Corn Pone

A twist on classic cornbread, this intensely moist, flavorful and authentic Corn Pone recipe is made with simple ingredients and baked until beautifully golden brown!  

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Slices of corn pone recipe ready to serve with honey nearby

I’m a Southern raised girl through and through, meaning I love just about any classic down south dish that hits the table. I grew up eating and cooking recipes passed down by generations of folks who admired tradition and good food in the same way I do. 

Since moving back to the South, I’ve been leaning heavily into rediscovering family recipes, as well as trying new ones! Corn Pone isn’t something I‘m necessarily familiar with. Of course, I’ve had plenty of cornbread and its variants in my day but “pone” is something quite different. 

In doing research and during testing, I was pleasantly surprised by the subtle deliciousness of this recipe. Corn Pone is rich, dense, and yet still moist and crisp around the edges. If you’ve never had it, you’re in for a big treat today! 

Roll up your sleeves y’all! It’s time to get in the kitchen and whip up some Southern goodness. 

Perks & Highlights of This Classic Corn Pone Recipe

Cuisine Inspiration: Traditional Southern

Cuisine Primary

Cooking Method: Baking

Dietary Info: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian

Key Flavor: Savory with a natural, subtle sweetness from corn

Skill Level: Easy

Special Perks:

  1. Simplicity at Its Finest: Corn pone requires just a few common ingredients, making it a simple yet satisfying dish that speaks to its Southern roots.
  2. Versatile Accompaniment: This dish can be served alongside a variety of meals, whether it’s a hearty stew or a spread of barbecue, proving its versatility.
  3. Gluten-Free Goodness: Made primarily of cornmeal, corn pone is naturally gluten-free, perfect for those with dietary restrictions without compromising on taste.
  4. Crispy and Golden: When baked correctly, corn pone offers a delightful texture, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, making each bite a perfect blend of textures.
  5. Cultural History: Corn pone isn’t just food; it’s a piece of Southern heritage, offering you a chance to connect with a rich and flavorful culinary tradition.

This Corn Pone recipe is more than a side dish; it’s a heartwarming experience, a nod to simpler times, and a celebration of Southern culinary craftsmanship, perfect for family dinners, special occasions, or any day of the week.

A baked corn dish with butter on top out of the oven

What is Corn Pone? 

It consists of cornmeal, water, salt, and oil or bacon drippings. It is quite a simple dish to make that allows boiling water to truly change the consistency of the entire dish.

What’s The Difference Between Cornbread and Corn Pone?

While Corn pone consists of cornmeal just like cornbread, it also consists of lots of boiling water, while cornbread adds eggs, milk, flour, and baking powder changing the entire texture and consistency.  Cornbread has more of a fluffy texture.  Corn Pone is a bit denser and also thicker too. 

History

“Pone” (from the Algonquin apan), discovered and adapted by both Africans and Europeans in the early 1600’s, is a cornmeal based bread invented by American Indians in the Chesapeake Bay country.

Although the bread was prepared and eaten by Northerners and Southerners alike, the American South seemed to take to it and make it their own. 

FUN FACT: Did you know that corn pone was one of President Abraham Lincoln’s favorite foods? So cool! 

Cornmeal, eggs, sugar, salt and ingredients in clear bowls

Ingredients 

Seeing as how today’s recipe is one with a long history, it’s not surprising that the ingredient list is pretty short. It has always been made with simple, inexpensive items that just about anyone would most likely have in their pantry, including you! 

Why don’t you go ahead and pull that stuff out? Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Cornmeal- I prefer a fine yellow cornmeal. Do not use a coarse grind for this recipe.
  • Salt– kosher salt is king. 
  • Boiling Water- I like to just use my tea kettle and wait until the whistle blows! 
  • Bacon Fat- if you don’t have any, replace it with either vegetable or canola oil. 
  • Eggs- room temperature, large eggs are best here. 
  • Heavy Whipping Cream- I like to let the cream sit out while the cornmeal cools down so it’s not so cold when it’s added. 
  • Baking Powder- be sure to use fresh, active baking powder. 

