Sweet Potato Cornbread brings a fresh flavor twist to a classic Southern staple. With the earthy flavors of whole grain cornmeal, whole wheat flour, and a hint of pumpkin pie spice, this quick bread boasts a rich and hearty profile that elevates any meal. The addition of mashed sweet potato not only adds a subtle sweetness but creates a moist, tender crumb that makes each bite irresistible.
What is traditionally seen as a modest side to more robust dishes, cornbread takes on a new character in this recipe. Cooked in a cast-iron skillet, it takes on a crispy, decadent edge, offering a texture that's the perfect balance of crunchy and soft. The natural sweetness of maple syrup and creamy sweet potato coupled with the richness of butter, transform it into a centerpiece. Fresh from a skillet or presented at the dinner table, this bread seamlessly melds classic and contemporary flavors.
Ingredients for Sweet Potato Cornbread
- Butter: If using unsalted butter, add an additional ¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt or ½ teaspoon of kosher salt.
- Whole Grain Cornmeal: Use a medium grind for the best texture.
- Whole Wheat Flour: Look for stone-ground options to retain maximum flavor and nutrients.
- Baking Powder: Check the expiration date (also note that it should be replaced within 6 months of opening).
- Baking Soda: Like baking powder, be sure it hasn't expired (same 6 month shelf life once opened).
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: You can find this at most supermarkets; if unavailable, a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves can be a good substitute.
- Salt: fine sea salt or about half the amount of kosher salt
- Eggs: Fresh, large or extra-large eggs
- Buttermilk: Shake well before measuring to ensure even consistency.
- Mashed Sweet Potato: Freshly mashed offers the best flavor, but unsweetened, canned sweet potato puree is a convenient alternative.
- Maple Syrup: Use pure maple syrup instead of maple-flavored syrups.
- Avocado Oil: Or another high heat oil like canola or grapeseed oil, whichever you prefer or have on hand.
- If you don't have whole grain cornmeal, you can substitute regular yellow cornmeal. It will alter the texture slightly but will still work well.
- Instead of using store bought pumpkin pie spice, you can make your own blend of warm spices using cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
- Substitute honey, agave nectar or even brown sugar for the maple syrup if you prefer.
- If you don't have buttermilk on hand, thin ¾ cup of sour cream or plain yogurt with ¼ cup of water or milk to achieve a similar consistency and flavor.
- Add a handful of chopped fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme to the batter for an herbal note.
- For a touch of heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
How to Store and Reheat
Once cooled, tightly wrap leftover cornbread in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place in an airtight container to store at room temperature for up to 2 days, or refrigerate for up to a week. Or wrap and transfer the cornbread to a freezer safe container or zip top bag to store frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat, wrapped in foil, in an oven preheated to 350°F until warmed through.
More Great Ways to Enjoy Sweet Potatoes
How to Make Sweet Potato Cornbread
Preheat a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven at 400°F. In a saucepan, melt butter and let it cool. In one bowl, combine dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt). In another bowl combine wet ingredients, (eggs, buttermilk, mashed sweet potato, maple syrup, and melted butter).
Combine the sweet potato mixture with the cornmeal mixture, stirring just enough to blend. Coat the hot skillet with oil, then pour in the cornbread batter, smoothing the top. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Allow to cool briefly before serving.
Sweet Potato Cornbread
- 8 tablespoons butter ½ cup
- 1 ½ cups whole grain cornmeal preferably medium grind
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon salt or 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup mashed sweet potato
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or other high heat oil
- Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet on oven's center rack. Turn oven to 400°F, allowing the pan to preheat.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Set aside.
- In a second medium bowl, whisk eggs until the yolks are incorporated into the whites. Add buttermilk, mashed sweet potato, maple syrup and melted butter; stir until smooth.
- Add sweet potato mixture to cornmeal mixture. Fold ingredients together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until combined; don't over-mix.
- Remove preheated skillet. Add oil to hot skillet and swirl to coat bottom and sides of pan. Pour batter into skillet, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Smooth top and place on the oven's center rack.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until knife or toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes or more before serving.