This Hot Water Cornbread belongs at your next fish fry

Southern Kitchen
Hotwater Cornbread

About the recipe

In my family, hot water cornbread was a special treat reserved for fish fries or whenever something celebratory was happening. Always served piping hot and fresh out of the grease, hot water cornbread is crusty on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside, giving you the best of both textures. The flavor isn’t so different from regular cornbread and the batter can be as sweet or as salty as you’d like. 

Serves: 10

Hands On Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


2 1/2 cups water

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 cups plain yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon raw sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2/3 cup whole milk buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil 

All-purpose flour, for shaping


Bring the water and salt to boil in a saucepan over high heat. 

In a medium heatproof bowl, stir together the cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and cayenne. Add the boiling water, and stir until combined. Let stand for 5 minutes. Fold the buttermilk into the cornmeal mixture and let stand for 5 more minutes. 

Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Line a large plate with paper towels.

Sprinkle flour in one large soup spoon. Use the spoon to scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons batter from the bowl. Use a second spoon to slide the batter out into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining cornmeal mixture to make about 20 pieces, adding each to the hot oil as it is shaped. Drain on the paper towel-lined plate. Serve hot.