Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fried Cornbread - Southern Cornmeal Hoe Cakes

A classic southern recipe, cornmeal hoecakes are little pan fried cornmeal medallions that are at home as breakfast, as much as they are as a side dish with a mess o' greens, and just about anything else!

Fried Cornbread - Southern Cornmeal Hoecakes

Fried cornbread, is also known as cornmeal hoe cakes, and sometimes Johnnycakes, is a sort of fried cornmeal flatbread - kind of like if you took cornbread batter and skillet fried it like a pancake. The inside puffs up like cornbread, while the outside gets nice and crispy from frying it in the oil. It's the perfect companion to a mess o'greens, or for breakfast or as a sweet treat when drizzled with a bit of syrup.

I have read that hoecakes likely started with Native Americans who apparently cooked these on hot rocks inside an open fire. The method was later adapted by cooking the bread on the blade of a hoe, and that is how it got its name, though some folks dispute that.

This was a reader request from one of our Facebook family members Sarah, and since The Cajun brought me home a literal armload of collard greens, I thought I would bump up the request since I clearly had greens in my near future ... and everybody knows, you gotta have either cornbread or else some hoecakes to go with! Course these little hoecakes are pretty good all on their own too.

When it comes to Hoecakes, I think the Lady & Son's Restaurant - of the Miss Paula Deen the Queen of Southern cookin' in Savannah - does them up best. This is a slight adaptation of Paula Deen's Hoecake recipe, a signature feature at the restaurant that comes to your table like a bread basket elsewhere, and the one I love. I think it makes a just perfect hoecake for sopping up some pot likker from a big ole pot of greens, though they make a great bread dish for just about any meal really, especially in the heat of the summer when you want bread but don't want to turn on the oven.

{Southern Hissy Fit Warning} By the way, I got fussed at and accused of sounding like a "fake southerner" by using the term "likker" in my writing. Well, bless your heart, that's what we call it down here! It amazes me what some folks think that they can say or do to other folks, and usually strangers, via the internet just because they feel like it. Well, likker is a colloquialism and this is a blog where we are permitted to speak in our voice or anyway we like. It's a shame that person apparently doesn't understand any of that. {soapbox tucked away}


The batter can be made up and stored in the fridge for a couple of days, since we all know as those greens set up in the fridge, they don't get nothing but better. Or treat yourself and drizzle a bit of cane, sorghum or maple syrup over one. Yummy. Just look at that crispy loveliness with a drip of syrup on it, would ya?


The sugar is optional. I like it in these, but leave it out if you don't.  Now, if you like and you have a well seasoned cast iron skillet, you can skip the oil or butter to brown them, but you won't get that lovely, crispy outside either, so really, why would you want to do that?

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Recipe: Fried Cornbread - Southern Cornmeal Hoecakes

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 20 min | Yield: About 10 (5 servings)

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of self rising flour
  • 1 cup of all purpose cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar, optional
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon of canola, for frying, or canola combined with a bit of butter
Instructions:

Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and place a rack on top; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar. Measure out the buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup, and add to that the water and oil; blend well. Add eggs and mix well; combine with dry ingredients. Heat oil and butter in a cast iron skillet over medium to medium high and drop batter by about 1/8 cup measures into the hot skillet to form small medallions.

Fry until brown and crisp, turn and brown the other side. Remove and let drain on rack. Serve immediately with warm syrup for breakfast or as a snack, or dip 'em in a mess o' greens to sop up that pot likker (juice from the greens)!

Variation: When corn is at peak and in-season, add about 1 cup of corn cut and scraped off the cob. You'll need about 1 large ear of corn. Can also make this into a pan hoecake. Add only enough buttermilk to make a stiff batter. You may not need the additional water. Pour into a screaming hot, well greased 8-inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Reduce heat and let brown underneath about 10 - 15 minutes. Run a metal egg turner underneath and turn to brown the other side. Can also bake in a well preheated 425 degree F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes (no turning needed).

Tip: If you spray the measuring cup with a bit of non-stick spray before scooping, the batter will slip right out. If you don't happen to have that 1/8 cup measure, just do about 2 tablespoons of batter in one pile and push it around to form a medallion.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish
Adapted from a Paula Deen recipe
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Posted by on April 14, 2010

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82 comments:

  1. Although I've heard of hoe cakes, I really didn't know much about them-they look so delicious drizzeled with syup, so now, I gotta make them!

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    1. No syrup. Just spread butter and enjoy.

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    2. I agree just butter and leave out the sugar.

