Sweet potato cornbread is one of my favorite side dishes for the holidays! It’s lightly sweet, buttery, and so incredibly moist and tender. It’s one of the recipes that my family always asks me to make extra of!
Sweet Potato Cornbread
This sweet potato cornbread is absolutely delicious! It’s lightly sweetened with brown sugar, it has lots of buttery flavor, and I love the hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Those aromatic spices really bring the fall flavor to the next level.
It really is the best ever cornbread with sweet potato. You’ll be wondering if this should be served with dinner as a side dish, or afterwards as a dessert!
I think that the buttermilk is one of the things that makes this from scratch cornbread so delicious. It reacts with the baking soda to act as the leavener, which gives the cornbread the perfect rise. But the acid in it also helps break down the gluten, which makes it so perfectly moist and tender!
Cooking the cornbread in a preheated cast iron skillet really is another key to making this recipe so fantastic. It creates a beautiful golden crust on the bottom and sides. It’s crispy, so tasty, and creates structure that holds the slices together even though the top is so tender.
I think the biggest compliment I’ve gotten about this cornbread is that my nephew, Austin, cried when he thought there was none left. It’s really that good!
If you love cornbread and love the flavors of sweet potato pie, this is the recipe for you. Combining the flavors of the two is magical!
Try glazing it with honey butter (or cinnamon honey butter). The taste combination is absolutely phenomenal.
Sweet Potato: I love adding mashed sweet potatoes to my baked goods because they’re naturally sweet, creamy, add moisture, and they add a beautiful color.
Cornmeal: Since we’re making this cornbread from scratch, it’s important to use cornmeal instead of cornbread mix. I recommend using a fine or medium grind cornmeal. Cornbread mix will have things like flour, sugar, salt, and leavers added to it, so if you use cornbread mix in this recipe you’ll end up with too much of the other ingredients.
Flour: All-purpose flour is my favorite flour to use in cornbread. Cake flour will produce cornbread that has less chew to it and tastes too light and airy (like cake). Bread flour will make this recipe more dry.
Brown Sugar: I used light brown sugar. If you love the molasses flavor, feel free to use half light brown sugar and half dark brown sugar.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda: We’re using both baking powder and baking soda in this recipe because there’s an acid in this cornbread that needs to be neutralized. The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda, but there’s not enough to provide the amount of lift this entire recipe needs. That’s why we’re also adding in baking powder. Between the two, there will be enough rise in this recipe to create a deliciously fluffy cornbread recipe.
Spices and Flavors: A combination of salt, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon flavors this sweet cornbread perfectly. These aromatic spices pack it with the best fall flavor.
Buttermilk: I love to use buttermilk in cornbread because it provides a more buttery flavor and creates a more tender crumb. Thanks to the acid in buttermilk, it has the ability to make baked goods more tender because the acid helps break down the gluten.
Butter: We’re using butter both to grease the pan and as an ingredient in the cornbread. Butter provides structure to cornbread (since it’s solid at room temperature). It also adds lots of rich flavor.
Eggs: In this recipe, we’re using eggs to add structure and act as leaveners.
How To Make Sweet Potato Cornbread
Start by preheating the oven with the cast iron skillet in it. While the oven preheats, boil the sweet potato chunks until they’re fork tender. Once they’re cooked, drain them through a colander in the sink, and transfer them to a mixing bowl. (See the recipe card below for the full written instructions.)
Add the cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a bowl. Whisk to combine.
Use an electric mixer to mash the sweet potatoes until they’re about halfway smooth. Add in the buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla extract.
Mix the wet ingredients together using an electric mixer. At this point the sweet potatoes should be cool enough that they won’t cook the eggs. If they’re still too hot, wait a few minutes. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough, add the eggs. Mix on low until smooth.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then use a silicone spatula to gently fold the batter together. Don’t overmix!
Carefully remove the cast iron skillet from the oven. Be careful – it will be HOT! Add some butter to the pan to grease the bottom and sides. Pour the batter in the center of the pan, and use a silicone spatula to evenly smooth it out to the edges of the skillet.
