Lacy Cornbread

by Lana Stuart on October 14, 2011 · 39 comments

Lacy Cornbread

Don’t know whether you noticed, but in the last post I wrote…the Sausage and Kale Soup…there were a few little pieces of cornbread on the side of the bowl. Oh, you missed that? Well, let me tell you about it. That is what we in my little corner of the South call “lacy cornbread.”

Now, there are all kinds of cornbread. There’s the thick, cakey type. That’s a baked cornbread and it usually has eggs, maybe buttermilk and some leavening to provide rise. Then there’s corn pone which can be either baked in the oven or fried. It generally does not contain eggs but still has some leavening and it rises a little bit. Also, I would argue that hush puppies are cornbread, too. Of course, they’re fried and most people add onions and other seasonings. It just wouldn’t be a fish-fry without hush puppies.

There’s also the debate over whether or not cornbread should have sugar in the batter. You can count me as firmly entrenched in the no-sugar-in-the-cornbread camp. Even though I think it’s delicious with a drizzle of honey and a pat of butter, I just don’t want any sweetness at all in my cornbread itself. It really just depends on what you grew up with, I think.

But, back to the lacy cornbread. This is a fried cornbread made with the simplest of ingredients – cornmeal, salt and hot water. I’ve seen very similar recipes called, appropriately enough, “hot water cornbread” and I’ve seen this called Jonnycakes, too. But where I come from, we call this lacy cornbread. It’s because the cooked cornbread has an airy, or “lacy” appearance caused by the very thin batter as it spreads in the pan. Yep, this is crispy, crunchy, salty fried goodness.

To make my lacy cornbread, the one really crucial thing that you’ll need is some finely ground, white cornmeal. It can be hard to find, too. I’ve had trouble getting it here in north Georgia, so I just always plan on picking up a package or two when I visit home. Or either my Mama sends me some. Or my friend Sonya. Or I order it online. Gotta have the fine ground white cornmeal, you know!

You’ll also need a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. I use a flat, round cast iron griddle pan, but any cast iron skillet will work just fine.

Making batter for Lacy Cornbread

Stir the salt into the cornmeal. Add the water and blend using a wire whisk to make sure there are no lumps in the mixture. Use the hottest tap water available for your batter.

Lacy Cornbread batter

This is a very thin batter. See how it barely coats the spoon? That’s just what you want. Just set it aside for a few minutes while you prepare the skillet or griddle.

Lacy Cornbread flat griddle pan

Heat a flat griddle or skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, drizzle with one or two tablespoons of peanut oil tilting the griddle so that the entire surface is coated with oil.

Cooking lacy cornbread

Ladle the batter by tablespoons onto the hot pan. Do not crowd the pan. When the edges begin to brown, turn the cornbread with a metal spatula and cook the second side.  The cornbread cooks quickly, so watch it carefully.

Remove the cooked cornbread to paper towels to drain. Re-oil the skillet and stir the batter in between each batch of cornbread. If the batter thickens, thin it with a tablespoon or two of hot water.

Final of lacy cornbread

Oh, and those dark edges in the photo? That’s not a mistake :-) That’s the very best part of this lacy cornbread.

Lacy Cornbread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Southern lacy cornbread. Crispy, crunchy and completely delicious.
  • 1 cup fine ground white cornmeal
  • 1 ¼ cups hot water (your hottest tap water)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Peanut oil
  1. Mix the cornmeal, water and salt with a wire whisk making sure no lumps remain in the mixture. Set aside for a few minutes.
  2. Heat a flat griddle or skillet over medium heat.
  3. When the pan is hot, drizzle with one or two tablespoons of peanut oil tilting the griddle so that the entire surface is coated with oil.
  4. Ladle the batter by tablespoons onto the hot pan. Do not crowd the pan.
  5. When the edges begin to brown, turn the cornbread with a metal spatula and cook the second side. The cornbread cooks quickly, so watch to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  6. Remove the cooked cornbread to paper towels to drain. Re-oil the skillet and stir the batter in between each batch of cornbread.
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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara | Creative Culinary October 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm

This looks fabulous Lana; so different from any cornbread I’ve tried…do believe it’s a must make!


