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Hot Water Cornbread

stack of hot water cornbread

Cornbread has a long tradition in the South and many Southerners have some very particular feelings about how cornbread should be made. While the debate continues on whether it should contain sugar or not, the fact remains that cornbread is one of those amazing, versatile dishes that can be served either sweet or salty depending on how you serve it.

Hot water cornbread is a fried version of the classic corncake, made by adding boiling hot water to cornflour. The final result is a wonderfully crispy side dish with a firm, yet light, interior.

hot water cornbread cake on wax paper

Many people love to serve this as an accompaniment to beans, chili, soups, or fried chicken. However, in my childhood home Mom usually served these with molasses, honey, jam, or even sorghum molasses. This type of cornbread is also great for breakfast, too!

There’s no baking this cornbread and the cakes are perfectly sized for snacking and dipping, unlike skillet cornbread or cornbread muffins.

hot water cornbread cake cut in half

To make this recipe you start by making the basis for the dough and then slowly add boiling water to the mixture. You’re looking for a firm dough that can be molded by hand, so it’s best to add the water sparingly until the texture is just right.

hot water cornbread dough mix

Then the cornbread is molded into patties before being fried in hot oil for 3-5 minutes each side. If you fry several at a time in a larger skillet (cast iron was my Mom’s pan of choice for anything cornbread-related) you’ll find this satisfying recipe comes together very quickly.

hot water cornbread being fried in oil in cast iron skiller

The next time you’re looking for a novel side dish try this recipe and see if it doesn’t hit the spot. Plus, it’s also a yummy variation on the standard breakfast fare of pancakes, waffles, or toast. You won’t be disappointed with this Southern staple recipe!

Hot Water Cornbread

20 minutes to prepare / serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, mash the butter into the cornmeal. Add salt, baking powder, and egg and stir until thoroughly combined.
  2. Very slowly, add boiling water while stirring constantly until cornmeal will hold together in a firm ball. (Take care not to over water.)
  3. Pour 1 inch of oil into a large skillet and heat to about 325°F. Oil should be glistening but not smoking.
  4. Using your hands, scoop out 2 to 3 tablespoons of cornmeal and form into a patty. Carefully place in oil and cook until golden brown on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
  5. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Flunking Family.

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