Buttermilk cornbread muffins are the perfect addition to your next bowl of chili. Tender, moist, and flavorful, these cornbread muffins are easy to make from scratch in your own kitchen.
Cornbread muffins are a great addition to any homecooked meal. We like to pair cornbread with chili, pulled pork, or slathered with jam for breakfast.
These muffins are easy to make - you'll need only a handful of simple ingredients. Plus, they turn out moist, tender, and flavorful. No dry cornbread here!
You may notice that this is the same recipe I use for my skillet cornbread. No need to mess with success - this is my go-to cornbread recipe, made into single-serve muffins.
Ingredients and substitutions
Since this recipe is so simple, and baking requires exact measurements and ingredients, I don't have many suggestions for substitutions.
- Ground cornmeal - Cornmeal is the backbone of your cornbread recipe. It gives your cornbread its corn flavor, crumbly texture, and crispy edges.
- Flour - I've only tested this recipe using all-purpose flour. If you have another type of flour on hand, I suggest searching for a recipe that includes your ingredients for best success.
- Granulated sugar - The small amount of granulated sugar in this recipe adds just enough sweetness to soften the flavor of these muffins. If you are opposed to adding sugar to your muffins, you're welcome to omit it.
- Leavening agents - You need both baking powder and baking soda for this recipe.
- Salt - Just enough to enhance the flavor of your cornbread, without making it 'salty'. If using salted butter, reduce the amount of salt by half.
- Buttermilk - Cannot be substituted with regular milk. Buttermilk adds a slight tangy flavor to your cornbread, and it works with the leavening agents in this recipe to allow your cornbread to rise properly.
- Butter - I recommend unsalted butter to easily control the amount of salt in your baked goods. Carefully melt your butter in the microwave using 10 second increments, or over the stovetop in a saucepan.
- Eggs - Eggs add structure, moisture, and leavening to your cornbread.
If you don't have buttermilk on hand, here's an alternative. In a liquid measuring cup, add one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Fill your measuring cup the rest of the way with whole milk, then allow to set for five minutes.
The acid of the lemon juice (or vinegar) will curdle your milk, creating a buttermilk substitute. It may not look pretty, but it is perfectly safe to add to your cornbread batter.
Mixing your cornbread batter
Mixing your batter is surprisingly simple. First, you'll whisk together your dry ingredients to remove clumps. Then, make a well in the center of your dry ingredients.
Add your wet ingredients, then mix until just combined. Once you don't see any streaks of dry ingredients anymore, stop mixing. One of the keys to tender cornbread is to not overmix your batter.
How to make moist cornbread
Cornbread can easily go from moist and tender to dry and crumbly with just a few extra minutes in the oven! Most dry baking issues can be prevented by watching the time carefully and not overbaking. Here are a few other great tips to make sure your cornbread turns out moist and perfectly baked.
- Do not substitute ingredients. The fats in this recipe (butter, buttermilk, and eggs) help keep your cornbread moist. Substituting those ingredients will change the texture and moisture of your cornbread.
- Properly measure your flour. Too much flour can cause cornbread to turn out dry. Either use a kitchen scale to weigh your flour (this is what I do and recommend), or spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level off with a knife. Scooping with the measuring cup directly from a bin of flour compacts it into the cup, adding up to 25% extra flour to the recipe.
- Do not overbake your muffins. If you haven't substituted ingredients, the only other reason your cornbread will turn out dry is from overbaking.
- Watch your muffins, not the time. Ovens are inconsistent and can run hotter or colder than the next oven. The time that worked for me may not work for you. Start checking your muffins 2 minutes early if you've never made this recipe before.
Do you have leftover cornbread? I recommend enjoying your cornbread within two days - otherwise it begins to dry out. Have leftover, dry cornbread? Try microwaving it for 10-15 seconds covered with a damp paper towel to add moisture. Then, slather with butter or jam.
Leftover cornbread also freezes well. I recommend wrapping individual portions with wax paper or foil, then placing them into a freezer-safe bag or tightly sealing container. Bread will keep for anywhere from 3 to 6 months in the freezer when stored properly.
Buttermilk Cornbread Muffins
- 1 ¼ cups ground cornmeal
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar optional
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients - cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients.
- Add the buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (stop mixing as soon as you don't see any streaks of dry ingredients anymore).
- Portion batter between 12 muffin tins. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Edges should be browned and tops should have a light brown color.
- Allow to cool for up to ten minutes before removing muffins from the pan. As they cool, they will contract from the sides of the pan, making them easier to remove. If needed, use a butter knife to gently pop your muffins out of the pan.
- Optionally, brush the tops with melted butter before serving.
- Muffins are best served same day, and leftovers enjoyed within two days of preparing.
- If you're opposed to adding a small amount of sugar to your muffins, feel free to omit it.
- Leftover muffins can be frozen and thawed for future meals. Once muffins are cooled to room temperature, wrap in wax paper or foil, then store in a freezer-safe bag or tightly sealing container. Bread will keep for 3 to 6 months when stored properly.
- Buttermilk substitute - in a liquid measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Fill with milk (to the 1 cup line), then allow to set for 5 minutes. This will curdle your milk, creating a buttermilk substitute.