The Cornbread Recipe That Convinced My Mother To Give Up Her Decades-Long Favorite One
And she’s stubborn, y’all.
It’s important to begin with a note of context: We take cornbread very seriously in our house. As long as I can remember, my mother has had a regular rotation of no less than at least four different cornbread recipes that she will make according to what we’re having to eat and which fleeting mood she’s in. A warm, comforting soup? She’s going jalapeno cornbread with sausage and cheese. No question. A classic plate of pork chops, collards, and rice? Fluffy big-batch cornbread, because everyone’s going back for seconds and thirds.
However, there was always one simple cornbread recipe she would turn to when in need of something easy, Southern, and dependable—that is, until early this year. Her old one was a fine recipe. By that, I mean that I’ve had better. By better, I mean that I’ve made Ben Mims’ Perfect Cornbread before, and after that you just never go back. And when I finally forced her to veer from the trusty skillet cornbread recipe she’s been making for decades, I didn’t have very high hopes. She’s stubborner than a mule with a chip on its shoulder.
To put it in her words: “That’s the best cornbread I’ve ever tasted in my entire life.” So, yep. It’s the kind of cornbread that can even make a great Southern cook stop and gawk. I’d say that I gloated for being right, but I was too busy sinking teeth into a second slice. From then on, we’ve only served Ben Mims’ Perfect Cornbread. It’s benched the whole team of other cornbread recipes, and we’re somehow finding a lot more reasons to make cornbread on a Monday.
What makes this cornbread recipe worlds away from just any old recipe is actually pretty simple: a whole stick of butter. It always comes back to butter down here. You just brown a whole stick of butter right there in the empty cast-iron skillet before stirring it into the batter and pouring back into the skillet to bake. (It should go without saying that cast-iron is the only vessel in which to cook really good cornbread.)
From there, the recipe relies on just a perfect ratio of ingredients. It’s nothing fancy, but the flavor can’t be matched. You get crusty caramelization from the cast-iron and browned butter and the most perfect fluffy, never-ever-dry texture. Find Ben Mims’ Perfect Cornbread recipe here.
So if you’re looking to become obsessed with cornbread all over again, try this truly spectacular recipe and prepare to let those other recipe cards gather dust.