Pioneer Cornbread

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Can you believe I've never had cornbread? It was just something we didn't grow up with. A little strange, considering my love of all things Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was young. Kacey pretty much had a heart attack when I told him I've never eaten chili with cornbread, and since we received the Little House Cookbook for a wedding gift, I thought it was time to try my hand at making it and see what the fuss was about. 

Well, the recipe in the Little House cookbook is a little um, rustic. As in cornmeal, salt, and water. And lard. Yeah. So I combined it with the cornbread recipe from the Pioneer Woman and made a bit of it up for my own pioneer style cornbread. Kacey kept raving about it, so I think it went over well. 

Pioneer Style Cornbread recipe:

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk 
1 egg
1/4 cup mixed shortening and bacon grease 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 

Mix dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add buttermilk and egg, stir until batter is just mixed. 

Here's where the crazy Little House style ingredients come in. You'll need 1/4 cup of either butter, margarine, or some type of shortening. I decided to use bacon grease since it's the closest thing I had to lard (I'm all for being authentic, but straight up lard is just a bit too much). I took about 1/8 cup of hardened bacon grease that was left over from breakfast (and yes, we planned ahead and made bacon just so I could use the leftovers) and about 1/8 cup of vegetable shortening. I figured this way I'd have the flavoring of the bacon, but not all of the cholesterol. (Not that this is a super healthy recipe in the first place). Whatever you use, melt the 1/4 cup of shortening in a small bowl in the microwave- it needs about 30 seconds. Pour melted shortening into the batter and stir until mixed. 

Heat a cast iron skillet or oven safe pan on the stovetop over medium high heat. Melt a tablespoon of either butter or bacon grease in the pan. Add the mixture to the pan and cook on the stove for about 2 minutes. 

Place the pan in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes. The edges should be a light brown and pulling away from the pan. Take out of the oven and cool. Enjoy with chili or whatever else you eat cornbread with. I apparently still have a lot to learn about this food. 


  1. The cornbread (and chili) looks delicious! As I'm sure Kacey has told you by now, it was pretty much a staple around our house as he grew up. In case he hasn't told you the history of the dishes you're using - those belonged to my maternal grandparents who passed them to me when I moved out on my own. After we were married, I stored them away and passed them to Kacey when he moved out on his own. Use them in good health! BTW, warmed up leftover cornbread for breakfast with homemade jam or honey - TDF!!!

    1. That's awesome! Kacey told me how his friends use to stampede to your house when you made chili and cornbread, so I had a lot to live up to! Will definitely try with jam

  2. Hi Sarah! You always make such tasty looking meals. I think the Wilders also put bacon cracklings in their cornbread in one of the recipes--I've tried that one and it's pretty good. :) I also like eating cornbread with butter and honey, if you want to try a sweeter, breakfasty take on it.

    1. Thanks Jessica! You're right, honey and butter with this is amazing. I think I ate it for 3 straight days for breakfast. Thanks for commenting!


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