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Southern Cornbread Muffins

Any time of day is perfect for these quick and easy Southern Cornbread Muffins. You can have these ready for the table in under 30 minutes. They’re perfect to serve plain or add a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey!

Do you have a go-to recipe for cornbread that you like and use time after time? Most people do and that may be the only kind of cornbread they know. Not so for southerners.

Finished muffins in a baking tin.

The subject of southern cornbread is far more complicated than you may think. That’s because there are so many different kinds of cornbread and cornmeal! I just checked, and I have at least a dozen different kinds of cornbread recipes on this blog. Each one is perfect for different meals.

There’s always the standard old-fashioned cornbread that pretty much goes with everything. Then there’s lacy cornbread, hot water cornbread, hush puppies, and corn sticks. Each one is different and absolutely delicious in its own way and all are part of our southern comfort foods.

A split muffin on a plate with butter and honey.

And now I’m adding these perfect Southern Cornbread Muffins to that collection. This is one of those basic recipes that you can add to or change up to make it your own. I’ll give you some ideas for that near the bottom of the post.

What You’ll Love About This Recipe


  • It’s incredibly versatile. This basic recipe is delicious just as it is, but there are all sorts of variations (see below).
  • The complete recipe takes under 30 minutes to make. You can have delicious, fresh cornbread ready in a matter of minutes.
  • It’s easy. Just measure, dump, stir, and bake.

About the Ingredients

A photo of all ingredients needed for the recipe.
  • Self-Rising Cornmeal Mix (I’ll admit that I don’t often use a cornmeal mix, but it can handy because it has the leavening already included. I recommend Martha White Hot Rize brand (either white or yellow). If you can’t find it, you can use plain cornmeal with 4 teaspoons of baking powder added.)
  • Shortening (Such as Crisco; you can also use vegetable oil or canola oil.)

The complete ingredient list with detailed measurements is included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Southern Cornbread Muffins

STEP 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

STEP 2. Add 1/2 teaspoon shortening (or oil) to each cup of a standard 12-cup muffin tin. Put the tin on a baking sheet and place in the oven to heat while mixing the cornbread.

STEP 3. Sift the dry ingredients (cornmeal mix, flour, and salt) into a medium mixing bowl.

STEP 4. Add the egg and milk. Whisk together just until mixed (do not over mix).

STEP 5. Carefully remove the hot muffin pan from the oven and fill each cup 3/4 full with cornbread batter.

Muffin tin holding baked muffins.
STEP 6.

STEP 6. Return the baking sheet and tin to the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center of a muffin comes out clean.

STEP 7. Remove and allow the muffins to sit in the tin on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.

STEP 8. Remove the muffins from the tin.

STEP 9. Serve warm or room temperature with butter and honey, if desired.

Finished muffins in a baking tin.

Recipe Tips

  • Substitute the shortening with either canola oil or vegetable oil if you prefer.
  • Instead of whole milk, use buttermilk or half sour cream and half buttermilk for a “tangy” background taste.
  • Make this recipe into one big round of cornbread by cooking in a cast iron skillet.

Cornbread Muffin Variations

Cornbread is one of the most versatile breads there is and, oh wow, do I have some options for you! Take this basic recipe and turn it into something really special with one of these unique variations:

Savory Options:

  • Pimiento Cheese and Garlic – Add 4 ounces of well drained diced pimientos, 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, and 1 tablespoon of roasted (or sauteed) garlic to the batter. Substitute half the whole milk with sour cream.
  • Roasted Red Pepper – To the batter, add 1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper, 1 cup of corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned; well drained), and 1/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper.
  • Cheddar and Bacon – Stir in 1/2 cup of shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese, 4 slices of cooked, crumbled bacon, and 1/4 cup of finely diced scallions. Substitute the whole milk with buttermilk.
  • Jalapeno Jack – Add 1/2 cup of grated Monterey Jack cheese and 1 finely diced jalapeno pepper.
  • Corn and Basil – Add 1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or canned whole corn kernels and 1 tablespoon shredded fresh basil.
  • Sausage – Add 1/3 cup cooked, crumbled breakfast sausage and 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning to the batter.
  • Feta and Dill — Into the batter, add 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, and 1 teaspoon dried dill weed.

Slightly Sweet Options (great to add to a holiday bread basket!):

  • Brown Sugar and Pecan – Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans to the batter.
  • Blueberry Lemon – Stir in 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries and the zest of one lemon.
  • Orange Cranberry – Reduce the milk to 1 cup. To the batter, add 1/2 cup orange juice, the zest of one orange, and 1/2 cup dried cranberries.
  • Apple Sage – Add 1/2 cup grated apple, 2 tablespoons finely diced fresh sage, and 2 tablespoons honey.

