Recipe: Hot Water Cornbread

Recipe: Hot Water Cornbread
Serve old-fashioned Hot Water Cornbread at your next Southern feast. (Southern Bite)

Cornbread is just a staple in the South. There aren’t many meals that aren’t perfectly complemented by a golden brown skillet of it. That said, we do have our variations. And Hot Water Cornbread is one of them.

Delicious Southern cornbread has been tested and tried through the ages. (Southern Bite)

We Southerners do “fried” cornbread several ways. My mama always made what she called “Fried Cornbread” which was a most delicious cornbread made with cornmeal and buttermilk that you simply fried. It was a constant alongside homemade vegetable soup and often made an appearance beside chili too. It’s also great to pile some greens or beans right on top of.

This is another variation, which produces a little bit lighter-textured bread. Now, there are 100 different ways to do this. Some recipes call for you to make a thick dough and form it in your hands before frying. I think this method with a pourable batter easier and neater, and I like the crispy exterior better.

The recipe calls for self-rising cornmeal. That’s what my mama has always used, so that’s what I use. However, I realize it’s not readily available across the country (and, dare I say, world), so I’ve added a note to the recipe on how to make your own. Y’all enjoy!

Down-home Southern cooking and Hot Water Cornbread are synonymous. (Southern Bite)

Hot Water Cornbread

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Serves 12 to 14


  • 2 cups self-rising cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups boiling water
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Pour about 1/2 inch of oil into a heavy-bottomed skillet.
  2. Heat the oil to about 350 degrees or until glistening but not smoking.
  3. In a large bowl combine the self-rising corn meal with about 1 1/2 cups of boiling water.
  4. Carefully stir to combine.
  5. The batter should be pourable.
  6. Add additional water until you reach the consistency of thick pancake batter.
  7. Different corn meals will require different amounts of water.
  8. Start with less and add more if you need it.
  9. Once the oil is hot, pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the oil.
  10. Cook 3 to 5 minutes or until brown around the edges; then carefully flip over and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
  11. Work in batches, adding additional oil if necessary.
  12. Drain the cornbread on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve warm.


  • Can’t find self-rising cornmeal?
  • Try this… For every 1 cup of self-rising cornmeal: Start with 1 cup of finely ground plain corn meal in a bowl.
  • Remove 1 tablespoon of the cornmeal and return it to the bag.
  • To the bowl add 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix together.
  • You’ll obviously need two cups for this recipe.

This recipe originally appeared on For more great recipes, visit the website or check out ”The Southern Bite Cookbook.”

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