Johnny Cakes or Hoe Cakes are a true Southern delicacy! Not the same as Hot Water Cornbread and a very different texture than this Jiffy Cornbread, this is essentially fried cornbread pancakes that are crisp, tender and delicious. It is so easy and perfect for breakfast or anytime of day especially with my Collard Greens!!
What Is a Johnny Cake or Hoe Cake?
Johnny Cakes (or hoe cakes as they are called in A Real Southern Cook) are close kin to pancakes but from the south. You will often hear the term used in Southern kitchens all over Mississippi and Alabama. I like to think of this as just a fried cornbread recipe in pancake form.
These are light and crispy because they are fried in oil. They seem like delicious Corn Fritters in a lot of ways as well. With just a few ingredients, I could make these and see if the standard hoe cake was any match for good ole pancakes.
What Makes this Johnny Cake Recipe special?
I loved the hint of cornmeal in this easy to throw together batter. It really does taste like fried cornbread in so many ways. I’ve heard of Jiffy Johnny Cakes using the Jiffy cornbread mix but these are just as simple and are made from scratch. I think I mixed this baby up in 5 good minutes and had a cast iron on the skillet a minute later. If this is considering cooking, boy oh boy is it a breeze! Why even depend on a box when you can make this johnny cake recipe?
I really loved how much these tasted like pancakes. I think I may have found another thing I will be addicted to. Just patting a little butter on each one took it over the top but in the book they are drizzled in maple syrup. Either way, these are a must try.
- Ever want to know how to make grits? This southern grits recipe is perfect!
- Need to learn how to make hash browns? This Hash Browns recipe is the best on the internet!
- This Chicken and Waffles recipe is everything!! The buttermilk waffles are a dream.
- Perfect pancakes are my jam! These lemon ricotta pancakes, or this easy blueberry pancakes recipe and even these brown sugar pancakes are incredible!
Johnny Cakes or Hoe Cakes Recipe
- 1/2 cup self-rising white cornmeal
- 1/2 cup self-rising flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/3 cup buttermilk I used coconut milk
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup water or more as needed
- 2 tablespoons melted fat or oil bacon grease, fried chicken grease, butter, or vegetabile oil
- Butter or mixed butter and vegetable oil for frying
- In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Add the buttermilk slowly. Mix in the egg, cutting into the yolk with the spoon's edge to help it mix in better. Add the water and fat or oil and stir well. The texture should be like thick soup, so you may need to add more water.
- I like to fry the cornbread cakes in my grandmother's cast-iron skillet or on a flat iron griddle, but any skillet or grillded will be fine. Heat the skillet or griddle over medium heat and grease it well with the fat of your choice (butter is delicious, but it tends to burn unless you mix it with a little oil). Once the skillet is hot and the fat is sizzling, drop the batter from a 1/8 cup (2-tablespoon) measure into the skillet, in batches if necessary. Fry the cakes until the edges are bubbling and the centers are set, then flip with a spatula to fry them on the other side until they're done. Like with pancakes, you can't say how long it will take, but the second side always cooks faster than the first. If the cakes seem greasy, drain them on paper towels before serving hot.
I’m making these tonight with bean collard greens soup w/ ham hock! I can’t wait!!
Love this recipe! My mom grew up in Tennessee and always called these Hoecakes if she omitted sugar, and Johnny Cakes if she used the sugar. One way or another, they are great!
I definitely think it’s a regional thing. Up here in New England we’ve always called them Johnny Cakes to the extent that, at the Big E which is a state fair but for *all* of NE, there’s always a stand in Rhode Island’s building selling Johnny cakes and Johnny cake mixes
I made these for my students at the end of our Little House in the Big Woods Unit and they loved them! They were super easy to make. I definitely would make these again!
This is a great johnny cake recipe, but I must point out that johnny cakes are not the same as hoe cakes. Hoe cakes are closer to a mexican gordita than a johnny cake. They are made from a soft dough that doesnt contain any flour or levening. While they are really different, they both taste great.
Okay, I tried this recipe because I forgot my stepmother’s recipe which I had been using for some years. I tried this recipe and man-oh-man, this will be my go-to recipe from now on. The edges were crisp and the inside was the right texture and tasted delicious. Seriously. I used whole milk because I didn’t have buttermilk but these johnny cakes still rocked! It was a pleasant surprise. Thank you, Jocelyn!
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says
Hooray thank you so so much Denise!!!!
Happy to hear you used whole milk instead of buttermilk and it still worked out! I’m making these tonight to go w/ some red beans and rice!
So for those of us without self-rising items, would we use the same amount of regular cornmeal and flour and add 3/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt? Or would anything else need modification?
Audrey Martin says
YES you can..If it doesn’t work and when changing things like this, want work can happen. Just not always. If does not work, add a little more of each ingredient, till right. May take a few tries. Good luck what ever you do..
Nothing better than a buttery stack of hoecakes!
Crystal Channing says
OMG these are crazy! I saw the brown sugar ones you did and promised myself I would try them this weekend! You are amazing!
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says
Hooray I hope you enjoy them. Let me know how they turn out!
Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom says
love these southern johnny cakes!!! I’ll have to check out the “A Real Southern Cook” cookbook and I LOVED you on the TODAY Show! so happy for you, boo!!!
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says
Thank you so much hon!