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Sourdough Cornbread Recipe

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This  sourdough cornbread has great cornbread flavor with just a little sourdough pizzaz. Baked in a cast iron skillet, this sourdough cornbread has a crisp crust with a tender,  moist, center without being too “cake like”. It is the perfect pairing with soups, stews, and chilis, and anything else you want to pair it with.
slice of cornbread on plate in front of cast iron skillet

I know, you don’t think you need another cornbread recipe, but really, you do. You need this cornbread recipe in your life.

This skillet cornbread has great cornbread flavor with just a little sourdough pizzaz. It is nice and moist, without being too "cake like".
cropped-Sourdough-Cornbread-Recipe-15.jpg

Imagine combining the crumbly but soft and slightly sweet flavors of your favorite cornbread with the subtle undertones of slightly tart-sour flavor from your sourdough starter discard. Then add on a pat of melting butter and an overly generous drizzle of honey and ooooooh! Trust me, its heaven on a plate!

Other sourdough recipes to try:

These recipes are simple ways to use your sourdough starter that don’t require much work, but do need some bulk ferment time before baking.

overhead view of cast iron skillet with cornbread

Sourdough Cornbread 

This might be one of my new favorite ways to use cornbread. Ever.

This sourdough cornbread recipe is so quick to throw it together in the morning, let it sit all day, and then have a delicious cornbread for dinner that night. It is nice and moist, without being too “cake like”. 

The sourdough flavor here is slightly more than subtle, but not overpowering. It still tastes like cornbread, but with a bit extra something-something that is hard to directly point out, but is so, so good..

overhead of two plates with slices of cornbread beside cast iron skillet

How to make this recipe:

This sourdough cornbread is an easy recipe to make, you just need to remember to start it early enough in the day so it can have some time to bulk ferment. Here is a brief overview of the recipe, but for the full directions, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the sourdough starter, cornmeal, flour, and milk. 
  2. Cover and allow to bulk ferment for about 4-8 hours at room temperature (you could also do a bulk ferment in the fridge for up to 24 hours).
  3. Preheat the oven to 350. (You can preheat your cast iron skillet at this point, too! I like to do this because it helps make the bottom nice and crisp, but you don’t have to do this.)
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, eggs, melted butter, and sea salt (affiliate link)
  5. Stir the wet ingredients into the soured batter.
  6. Sprinkle the baking soda and baking powder over the top and stir well to incorporate.
  7. Prepare your skillet but greasing it with butter. If it has been preheating in the oven, be careful so you don’t burn yourself!
  8. Pour the batter into a greased 9” cast iron skillet (or muffin pans, or bread pans).
  9. Bake for 35 minutes (or 15-18 minutes for muffins). 
  10. When the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing.
  11. Serve with butter and honey.
collage of steps showing how to make sourdough cornbread batter

Do I need a sourdough starter to make this recipe?

Yes. Yes, you do.

What kind of sourdough starter do I need for this recipe?

This recipe uses 100% hydration starter. You can use either fed and active starter, or inactive discard. It does not matter what kind of flour your starter is fed with, either.

Read “Feeding your sourdough starter” to get information on hydration rates and how to properly feed and maintain your sourdough starter. 

New to sourdough? Read my Ultimate Guide to Sourdough for Beginners to answer all the questions you have!

plate of cornbread with cast iron behind

How to serve this cornbread

Cornbread goes great with just about everything! Add a pat of butter and all the honey you desire, and enjoy! 

Personally I like to serve this great cornbread beside Bison and Chocolate Chili, or a bbq meat like baby back ribs or beside a great southern classic recipe like chicken and sausage gumbo

How to store leftovers

Remove any leftover pieces of cornbread from the cast iron skillet and place in an air-tight container. You can store your sourdough cornbread like this for up to 4 days on the counter.

