Southern-Style Cornbread in a Cast Iron Skillet

This recipe makes a delicious cornbread that has a great crust due to
cooking it in a pre-heated cast iron skillet. If you like sweet cake-like
cornbread, this recipe is not for you. This is a rustic cornbread with
real texture.


Makes one 8-inch skillet of bread. Published in Cook’s Illustrated May 1, 1998.


4 teaspoons bacon drippings or 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone ground (divided use 1/3 cup & 2/3 cup)

2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup water (rapidly boiling)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg , beaten lightly


Place an oven rack on lower middle shelf of oven. Now place an 8-inch cast-iron skillet, greased with 4 tsp bacon fat or 1 tsp vegetable oil and 1 Tbs melted butter on that rack.

Start oven pre-heating to 450-F.

In a medium bowl, measure out 1/3 cup of the cornmeal.

In another smaller bowl mix the remaining 2/3 cup cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking power and baking soda and set aside until needed.

Pour 1/3 cup of boiling water into the 1/3 cup of cornmeal and stir to form a stiff batter.
Slowly whisk in buttermilk until batter is smooth, then whisk in the beaten egg.

When the oven has reached 450-F and skillet is hot, stir the small bowl of dry ingredients
into the larger bowl of moistened cornmeal batter.

Remove hot skillet from oven. Pour heated bacon fat or butter from hot skillet
into the bowl of batter and stir until mixed.

Now quickly pour the bowl of batter into the hot skillet. Return skillet with batter to hot oven.

Bake until cornbread is golden brown, about 20-minutes.

Remove from oven and turn out cornbread onto wire rack. Cool 5 minutes then serve.

This is how I make cornbread. Sometimes I add chopped jalapenos and grated cheddar cheese or pork cracklins.

Could you substitute the granular splenda for baking for the sugar called for in the recipe?