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    3. Oh yes indeed. Try them with syrup, if you're making them for breakfast. Absolutely elicious!

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  2. Thanks for reminding me of these...my mama used to make them but I never do. What's my stinkin' problem?? These look delish!

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  3. I love these little fellers and will have to have some soon. Along side a pile of pulled pork should work well.

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  4. oh i just LOVE hoecakes. i never ate them with greens before but i sure will next time. i just made greens recently. there is nothing else that has quite the texture of a hoecake and i always fry mine in bacon grease!

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  5. My mother used to make these! I loved them. Haven't made them for years and not even sure I still have her recipe for them.
    Copying now and will have them next weekend. We liked them with maple syrup!

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    1. My mom made them as well, I used to a long time ago.
      Will do it now.

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    2. My wife is what called a river rat she turned me on to hoe cakes 30 years ago we call then johnny cakes, with a big glass of buttermilk! MMMM Love your site, makes me think back,but now I have Type 2, so I have to eat low carb! Mr Cajun is a lucky man too!! Love your county girls cooking best in the world!! Thanks again and God Bless

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    3. You're welcome Erik - thanks for such a sweet note.

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    4. Mary:Thank you for your reply. Not to bore you dear,but we started our married live in a tent,building a cabin in woods. after 30 years I can say ,There are no women better than a county girl! Most don,t cook anymore! Mr Cajun and I are blessed!! Bonnie and I love your site!

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  6. I did not need to see this recipe. I don't think it is weight watcher approved. Actually it may not be so bad. Calorie wise?

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  7. Oh so yummy! I'm going to try making them...I'm going to try making all of it!

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  8. You had me at pot likker. Yum! My tummy is growling. My Mama made THE best hoe cakes. You gotta have these with greens and hot sauce. And when tomatoes are fresh off the vine it can't get much better.

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  9. Love these hoe cakes! and Southern food in general!

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  10. Love those Hoe Cakes. I'll be using your recipe with the next batch of greens. Been MIA for a bit and didn't realize how much I missed your blog till I saw these babies!

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  11. "they don't get nothing but better"

    haha! you're so cute, and so very obviously southern!!

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  12. Those would be excellent topped with a little pulled pork and a fried egg! What? I'm serious! Thanks for sharing this, going to use it as a side for my next bbq.

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  13. Hot cakes? i have heard of these but never knew what they were or what they tasted like! thanks for recipe Mary - going to try it out!

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  14. These are soooooo good too if you have some purple hull peas with a big ole slab of tomato on top and a few slivers of onion on top of that. When you finish using your cake for a scooper, then you use it for a sopper. My mouth is watering and I am full as a tick from supper. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Now U're cooking with Crisco!!!!! (Southern saying when someone gets something right,lol)

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    2. Alabama corn meal is all you need

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  15. I've never made Hoe Cakes, but, I want to now!! I always made "Hot Water Corn Bread"...it's similar. My Mom always made oven corn bread, which is so good, too. I love all the greens...Collard, Turnip, Mustard, Spinach, Kale and etc.
    Thanks for the great blog!!

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    Replies
    1. I make Hot Water Corn Bread too, and can't imagine a big ole pot of greens without some! I like Hoover's Fine Sifted Water Ground Cornmeal for that.

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  16. Hi Sharon! Hope that you try them, I think you'll enjoy them. Thanks so much for reading!!

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  17. Love the story about the greens. This year I sent my Momma out for my Thanksgiving Collards figuring she'd come back with a big cellophane bag of them, enough to feed my bunch. She came back with a CRATE!!! Now I am all depressed cuz I cooked them and then some over the holidays and have to settle for canned ones for NYE. :(

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  18. Oh my hubby is a riot, so I wouldn't at all be surprised that even though he won't eat them, if he saw a bargain on a crate, he'd sure bring me a crate LOL!! I have had good success with freezing them after cooking (or blanching) you know, just in case that happens again! And don't you worry over having to used canned either - I'm not sure where you're located but there are several brands of canned that are pretty darned tasty these days. I use those all year long. Happy New Year!!

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  19. Mary can you post a recepie for hot water cornbread?

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    1. I sure will Misha!! I've had it in the hopper for awhile but just haven't gotten it up on the site yet - stay tuned!!

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  20. Mary can you include a recepie for hot water cornbread please! I use to eat it as a child but don't have a good recepie for it....thanks

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    1. I do have one Misha but haven't worked it up for the site yet. The old school version was just regular cornmeal and salt with just enough boiling water to make a thick batter than can be formed into a small patty. I'm not fond of it though - it's a bit too plain for me. I can tell you that many folks today just simply take a cornbread mix - the one that you don't have to add anything to to make cornbread - and just simply add boiling water to that and call it a day, but I'll get my homemade recipe up at some point!

