Southern Hoe Cakes are a delicious crispy fried cornmeal pancake. They can be served at any meal but, most commonly make their appearance at breakfast and brunch, drizzled with honey or maple syrup. They're a classic delight, no matter how you choose to enjoy them.
What is a Hoe Cake?
Hoe cakes are one of the most basic of Southern recipes. Sometimes called johnnycakes, the origin has been traced back as far as the civil war and even earlier by some food historians. They do differ a bit from New England johnnycakes, in that there's leavening in the batter which gives them a more pancake-like puffed up appearance. Traditional johnnycakes are typically made without leavening, and the batter is moistened with boiling water. As with any dish, there are many variations based on region, tradition and the cook's preference. You can read more about "jonnycakes" or johnnycakes here on Wikipedia.
While these hoe cakes do contain flour along with cornmeal, the cornmeal flavor takes center stage which likens them to a type of fried cornbread pancake. They can be eaten for breakfast, with a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Likewise, they're just as popular for dinner as a side dish. I've even seen hoe cakes topped with pulled pork barbecue, a drizzle of barbecue sauce and finished with coleslaw for a main course.
- This recipe can be made with self rising flour and self rising cornmeal in the same amounts. When doing so, just omit the baking powder and salt.
- Typically, hoe cakes aren't terribly sweet. That said, you can make them sweeter or more savory, to suit your personal taste.
- These hoe cakes can be served with or without butter, drizzled with honey or maple syrup. They can also be topped with fruit such as fried apples or scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage.
Other Southern Favorites to Try
I have a whole section in the recipe index of favorites from my Southern kitchen. It's called Southern Comfort Food and you can browse that section here. A few popular recipes that remain fan favorites:
- Southern Fried Chicken
- Fluffy Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
- Southern Style Mac and Cheese
- Fried Cabbage
- Green Beans and Potatoes
- Hummingbird Cake
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Southern Hoe Cakes
- 1 cup yellow or white finely ground cornmeal
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2-4 Tbsp granulated sugar adjust to taste
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk (not fat free)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil plus additional for frying
- 2 large eggs
- 2-4 Tbsp salted or unsalted butter for frying
- In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Add buttermilk, oil and eggs. Whisk together until thick, creamy and fully combined.
- To fry: Heat equal parts, oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large non stick pan or griddle. (Depending on size of pan, 1 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter.)
- Add approximately ¼ - ⅓ cup batter forming into even size rounds. Cook in batches for about 2 minutes per side, or until golden and puffed. Add additional oil and butter for each batch. Remove to a platter and keep warm.
- Serve hot topped with butter, honey or syrup.