Hot Water Cornbread is a delicious and simple cornbread recipe that yields a delicious crunchy cornbread using a simple pouring method.
Cornbread is just a staple in the South. There aren’t many meals that aren’t perfectly complemented by a golden brown skillet of this delicious side dish. That said, we do have our variations. And, Hot Water Cornbread is one of them.
We Southerners do “fried” cornbread several ways. My mama always made what she called “Fried Cornbread” which was a most delicious cornbread made with cornmeal and buttermilk that you simply fried. It was a constant alongside homemade vegetable soup and often made an appearance beside chili too. I also liked to pile some greens or beans right on top of the cornbread.
This Hot Water Cornbread is another variation, which produces a little bit lighter textured bread. Now, there are 100 different ways to do this. Some recipes call for you to make a thick dough and form it in your hands before frying. I think this method with a pourable batter is easier and neater, and I like the crispy exterior better. Enjoy!
What’s the difference between cornbread and hot water cornbread?
So, the big difference between cornbread and hot water cornbread is how they’re made and their texture. Regular cornbread is baked, thicker, and fluffier, while hot water cornbread is fried and has a crunchy texture.
Regular cornbread is made by mixing cornmeal, flour, and a few other common ingredients with cold water, milk, or buttermilk. Then, it’s baked in an oven, cast iron skillet, or muffin pan until it’s soft and a bit crispy. It’s kinda fluffy and lighter.
Hot water cornbread, on the other hand, uses hot, boiling water in the mix. Instead of baking, it’s fried in some oil. This frying makes a crispy, crunchy outside and soft inside.
Why do they call it hot water cornbread?
They call it “hot water cornbread” because that’s exactly how it’s made – with hot water and self-rising cornmeal. It’s a no-frills recipe that doesn’t take much time to whip up and cook. You mix hot water and cornmeal until it’s about the consistency of thick pancake batter. Then you pour about 1/4 cup of your cornmeal mixture into the oil.
So, the name “hot water cornbread” is just a straightforward way of saying how it’s done, and it’s a reminder that sometimes, the simplest things can be the most delicious.
Why is my hot water cornbread falling apart?
If your hot water cornbread is falling apart, the most common reason is the temperature of your grease or oil. You have to make sure that your grease or oil is hot enough. When you put the cornbread into hot grease, it needs to quickly form a crispy outer layer to hold everything together. If the grease isn’t hot enough, the cornbread can start falling apart because it doesn’t get that nice crispy shell.
Make sure your grease or oil is really hot when you fry your cornbread. For my recipe, I suggest heating it to 350° or until shimmering but not smoking. This way, it gets that perfect crispiness on the outside, which helps keep it from falling apart.
Also, make sure that your batter is thick enough. If it’s too thin, it can simply scatter apart in your pan. It should be about the consistency of thick pancake batter.
How to Make Your Own Self-Rising Cornmeal
This recipe calls for self-rising cornmeal. That’s what my mama has always used, so that’s what I use. However I realize it’s not readily available across the country (and dare I say world), so here are a few quick steps to create your own self-rising cornmeal at home:
For every 1 cup of self-rising cornmeal:
- Start with 1 cup of finely ground plain cornmeal in a bowl.
- Remove 1 tablespoon of the cornmeal and return it to the bag.
- To the bowl add 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Mix together thoroughly, and there you have it!
Now remember, for this recipe you will need two cups for this homemade self-rising cornmeal.
Hot Water Cornbread
- 2 cups self-rising plain cornmeal (not cornmeal mix)
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups boiling water
- vegetable oil for frying
- Pour about 1/2 inch of oil into a heavy-bottomed skillet. Heat the oil to about 350° or until glistening but not smoking. In a large thick plastic or metal bowl combine the self-rising corn meal with about 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Carefully stir to combine. The batter should be pourable. Add additional water until you reach the consistency of thick pancake batter. Different corn meals will require different amounts of water. Start with less and add more if you need it.
- Once the oil is hot, pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the oil. Cook 3 to 5 minutes or until brown around the edges then carefully flip over and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Work in batches, adding additional oil if necessary. Drain the cornbread on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve warm.
For every 1 cup of self-rising cornmeal: Start with 1 cup of finely ground plain corn meal in a bowl. Remove 1 tablespoon of the cornmeal and return it to the bag. To the bowl add 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix together. You’ll obviously need two cups for this recipe. 🙂
- Nutritional calculations do not take into account any vegetable oil that is absorbed in frying.
If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.