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  21. Just made collards tonight; wish I'd seen your recipe BEFORE dinner!

    I grew up in GA, and in the early 70s when I was about 5th grade a neighbor taught me to make what she called hoecake bread. I remember flour and baking powder, but none of the other ingredients. I don't think it had corn meal like my mother's fried corn bread. A "hoecake" nearly filled the skillet and was sinfully delicious, but I don't remember how to make them. Does this sound familiar to you?

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    1. It sure does LaCharla! Click right here to see my biscuit bread, also called hoecake bread!

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    2. I grew up in Georgia, too. My Mama's version of a true hoecake was with flour, not cornmeal. She called her cornmeal ones fried cornbread pattties. Both of them were great, but the flour one was best for syrup!

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    3. It just all depends on what you grew up and even in the same state, what things are called & how they are made always varied by households, most often influenced by what one grew up with and what their mother grew up with! I love the diversity of recipes across the Southern region & I'm glad we aren't all the same. I call these cornmeal hoecakes. I call the flour ones hoecake bread.

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    4. My mamaw never made greens without making hoe cakes.Miss them both.

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    5. Aw Teresa {{{HUGS}}} I do know what you mean. My mama, daddy and both sets of grandparents have all passed on but when I cook the foods I associate with them, it brings back the memories and it's like they are right in the kitchen with me.

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    6. They were mostly corn meal a little shorting and water cooked over an open fire on the blade of a garden hoe held over the fire.

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    7. And I make mine with onions and jalapeno peppers and sometimes some shoe peg corn.

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  22. Wish I'd seen your recipe BEFORE I finished dinner--which included a big ol' pot of collards! :-D

    When I was in about 5th grade (late 1960s) my neighbor taught me to make her "hoecake bread"--which was a fried bread that covered most of the skillet. I remember flour and baking powder, but not corn meal. (My mother used corn meal for fried corn bread, which had a different texture.) Any chance this sounds like a recipe you've heard of? Or if not, what adjustments would be needed to omit the corn meal from your recipe? I'd like to re-create those "hoecakes."

    Thanks in advance. Glad I discovered your site today.

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  23. IM A CAJUN AND I DONT EAT MAPLE SYRUP. I USE STREENS PURE CANE SYRUP.

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    1. Now Mr. Johnny, had you visited with me a little bit longer, you would have seen that we use plenty of Steen's around here too!! Sometimes I like a little bit of milder flavor though so I haven't a thing against maple syrup, or even pancake syrup. :)

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  24. I just made these and they are really , really good. The best Johnny cake I have ever eaten. My husband kept coming back for more when I was cooking them . The aroma filled the house. My batch made 16 Johnny Cakes.These would be good with anything that goes with cornbread. I like them better than I do cornbread. Yes, I could enjoy a bit of butter and maple syrup on top..Yum..thanks so much for this wonderful recipe.

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  25. Silly question: At what point do you combine the liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients?

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    1. Not a silly question at all & so sorry that wasn't clear! Need to fire that editor I tell ya... oh wait. That's me!! :) Mix the dry ingredients together, mix the wet, then combine.

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  26. I know this post is old but I like mine for breakfast with ketchup and salt. I guess Im weird but I also eat them for supper with greens and some pepper sauce! yummmm

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    1. I remember these when I was a little girl .. My mom would make these and they were soooo good.. When we were kids we would call them corn cakes.Thanks for bring back those memories.. I will be making these tonight.. thanks for sharing.

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  27. I always have Martha White self-rising buttermilk cornmeal mix on hand. Could this be substituted for the meal, flour and baking powder?

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    1. I'm not sure what the ratio of the cornmeal and flour are in the mix but I would think that it would work fine. Let us know!

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    2. Yes it works just fine. I just made some for lunch....I only use the self rising meal, buttermilk and a little bit of water, fry it up in bacon grease. I leave out the eggs and sugar...That is the way we always made it in Eastern KY

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  28. I have a question which is in no way indicative of your recipe. I have always made oven cornbread, but my dad made these growing up, so of course I was thrilled to try your recipe. There is a user issue. I am unsure WHAT I did, but they crumbled in the pan being hard to flip so I waited longer. But then they soaked up all my oil. They taste amazing. But they look significantly different than yours and I am sure oil logged wasn't the plan. Help?

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    1. Hey Allyson! Hmmm... let's see. Did you accidentally use all purpose flour instead of self rising? It's not a problem except with all purpose you'd have to add some leavening so that they bind and rise.

