RECIPE: Old Fashioned Skillet Cornbread

January 24, 2024

RECIPE: Old Fashioned Skillet Cornbread

For life in the mountains or out on the frontier, what could be better than a hearty, sturdy hunk of cornbread?

Researching old west recipes recently, the most consistent ingredient by far was unsurprisingly: cornmeal. Cornbread, corn griddle cakes, corn mush, corn dodgers; whichever way you slice it, cornmeal was (and still is in many places) a crucial staple. 

I think many will agree with me when I say that cornbread definitely falls into the realm of comfort food, and as I sit here writing this on a stormy winter day in the Tetons, that sentiment is only enhanced. Dunked in a warm bowl of stew or chili, or wrapped up carefully for an adventure outside, cornbread is hard to beat. 

The Western Chef
I adapted this recipe for skillet cornbread from a website called The Pioneer Woman, which seemed like a fitting place to find a heritage recipe like this. I took the liberty of adding in chopped green onions, sharp cheddar cheese, and black pepper, which I always think enhances any sort of savory corn cake. You can definitely omit the onions and pepper if you prefer your slice on the sweeter side covered in jam. Whatever you do, don’t omit the cheese. 

One might call the Western Chef a bit overkill for chopping up cheese and green onions or slicing up hunks of this tasty skillet bread, but this knife wasn’t designed for the kitchen cowboy for nothing. The 8-inch clip-point blade borders on a cleaver. While no hacking was done in the making of this skillet bread, the Western Chef seamlessly chopped and diced all my cornbread fixings. It’s certainly the perfect tool for the job if you’re tackling a large bird or in need of some serious chopping. Wielding my Western Chef, I’m doubtful there’s a kitchen project that I couldn’t conquer. 

Western Chef
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, this recipe definitely still works with an 8x8” baking dish. It’s still delicious, just a little less festive. 

Old Fashioned Skillet Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, finely chopped 
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder. Stir together. 
  2. Measure the buttermilk and milk in a measuring cup and add the egg. Stir with a fork. 
  3. Add baking soda to the milk mixture and stir again. 
  4. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with a fork until combined. 
  5. In a small bowl, melt ¼ cup butter. Once melted, slowly add to the batter, stirring until just combined. 
  6. Stir in cheese and green onions. 
  7. In a cast iron skillet melt the last 2 Tbsp. of butter over medium heat on the stove. 
  8. Once the butter is melted, pour the batter into the hot skillet.
  9. Cook on the stovetop for 1 minute, then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Depending on the size of your skillet, you might have to alter the bake time. My 12” skillet only took about 15 minutes, but a 9-inch should take at least 20.
  10. Slice and enjoy with chili or lather it up with honey.