If you're a Southerner or simply love Southern cooking, you've probably eaten fried cornbread. If you've never heard of fried cornbread, perhaps you've heard of johnnycakes, hoecakes, or hushpuppies?

No matter what your call it, fried cornbread is a yummy dish, that's a cross between cornbread and a pancake. They're similar to fritters in that it's a batter that is fried. It's traditionally served as a side dish to collard greens or as a sweet breakfast item.

The History Behind Fried Cornbread

Fried cornbread was first made by Native Americans. The indigenous people made it using cornmeal and hot oil from animal lard. The first iteration was called hot water cornbread and it used three basic ingredients; cornmeal, hot water, and salt. It's rumored that Native Americans originally cooked the cakes on hot rocks, then adapted to cooking them on the blade of a hoe. Hence, the name hoecakes.

During the period where Africans were enslaved in the South, hot water cornbread was popular, since it was cheaper than sliced bread. It also paired well with common dishes as the time like rice, beans, and collard greens. Today, you'll find them served alongside fried chicken and black-eyed peas.

How To Make Fried Cornbread

Fried cornbread is a simple treat, made with ingredients you already have at home. They are fried in oil or bacon grease, meaning they're not the healthiest. Anything fried is not going to be kind to your cholesterol levels. Corn is naturally high in carbohydrates and these are no exception. Indulging once in a while never hurt anyone, right?

Sarah Abrams

The total time to make these is 20 minutes, with a 10 minute cook time. The prep time is only 10 minutes, including mixing all the ingredients.

First, grab a baking sheet and line it with paper towels. The towels will absorb the oil from the cakes. In a large bowl, combine self-rising flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and one cup cornmeal. You can use white cornmeal or yellow cornmeal, depending on your preference.

If you like your cornbread sweet, you can add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon sugar.

Next, add one cup buttermilk, 1/3 cup water, and 2 large eggs to the dry ingredients. Whisk everything together until you have a thick cornbread batter.

If you have bacon drippings, you can use them to fry the cakes. If not, you can use the cooking oil of your choice. We recommend canola or vegetable oil. Combine butter and oil in a cast-iron skillet and get the pan roaring hot.

Sarah Abrams

Use a measuring scoop to plop the little patties into the pan. Fry until they are golden brown and have crispy edges, then flip and repeat.

Variations

There are several ways to put a spin on the old-fashioned classic.

  • If you'd like some savory spice, add cheddar cheese and jalapeno. You can substitute self-rising cornmeal mix in place of the flour and baking soda.
  • If you have a box of Jiffy cornbread mix, follow the box instructions and fry in oil till crispy.

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Fried Cornbread: Its History and How to Make it in a Skillet 

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes

servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • bacon drippings or oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Instructions

In a large bowl, combine self-rising flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and one cup cornmeal. Add one cup buttermilk, 1/3 cup water, and 2 large eggs to the dry ingredients. Whisk everything together until you have a thick cornbread batter.

Heat skillet with bacon grease or oil of choice. Use a measuring scoop to plop the little patties into the pan. Fry until they are golden brown and have crispy edges, then flip and repeat.