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  29. Allyson, my wife has Celiac disease. Which means I can't cook with regular floor. Have you tried your recipes using rice flour? That's the only flour I can cook or bake with. Thanks ... Gentleman from Missouri.

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    1. I wish I could help but no I haven't. I know that just about every GF recipe book out has a version of baking mix or flour replacement, so I suppose with some adaptation you could certainly do something similar!

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  30. We recently purchased a restaurant and are featuring a New Years Day meal. Pork Chop, fresh local collards, dried black eye Peas, hoe cake and sliced tomatoes. Thank you for sharing this great recipe Mary!

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    1. You are so welcome - that menu sounds perfect!

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  31. I made tonight and had with some leftover greens. AMAZING!!!

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  32. I love these! I am from pascagoula :) we are basically neighbors!

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  33. Oh my gosh! I just found your site this morning when I befriended you. It brings back so many memories. I grew up in a southern family who are all gone now. I'm not fond of collards or turnip greens and couldn't eat them now if I was because of blood thinners. I will be 80' tomorrow and finding this today made my birthday weekend special. We are celebrating with family tonight so I just might have to make these for myself tomorrow. My husband of 58 years wouldn't touch them. I suppose I could put candles on them since it's my birthday. Your writing is great. Don't let anyone tell you different.

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  34. Hi Patricia! I first want to say Happy 80th Birthday! Welcome to my website and I hope that your visits will bring happy memories. Make those hoecakes and celebrate. Happy Birthday!!

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  35. My mom has cooked these as far back as I can remember. Have them with a pot of lime beans cooked with a hamhock. UNBELIEVABLE DELICIOUS

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  36. My grandmother would sprinkle some cornmeal into the grease (mostly vegetable oil with added bacon grease) and allow it to heat together until the grease was hot enough to drop the mixture in to fry. This allowed some tasty "grit" to form on the outside of the cakes. She would add more meal between batches for an ongoing gritty crust. It is amazing! I've found that adding 1/2 tsp each of onion powder and garlic powder adds a little more flavor. This is a must to serve with white beans and ham hock.

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  37. We call them corn cakes, delicious

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  38. Can you just make them with self riding cornmeal and omit the baking powder etc.

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    1. Certainly! Just make sure that it is fresh. If it's old the leavening can go stale.

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  39. Our mama was 5th generation Florida Cracker and both our parents had roots in Georgia and S. Carolina. Plenty of 'southern' in that mix!
    Anyway, mama used to make these and also what she called 'corn dodgers'. Similar mixture, but she would form it into 'pones' and lay on top of her simmering greens to cook. They came out green and infused with pot likker (just like you said!) and were loved by her family.

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  40. My folks were generational Southerners, going back to the 1700's. Mama made these often. When cooking greens, she would form them into pones and lay them on top of greens - collards, turnips, mustard - while they cooked and the pones would steam and be infused with the pot likker.

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  41. My Granny always made them and we tore them up. Her recipe was so much easier and they tasted the same just thinner and crispier. So I thought I would share. Only two ingredients needed

    1 cup of Self Rising Corn Meal
    Buttermilk I start with a 1/2 cup and then eyeball the consistency not too thin but not too thick

    Mix together let sit for a few minutes till you see the batter rise then remix

    In a skillet heat your grease in the pan then ladle tbsp fills in
    Brown on each side and then place on paper towels and eat them up!!!! Collards were her choice of greens and mine as well but my kids love them with black eyed peas and so many more veggies. We could seriously eat them with any meal.

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    1. Yes they are delicious aren't they Jessica, and so versatile! The recipe above is certainly not difficult, however, your 2-ingredient recipe of only self-rising cornmeal and milk or buttermilk is actually not what I would consider to be the same as the above recipe, which I hope that you will try sometime to compare to your two ingredient recipe.

      I don't keep self-rising cornmeal in my pantry, because I use all-purpose cornmeal in my cooking, which accounts for some of the additional ingredients for leavening. The other added ingredients here make a difference in both flavor and texture of the finished hoecake, setting it apart from just cornmeal and milk. Thanks so much for sharing your shortcut version, though I hope someday you'll try this one as well to see the differences between the two!

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  42. take this same recipe and add about cup cut fresh or frozen okra or your choose of cut vegetable good eating


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  43. We call it Hot water cornbread.

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    1. A little different from hot water cornbread which is usually just cornmeal and hot water! This is more like a cornbread batter that's dropped in a skillet in little medallions like pancakes and fried.

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