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How to Keep Your Cornbread Moist

How to Keep Your Cornbread Moist

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Cornbread is a staple dish across the entirety of the southern United States. It’s a wonderful addition to a homely dinner and can add a great taste when you are soaking up the rest of a leftover stew with a bit of cornbread.

The best thing about cornbread is that the recipe itself isn’t difficult. However, the challenge comes afterward; keeping it moist.

One of the biggest problems that people run into when making cornbread is that it often ends up being too dry, crumbly, and unable to keep its shape the way that bread should keep its shape. This can lead to a dinnertime disappointment when you try to serve the dry cornbread.

Needless to say, nobody likes dry cornbread, and if you often struggle with that, you’ve come to the right place. In this Guide, I’ll show a few methods that you can rely on to keep your cornbread moist. 

Nobody really enjoys dry cornbread. Thankfully, there are more than a few different methods that you can rely on to keep your cornbread moist.

Here’s a little spoiler: for the most part, making sure that a cornbread recipe is moist will involve altering the recipe and making sure there is enough potential for moisture to exist within the recipe. You can’t keep moisture in the cornbread if there wasn’t any to begin with.

Allow me to elaborate more!

Creating Moist Cornbread

Creamed Corn

There are more than a few different ways to introduce moisture to your cornbread recipe. This is going to be the starting point in keeping any cornbread moist after you have finished cooking it.

After all, this residual moisture is what can retain moisture in your cornbread for a while after cooking.

The idea is to introduce more wet ingredients to the recipe. Because there are so many different additions you can make in this regard, you are going to want to make sure that you choose one that suits your tastes in particular.

For example, you can add a can of creamed corn or grated cheese. Creamed corn will add a cornier flavor to the bread, while cheese may add a different flavor profile.

All of these additions will have the same result of moistening up the cornbread recipe and allowing for more water to be kept in the bread.

So, How to Begin?

To begin with, you can substitute buttermilk or standard cow’s milk for any water that is called for in the recipe, or just use buttermilk when your recipe calls for standard milk.

Buttermilk is known for doing a better job of breaking down some of the various gluten molecules in flour. When gluten is broken down without doing its job of toughening the bread, it allows for a more tender and moist result.

Likewise, cow’s milk is harder on gluten molecules than water is, so if you do not have buttermilk and the recipe calls for water, you can opt for using regular milk instead.

Try Sour Cream

Additionally, you can include about one-half of a cup of sour cream to mix in with the rest of the wet ingredients of your cornbread recipe. Sour cream will add extra fat and extra moisture to the recipe while also adding a bit of a heavier texture and flavor to the cornbread’s final result.

The best part about adding sour cream to your recipe is that it can significantly increase the amount of moisture present in the cornbread, despite what you might expect from adding cornbread.

Also, since sour cream tends to have a strong taste to it, you should be careful at first so that you do not potentially ruin your perfect cornbread.

Try Grated Cheese

Grated Cheddar Cheese

Rather than sour cream, you can add some grated cheese instead. Depending on preferences and taste, you should add between half a cup and one full cup of grated cheese.

Typically, people who choose to do this will opt for cheddar or pepper jack cheeses, as these can add the right boost of flavor while also adding to the moisture content of the cornbread.

Cheese can also keep the cornbread’s structure so it does not fall apart the moment you take it out of the pan.

Also, as mentioned earlier, you can either add creamed corn or corn kernels to the recipe to add another level of both the classic corn flavor of cornbread and some extra moisture.

Creamed corn tends to do better when you are trying to add moisture to the recipe without altering the texture of the bread too much, as the already creamed kernels will blend into the batter more easily than full kernels.

However, both will work for adding more substance to the bread, which is the perfect thing you will want when you are trying to add moisture to your cornbread so that you can keep it from drying out over time.

Consider Adding Eggs

Finally, you can choose to add either one extra egg yolk or a full egg to the recipe. Including the egg whites along with the yolk can add to the texture of the cornbread, as egg whites tend to carry a lot of proteins in them that affect the texture of baked goods.

