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!
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.
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.
“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!
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:
- Use Boiling Water. The temperature of the water will heavily dictate the texture of your corn pone.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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:
- Hoe Cakes
- Honey Cornbread
- Cheddar Cornbread
- Fried Cornbread
- Creamed Corn
- Corn Pudding
- Fried Corn
- Scalloped Corn
- 3 cups cornmeal
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup bacon fat or canola oil
- 2/3 cup boiling water
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1 ccup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 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 some 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.