Food tastes better when its shared! If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and rate below! Love and links are always appreciated! If you’d like to share this post, please link to this post directly for the recipe, please do not copy and paste or screenshot. Thanks so much for supporting me! xoxo

cropped-Sourdough-Cornbread-Recipe-15.jpg

Sourdough Cornbread

This skillet cornbread has great cornbread flavor with just a little sourdough pizzaz. It is nice and moist, without being too "cake like".
4.46 from 183 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 328kcal
Author: Jenni - The Gingered Whisk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda

Instructions

  • In a large bowl mix together the starter milk, cornmeal and flour.
  • Cover and let sit on the counter for 8-24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, eggs, melted butter, and sea salt.
  • Stir the wet ingredients into the soured batter.
  • Sprinkle the baking powder and baking soda over top and stir well to incorporate.
  • Pour the batter into a greased 8″ cast iron skillet (or 12 muffin pans, or 2 5″x9″ bread pans).
  • Bake 35 minutes (or 15 for muffins).
  • When golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 624mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g
sourdough cornbread in skillet
sourdough cornbread on plate with butter and honey
piece of sourdough cornbread split open with honey and butter on plate
sourdough cornbread in cast iron skillet

67 Comments

  1. bulmerfood says:

    That looks amazing! I hope mine looks as good when it comes out of the oven.

  2. Jenni, yum, skillet corn bread slathered with butter! I have no doubt you will make many friends in your new home, enjoy the journey!

  3. almostitalian says:

    Looks tasty- and a great twist on corn bread.

  4. Hooray for being more settled and meeting people and all the FUN parts of moving! And that cornbread looks outstanding. I love the maple syrup in there – DELICIOUS!

  5. I have been moving home a lot, and the hardest part was always leaving the people you love behind while trying to make new friends! Baking and sharing made it a bit easier – I never made skillet cornbread, looks lovely – I got so many great ideas from this challenge!

  6. Sourdough cornbread was the best I've ever had!

      1. Should the Starter be active?

        1. You can use your discard without feeding it in this recipe, since you will feed it and let it sit all day!

          1. Does it matter what hydration the starter is at?

          2. Hello! Yes, this recipe uses 100% hydration starter.

  7. I just found out your sourdough cornbread recipe in Pinterest. I'm so happy to see that it can be used the sourdough starter to make the cornbread. To be honest, I never taste the cornbread before. So that why I really want try to make it. I have already put my soured batter on the counter for almost 4 hours and also the size expanded double already. The room temperature is 34C in my kitchen room. Is it enough? Can I go to next step to stir the wet ingredient into the sores batter?

    1. Adrian Coburn says:

      that’s really hot. yes, that’s enough! be careful, yeast will stop working around 35 C. May want to let it sit at night instead, when it’s cooler. adding salt to the batter that sits out will slow the growth a little.

    2. Suzanne Stadler says:

      @Adrian Coburn,
      Great input!
      Don’t use iodized salt.

  8. Jenni, sourdough cornbread is really yummy! This is my first time to taste a cornbread. I really want to try to make it before. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  9. Mark Robinson says:

    How coarse/fine should the cornmeal be for this?

    1. An average grind should be just fine! If you use a course or fine grade, it will still turn out well, but a fine grind will yield a more delicate and cake-like bread and the course will be grittier and more rustic.

      1. Mark Robinson says:

        Thanks for the advice

      2. I just finished getting this ready for the oven. I decided to make it as muffins. I wound up with 24 muffins, not 12. There is no way this batter would have fit into my 8 inch skillet. Just sayin’….

        1. I am glad you wound up with so many muffins!

  10. Hi Jenni,

    Would it be okay to use buttermilk? It’s already cultured so I’m thinking it should’ve be a problem. Looking forward to making this cornbread in a couple days.

    1. Hi Matt!
      Sorry it took me a few days to answer – we were on vacation and I left my computer at home! You could most definitely use buttermilk as well! 🙂

  11. Christina says:

    Made this today, muffin form. We loved it! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  12. Jenny cram says:

    I would really like to try your recipes , but you don’t give your starter recipe. I wish you would share that. Thanks

  13. I made muffins with this recipe. I like the springy texture and the sweetness from the maple syrup. I used starter straight from the fridge and only had 6 hours for the fermentation on the counter but it seemed sufficient.

  14. Sherrie Ammons says:

    Can I substitute honey or molasses for the maple syrup? Or would pancake syrup be better?

    1. Hi Sherrie! I have not tried it, but I would suggest honey over molasses. Molasses will definitely give it a lot of the molasses taste. Pancake syrup would not be a good choice here.

    2. Anna Nelson says:

      Could I use buttermilk instead.of regular milk?

