Home » Southern Comfort Food » Hot Water Cornbread

Hot Water Cornbread

This recipe for old fashioned Hot Water Cornbread is one that can serve as a side dish at any meal. It’s a Southern classic and inexpensive to make guaranteed to keep your budget on track.


Easy Hot Water Cornbread Recipe

What is Hot Water Cornbread? Hot water cornbread is a country classic that’s been served in the South for eons. It’s made using ground cornmeal that’s mixed with boiling water and then fried like a crispy corn cake. It’s simple flavor profile made it accessible to all and while it isn’t typically served sweet, it can be. Cornmeal is closely associated with Native American cuisine and to date, it’s remained a staple for most families in some form. It’s delicious and guaranteed to help to maintain your grocery budget.

ingredients needed=to-make-hot-water-cornbread

How to Make the Best Hot Water Cornbread Recipe

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Hot Water Cornbread: Self rising yellow cornmeal, granulated sugar, melted butter or vegetable shortening and boiling water.
  • Kitchen gadgets you’ll need: A large skillet, either cast iron or stainless steel, a whisk, measuring cups and spoons and a turning spatula.
  • Is hot water cornbread flat? This simple style of fried cornbread is a cross between pancake-like Southern hoe cakes and corn muffins. Rest assured, it comes in many shapes and thickness due to each Cook’s preference and none of them are wrong. That said, I make these just as demonstrated in the pictures keeping them around 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick.
  • If I make the cakes in a different shape will they take the same amount of time to fry? No, they likely won’t. Should you choose to change the thickness or shape of the corn cakes adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Do you use self rising or plain yellow cornmeal to make this cornbread recipe? You can use self rising or plain yellow cornmeal for this recipe. Please note, self rising is what I recommend as it already has salt and leavening included. Using it will lend a fluffier texture to the cornbread batter.
  • When using plain cornmeal, you can replace 3-4 tablespoons of  cornmeal with self rising flour for a lighter texture.
  • Do I have to fry these in shortening? Vegetable shortening is the classic way hot water cornbread is made. You can fry these cornbread cakes not only in vegetable shortening,  but you can also use vegetable oil, or go old school and use bacon drippings. You could also use a mixture of oil and butter but do note that butter alone tends to burn due to the milk solids it contains. You can also fry them in ghee or clarified butter to prevent from burning.
  • Are there eggs in hot water cornbread? No, there are typically no eggs in this kind of cornbread.
  • Can I add anything to the cornbread mix? While this recipe is keeping it classic, just like cornbread you can also add mix-ins and various seasonings to the cornmeal. Ingredients such as granulated garlic, onion powder, chopped green onions, crumbled bacon, green chiles or even shredded cheese, if desired.
  • Can I bake it?  This particular kind of bread is meant to be fried. See how to make cornbread muffins here.
  • How do I serve hot water cornbread? It can be served for breakfast piled high with eggs and bacon or smothered with sausage gravy. You can also serve it drizzled with honey or maple syrup. At other meals, it can be served with or without butter as a side dish with pinto beans, meatloaf, chili, soup, stew, fried chicken, shrimp or any of your favorite Southern comfort foods. There’s no time of wrong time of day.
  • Store leftover Hot Water Cornbread wrapped in foil chilled in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat over medium heat in a skillet drizzled with oil, just until heated through and golden brown.

Can Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix be Used to Make Hot Water Cornbread?

You can make a variation of this fried cornbread using Jiffy Muffin Mix, but it won’t be an exact substitution as it won’t require the same amount of boiling water. In fact, it will use much less than called for in the recipe. The preparation would be the same and it can be fried using the same technique. If you want to try it, add less boiling water than the liquid that’s called for on the package adding in small increments until it reaches a stiff texture and will hold together, then proceed.


More Southern Cornbread Recipes to Make

More country cornbread recipes you may also like to try:


Thanks for visiting come back soon!


Helpful Kitchen Items:

Hot Water Cornbread

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: hot-water-cornbread-recipe, old-fashioned-hot-water-cornbread
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 213kcal


  • 2 cups self rising yellow cornmeal (you may use plain plus 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking powder)
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar may adjust to taste
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening or butter melted (may use vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • solid vegetable shortening, vegetable oil or bacon drippings for frying


  • Place cornmeal and sugar into a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together.
  • Pour over boiling water and shortening or melted butter. Mix until fully moistened. The mixture should be stiff. (If needed, you can add small amounts of additional cornmeal to achieve this texture)
  • Let stand and cool slightly just until easy to handle. Shape into 8 rounds 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick. (Use a measuring cup or ice cream scoop to divide into even potions)
  • Heat about 1/4 inch or so of vegetable shortening or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. (You may also use bacon drippings.) Fry cornbread for about 3 minutes per side, lowering heat to medium to prevent burning. Turn, as needed for even browning until they're golden brown. (If frying in batches, use a paper towel to wipe out the skillet between each batch and add additional shortening, oil or bacon drippings to the pan as needed.)
  • Remove to a platter lined with paper towels to drain. Keep warm.
  • Serve warm as a side dish at any meal. You may also butter and drizzle with maple syrup or honey, if desired.


Please note: Nutritional information doesn’t include shortening, oil or bacon drippings for frying.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!


  1. My mother and father used white cornmeal. It is softer and sweerter (and of course, to her family, tastes better. My mother was born in 1890. My father was a small farmer and grew his own corn, For his meal, he had a patch of white corn and for the animals he grew yellow corn.

    1. Hi Eddie, I’m certain most families adapted this simple dish to suit their taste and the type of cornmeal they had on hand. Thanks so much for sharing your family’s experience with hot water cornbread.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating