How to Make Extra Thin and Crispy Southern Cornbread

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell
extra thin and crisp cornbread

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This 3/4-inch thick extra thin and crispy southern cornbread has the perfect ratio of soft center to crispy shell. Serve it crust side up right out of the hot skillet. Left in the pan the crust will get soggy and you’ll dull your knife cutting up the slices. For us, the A-B-C’s of Southern cornbread is “All ‘Bout Crust.”


The little recipe on the Martha White Self-Rising Cornmeal sack that doesn’t get much notice. It’s Country-Style Cornbread made with three ingredients–cornmeal mix, buttermilk, and oil. No egg, no kidding. Cornbread can be spectacular without an egg. You may even prefer it without egg for the very moist interior and slightly more pronounced buttermilk bite.

Our cheater trick is to cut the recipe in half and use a larger skillet for maximum crust. Thin cornbread is the way to go. Thicker and you often get a tall, dry interior. We’ve all endured the bite of thick, grainy cornbread and the avalanche of crumbs that follows. Not cool.

Thin cornbread, which cooks faster, showcases a gorgeous golden crust which serves as a sturdy exoskeleton to preserve a moist interior. You’ll notice that most cornbread recipes, even the one on the Martha White bag, use 2 cups of cornmeal mix for an eight or nine-inch skillet. We urge you to go thin and use just one cup of cornmeal mix, and swap to your big 12-inch skillet.

Now with country-style, eggless cornbread, you don’t have to fret about splitting that one egg in half from the regular recipe.. Of course, to complicate matters, you can use 1 1/2 cups of cornmeal with a little more oil and buttermilk if you want it a little thicker. Go for it. This recipe is meant to be reinterpreted.

“Self-rising” means no worries about the leavening — it’s premixed and good to go.

Always add enough buttermilk (and water) so the batter is loose, creamy and pourable, just like pancake batter. You are hydrating the corn with the liquid. Thick batter makes dry cornbread, even if it’s thin!

Thin cornbread makes the perfect base for loading on the chile, white beans, greens, or smoky cheater pulled pork barbecue (video link below). Talk about perfect crust-to-inside ratio!!! For maximum cornbread crust make these cornbread waffles.

Yes, you can make fantastic pulled pork crock pot barbecue (from our book Cheater BBQ) to serve with your thin cornbread. Here’s the link to Cheater Pulled Pork.

Here’s a link to our Cornbread Lab Manual that we use when we teach Cornbread Lab. Plenty of great ideas to tackle.

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