Bake the cornbread until the center is set, the top is golden, and the top begins to crack slightly. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven, and place the remaining butter on top to serve.
What Makes Cornbread Dry And Crumbly?
Dry and crumbly cornbread is normally caused by overmixing the batter, your oven running hotter than you think it does, or by using too much cornmeal compared to the amount of flour. Be careful to only mix the batter until there are no visible streaks of flour, but stop mixing while it’s still a bit lumpy. You can also use an oven thermometer to check the true temperature of your oven.
How Do I Make Sure Cornbread Is Moist?
I like to use buttermilk in my cornbread because it makes it more moist and tender. If you want very moist cornbread, you can make this recipe with vegetable oil instead of melted butter. I think the texture is perfect as-is though and wouldn’t personally recommend the swap unless you like your cornbread extra moist.
Is Cornbread Better Made With Milk Or Water?
Cornbread made with milk tastes much better than cornbread made with water. Not only does milk have fat in it, which makes the cornbread more tender, it also has a sweetness that helps flavor the cornbread.
Should Cornbread Batter Be Thick Or Runny?
Cornbread batter should be thick and a little lumpy, but it should still be pourable. It should not be runny.
Should The Cast Iron Skillet Be Hot Or Cold For Cornbread?
I recommend using a cast iron skillet. It helps the cornbread cook more evenly and quickly. It also creates a delicious crisp crust that helps hold together the delicate cornbread.
Keep In Touch
I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out all of our side dishes! Our most popular cornbread and sweet potato recipes are:
- Jiffy Cornbread with Creamed Corn
- How to Make Jiffy Cornbread Better
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Cubes
- Jiffy Mexican Cornbread
- Jiffy Corn Casserole
- 1 pound sweet potato (peeled, cut into 1 inch cubes)
- 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal (fine ground or medium ground)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (120 grams)
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
- 1/2 cup butter (melted)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons butter (divided)
- Preheat the oven to 400F (204C). Place a 10 inch cast iron skillet in the oven while it is preheating (leave it in the oven until you’re ready to use it).*
- To a large pot, add the sweet potato cubes. Fill the pot with cold water (enough water to cover the sweet potatoes with 2 inches of water). Bring the water to a rolling boil, then turn the heat down to medium and boil until fork tender (about 10 minutes). Drain the sweet potatoes through a colander in the sink, and set aside.
- To a medium mixing bowl, add the cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together until fully combined. Set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the sweet potato. Use a hand mixer on the low sweating to beat the sweet potatoes until they’re about halfway smooth. Add in the buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla. Beat on low until just combined. The sweet potato mixture should have cooled enough that it won’t cook the eggs at this point. If you think it’s still too hot, let it cool for a few more minutes before adding the eggs. Add in the eggs and beat on low until the sweet potato mixture is smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Use a silicone spatula to fold the batter together until it is just combined. Don’t overmix the batter! You shouldn’t see streaks of flour, but it should still be a bit lumpy.
- Carefully remove the HOT cast iron skillet from the oven. Add 1 Tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Carefully move it around to let it melt and grease the bottom and sides of the skillet. Pour the sweet potato cornbread batter into the hot pan and smooth it out evenly to the edges. Carefully place the skillet back in the oven, and bake it until the center has set, the top is golden brown, and it begins to crack slightly (about 30-33 minutes).
- When it’s finished baking, remove from the oven. Serve with the remaining Tablespoon of butter on top.
*Cast iron skillets take a long time to heat up, so be sure to preheat your oven with the cast iron skillet in it as the first step. If you add the batter to a cold skillet, the cornbread won’t cook evenly and it will take much longer to bake. Using a hot skillet coated in melted butter stops the cornbread from sticking, creates a beautiful golden crust on the bottom, and allows the batter to cook evenly.
**If you want your cornbread to be a vibrant orange color, add orange food coloring at the same time as when you add the vanilla extract.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 287Total Fat: 11.2gCarbohydrates: 41.8gFiber: 2.4gSugar: 12gProtein: 4.9g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
If you love Southern cornbread, you’ll love this sweet potato cornbread from scratch!