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Sage Cornbread · GF (one 10" round)

Despite the honey, don’t mistake this for a sweet Yankee cornbread. It adds a faint hint of sweetness, but more importantly keeps everything moist. I always bring a skillet of sage cornbread to my dad before Thanksgiving, so he can incorporate it into his legendary Sausage Sage and Pecan Stuffing.

sage cornbread

Sage Cornbread, one 10” wheel
5 1/2 ounces yellow cornmeal
4 1/2 ounces AP flour (see GF blend below)
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 ounce sage leaves
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 ounces honey
8 1/2 ounces buttermilk
1 egg
2 egg yolks
to brush the pan: 1 Tablespoon safflower or coconut oil (or lard, if you’ve got it)
optional: 1 Tablespoon stone ground grits

Toss a 10” cast iron skillet into a cold oven, then preheat to 400°. Give it a 30 minute head start before you whip up the cornbread. This guarantees the skillet is perfectly hot on the bottom and sides, which make for the crispiest, crackling crust.

Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and sage in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for a minute, until the sage leaves have nearly disappeared. Using a food processor extracts maximum sage flavor, but feel free to simply mince the sages leaves and whisk the dry ingredients together.

In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, honey, buttermilk, egg and yolks. Whisk until well combined, then add the dry ingredients. Stir with a flexible spatula until the batter looks uniform throughout.

Pull the hot skillet from the oven, and use a pastry brush to generously coat the bottom and sides with oil. If you like, sprinkle a Tablespoon of grits over the bottom to add some bonus-crunch to the crust. Add the cornbread batter and use the spatula to spread it edge to edge.

Bake until the cornbread feels firm to the touch and the crust looks golden, about 25 minutes. If you plan to use the cornbread for stuffing, bake it an additional 10 minutes to help dry it out.

Once baked, run a dull knife around the edge of the skillet to loosen, then invert onto a cutting board or plate. Enjoy with copious amounts of butter and molasses.

Store leftover cornbread in an airtight container for two or three days at room temperature. To rewarm, wrap each slice in a damp paper towel and microwave for about 20 seconds.

For Stuffing, the cornbread can be frozen up to six months in advance. Cool to room temperature and chuck it into a gallon sized zip top bag. Frozen cornbread has a crumbly texture, so I don’t like to eat it on its own, but it’s perfect for stuffing, and a huge time saver.


Gluten Free: replace the all purpose flour with 2 ounces Tapioca starch and 2 ounces white rice flour. This version actually turns out lighter and fluffier than the original!

Jalapeño: This is the version I always make to go with chili. Stir in about 3 ounces of thinly sliced, pickled jalapeños (more or less to taste). For raw jalapeños, you’ll only want to use one or two, seeded, veined, and minced.

Cheddar: mix 4 ounces coarsely shredded cheddar cheese into the batter. You’re welcome.


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Any questions?

Nov 19, 2013 ·  8:52 AM

Good day! Great web!What can I use instead of the milk???? Thank you Larry

 · Pieinmyface · 

Nov 19, 2013 ·  9:01 AM

Hi Pieinmyface. Give coconut milk a try— it’s a little richer, but it has a similar acidity, so the recipe should still turn out alright.


Nov 20, 2013 · 11:24 AM

This looks delish! I’ll have to give this one a try. Thanks for sharing it!

 · Christine ·

Nov 23, 2013 · 10:40 AM

I trusted you so much with this recipe that I went ahead and made a TRIPLE batch on the first try. (Hey, I wanted one to serve for brunch today, one for dressing on Thanksgiving and one to freeze, it makes perfect sense in my convoluted mind!) I can honestly say that this is a great cornbread recipe and I’ll definitely make it again. Ok, I’ll admit I changed one thing- I had to use maple syrup instead of honey ‘cause I realized I was all out after I got started. And I assumed you were using fresh sage, but I only had dried from my garden so I cut the amount down.
And what did I do with all my egg whites? You might be asking. I used all six in some Italian almond cookies. Ahhhh Sunday.

 · Salty · 

Nov 23, 2013 · 11:06 AM

What????? It’s only Saturday? Well, even better!

 · Salty · 

Nov 23, 2013 · 11:50 AM

Hi Salty! Haha, looks like you’re ahead of the game! I gotta be honest, maple sage sounds pretty awesome. Thanks for posting about your success, so other people can make that substitution too, if need be. Really glad you liked the recipe, and found a good home for all those whites.


Nov 24, 2013 ·  1:09 PM

I don’t have a cast iron skillet. Is it the same for a glass pan or aluminum pan?

 · Lorikat · 

Nov 24, 2013 ·  2:03 PM

Hi Lori! If you don’t have cast iron, I’d try using a stainless steel skillet (preheated the same way). That would be the best option for getting a crust.

I’m not sure what safety issues there may be using glass, so if you go for glass I wouldn’t preheat the dish itself, just the oven. You won’t get the same sort of crispy outside, but you should still get a very nice cornbread.


Dec 03, 2013 ·  7:29 PM

Hey Stella! I made this recipe, and it turned out great- my picky 4 and 5-year-olds even asked for seconds. My husband heated up leftovers for breakfast the next day.

I swapped the honey (because I didn’t have any) for agave nectar, and it came out amazing! Thanks again for sharing the recipe.

 · Christine ·

Dec 05, 2013 ·  9:42 AM

Hi Christine! Thanks for the tip on agave nectar; people often ask me about using it as a substitute, but I’m not familiar enough with it to say. At least in this case, I’ll know. So happy your family enjoyed the cornbread, hurray!


Feb 24, 2014 · 12:14 PM

Having never made cornbread I’m sure if what I’m about to ask amounts to sacrilege or not but here goes:
Could you make little individual breads (my containers are about 3” x 1” x 1” ? Or should you rather cook it in the dish (I’ll be using a roasting pan) and then slice?

 · Andrew ·

Feb 24, 2014 ·  3:38 PM

Hi Andrew! You can absolutely make individual cornbread sticks! Some of my favorites, actually, cos you get such a nice and crispy exterior. You’ll have to adjust the baking time on your own, but it should be pretty easy to eyeball. Good luck!



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