Honey Sage Skillet Cornbread Recipe

Plenty of side dishes are revered for their timeless presence on the table. While some people lunge for the mashed potatoes, others dive for a warm slice of cornbread. Pastry chef and Tasting Table recipe developer Katie Rosenhouse brings us this honey sage skillet cornbread recipe, which she describes as "the best cornbread I've ever had." She acknowledges it's a "big statement," but sometimes you have to say it like it is, and this cornbread is delicious.  

Perhaps you've tasted bland, dried-out cornbread and can't see what the fuss is about. "It flips out of the pan with a perfectly golden crust, smells like the holidays, and has that perfect balance of salt, honey, sage, and cornmeal," Rosenhouse raves. That's not all, and she goes on to detail, "It also has a lightly crisped, sweet crust with the most tender, buttery crumb." Ultimately, her take-home message? "It's too good to resist." There's no sense in trying to resist anything this good — you'll want to whip this up with the plan to slice right into it to enjoy a warm slice straight from the oven.

Gather the ingredients for this honey sage skillet cornbread recipe

For this recipe, you will need room-temperature salted butter, a bunch of fresh sage, whole milk buttermilk, a couple of large eggs, an extra yolk, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, and honey. "Whole milk buttermilk adds extra richness to this cornbread, but whole and low fat can be used interchangeably here," Rosenhouse notes.

As for the dry ingredients, get yellow cornmeal (Rosenhouse uses Quaker Yellow, which comes in a medium grind), all-purpose flour, baking powder, kosher salt, baking soda, and ground black pepper.

Prep the pan

Turn your oven on to preheat at 400 F. Then, set out a 10-inch cast iron skillet and coat the surface with 1 tablespoon of butter. Press the fresh sage leaves into the butter for decoration — this will be the top of your cake. 

Rosenhouse opts for a different approach here and comments, "Traditionally, the skillet is preheated when making sage cornbread to ensure a good crust. I find that the crust gets a little dark for my liking with this method, and the sage tends to move around a bit in the melted butter." For this reason, she explains, "By starting with softened butter in a cool pan, the sage stays perfectly in place, and you end up with a beautifully golden crust that only becomes more irresistible with a slather of honey-butter."

Combine the batter ingredients

Melt ¼ cup of butter in a bowl and set it aside to cool for 5 minutes. Then, add the buttermilk, eggs, extra yolk, vegetable oil, sugar, ¼ cup of honey, and the cooled butter to a large bowl. Whisk the contents until they are smoothly combined. Next, stir in the dry ingredients: cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and pepper. 

Bake until golden

Transfer the batter to the buttered skillet and bake the cornbread for 20 to 25 minutes. It's ready when the top is golden brown and it springs back to the touch. Cool it for 5 minutes or so before carefully flipping it onto a cooling rack.

Brush the cake then serve

Add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of honey to a small bowl, and stir the two together until you have a smooth mixture. Brush it over the surface of the hot cornbread, then slice it and serve it still warm. "Serve with extra honey-butter for bonus points," as Rosenhouse suggests.

You could make this for any occasion — or just because you're in the mood for cornbread. "I have big plans to make this cornbread for Thanksgiving, but it's also great as a side for your next barbecue, served with roasted chicken and vegetables, or even as an impressive side at brunch," Rosenhouse says.

As for leftovers, she adds, "I can pretty much guarantee there won't be leftovers, but if you do end up with extra, store at room temperature for up to two days, or wrap slices and freeze for up to one month." When you're ready for more, simply "Defrost and toast lightly in a pan before serving."

Honey Sage Skillet Cornbread Recipe
5 from 41 ratings
This honey sage skillet cornbread is baked to golden perfection and brushed with a honey butter topping.
Prep Time
Cook Time
sage skillet cornbread on rack
Total time: 35 minutes
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1 small bunch fresh sage
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon honey, divided
  • 1 ¼ cups yellow cornmeal
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Smear 1 tablespoon of butter into the bottom of a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Decoratively press the sage leaves into the butter, then set the pan aside.
  3. Melt ¼ cup of butter and set it aside to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, yolk, oil, sugar, ¼ cup of honey, and melted butter to combine.
  5. Stir in the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and pepper until combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the color is golden brown and the cornbread springs back to the touch.
  7. Cool for 5 minutes, then invert the cornbread onto a cooling rack.
  8. In a small bowl, stir 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of honey until combined.
  9. Brush the mixture over the hot cornbread then slice and serve warm.
Calories per Serving 358
Total Fat 17.8 g
Saturated Fat 6.6 g
Trans Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 70.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 44.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Total Sugars 16.5 g
Sodium 360.3 mg
Protein 5.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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