• A skillet of cornbread made with buttermilk and polenta is a skillet of happiness. (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson

"Serve hot and eat warm," says Matthew Evans. 






Skill level

Average: 4 (2 votes)


  • 130 g (¾ cup) cornmeal or polenta
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 100 ml buttermilk or 2 tbsp yoghurt combined with 60 ml milk
  • 50 g unsalted butter

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Ideally, this bread is made in small corn-shaped cast-iron tins. The important thing is the cast iron as it retains its heat. You will need a 15 cm cast-iron pan for this recipe. You could also try patty tins, but you have to work fast so they don’t cool too quickly as you fill them.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Butter a 15 cm cast-iron pan or similar and place in the oven to heat.

Meanwhile, combine cornmeal, baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, bicarbonate of soda and egg in a bowl, then fold in the buttermilk. Carefully remove pan from oven, add butter and swirl so it coats inside of pan. Pour excess butter into cornmeal mixture and stir to combine. Pour mixture into the hot pan.

Bake for 12 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Serve hot and eat warm, because as cornbread cools, it loses its magic.


Photography by Alan Benson.