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closeup of hot water cornbread on paper towel

Hot Water Corn Bread

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


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!


  • 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


  1. Set a kettle to boil to prepare your boiling water.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, add the cornmeal, 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. 


  • 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.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Fry
  • Cuisine: American

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