The Perfect Refined-Sugar Free Southern Cornbread Recipe


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Homemade southern cornbread was a staple in my grandma’s Arkansas kitchen and we ate it all the time. If you’re looking for delicious and refined-sugar-free cornbread, you’ll love this easy recipe!

yellow southern cornbread in cast iron skillet

When I was young, I didn’t appreciate the bean soup my grandma served us, but I always enjoyed her cornbread. Anything made from scratch is a real treat, especially when you use an easy southern cornbread recipe like I’m sharing today!

Now I know that the perfect cornbread recipe can be a hot topic. Should it be sweet or not? Crumbly or not? I guess it all boils down to personal preference, but this recipe more closely resembles how I’ve seen cornbread prepared in the south. I’ve had “cornbread” here in Iowa and I do not consider it true cornbread. They best way to describe it is moist and cakey. Ick!

refined sugar free cornbread

What’s in this Southern Cornbread Recipe?

This sugar free cornbread is flavorful, yet crumbly. I add a few tablespoons of honey to give it a slight hint of sweet, but it could not be described as sweet cornbread. It’s a family favorite recipe. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flour: I use freshly ground hard white wheat, but all-purpose flour would work, too.
  • Cornmeal: Use a high-quality corn meal flour or grind your own. I use freshly ground blue corn flour, but yellow cornmeal works as well.
  • Raw honey: I add a few tablespoons just for a hint of sweetness. Adjust the amount to your own preference.
  • Baking powder: Helps your cornbread rise in the skillet.
  • Salt: I add for flavor. You can adjust the amount to your liking.
  • Bacon grease: Adds a hint of bacon flavor to your cornbread and also keeps it from sticking.
  • Eggs: Holds your cornbread together.
  • Buttermilk: Makes the texture of your cornbread softer.
  • Melted butter: Butter gives a lighter texture to the cornbread.
The Perfect Refined-Sugar Free Southern Cornbread Recipe

You’ll get a better result if you use better ingredients. I grind my own corn meal and flour in my Nutrimill grain mill. While I think there are a lot of benefits to grinding your own flours, you certainly don’t have to. I would recommend that you buy a high-quality corn meal flour though – Bob’s Red Mill makes a nice medium ground cornmeal that I like.

I also recommend using aluminum-free baking powder (Rumford is my preferred brand) and buttermilk as well.

Recipe Tip

If you don’t have buttermilk, easily make your own by combining 1 TBS vinegar with enough milk to make a cup!

How to Make Southern Cornbread in a Cast Iron Skillet

yellow southern cornbread baked in a cast iron skillet on a wooden table

Overall, this recipe is really easy. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients. Combine the wet ingredients and fold into the dry ingredients. Use bacon grease on the cast iron skillet to prevent sticking. Spread the cornbread batter in a baking pan or 9-inch cast iron skillet.

Once you see crisp edges and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, the cornbread is done baking.

Using bacon grease instead of vegetable oil to oil the skillet gives the cornbread a little bit of bacon flavor – highly recommend!

the perfect southern cornbread recipe, refined sugar free

Variations on Sugar Free Cornbread

The easiest way to make different kinds of southern cornbread is to play with the ingredients. Use blue corn meal instead of yellow, for example.

Another way to change up the ingredients is to add additional herbs, spices, or other ingredients to the cornbread itself. Add diced jalapenos for a spicier kick. Throw in bits of bacon and cheddar cheese for cornbread at a whole new level.

I also like to use a cornbread recipe as a topping for casseroles. For example, I make a taco meat mixture and then put the cornbread batter on top and bake it all together. This is a one skillet complete meal that my family loves.

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How to Store and Reheat Southern Cornbread

How bold of you to assume there will be any leftover cornbread to store! 🙂 If you do have cornbread, it can be kept on the counter, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer. The colder the temperature, the longer your cornbread will last.

Keep your cornbread in an airtight container or bag. On the counter it will stay good for up to two days. After that, the texture and flavor will start to change. In the fridge, it will stay good for about 5 days.

How to Freeze Sugar Free Cornbread

I love to save time by making a double batch of things and then storing one recipe for later in the freezer. This way we always have something to eat when my day didn’t go as planned.

If you have an extra cornbread or just want to save the leftovers, wrap it in aluminum foil once it has completely cooled. Then put in a freezer-safe container or food storage bag. It will last up to 3 months as long as the packaging is airtight.

a bowl of chili served with southern cornbread

What to Serve with Cornbread

My kids love cast iron skillet cornbread as an after-school snack in the winter, but usually it’s a side dish in our house. We love southern cornbread with chili, stew, and barbecue. Add a fresh side salad and fruit for a complete meal.

Apply a pat of butter and homemade jam or honey for a sweeter treat, too.

Other Family Recipes You’ll Love:

Yield: 8 servings

Refined Sugar Free Southern Cornbread

The Perfect Refined-Sugar Free Southern Cornbread Recipe

If you're looking for delicious and refined-sugar-free healthy cornbread, you'll love this easy recipe!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 cup flour {I use freshly ground hard white wheat}
  • 1 cup cornmeal {I use freshly ground blue cornmeal}
  • 3 TBS raw honey
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS bacon grease
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup melted butter


  1. Preheat over to 425 F. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Melt 1 TBS bacon grease in a round cast iron skillet. If you don't want to use bacon grease, you can also use butter.
  3. In a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, honey, and butter. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just mixed.
  4. Pour into the hot skillet and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Serve with honey and or butter. Enjoy!


If you don't have buttermilk, make it quickly by putting one TBS vinegar in your one cup measuring cup. Then fill with milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes, and you have homemade buttermilk.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram tagging @simplifylivelove! I love to see your photos!

cast iron southern cornbread from scratch

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. Oh my! The whole growing and grinding thing is far beyond anything I’ve ever done and I think it’s awesome. What a fun and educational process to do with your family.

  2. I don’t think I have ever used blue corn for cornbread. This looks so good. i will have to look for blue corn when I go shopping – I would love this with a big pot of soup

    1. Yes, of course! You might have to adjust the baking time a bit – but a pan will work just fine. Square or round.