Storage

After the muffins have cooled completely, transfer them to an airtight container or ziploc bag. Store at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. A paper towel in the bottom of the container will help absorb any moisture and keep the muffins fresher.

To freeze, wrap individual servings in aluminum foil and place in a plastic freezer container or bag. Freeze for up to three months. To serve, allow the muffins to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave for about 7-8 seconds.

Questions About Cornbread Muffins

Why are my cornbread muffins crumbly?

Cornmeal doesn’t have any gluten to help it hold together which is why most recipes call for a little flour. If your cornbread is too crumbly, you probably need to increase the amount of flour in the recipe just slightly.

Is the batter supposed to be really thick?

Cornbread batter is generally a little on thick side. If yours isn’t pourable, add milk a few tablespoons as a time until you get the desired thickness.

Are grits and cornmeal the same thing?

No. Grits and cornmeal are two entirely different things. Yes, they’re both made from corn, but they are processed differently and can’t be substituted with the same results.

Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Finished muffins in a baking tin.

Southern Cornbread Muffins

Quick and easy Southern Cornbread Muffins ready for the table in under 30 minutes. Serve plain or add a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey!
5 from 12 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Breads, Side Dishes
Cuisine: American, Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 179kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons shortening (such as Crisco; substitute canola or vegetables oil if you prefer)
  • 2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix (recommend: Martha White Hot Rize)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg beaten, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk room temperature

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon shortening (or oil) to each cup of a standard 12-cup muffin tin. Put the tin on a baking sheet and place in the oven to heat while mixing the cornbread.
  • Sift the cornmeal mix, flour, and salt into a medium mixing bowl.
  • Add the egg and milk. Whisk together just until mixed (do not over mix).
  • Carefully remove the hot muffin tin from the oven and fill each cup 3/4 full with cornbread batter.
  • Return the baking sheet and tin to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  • Remove and allow the muffin to sit in the tin on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the muffins from the tin.
  • Serve warm or room temperature with butter and honey, if desired.

Notes

Ingredients:
  • Self-Rising Cornmeal Mix (I recommend Martha White Hot Rize brand (either white or yellow). If you can’t find it, you can use plain cornmeal with 4 teaspoons of baking powder added.)
    • Shortening (such as Crisco; substitute canola oil or vegetable oil if you prefer.)
Storage:
  • After the muffins have cooled completely, transfer them to an airtight container or ziploc bag. Store at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. A paper towel in the bottom of the container will help absorb any moisture and keep the muffins fresher.
  • To freeze, wrap individual servings in aluminum foil and place in a plastic freezer container or bag. Freeze for up to three months. To serve, allow the muffins to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 179kcal | Carbohydrates 30g | Protein 5g | Fat 4g | Saturated Fat 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat 1g | Monounsaturated Fat 1g | Trans Fat 1g | Cholesterol 17mg | Sodium 538mg | Potassium 115mg | Fiber 2g | Sugar 2g | Vitamin A 151IU | Calcium 123mg | Iron 2mg

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 healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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5 from 12 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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14 Comments

  1. R MARTINEZ says:

    5 stars
    I tried this recipe this morning. The muffins were delicious and they passed the Southern taste test! The muffins easily came out of the cupcake pan and no liners were needed. The muffins also did not fall apart while handling to put butter and jelly on them.
    Thank you!

  2. Maura R White says:

    5 stars
    Corn Muffins are my FAVORITE and I LOVE the savory options you give for this recipe!

    1. I really enjoy trying new twists on old recipes like this. Gives them new life!

  3. 5 stars
    We loved these. Made them to serve with chili. It was the perfect dinner!

  4. 5 stars
    I could eat cornbread every day. This is a great recipe Lana!

  5. Deborah Brooks says:

    5 stars
    Ooh I have not had cornbread muffins in a long time! These look so easy can’t wait to try them

  6. 5 stars
    So easy and delicious! This is my new go-to corn muffin recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    Oh wow, this is the best flavor variation list I’ve seen. I usually just make cornbread muffins top with butter and a little honey. I can’t wait to try your Jalapeno Jack and your Brown Sugar and Pecan muffins. Brilliant! These are going on the menu this week.

    1. I love to experiment with different flavor combinations in the muffins and have found all of these to be a lovely change. Although, I still really enjoy just a plain muffins with honey and butter, too!