We love making this cornbread in a cast-iron skillet and with sourdough. It’s perfect for summer BBQs or as a side for a big pot of chili.
Are you looking for some good recipes for your Fourth of July party or summer BBQs? This flavorful and subtly moist sourdough skillet cornbread is the perfect side dish!Jump to Recipe
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Why you’ll love this sourdough skillet cornbread
I am sure you can find a ton of good cornbread recipes. So have I. However, I am always trying to see how I can make any recipe healthier – and better. In this recipe, I am adding both sourdough and buttermilk. That gives this skillet cornbread a deeper, more complex flavor while the long fermentation makes the flours easier to digest.
Also, this recipe is very flexible. Don’t have a certain ingredient? Read on as I will give you some substitutions so that you can use what you have.
Why add sourdough to cornbread?
It’s no secret: I love sourdough anything. I have been making and using sourdough starters for many baked goods, mostly in bread. Aside from the deeper flavor, adding sourdough to this recipe helps break down the gluten. Therefore, many people with gluten sensitivity can enjoy wheat-based dishes. Also, the sourdough bacteria make the starches easier to digest. These bacteria are very good for your gut health.
And should you not finish this sourdough skillet cornbread in one day, it will keep better and longer because of the sourdough. You can read this article to find more reasons why to add sourdough to your recipes.
Sourdough long fermentation (properly fermented):
Of course, you can add sourdough to your recipe next to all the other ingredients and bake it right away. And you can still call it “sourdough cornbread” because technically it is.
If you’re trying to capture the maximum health benefits from sourdough, you need to “properly ferment” the cornbread.
In other words, letting the cornbread ferment for at least 4 hours. You can throw the first 4 ingredients together in the morning, let the cornbread sit until late afternoon, add the remaining ingredients and bake it before dinner. Some people prefer starting their cornbread before they go to bed and bake it first thing in the morning.
So just do what works best for your schedule but ideally you want to let your cornbread ferment for 4+ hours.
Ingredients for the sourdough skillet cornbread
Here’s what you need for your sourdough skillet cornbread:
1 ½ cups of Cornmeal:
This is the essential ingredient. You can play with using a finer or a coarser grind. The latter would work because you’re “soaking” the cornmeal for a number of hours. You can often find cornmeal in the bulk food section of your grocery store or find it online here.
½ cup of Flour:
Since cornmeal doesn’t have any gluten, we will need to add some flour to the cornbread to hold it together. Otherwise, your cornbread would become very crumbly. As you can see, we’re only using ½ cup, though!
1 cup of Sourdough starter:
Most likely you already have a sourdough starter at home. If you don’t, you can easily make your own. Some people are a bit intimidated by the maintenance of a sourdough starter. If that is you, I recommend checking out how you can keep your sourdough starter without daily feedings and discards.
1 cup of Buttermilk:
Even though the sourdough starter gives this cornbread a more complex taste, I still prefer using buttermilk in this recipe. You can find it in most grocery stores or make your own buttermilk.
½ cup of melted Butter:
Butter makes everything better, including this cornbread. I always recommend you use the highest quality butter you can afford. Of course, you can make your own butter and use that. Make sure the butter is melted so it mixes in well.
¼ cup of Maple syrup:
Cornbread does need some sweetener, otherwise, it would taste pretty bland. Maple syrup is not only fairly natural sugar, it also adds a more complex sweetness. We only need ¼ cup but feel free to add more or less, depending on your preferences.
The eggs also hold this together and are an essential ingredient.
1 tsp of Salt:
This is another essential ingredient. Without some salt, cornbread will taste very bland. I like to use Himalayan salt or sea salt.
2 tsp of Baking powder and 1/2 tsp of Baking soda:
Both of these make sure that the cornbread is fluffy and rises nicely. If you haven’t already, I recommend you switch to an aluminum-free baking soda.
How to make this sourdough skillet cornbread
Add the cornmeal and flour to a non-reactive bowl. You can use a wood, glass, pottery, or enamel bowl but try to avoid metal bowls. To that, add the sourdough starter and buttermilk. With a whisk, mix all these ingredients until well combined, cover the bowl, and let the dough sit for at least 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Once everything is properly fermented, add the remaining ingredients. I like to add the baking powder and baking soda last, giving the batter only a quick stir.
I like to give this cornbread a “jump-start” by heating up my cast iron skillet on the stove. Then I add 1-2 TBSP of oil and pour the batter into the hot skillet. When the edges are beginning to bake, transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
What if you don’t have a cast-iron skillet?
As you can see, I like to start my cornbread in a hot cast-iron skillet. If you don’t have one, you can bake this cornbread in any other glass baking dish. You could even bake it in a loaf pan.
What are some ingredient substitutions?
Here are some of how to substitute some of the ingredients.
Flour: you can pretty much use any flour. Again, I prefer spelt flour but you can use regular AP flour or einkorn. I have not tried gluten-free flours but if you do, please let me know in the comments how the cornbread turned out.
Buttermilk: this cultured dairy gives your cornbread a better flavor on top of helping the fermentation. However, you can use any milk, such as regular milk, coconut milk, almond milk, oat milk – whatever you like.
Maple syrup: I like maple syrup both for its taste and health profile. You can absolutely use regular sugar, honey, coconut sugar but I think this cornbread benefits from some form of sweetener.
How long will this sourdough skillet cornbread last?
Any goods made with sourdough tend to last longer than those without. You can easily keep this sourdough skillet cornbread on your counter for a few days – if there’s actually any left. If you do, cover it lightly with a towel, a lid, or beeswax wraps.
Sourdough Skillet Cornbread
- cast iron skillet
- 1 ½ cups cornmeal
- ½ cup flour
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- Add the cornmeal and flour to a non-reactive. You can use a wood, glass, pottery, or enamel bowl but try to avoid metal bowls.
- To that, add the sourdough starter and buttermilk. With a whisk, mix all these ingredients until well combined, cover the bowl, and let the dough sit for at least 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Once everything is properly fermented, add the remaining ingredients. I like to add the baking powder and baking soda last, giving the batter only a quick stir.
- I like to give this cornbread a "jump-start" by heating up a cast-iron skillet on the stove. Then I add 1-2 TBSP of oil and pour the batter into the hot skillet. When the edges are beginning to bake, transfer the skillet to the oven.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.