Recipes » Bread Recipes » Thin and Crispy Lacy Cornbread

Thin and Crispy Lacy Cornbread

Southern Fried Lacy Cornbread is thin and oh so crispy! It's made with only four ingredients and is perfect with vegetables, soups, and stews.
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
A stack of lacy cornbread on a white plate.

Southern Fried Lacy Cornbread is thin and oh so crispy! This flat cornbread is perfect for serving with southern vegetables or with soups and stews. Made with only four simple ingredients, it’s sure to become a family favorite.

In the south, we love our cornbread. We love it so much that we have a multitude of recipes for it. On my site alone, I have more than a dozen recipes for cornbread from classic cornbread to pimiento cheese corn sticks and even corn pone. And I love them all.

A stack of lacy cornbread on a white plate.

This Lacy Cornbread does happen to be one of my favorites, and for a good reason. It has incredible texture! It’s flat, thin, crispy, and just perfect. Plus, it’s made with the simplest of ingredients – cornmeal, salt, and water. It’s pure comfort food!

I’ve seen similar recipes called lace cornbread or hot water cornbread. I’ve seen this southern-fried cornbread called Johnnycakes, too.

But where I come from, we call this thin crispy fried cornbread “lacy” because of the airy or lacy edges produced by the very thin batter as it spread in the pan. Yep, this is crispy, crunchy, salty, fried goodness.

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe


  • You’ll only need four ingredients.
  • It’s quick and easy to make.
  • It has an amazing texture.
  • It’s a perfect complement to southern vegetables, soups, and stews.

🛒 Ingredients You’ll Need


Ingredients needed for making lacy cornbread.

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  • Fine Ground White CornmealFor this recipe, plain white cornmeal that has been finely ground is a must. You won’t achieve the same texture with any other cornmeal product such as cornmeal mix (which contains flour and leavening agents), coarse ground cornmeal, or yellow cornmeal. If you can’t source it in your local stores, two good brands, Palmetto Farms and Hoover’s are available online.
  • Salt – Unless otherwise stated, I use Kosher salt in all of my recipes. Use whatever you have on hand.
  • Hot WaterI often simply use hot tap water. You can also bring the water just to a boil on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • Peanut OilI recommend peanut oil both for the taste and for its ability to cook at a high temperature without smoking.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🥄 How to Make Lacy Cornbread


Adding hot water to dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Stirring ingredients with a wire whisk.
  1. Stir the salt into the cornmeal in a medium bowl. Add the hot water and blend using a wooden spoon or wire whisk making sure there are no lumps in the mixture.
Mixed batter coating a wooden spoon.
  1. This is a very thin batter. Thinner than pancake batter. See how it barely coats the spoon? That’s exactly what you want. Just set it aside for a few minutes while you prepare the skillet or griddle.
Lacy cornbread cooking in a cast iron skillet.
  1. Heat a flat griddle or skillet for several minutes 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.
  2. Ladle the batter by tablespoons onto the hot pan. Do not crowd the pan. When the edges begin to brown, turn with a metal spatula and cook the second side. It cooks very quickly, so watch it carefully.
A stack of lacy cornbread on a white plate.
  1. Remove the cooked cornbread to paper towels to drain. Re-oil the skillet and stir the batter in between each batch. If the batter thickens, thin it with a tablespoon or two of hot water.

Oh, and those dark edges in the photo? That’s not a mistake 😊. That’s the very best part of this thin and crispy cornbread.

A stack of lacy cornbread on a white plate.

❗Recipe Tips


  • Use a well-seasoned cast iron griddle or skillet. This is key for getting that perfectly crispy texture. (I urge you to invest in one good cast iron skillet. They’re relatively inexpensive and will last several generations if properly cared for. I have some that belonged to my great-grandmothers.)
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan! Make sure you allow some space between the pieces of cornbread as you’re pouring them into the skillet or griddle. Adding too much batter into the pan will cause the bread to steam rather than fry.
  • Be sure to use the correct kind of cornmeal. You’ll need plain, fine grind white cornmeal (not cornmeal mix).
  • Preheat the skillet. Make sure the skillet is very hot before adding the oil and cornbread batter in order to achieve a crispy texture. 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.

🍽️ Serving Suggestions


It’s almost easier to answer what not to serve with lacy cornbread. It’s a great addition to many meals, but some of my favorites things to serve it with are pinto beans, butter beans, Hoppin’ John, stewed okra and tomatoes, and vegetable soup.

A stack of lacy cornbread on a white plate.

🍚 Storage and Reheating Instructions


This pan fried cornbread is best served immediately after cooking, but it will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about three days. To reheat, place it on a baking sheet and warm in a 350 degree oven for about five minutes.

❓ Questions About Lacy Cornbread


What can I use in place of peanut oil?

If you’re allergic to peanuts or just don’t have access to peanut oil, you can substitute with any neutral flavored oil that has a fairly high smoking point. Both canola oil and grapeseed oil are good choices.

Can I make this cornbread ahead of time?

I don’t recommend making it too far in advance as it’s best served fresh and hot. It will keep well at room temperature for about an hour.

My cornbread didn’t come out crispy. What’s wrong?

There are a few things that could be causing your cornbread to not turn out crispy. First, make sure you’re using a well-seasoned skillet or griddle. Second, check that you’re not overcrowding the pan with batter. Third, make sure the skillet has preheated for several minutes before adding the oil and batter. And, finally, be sure to use fine ground white cornmeal.

There you have it! A southern-fried delicious cornbread recipe that’s sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. This quick and easy four-ingredient recipe yields the most amazing crispy, crunchy cornbread to accompany all your favorite southern meals.

And best of all? You probably have everything on hand right now to make a batch. So what are you waiting for? Give this recipe a try, and let me know how it turns out in the comments below!

🧾 More Recipes You’ll Like


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Sour Cream and Onion Cornbread in a cast iron skillet on a hot pad.
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Finished muffins in a baking tin.
My crispy, savory Cornmeal Scallion Fritters are ready in just 15 minutes and make the perfect side dish for almost any meal! https://www.lanascooking.com/cornmeal-scallion-fritters/

Have you tried this recipe? I’d really appreciate you giving it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card or in the comments section.
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📖 Recipe

A stack of lacy cornbread on a white plate.

Lacy Cornbread

Southern Fried Lacy Cornbread is thin and oh so crispy! It's made with only four ingredients and is perfect with vegetables, soups, and stews.
5 from 16 votes
Print It Rate It Save
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 (boiled on the stovetop or 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.

Notes

  • For this recipe, you’ll need plain, fine ground white cornmeal. You won’t achieve the same texture with any other cornmeal product such as self-rising cornmeal or cornmeal mix (both of which contain flour and leavening agents), or with coarse ground cornmeal, or yellow cornmeal.
  • Be sure to use a well-seasoned cast iron griddle or skillet.

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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— This post was originally published on October 14, 2011. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

Lacy cornbread alongside a bowl of soup.

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Recipe Rating




61 Comments

  1. Just how my mama made it. It always had to be made with Hoover’s corn meal around our house. I am from Colquitt as well.

  2. 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!!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. Lana,

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

    1. 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!

  18. 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…

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