2 Lana October 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I think you’d love it, Barbara. It’s one of the classic recipes that’s part of my culinary background.


3 Jackie @Syrup and Biscuits October 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm

What a great post on our beloved Southern cornbread! Thank you for sharing a link to Syrup and Biscuits!


4 Lora @cakeduchess October 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Lacy Cornbread?I can’t wait to make this:)I never heard of it and one of my favorite things to make is cornbread. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


5 Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) October 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I live in Rhode Island, which is the home of jonnycakes, and we eat them for breakfast most often (with maple syrup!).


6 Feast on the Cheap October 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I’ve never seen cornbread like this, it looks incredible! The next time I whip up a big batch of chili I’m most definitely making the accompanying cornbread this way


7 Lana October 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Do give it a try. I think you’ll love it.


8 DessertForTwo October 14, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I love this post! I’m a cornbread freak! This reminds me of hoecakes because the ingredients are so simple.


9 Angela FRS October 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Beautiful! I will have to try this method.


10 claudia lamascolo October 14, 2011 at 6:28 pm

What a creative way to make cornbread love the look of it!


11 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen October 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Love this, I’ve never seen anything like it!


12 Nancy@acommunaltable October 14, 2011 at 9:29 pm

This is what I love about food blogging.. I learn something different every day!! I am going to have to get my hands on some white cornbread!!!


13 Lana October 14, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I can recommend some good online sources for the cornmeal if you’re interested, Nancy.


14 Sues October 14, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Oooh! I’ve never had lacy cornbread, but it looks absolutely fabulous! :)


15 Jennifer Pace October 15, 2011 at 7:29 am

My south Georgia grandmother makes this. It’s my absolute favorite way to eat cornbread, and it’s the perfect side to a hot bowl of vegetable soup! Thanks for sharing!


16 Lana October 18, 2011 at 10:11 am

Yes, this is a very typical cornbread from south Georgia. We have so many different kinds, but if you asked folks there which was their favorite, this would probably win.


17 Rachel Willen@Foodfix October 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

I love anything with cornmeal! I doubly love this recipe because it a gluten free crispy “crostini” of sorts and I’m gluten intolerant. I’m always interested in a GF vehicle for appetizers, or an accompaniment for soups, etc. I am definitely trying this…so simple! I just did one of my favorites with cornmeal…my Roasted Pear Upside Down Cake…the recipe is not gluten-free but could be…just sub out the flour for corn flour. Thanks!


18 Jamie October 16, 2011 at 8:46 am

I LOVE this recipe! I am nuts for cornbread but there is something about these fried treats that goes beyond ordinary cornbread! Really perfect with soup, aren’t they. I have to try these….and oooh maybe drizzled with honey. Great recipes and I am always fascinated by all things corn bread: jonnycakes, corn pones, etc!


19 Sandi October 16, 2011 at 10:24 am

Always love a twist from a traditional favorite, very nice!


20 Cookin' Canuck October 16, 2011 at 10:52 am

I can always count on you to teach me something about southern cooking, Lana. Lacy cornbread is new to me, but it looks like something I would love to dunk into soups and stews.


21 Alison @ ingredients, Inc. October 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm

very fun post. This looks so good


22 foodwanderings October 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Never heard of lacy cornbread. Nice to learn something new. Perfect for Thanksgiving!!


23 Lana October 18, 2011 at 10:14 am

Interesting – I wouldn’t think of this one for Thanksgiving. It’s very coarse and rustic. In south Georgia, you’d typically find this served with a meat and vegetable plate (fried chicken, with maybe fried okra, corn and field peas). It’s very humble food :-)


24 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective October 17, 2011 at 9:20 am

Girl, you made down-home look FAN-CY!