      1. Hi! I have not tried buttermilk specifically, but I bet it would work just fine! Let me know how it goes!

  15. Hi, thank you so much for sharing this recipe – I am so glad that I can finally use up some of my sourdough starter discard for it! However, I do not have any maple syrup or butter and was wondering if I could use vegetable oil and sugar to substitute?

    Thank you again!

  16. Janice Soderberg says:

    This cornbread is delicious! I used kefir instead of the milk, which gave it a nice texture. My starter is whole wheat so the resulting bread was hearty and I’m sure, really healthy.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  17. This recipe was great. I love sweet cornbread but its nice to have a more savoury version for a change. You can definitely tell its sourdough and I love that.

    I used 3/4c. all-purpose and 1/4c. wholewheat as I wanted to give my starter a little extra to rise better as I only had about 5.5 hrs until baking.I also used soya milk and an alternative sunflower based spread for the butter as I’m dairy free which both worked well.

  18. Nancy Peters says:

    Hi Jenni! This morning I thought “Are there cornbread recipes for starter discard?” and right away I found yours! Will make it next time I have enough unfed discard. My question is, should I heat the cast-iron pan in the oven first? Other recipes say to do this, and the cornbread turns out great!

    1. Hi Nancy! You bet you can do that!

    2. robert shulman says:

      I heated skillet first no sticking at all. only had a ittle before but this is better. Also Lodge writes to warm skillet slowly so this is good for that too. I put it in oven when 1st turned it on and left until 350

  19. robert shulman says:

    Wonderful skillet sourdough cornbread recipe. Substituted to make vegan,whole grain, no fat, sugars, salt. Applesauce for butter, water for milk, egg replacer, whole wheat and whole grain cornmeal, did not have soda in house My starter whole grain rye. Came out wonderful light texture and great flavor. Plan to make rye and buckwheat versions also Thank you

  20. Santabill says:

    I made this to use in Belgium waffles, I was also going to make 1/2 doz muffins, both for a mini chili bowls with cornbread. Started with the waffles because they required attention (oops) and they came out beautiful. The first was a little scant but the next 3 were perfect. I used a mixture of honey, maple syrup, sugar and molasses for a less sweet more subtle taste and they browned up real good in the waffle iron. The muffins were a different story. As I put the last waffle in, I had already heated my oven and I put 6 muffins in with timer set for 6 minutes to rotate. they were very pale and hadn’t risen much at all. At 15 minutes they were pale on top and felt dense when poked with toothpick. another 15 min and slight golden top and I was afraid the bottom was overdone so I took them out. After getting 1 to pop loose I realized the bottoms were very pale as well, so I quickly put them back in for 15 more, and even then they were only kind of light golden bottoms. Turns out the type of sugar can affect browning in different ways. Also my waiting 20 minutes while 4 waffles cooked first allowed the rise in the batter to deflate some, which changed how they would rise in the oven, and being dense and more moist kept them from browning well. Next time I’m using the heated cast iron skillet method and I’ll start that first, as the waffle iron heats up. Very good flavor. Keeping this recipe in my rotation…

  21. MaudeBird says:

    Baking science question please. Why do you add ha king soda and baking powder to the recipe. won’t the discard/starter feeding & fermenting create enough rise?

  22. So I made this yesterday to go with my famous bbq ribs. There is no hope the recipe would ever fit in an 8” cast iron skillet. I used a 10” with 2” sides and it still went over the top. While tasty, it wasn’t crusty and turned out much like a focaccia that I make. Next time I would grease and preheat two 8” pans to F450 and bake at that for 10 minutes, then reduce to F350 until done,~20 more minutes.

  23. Jill Fisher says:

    Tried using buttermilk as some had suggested. Flavor was bland, not horrible tasting but would definitely not make that again. Will use regular milk next time. Love all of your sourdough recipes for discard….eventually I’ll make my way through them all, new to sourdough, it’s fun learning new things with each recipe! Great hands on science experiments for 3 kids I homeschool!

  24. This was very disappointing. Overflowed in my 9-Inch cast iron and was just not the cornbread flavor I was hoping for. I don’t recommend buttermilk if you are hoping for anything resembling cornbread. Not for me, I guess.

