Basic Survival Cornbread Recipe

When you are talking about recipes for any kind of survival situation a good cornbread recipe is a must. Cornbread, a staple in any southern kitchen, is delicious, versatile, and easy to make.

cornbread on plate
Cornbread on plate. photo: Jeanie Beales

It can be used for any meal and requires only a few ingredients. In this article, we will talk about the basic recipe, how to cook it, and what you may need to add to your food stores to be able to utilize this recipe.

Cornbread can be used as a side to almost any dish. It goes well with beans, rice, soup, stew, and many other thick and hearty dishes. It is very filling when compared with other bread such as rolls or sliced bread and it also keeps well.

It can also be crumbled into your main dish to help fill it out and make it more filling. This is popular to do with dishes like pinto beans but also works well with red beans and rice and many other dishes.

cornbread ingredients
cornbread on plate

Basic Cornbread Recipe

Steve Hensley
• Mixing bowls and Utensils
• Cast Iron Skillet (See notes if you don’t have one available)


  • 2 cusp self-rising cornmeal
  • ¼ plus 2 tablespoons oil (lard, shortening, vegetable, pork fat)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk


  • Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place ¼ of oil into a clean and seasoned cast iron skillet (preferably 9”) and put it into the hot oven while you mix. 
  • Combine cornmeal, 2 tablespoons of oil, eggs, and 1 1/2 cups of milk. Mix until well combined, adding extra milk as needed if the mix is too dry. You want it to be the consistency of thick pancake batter, runny but not thin. 
    Cornbread batter
  • Remove the cast iron skillet and oil from the oven. It should be very hot. 
  • Pour your mixture into the hot oil. If the pan is hot enough it should sizzle. That is what makes the crispy crust on the sides and bottom. Leave at least 1 inch of space on top for the cornbread to expand. 
    Cornbread before baking
  • Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. The cornbread should be golden brown and set in the middle when it is done. 
    Cornbread after baking


If you do not have a cast iron skillet you can make cornbread in any oven safe dish. The only thing is that you will not be able to get that crispy crust on the sides and bottom.

To use a regular dish or pan, forgo the ¼ of oil and grease the pan with some vegetable oil. Do not preheat the pan. Just pour the batter in and bake as directed.

You can use buttermilk instead of regular milk. Some people like the flavor but it is by no means necessary.

If you don’t want to use self-rising cornmeal you can make this from scratch, but it requires storing a couple more items that you will most likely store anyway. I will say that it never seems to come out as good for me when I don’t use the self-rising.

To make the mix, for each cup of mix needed combine:

  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Babaking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

If you are working from your food stores and don’t have access to fresh eggs or milk, you can use powdered milk and eggs. You would just re-constitute them according to the package instructions and then measure and use just like fresh ingredients.

cornbread recipe pinterest images

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