How To Make Corn Pone

Corn Pone is so easy to make! Most of the baking time is inactive and the result is a tender, hearty, and delicious bread. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re in the kitchen: 

Cornmeal and dry ingredients in a clear bowl before stirring together
  • Use Boiling Water. The temperature of the water will heavily dictate the texture of your corn pone. 
Boiled cornmeal and ingredients patted into a cast iron skillet
  • Wait for the Cornmeal to Cool. Once the water has been mixed into the cornmeal, salt, and bacon fat, allow it all to cool for at least an hour. In the meantime, grease your skillet and preheat the oven. 
Baked corn pone with butter and honey being drizzled on top
  • Check for Doneness Early To avoid a dry corn pone, start checking for doneness with a toothpick at around 25 minutes. The pick should come back with a few moist crumbs. 

An overhead shot of slices of corn pone on white plates with some in a cast iron skillet nearby
How to Serve it

This versatile carb can be eaten on its own with a side of butter, maple syrup, jam, or honey. Corn pone also makes a great side to most traditional Southern comfort recipes like fried chicken, collard greens, or black eyed peas.

Because this cornbread is unsweetened, it can be served in both savory and sweet contexts. 

You can also make corn pone in smaller segments if you would prefer.  It is quite versatile.

Can I make it ahead?

You can definitely make it ahead since it stores very similarly to cornbread which can always be made ahead as well.  

A slice of corn pone on a white speckled plate with honey and butter drizzled on top

Storage

It can be stored in the same way that you would any other cornbread recipe. Tightly wrap the leftover bread in plastic wrap or foil, then place it in an airtight container or food storage bag. Although it may be prone to moisture while left in the fridge, cornbread can last up to 7 days. 

Keep in mind that corn pone is substantially different from a traditional cornbread, so its expiration might differ. You can always zap a hunk of it in the microwave with a damp paper towel draped over the top to reintroduce some moisture if it gets too dry. 

Best Corn Recipes 

Can’t get enough classic Southern eats? Try out a few more of GBC’s favorite corn-filled recipes: 

Slices of corn pone recipe ready to serve with honey nearby

Corn Pone

A twist on classic cornbread, this intensely moist, flavorful and authentic Corn Pone recipe is made with simple ingredients and baked until beautifully golden brown! 
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cool Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat or canola oil
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Mix cornmeal, salt and bacon fat. Pour this mixture into the boiling water and stir until well mixed.
  • Next add eggs and cream and stir and allow it to cool for 60 minutes.
  • Once 45 minutes have passed, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Add oil to the cast iron skillet and once the oven reaches temperature place the skillet in the oven to heat up the oil.
  • Once the mixture has cooled for 60 minutes, mix everything super well then add in the baking powder.
  • Pour the pone into the hot, greased cast iron skillet and bake for 25-35 minutes and serve.

Notes

Corn Pone can be stored in the same way that you would any other cornbread recipe. Tightly wrap the leftover bread in plastic wrap or foil, then place it in an airtight container or food storage bag. Although it may be prone to moisture while left in the fridge, cornbread can last up to 7 days.
Keep in mind that corn pone is substantially different from a traditional cornbread, so its expiration might differ. You can always zap a hunk of it in the microwave with a damp paper towel draped over the top to reintroduce some moisture if it gets too dry.

Nutrition

Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 602mg | Potassium: 308mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 61IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg
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Filed Under:  Oven, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Comments

  1. I’m pretty much a fan of all cornbread. But made with bacon drippings?! Heck. Yes. I’ll take two slices!!

  2. Oh yum! The texture of this Corn Pone sounds absolutely fantastic! I love how versatile it is and how it can be served in both sweet and savory ways.

5 from 4 votes

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