This Brown Butter Cornbread recipe is soft and cake-like in texture with a sweet, nutty flavor. Baked in a skillet and served warm topped with whipped honey butter, it’s the perfect side dish for soups, stews, chilis, or your Thanksgiving feast!
Table of Contents
- What Is Brown Butter Cornbread?
- Ingredients You’ll Need
- Can I Use Regular Milk Instead of Buttermilk?
- Step-By-Step Instructions for the BEST Cornbread Recipe
- Can I Make Brown Butter Cornbread Muffins Instead?
- How to Store and Reheat
- Serving Suggestions
- More Side Dishes for the Holidays
- Brown Butter Cornbread with Whipped Honey Butter Recipe
What Is Brown Butter Cornbread?
Brown butter cornbread is a standard cornbread recipe featuring butter, flour, and cornmeal. However, unlike other other cornbread recipes, this version is made with brown butter instead of regular unsalted butter.
As a result, it’s infused with rich, nutty flavor and extra moisture. The end result is an unbelievably tasty cornbread recipe that can be served as a snack or side dish the whole family will love!
What’s the Difference Between Northern Cornbread and Southern Cornbread?
The primary differences between Northern and Southern cornbread recipes are the flavor and texture. For instance, northern cornbread recipes are typically thought to be sweeter and lighter than Southern variations.
This is because Northern cornbread is made with finely milled white or yellow cornmeal, contains a higher ratio of milk than buttermilk, and uses more eggs and sugar than Southern recipes. In addition, Northern cornbread is baked in a baking dish instead of a cast iron skillet and sliced into squares.
Baked in a skillet but sweet and fluffy, this brown butter cornbread is kind of a combination of the two!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Basic ingredients are all you need to make this homemade cornbread recipe.
- Flour – All-purpose flour forms the base of the cornbread batter. If needed, a 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour can be substituted.
- Cornmeal – Use white or yellow cornmeal. Yellow will result in a brighter color.
- Unsalted Butter – Adjust the amount of extra salt included if salted butter is all you have.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda – These are crucial for the cornbread to rise and become tender.
- Salt – Just a pinch helps enhance the flavor.
- Granulated Sugar – Used to sweeten the cornbread.
- Buttermilk – This adds a rich, tangy flavor and extra moistness.
- Orange – We use both orange juice and orange zest to create a vibrant, citrus flavor you’ll love.
- Large Egg – These provide structure to the cornbread. We haven’t tested this recipe with egg alternatives and can’t guarantee your results if you do.
- Butter – Unsalted is best.
- Honey – This helps sweeten the butter.
- Salt – Adjust to taste.
Can I Use Regular Milk Instead of Buttermilk?
Technically, you can, but we don’t recommend it! It creates a tangy, delicious flavor and helps keep the cornbread moist and tender.
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make homemade buttermilk using milk combined with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Step-By-Step Instructions for the BEST Cornbread Recipe
Better than any boxed cornbread mix you’ll ever find, this brown butter cornbread recipe comes together with a handful of simple steps.
- Warm the skillet. Preheat your oven, and place a skillet in it to warm.
- Brown the butter. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter browns and has a nutty aroma. Remove it from the heat immediately, and add two tablespoons of cold butter to the saucepan.
- Mix the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients until smooth.
- Whisk the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients until smooth.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Working slowly, pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, and stir just until combined. Be careful not to overmix! Add the cooled brown butter, and stir again.
- Bake. Coat the hot skillet with butter or cooking spray, and pour in the cornbread batter, spreading it out evenly. Place the skillet back in the oven, and bake just until the cornbread is golden and a toothpick can be inserted into the center and comes out clean.
- Make the whipped honey butter. While the cornbread bakes, combine the ingredients for the honey butter in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer until they are well combined and the mixture is light and fluffy.
Can I Make Brown Butter Cornbread Muffins Instead?
We haven’t tested it, but it should work! Prepare the batter as usual, and transfer the batter into a greased muffin tin, filling each cavity ⅔ of the way full.
Bake the muffins until they’re golden and fluffy and a toothpick can be inserted into the center and comes out clean. Remember, muffins will likely bake much faster, so you’ll want to keep a close eye on your oven!
How to Store and Reheat
- Store: Once cooled, leftover cornbread can be transferred to an airtight container or sealable bag and stored at room temperature for up to one week. Line the top and bottom of the container with clean paper towels to absorb excess moisture!
* The butter can be stored in a separate airtight container in the fridge for up to ten days.
- Freeze: Transfer the cornbread to an airtight container, and keep it frozen for up to three months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.
- Reheat: Enjoy your cornbread cold or at room temperature. Or, warm it in the microwave or in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit just until it’s heated through.
There’s never a bad time for this brown butter cornbread recipe! Some of our favorite ways to enjoy it include:
- With a topping such as whipped butter, cranberry butter, maple syrup, or apple butter.
- As a dipper with soups, stews, and chilis like our roasted tomato soup, black-eyed pea stew, and slow cooker chili.
- As a side dish with your Thanksgiving dinner or main courses such as cornflake chicken, beef pot roast, or roasted chicken.
More Side Dishes for the Holidays
- The BEST Mashed Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Salad with Chickpeas
- Baked Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- Oven Roasted Parmesan Brussel Sprouts
Brown Butter Cornbread with Whipped Honey Butter
- 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup fine cornmeal
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice plus zest of an orange
- 3 large eggs
Whipped Honey Butter:
- 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/3 cup honey
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat while the batter is prepared.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the 8 tablespoons butter. Continue cooking the butter until it browns, giving off a nutty aroma. Remove from heat, and immediately add 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter. Set aside to cool slightly.10 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, fine cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and granulated sugar.1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup fine cornmeal, 1 Tablespoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, fresh orange juice, orange zest, and eggs. Mix well.1 1/4 cups buttermilk, 2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice plus zest of an orange, 3 large eggs
- Gradually pour the wet ingredients (buttermilk mixture) into the dry ingredients (flour mixture), stirring until just combined. Be careful not to overmix; a few lumps are okay.
- Slowly pour the slightly cooled browned butter into the batter, stirring until evenly incorporated.
- Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven (remember it’s hot!), and coat it with a bit of butter or non-stick spray to prevent sticking. Pour the batter into the skillet.
- Place the skillet back into the oven, and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the cornbread is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Once baked, remove the skillet from the oven, and allow the cornbread to cool for a few minutes serve with whipped honey butter.
Whipped honey butter:
- Place everything in a mixing bowl. Beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.3/4 cup softened unsalted butter, 1/3 cup honey, Pinch of salt
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.