This layered Southern Cornbread Salad recipe is as flavorful as the colors are vibrant. It features homemade cornbread layered with cooked bacon, cheddar cheese and layers of vegetables. The combination of flavors makes it a surprisingly delicious side dish to serve along with any of your favorite entrees.
Easy Southern Cornbread Salad Recipe
If you've never had the pleasure of enjoying a cornbread salad, I'm delighted to introduce them to you. If you could think for a moment, the Italians enjoy panzanella salads like this one from Two Peas and their Pod, that features large pieces of crusty bread. This cornbread salad is a variation of that concept featuring one of our beloved house breads of the South. It's only fitting that it begin with a skillet of freshly baked Southern buttermilk cornbread but see the tips in the section below for shortcuts that you can take, if you're short on time and can't make your own from scratch.
How to Make the Best Southern Cornbread Salad Recipe
How do you serve cornbread salad? You can serve it as a side dish with any of your favorite entrees, pack it up and take it to potlucks and picnics or game day parties. I've even known some who will use it as a dip with fritos or tortilla chips. Bonus, you could also use the cornbread recipe to make Southern Cornbread Dressing for the holidays.
- Ingredients you'll need to make homemade Southern Cornbread Salad: For the layers you'll need baked and crumbled cornbread, cooked and crumbled or chopped bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, canned pinto beans, green onions, cherry tomato halves or Roma tomatoes chopped (about 1 ½ cups) and frozen or canned corn with bell peppers sometimes called Mexican corn or Southwestern corn medley.
- For the homemade cornbread you'll need: Yellow self rising cornmeal, buttermilk, one large egg, melted butter and bacon drippings for the skillet.
- For the easy Ranch dressing you'll need: Buttermilk, mayonnaise and dry Ranch dressing mix. Whisk together and chill in the refrigerator until assembling the salad. This can be done up to one day in advance.
- To expedite assembly: Bake the cornbread and make the Ranch dressing in advance. You can also toss together the bell peppers combining them for the bell peppers layer.
- You can season between the layers with salt or garlic salt and black pepper to your personal taste. Avoid salting the tomatoes or they could breakdown and make the salad watery.
- In a pinch, you could adapt the dressing using a prepared bottled brand of Ranch dressing that you already enjoy. Hidden Valley, Ken's Kraft or any brand that you like will do.
- If you're unable to find whole fat buttermilk you can use low fat, but preferably not fat free for the best flavor.
- Canned corn should be thoroughly drained and frozen corn should be thawed.
- If you'd like to take a shortcut, you could use two 7 ounce packages of corn muffin or cornbread mix prepared per the package directions for the cornbread layer.
- Does the corn bread get soggy? While it does naturally soften a bit the layers are arranged in such a way that it doesn't become mushy. That's how this salad is supposed to be and isn't an indication that something went wrong.
- Store leftover Cornbread Salad covered and chilled in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
More Southern Style Salad Recipes to Make
- This Chicken Bacon Ranch Layered Salad can be served as a side dish with soup or a main dish with a side of garlic bread.
- My Easy Fruit Salad recipe is dressed with a homemade lemon lime dressing.
- Seven Layer Salad is a potluck classic.
- Grape Salad Recipe is a vintage recipe everyone loves.
- My Southern Potato Salad recipe is just how my Mom taught me to make it.
- This sweet and salty Watermelon Salad is a summer favorite.
- Homestyle Macaroni Salad is like serving up a bowl filled with comfort.
- My 5 Bean Salad is the perfect make ahead refrigerator salad for quick meals and potlucks.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Southern Cornbread Salad
- 2 tablespoon bacon drippings or vegetable shortening
- 2 cups yellow self rising cornmeal
- 1 ½ cups whole fat buttermilk
- 4 tablespoon salted butter melted
- 1 large egg
- For the Salad:
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 lb bacon cooked and crumbled
- 2 15 oz cans pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 large green bell pepper
- 1 cup green onions thinly sliced (Reserve some for garnishing)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved (Plus additional for garnishing as pictured)
- 2 ½ cups canned or frozen and thawed corn with peppers (Mexican corn) (drain canned corn)
- Dressing: (Make up to 1 day in advance and chill)
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1.0 oz packet dry Ranch salad dressing mix
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Place bacon drippings in an 8 inch cast iron skillet or similar size baking dish and into the oven while it preheats.
- In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together cornmeal, buttermilk, melted butter and egg until fully combined.
- Remove skillet from oven, swirl to coat with bacon fat. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool completely then crumble.
- Whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise and Ranch dressing mix. Chill until assembling the salad.
- To assemble: Divide cornbread and shredded cheese into thirds. Begin with cornbread, cheese, ½ layer bell peppers, ½ bacon, ½ pinto beans, ½ green onions, cherry tomatoes and corn. Spread half of dressing evenly on top.
- Repeat ⅓ cornbread, ⅓ cheese, bell peppers, bacon, pinto beans, green onion, cherry tomatoes and corn. Spread with remaining dressing.
- Garnish with final layer of cornbread and shredded cheese. Garnish as desired with green onions and additional tomatoes.
- Refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.
- Bake the cornbread and make the Ranch dressing in advance.
- You can also toss together the bell peppers combining them for the bell peppers layer.
- You can season between the layers with salt or garlic salt and black pepper to your personal taste. Avoid salting the tomatoes or they could breakdown.
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