  25. Hi – made this in a glass pan and it came out delicious and moist. Mine is not a pretty color due to my starter being whole wheat and it didnt rise too much, but I kept going back for more. Especially drizzled in honey. May try it with corn kernels next time. Thanks for sharing!

  26. I love this recipe! I make it all the time. I use 2T honey instead of the maple syrup called for. This sourdough cornbread tastes like home, thank you.

  27. This cornbread was outstanding. The recipe was easy and the cornbread was moist with a great interior: light and “fluffy”, not dense at all.

  28. Lovely recipe! I made it with spelt flour and nixtamalized white corn ground to medium coarse. I opted to do 1/2 tsp of salt which was plenty and honey instead of maple syrup with almond milk as the liquid. Bulk fermented overnight and then at room temp for a few hours. It was quite sour (rye discard) so I think I would add a touch more honey next time. I also like pre-heating the cast iron for a few minutes before baking. This might be my new favourite corn bread! If you have a chance to grind your own corn it is super flavourful and adds a whole other flavour profile to the mix. Cheers 🙂

  29. It is April 21, 2022:
    First off, my 100% hydration starter is very active. I feed it mostly all purpose flour and keep it in the fridge when I don’t use it. Every othe rtime I feed it with rye to get it going. I have kept it going since April 2020.

    For this recipe, I let the dough portion sit on my counter for 24 hours. It was already rising when I proceeded to add the other ingredients. As soon as I added the baking powder and baking soda, I had to quickly get it into the oven as it was rapidly rising in my mixing bowl… like REALLY quick. I use fresh Canadian Maple syrup from this spring as I am from Quebec.

    In the oven, it continued to rise to then form the golden color within 35 minutes et 350F as suggested.

    Can’t wait to taste! Will definitely make again.

  30. Sadly was too cake like and crumby, but the flavour was awesome. May try reducing the flour and increasing the cornmeal next time.

  31. Hello why does it have to sit out for 8-24 hours?

    1. It sits out so that it can ferment and get that great sourdough flavor to it! It also gives it a softer texture because the yeast is activating.

  32. Can you leave out the maple syrup? Can I just sub with some oil for moisture? My husband loves cornbread but hates eating even the slightest sweet food. Thanks do much!!

    1. I would not sub out the maple syrup for vegetable oil, that will change the texture of the cornbread a lot. The recipe is not very sweet, there is only 1/4 cup of maple syrup in the recipe. Omitting it or substituting it with something else will change the texture and the taste of the recipe. I suggest making it as written and seeing what your husband thinks of it!

  33. Florence Montague says:

    I was wondering if I can add corn to the mix?

    1. Absolutely, that would taste great!

  34. Sandi Fleury says:

    This is wonderful!! I was looking for a good Sourdough cornbread recipe and this fit the bill! I made some with shredded sharp cheddar, Cheesy Sourdough Cornbread and some I added diced pickled jalapenos, red pepper flakes and shredded sharp cheddar! De-lish!! Baked them in divided mini loaf pans. Perfect!! About 25 minutes. I have a Cottage Sourdough business and these will be perfect for the Market!! Thank you!! 😊🍞🌶🔥🧡❤️
    Sandi’s Sourdough

  35. I would love to make this recipe but if I omit the maple syrup would it change the texture of the cornbread? I do not like sweet cornbread.

    1. The cornbread is not that sweet, you only use 1/4 cup of maple syrup! I would recommend you try it as it is written and see what you think.

  36. If you choose the overnight refrigeration, is it required to bring the mixture back to room temperature before proceeding?

    1. If you let it warm up on the counter while the oven preheats, that should be long enough!

  37. I normally don’t write reviews for recipes but this one is so good I had to!
    I bake professionally and am always looking for the perfect cornbread recipe. For me, this is it.
    I love a savory cornbread so I reduced the maple by half. Also I used buttermilk. I did a 24hr ferment, 14hrs room temp, 9 refrigerated, 1 at room temp again to soften before adding the remaining ingredients.
    Thank you for a wonderful recipe!!

  38. If I wanted to make these in muffin form, but don’t want to make 24 muffins, could I just half the recipe?

  39. My new favorite cornbread recipe. Flavors and textures very balanced. Delicious!

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