I adapted this recipe from one that ran in Fine Cooking magazine many years ago, written by cookbook author Crescent Dragonwagon. It’s super easy but does come out best in a cast-iron skillet — and requires buttermilk, which means spur-of-the-moment cornbread baking may be tricky. But bookmark this recipe and grab that buttermilk (and of course cornmeal, if you don’t have it) on your next shopping trip. You'll be glad!

I like to add sautéed green onions to the batter, and I’ve also added roasted cherry tomatoes when I have them on hand (I arrange them on top of the batter). But you can replace the green onions with fresh corn kernels or finely diced peppers, lightly sautéed, or leave them out altogether.

Serves 8

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup sliced scallions (or fresh corn kernels or finely diced bell peppers)

1 cup (5 ounces) yellow cornmeal
1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 large egg
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2/3 cup (about 2 ounces) grated Monterey Jack cheese


1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the scallions and cook, stirring, until softened. Remove skillet from heat and let cool.

3. In a wide, medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

4. In another bowl, whisk together the egg and the sugar. Add the buttermilk and the 1/3 cup vegetable oil, and whisk thoroughly.

5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pour and scrape the wet ingredients into the dry, whisking or stirring until well-incorporated. (Don’t overmix.) Gently stir in the cheese and the scallions.

6. In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium heat. When the butter is sizzling, pour and scrape the batter into the skillet.

7. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until set and golden brown on the top. Let cook for a few minutes, cut into wedges right in the pan, and serve warm.