foil and slip into a ziploc bag to freeze.
Sourdough Skillet Cornbread
- Mixing Bowl
- Digital Scales
- Cast Iron Skillet (mine is 12")
- 200 g Sourdough Starter Discard or Active Starter
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 60 g Vegetable Oil
- 100 g Buttermilk or milk or sour cream
- 40 g Honey
- 5 g Vanilla Extract
- 100 g All Purpose Flour
- 180 g Cornmeal
- 10 g Baking Powder (2 tsp)
- 8 g Salt
- Preheat oven to 200C/390F and place your cast iron skillet inside while the oven heats up.
- Mix together all of the wet ingredients. Whisk them together until they are well combined.
- Now, add the dry ingredients onto the top of the wet ingredients and gently fold them altogether, being careful not to over mix (as this will give you tough cornbread).
- Cornbread batter is quite thick, like a slightly thick pancake batter.
- Carefully remove the preheated skillet from the oven and place the butter inside. Carefully (wearing high heat oven mitts) swoosh the butter around the pan so it melts and coats the cast iron.
- Pour the cornbread batter into the buttered skillet (use a spatula to get it out of the bowl if you need to).
- Bake your sourdough skillet cornbread at 200C (390F) for around 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Watch it carefully after 20 minutes, as you don't want it to dry out.
- Allow it to cool in the skillet - you can eat it straight from the skillet if you like. For an extra bit of indulgence, add a knob of butter to the top of the hot sourdough cornbread and allow it to melt into the cornbread (you can do this with whipped honey cinnamon butter if you like too). YUM!