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Is Cornbread Really a Dessert? The Answer May Surprise You

Is Cornbread Really a Dessert? The Answer May Surprise You

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There are quite a few food-related debates that have a lot of people scratching their heads, like whether tomatoes belong in the vegetable or fruit category.

Another debate is whether or not cornbread is a dessert. Some might concur that it’s a dessert, while others think of cornbread as a savory food. So, is cornbread a dessert?

The answer depends on how you prepare the cornbread. It can be a dessert if you add a lot of sugar or eat it with something sweet. If you prepare it according to the basic recipe and serve it with savory foods like chili, then it’s not considered a dessert.

In this article, we’ll go more in-depth on whether cornbread is a dessert or not. Let’s get started.

What Is Cornbread?

Cornbread is considered to be a quick bread. These bread are baked goods that use a chemical leavening ingredient to rise in replacement of yeast.

You can’t raise maize with yeast as it doesn’t contain elastic gluten. Instead, you can use baking soda or powder as an alternative.

The basic recipe of cornbread may include all-purpose flour, eggs, oil, and baking powder. The flour used to make this kind of bread is cornmeal. It’s a coarse flour you can make from mashed dried corn.

In particular, cornbread is common in the Southern and Atlantic U.S. states. It also gained a lot of popularity in the Northern states. However, the Northern states prepare the dish differently.

Is Cornbread Considered a Dessert?

Cornbread could be a savory dish or a dessert. In Northern states, people usually prefer sweet cornbread that’s sweetened with molasses or syrup.

On the other hand, people in Southern states prefer it as savory bread and usually seasoned it with pork or beef.


Savory cornbread, particularly when made in a skillet with buttermilk, is beloved by the people of the South. Before it was known as cornbread, it was known as corn pone.

Corn pone is a small circular piece of cornbread about the size of a biscuit. It’s typically baked in a round cast iron skillet.

There were only three components in corn pone: cornmeal, water, and salt. In comparison to fluffy and soft cornbread, its texture is typically a little bit heavy and dense.

The recipes later underwent several alterations over the years. Eventually, corn pone evolved into the cornbread we’re familiar with today.

People frequently eat cornbread alongside savory dips like jalapenos, chili, or feta cheese.


In the Northern states, cornbread is more akin to cake than bread. For this reason, some people would classify cornbread as a form of dessert.

It could very well change from a dinner or lunch meal into a dessert if you add sugar and sweet ingredients like ice cream or honey.

How to Make Savory Cornbread

Savory cornbread is typically served plain. To give the cornbread more flavor, you need to serve other side dishes alongside it.

Many foods, including beef stew, chili, soup, and more, go well with cornbread.

Here is how to prepare savory cornbread:

  1. Set the oven’s temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t own an iron skillet, you can substitute it with a metal cake pan.
  2. Mix cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a small dish.
  3. Combine the egg, buttermilk, milk, and oil in a separate bowl.
  4. Mix both bowls together, and stir them into melted butter.
  5. Pour the cornbread batter into the skillet and make sure to distribute it evenly so it would be smooth.
  6. Bake for 15-25 minutes. You can insert a toothpick in the center to test if it’s done. If it comes out clean, then it’s good to go.
  7. Let the cornbread rest for 20 to 30 minutes in the skillet before serving.

How to Make Sweet Cornbread

You can easily turn cornbread into a tasty dessert. There are multiple recipes you can use for sweet cornbread. For example, you can add powdered sugar or pour honey on top of it.

We’ll share with you what we found to be the easiest recipe you can make. First, gather these ingredients:

  • 1 cup of ground cornmeal
  • ¼ cup of melted unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • ¼ cup of molasses

Now that you’re ready, just follow these simple cooking instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, sugar flour, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Combine the buttermilk, molasses, melted butter, and eggs in another small bowl
  5. Pour both mixtures together and stir until they blend.
  6. Fill the baking dish with the batter. Set the dish in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. When the top begins to crack and turn brown, it means it’s done.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven, and let it cool down for at least 20 minutes.

Final Thoughts

Because of its texture, many people wonder if cornbread is a dessert. Some believe it is, while others don’t. So, is cornbread a dessert?

The answer depends on how you bake the dish!

The majority of people prepare cornbread as a savory dish. They serve it alongside foods like soup or salsa as well as dips like jalapenos and cheese. As a result, it’s mostly viewed as a meal rather than a dessert.

However, some people prepare it with honey, ice cream, or other sweet ingredients and serve it as a dessert.

Both types of cornbread are nearly identical in the way you prepare it. The only difference is that you’ll need to add a sweetener to the batter if you’re making dessert cornbread.

Whether it’s savory or sweet, cornbread is always delicious and will make a great addition to your dining table.

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