Southern Cornbread Sticks are crispy on the outside, and moist and tender on the inside. They are a snap to make and are perfect with soups and stews. They are also delicious on their own. What’s even better is that they are just as good the next day when reheated.
Southern versus Northern Cornbread
Both southern and northern cornbread are made with cornmeal. Other than that, the two types of cornbread tend to be different with respect to whether or not flour and sugar are added to the batter. Southern cornbread is typically made with little or no flour while northern cornbread is made with equal parts of cornmeal and flour. This gives northern cornbread more of a cake-like texture. In addition, southern cornbread generally contains little or no sugar. This allows the corn taste to shine through. Northern cornbread on the other hand tends to include a fair amount of sugar resulting in a much sweeter cornbread. The preference between southern and northern cornbread often boils down to personal taste.
In the south, there are numerous variations of basic cornbread. Hushpuppies are made with a basic cornbread batter, but are fried rather than baked. Hoecakes are fried cornbread pancakes. Cornpone is often cooked in a cast iron skillet and contains little or no milk, eggs or sugar. These variations aside, southern cornbread often has jalapeños or creamed corn added. Whatever the variation, southern cornbread is both delicious and versatile.
Ingredients for Cornbread Sticks
I used the following simple ingredients for these delicious cornbread sticks, inspired by a recipe on the Genius Kitchen site: Unsalted butter, buttermilk, egg, yellow cornmeal, all-purpose flour, Kosher salt, baking soda and a touch of cayenne pepper. You can certainly omit the cayenne pepper if you want. I also used some vegetable oil to brush on the pan.
The Wet Ingredients
First, I melted the butter in the microwave. Then, I added the buttermilk. Because the buttermilk was cold, the butter somewhat solidified. Therefore, I heated the butter/buttermilk mixture in the microwave for about 45 seconds to warm it a bit. I didn’t want to heat it too much – just enough to remelt the butter. After that, I added the egg and whisked everything together.
The Dry Ingredients
For the dry ingredients, I whisked together the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl until everything was well combined.
Making the Southern Cornbread Sticks
First, I added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Then, I stirred everything together, just until the ingredients were combined. I didn’t want to overmix the batter.
When the batter was ready, I placed the cast iron cornstick pan into a preheated 450° F oven for about 5 minutes until it was hot. Next, I removed the pan from the oven and brushed it with a little vegetable oil. After that, I added the batter to the hot pan using an ice cream scoop. As an aside, if you don’t have a cornstick pan, you can use a regular muffin pan.
I popped the pan into the 450° F oven for 18 minutes. After 18 minutes, the cornbread sticks were golden brown and perfectly cooked.
I removed the pan from the oven. Then, I let the cornbread sticks cool for about 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. I repeated this with the remaining batter.
I ended up with 12 absolutely delicious Southern Cornbread Sticks. They were crispy on the outside, and tender and moist on the inside. They were perfect with my Vegetarian Chili and Creamy Fresh Tomato Soup (stay tuned!). The heated leftovers were just as good as the fresh out-of-the-oven cornbread sticks. Yum!
Southern Cornbread Sticks
- Cast Iron Cornstick Pan
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 cup (5.5 ounces) yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (See Tip 1)
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 450° F.
- Combine melted butter, buttermilk and egg. Set aside. (See Tip 2)
- Whisk together cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Add butter/buttermilk/egg mixture. Stir just until combined. Do not overmix.
- Heat cast iron cornstick pan in 450° F oven for 5 minutes or until hot. Remove from oven; brush lightly with vegetable oil. Spoon batter evenly into hot pan. (See Tips 3 and 4)
- Bake at 450° F for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven; cool 5 minutes on wire rack. Remove cornbread sticks from pan.
- Repeat with remaining batter. Yield: 12 cornbread sticks. (See Tip 5)
Chula's Expert Tips
- You can omit the cayenne pepper if you like. In addition, you can increase the amount to 1/4 teaspoon if you want a bit more heat.
- When I add the cold buttermilk to the melted butter, the butter starts to solidify. Therefore, before I add the egg, I heat the butter/buttermilk mixture in the microwave for about 45 seconds. This warms the mixture enough so that the butter is still liquid, but not so much that the egg cooks when added to it.
- If you don't have a cornstick pan, you can use a well greased regular muffin pan. Bake the cornbread muffins for 18 to 20 minutes in a preheated 400° F oven.
- I use a large ice cream scoop to measure out the batter. You could also use a spoon.
- Reheat leftovers for about 5 minutes in a 350° F oven.