The egg yolk carries most of the fat content of the egg, and this is going to be the most important aspect of it when you are trying to keep cornbread moist.

The fat of the egg will help retain the moisture in the bread overall, which is why other additions you can make to affect the moisture are often high-fat options.

For these additions, you can expect that the texture and taste of the cornbread will change accordingly.

Naturally, adding more corn to the bread will enhance and strengthen the corn flavoring, while adding an egg will make the bread have an eggier flavor, and adding buttermilk will add a creamier taste than water.

Keeping Cornbread Moist After It Has Been Served

Cornbread In The Oven

Okay, you’ve done enough to add some extra moisture while making your cornbread. Now it’s about keeping it moist. 

Over time, your cornbread is going to naturally dry out. This is inevitable and it is something to consider when you are trying to decide how much cornbread you want to make for yourself.

As cornbread ages, it will begin to dry out and there will come a point when the cornbread will be too dry to practically try and revive and remoisten it.

Still, there’s plenty you can do to retain that moisture. There are also things that you should not do. Like, at all. 

The Microwave

Many people tend to reheat cornbread when planning on eating it again, as cornbread is significantly better when it is warmed up. What’s the quickest way? That’s right. The microwave. 

Most people will quickly warm their cornbread in the microwave, which is notorious for taking the moisture out of the bread and leaving you with a dry carcass of what used to be good cornbread.

To prevent that, you should put a paper towel on top of the cornbread. This ensures that the steam that the cornbread will release is trapped by that paper towel, and because the towel is right on top of the cornbread, it will naturally reabsorb some of that moisture back into it.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a fool-proof method of keeping cornbread moist, but taking any and all the steps you can take to keep the bread moist will go a long way when you put them together.

The Oven

If you are heating the bread in the oven, cover it with tin foil for similar reasons. Doing this ensures that the top of the bread doesn’t overcook, which would lead to drying the bread out.

It doesn’t do as good a job of allowing the bread to reabsorb lost moisture from the steam, but the environment of an oven doesn’t allow for the same loss of moisture as a microwave does.

In other words, these two methods are more or less the same, assuming you’ve done them properly.

The Butter

Finally, when the cornbread is done cooking, you will want to put some butter on top of it. The butter will not only help to enhance the flavor, as cornbread always goes well with a little bit of a buttery taste to it, but it will also help to reintroduce some fat and moisture into the cornbread.

Both the addition of the moisture of the butter and the fat from the melting butter will give the taste as if your cornbread never lost any of its moisture.

This method, along with making sure that you put enough moisture into the ingredients of the bread, ensures that even if your cornbread has been reheated once, or even twice, it can still taste as good and as moist as when you first took it out of the oven.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, keeping your cornbread moist comes down to two approaches: Adding more wet ingredients while making it, and adding butter after making it.

Pairing those two approaches will ensure that your cornbread lasts as long as possible. You better consume it, though, as it still won’t remain moist forever.

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Don Franklin

Monday 24th of April 2023

Hi, Corn is gluten free, what is this stuff about butter milk and gluten is trash.

Sarah Bridenstine

Monday 15th of May 2023

Hi Don Franklin!

While corn is definitely gluten free, a lot of cornbread recipes actually call for the use of wheat flour in addition to cornmeal.


Friday 23rd of September 2022

I absolutely LOVE this article, just what I was looking for to help me up my cornbread to the next level! I agree 100% about adding extra eggs/milk/cheese etc. to aid in moisture retention. I would also like to add that the addition of fruit/vegetables to the cornbread will also help to keep it moist. Often I add cheddar cheese and raw diced jalapeño or habanero to mine and love how the bread turns out! Or for a summer dessert add fresh strawberries and top with whipped cream for a savory dessert :)


Wednesday 20th of October 2021

Adding eggs makes for a firmer, more cake-like texture. Extra eggs make cornbread more resistant to crumbling, but doing that may make it less authentic. I do not think adding extra eggs makes the bread taste 'eggier'like was mentioned in the article.