Pioneer Corn Bread

elizname2smallThis recipe is at least 120 years old.  It came from a cookbook of pioneer recipes put out by the church ladies in my hometown.  I’ll confess I haven’t tried it.  If you do, I’d love to know how it comes out.  Not sure about how to sour the buttermilk… 

1 cup (scant) white flourcornbread

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup corn meal

1 beaten egg

3 Tablespoons melted shortening

1 cup sour buttermilk

3/4 teaspoon soda


 Sift together flour, sugar and baking powder.  Put in pan with corn meal.  Mix well and add egg, shortening and buttermilk, to which the soda has been added to make it foam.  Mix well and pour into greased muffin tins or 9 inch square pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until it tests done.  Serve with molasses and butter.

Elizabeth Lane
I'm an internationally published romance author, coming up on 40 novels and novellas. Most of my stories have been Westerns for Harlequin Historicals, but I set stories in other times and places as well. I'll also be writing contemporary stories for Harlequin Desire, with the first release in January 2013. You can learn more on my web site.
Updated: October 17, 2009 — 8:53 am


  1. Hi Elizabeth! I love cornbread, espcially when it’s moist and slathered with butter. Yum!

  2. Hi, Elizabeth. My mother-in-law makes a recipe similar to this and always bakes it in an iron skillet. Gives it such a rustic, western appeal. Of course, I’m one of those sweet-tooth gals who prefers my cornbread to taste more like cake than bread, but I slather butter and honey on hers and enjoy it just fine.

    About the sour buttermilk – buttermilk is already sour by nature, so maybe it is just a description? I know that you can add vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk to “sour” it if you need a substitute for buttermilk. I would be surprised if you needed to make the buttermilk more sour than it is already. maybe someone else will have a more definite answer.

    This corn bread would pair up well with Pam’s Cowboy Stew.

    Hmm…now I’m hungry and it’s just after breakfast. I’ll have to come back to the junction at lunch time.

  3. Elizabeth,

    Your recipe for cornbread made my mouth water. I love cornbread. If you put it with green onions and some stew boy do you have a meal

    Thanks to all the fillies for posting the recipes.

    Walk in peace and harmony,


  4. Thanks for your comments, ladies. I really must make this to see if it’s as good as it sounds. Extra thanks for your suggestion about the buttermilk, Karen. It makes sense that the buttermilk would already be sour.

  5. Hi Elizabeth, this sounds amazing and perfect for fall. I love honey butter on it, too.

  6. I always bake cornbread as shown, in a big buttered cast iron skillet. It makes the outside pieces crispy. No better way!

  7. I’m sure this recipe could be baked in a skillet, as shown in the photo, Cheryl. Yours sounds yummy! I will try it that way–and maybe with honey butter.

  8. Avatar

    Can’t wait to get home and try this one out. Love cornbread, especially with soup on a cool fall evening.

  9. I’ll have to give this one to my daughter, her husband loves cornbread.

  10. So far the only cornbread I’ve tasted has been as a side dish at Joey’s Seafood. They serve it as a cornbread muffin.

    I’ll have to try this and see if it’s similar because we like the Joey’s version. Thank you.

  11. Yummy – I love corn bread!! And I’ve used vinegar to regular milk to sour it too. Learned in in my cooking class back in high school!!

  12. Dropping back in after some away time. Thanks for the helpful hints. You’ve all inspired me to try making this recipe–maybe to go with the chili I’m planning for the weekend.

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