Recipes » Breads » Lacy Cornbread

Lacy Cornbread

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5 from 4 votes
Southern lacy cornbread. Crispy, crunchy and completely delicious.
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Several pieces of lacy cornbread on a napkin.

Lacy cornbread – a south Georgia classic – fried, crispy cornbread. Lacy and light as a feather.

Several pieces of lacy cornbread on a napkin.

Don’t know whether you noticed, but in older post I wrote, the one with 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.

So Many Kinds of 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.

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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.

Lacy Cornbread is Probably My Favorite Cornbread

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 that 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.

How to Make Lacy Cornbread

Salt, cornmeal, and water in a mixing bowl.

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.

Cornbread batter in mixing bowl.

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.

Cast iron griddle heating on the stove.

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.

Ladling the batter onto the hot griddle.

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.

Lacy cornbread on a napkin.

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

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Several pieces of lacy cornbread on a napkin.

Lacy Cornbread

Southern lacy cornbread. Crispy, crunchy and completely delicious.
5 from 4 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Breads
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 79kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fine ground white cornmeal
  • 1 ¼ cups hot water your hottest tap water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Peanut oil

Instructions

  • Mix the cornmeal, water and salt with a wire whisk making sure no lumps remain in the mixture. Set aside for a few minutes.
  • 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.
  • 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 to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  • Remove the cooked cornbread to paper towels to drain. Re-oil the skillet and stir the batter in between each batch of cornbread.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 146mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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Recipe Rating




53 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My Grandmother and Grandfather taught me how to make this as a young kid. Your recipe is almost word for word, the same as what I am used to. I love it with greens, pot liquor, beans, and even broken into pieces with buttermilk poured over it. Love some Lacy Cornbread!!

  2. As children, my cousins and I would hover around the stove as our grandmother’s cook Minnie Lou made lacy cornbread. I would pick this for my final meal along with field peas and rice and gravy. Where in South Georgia are you from? My grandparents lived in Vidalia, though my grandmother was from Rentz. Your dressing and ambrosia recipes sound similar to what I grew up eating.

  3. We call it “hot water cornbread” but I like the name Lacey cornbread better! Either way, it’s delicious.! There’s only one kind of sweet cornbread I like: Corn Light Bread — and it’s be eaten with tangy BBQ pork. The kind with thin, vinegar-based sauce, not thick, sweet sauce (otherwise it’s just all too much sweet!) I think it’s a middle-Tennessee thing from what I’ve read. I have lived all over,, and the only area I have ever seen it offered at BBQ joints is in mid-Tenn.

    1. That sauce is served in south Georgia, too, Kim! My family’s secret barbecue sauce recipe is a thin, vinegar-based sauce :-) It’s the only kind I really like although I do use a sweet purchased sauce for a few specific recipes.

  4. Love this cornbread and appreciate the recipe! I just had some decent cornmeal mailed to me because I couldn’t find it in Atlanta. Thanks!

    1. I know what you mean, Sharon! I live near Atlanta and have to get it mailed to me from south Georgia. Also can’t find any fresh peas and butterbeans here. Surprising how different it is just such a short distance away.

  5. Lacey cornbread is also my favorite cornbread and you just gotta have it with some collard greens or some field peas and rice. I have ate this all my life and love it. Born and raised in South Carolina

  6. Thank You, I remember having Lacey corn bread while on vacation as a child. I have asked many people about it and no one knew what I was referring too. I’m sure they just know it by one of the other names.

  7. This is indeed delicious! I’m a NC native who grew up eating this. Since I moved to the West coadt, I have taken to making this with Masa corn flour, generally used for making tortillas, tameles and the like. It is a great texture for lacy cornbread!

  8. Lana,

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