25 Megan October 17, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Yum! I love the flavor of cornbread but I don’t always want that thick brick of a slice. I think I’ll be able to hunt down white cornmeal here in Texas. Like another commenter said, it looks like a perfect pairing for chili.


26 Lana October 18, 2011 at 10:15 am

Hi Megan. This is like eating the crispy crusty edges from that thicker cornbread – the best part.


27 Patti October 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm

This looks fantastic and sounds easy to make. I love how you’ve also included a recipe that is ready to print. YUMMY!


28 JavelinWarrior October 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm

So THAT’S what a Jonnycake is! I’m intrigued by the light and airy nature of this – so unlike the cakey cornbread I’ve always made…


29 Jo August 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Oh this brought back so many memories. I live in NC and we just call it fried cornbread. My grandmother used to make this almost everyday. She would always have a glass of buttermilk with it. I asked her one time if she didn’t get tired of it for lunch. She told me to try it. I did and I loved it. Never thought I would love fried cornbread and a glass of buttermilk, maybe it was her company, but I did. Thanks for the memories, wish I could share some with her now.


30 Lana August 3, 2012 at 8:25 am

Yes, I know lots of older folks who enjoy a glass of buttermilk with cornbread. I never did enjoy the buttermilk, but I sure can put away some cornbread!


31 Betty B. Hicks Jr. December 12, 2012 at 4:41 pm

My Mom made this cornbread and there was never a drop left after a meal. She also made pone cornbread, it was thicker to where she could pick it up and shape it. I have a great collection of iron skillets, one is like a griddle, and dearly love to make the Lacy patties. Sometimes I just make it for the memories. I am 82 and live in Madisonville, Tn. I worked for a newspaper for more than 28 years and even married the owner. I was the advertising manager and had a recipe booket published each year for our readers. Thanks for making me remember the olden days
long gone by.


32 Bruce August 12, 2014 at 10:58 pm

This is the best cornbread IMO. With some Carolina BBQ ( smoked pork butt soaked in vinegar all day), and some home made cole slaw it is hard to beat. Also goes very very well with ham and beans. I want to thank Tammy for this.


33 Terra October 23, 2014 at 8:50 am

Okay, how have I not heard of Lacy Cornbread? I so need to make this, especially with all my cozy soup. Thank you for sharing. I love learning new recipes special to the Deep South! Yum, Hugs, Terra


34 Sara October 27, 2014 at 8:50 am

I find it hard to get plain white cornmeal also. I just use the yellow, but it’s not as good! This is the ONLY kind of cornbread per my husband…


35 Allen Vergakis October 27, 2014 at 11:36 am

My Alabama grandmother (Vesta Allen) knew that was the ONLY cornbread. For those whom may not know, the the lacy-edging is referred to as “tattering.” And the meal HAD to be stone-grown. This recipe brings back fond memories. Thank you and God bless you and yours, Allen. P.S. Now you know where I got the name Allen.


36 Christa October 27, 2014 at 11:47 am

My grandmother made a huge plate of lacy cornbread everyday for supper. A big pot of white peas, creamed field corn, fried okra and you have got a perfect South Georgia meal. She taught me that Hoover’s Fine Ground Cornmeal was the only kind to use for lacy cornbread and my kitchen is never without it. Your followers are lucky you have shared this southern staple.


37 Nancy October 27, 2014 at 1:11 pm

OMG! My beloved aunt Ocie used to make this all the time and I have been trying to figure out how she did it. It was so good on a cold winter day with some good salty country ham. My aunt Ocie lived on a farm and was widowed and left with two young sons to raise. But she not only survived but thrived! Thanks so so much for this recipe!


38 Pat Bush October 27, 2014 at 5:23 pm


I learned to make lacy cornbread from “Miss” Juanita
Geer, when we would have sleepovers at Ada’s house.
Aunt Pat


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