Hot Water Cornbread

Fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside, Hot Water Cornbread is a delicious pan-fried side dish. It’s perfect as a sweet treat with butter and syrup, or as a side for any Southern meal!

It’s SUCH a simple goodie to make, and you’ll love the classic cornbread flavors dressed up in a different texture than traditional cornbread!

hot water cornbread with butter on white plate with knife and fork

The Best Hot Water Cornbread

Have you ever tried or made hot water cornbread? It is SO good. We love it for a quick and easy alternative to the classic corn meal baked good. The main thing that’s different is that you make the batter using boiling hot water (hence the name), and instead of baking it in a cast iron or baking dish, you fry little patties of batter. It turns them into little biscuit-slash-hush-puppy-like rounds.

Plus, traditional cornbread is a little crisp on top and super moist but also crumbly (in the best way) in the middle. These are similar, but the outside is extra-crispy thanks to the pan-frying method in a light oil. It brings such a lovely texture to the little rounds that I love and can’t get enough of. Serve ’em with butter and syrup (or honey!) for something sweet, or as a side for any kind of simple Southern meal. They’d also be great served alongside chili or another savory stew!

hot water cornbread resting on paper towel on white baking sheet

The Difference Between Hot Water Cornbread and Regular Cornbread:

Hot water cornbread is made using hot, boiling water in the batter, plus little patties of the batter are fried in a light oil rather than being baked like traditional cornbread. It’s so good and creates the best texture! Hot water cornbread is a little more moist on the inside and much crisper on the outside than regular cornbread.

Hot Water Cornbread Ingredients:

Made with simple, household ingredients, hot water cornbread is an easy side to make any time!

Yellow cornmeal: This is what makes it gritty and have that cornbread texture and flavor!

Flour: Flour helps to bind the dough together and let it rise a bit as it fries.

Sugar: Sugar gives a touch of sweetness that’s needed in cornbread.

Salt: Salt helps to balance and bring out the flavors.

Boiling water: This is the key ingredient to hot water cornbread! It makes the dough extra moist.

Light oil: Canola or vegetable oil work great for frying the cornbread patties.

how to make hot water cornbread collage image

How to Make Hot Water Cornbread:

I LOVE how easy these little guys are to make! Just mix up the batter, press into patties, and fry away!

  1. Boil the water.
  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt well with a fork. 
  3. Pour boiling water into the bowl containing your dry ingredients.
  4. Mix well to combine. 
  5. Preheat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
  6. Scoop 2 tablespoons of corn mush into your hand; roll the corn mush into a ball between your hands.
  7. Press it between your palms to flatten the ball; it should be ½-inch thick and 2 ½ inches across. 
  8. Place the pressed patties in the hot oil. 
  9. Cook about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
  10. Move the cornmeal patties to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.

cornmeal in measuring cup with spoon

Tips for The Best Hot Water Cornbread:

Hot water cornbread is hard to mess up, but keep these tips in mind when you make it!

  • Boil the water: Boiled water is what makes the batter super moist and extra good! Don’t skip the boiling part.
  • Form patties quickly: The batter is sticky, so form the patties quickly to avoid it sticking to your hands. If it’s too sticky, butter or grease your hands to make working with it easier.
  • Turn down oil heat if needed: It the patties are cooking too fast (getting too dark before 1 1/2 minutes per side), then adjust the heat of your stove so the oil is less hot.

closeup of hot water cornbread on paper towel

Serving Suggestions:

You can eat hot water cornbread in so many ways:

  • As a sweet treat or breakfast item served with butter and syrup, jam, or honey
  • As a side to Southern dishes, like beans and sauteed greens, split pea soup, or chicken coleslaw and baked beans
  • As a side to chili or other favorite soups & stews

How to Store Hot Water Cornbread:

Store leftover hot water cornbread that’s completely cooled in an airtight sealable bag or container for up to 5 days refrigerated. You can eat them cold or at room temperature, or to reheat, place them on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 minutes or until warmed through. You can also store in the freezer for 3 to 4 months.

 

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closeup of hot water cornbread on paper towel

Hot Water Corn Bread


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 16 pieces 1x

Description

Fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside, Hot Water Cornbread is a delicious pan-fried side dish. It’s perfect as a sweet treat with butter and syrup, or as a side for any Southern meal!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup self-rising flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 1 cup light oil for frying, such as canola or vegetable

Instructions

  1. Set a kettle to boil to prepare your boiling water.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, and salt, and mix well with a fork. 
  3. When the water is boiling, carefully measure out 1 ½ cups and pour it all into the bowl containing your dry ingredients.
  4. Mix well to combine. 
  5. Add the oil to a large cast iron skillet, and preheat over medium to medium-high heat.
  6. When the oil is hot, scoop about 2 tablespoons of corn mush into your hand, and gently roll the corn mush into a ball between your hands. Then gently press it between your palms to flatten the ball so that it’s about a ½-inch thick and the patty is about 2 ½ inches across. 
  7. The corn mush is pretty sticky, so working quickly will help it to not stick to your hands. You can also lightly grease or butter your hands to make working with the dough easier. 
  8. Place the pressed patties in the hot oil. 
  9. Cook until the bottom side is a light golden-brown, then gently flip it over, and cook the second side in the oil. Cooking to golden-brown will take about 1 1/2 minutes per side. If it’s cooking faster than that or getting too dark, reduce the stovetop temperature. 
  10. When both sides are golden-brown, move the cornmeal patties to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  11. I like to keep a baking sheet in my oven preheated to 200 degrees F., and transfer the cooked cornbread patties to it while I cook the next batch.
  12. Working in batches, finish cooking the rest of the cornmeal mixture.
  13. When all of the cornmeal is cooked, serve hot. 

Notes

  • This is great served with butter and honey or maple syrup on top for a sweet treat. It’s also great served alongside any Southern meal. I serve these as a side to beans and sautéed greens, next to split pea soup, or as an easy side to a meal like chicken, coleslaw, and baked beans. It’s really versatile.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Fry
  • Cuisine: American
Nutrition Information: YIELD: 16
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 186.7 Fat: 13.9g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 393.4mg Carbohydrates: 14.2g Sugars: 1.6g Protein: 1.5g Vitamin A: 1.4µg Vitamin C: 0mg

Keywords: hot water cornbread, hot water cornbread recipe, how to make hot water cornbread

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Hot water cornbread is such a fun and easy take on the classic Southern baked good, and you’ll love how crispy on the outside and moist on the inside these little biscuits turn out!

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.