Level Up Your Cornbread With Rich Sweet Potatoes

Ah yes, cornbread — the embodiment of comfort and homemade goodness that always seems to make the meal a lot better. With a soft, crumbly texture and sweet, savory taste that brings a touch of warmth without being overwhelming, it's a perfect companion for so many dishes. From soups, stews, salads, and grilled meat to many others, this delectable Southern staple is undeniably a stellar side dish to complete your meals. But what if we told you that you could take this classic dish to a whole new level with the addition of just one simple ingredient? Look no further than sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes bring an extra layer of sweet, mildly nutty flavors and velvety softness that greatly enriches the cornbread's overall taste. As the cornbread bakes, the sweet potato puree gives it a tender, moist texture that perfectly complements the crumbly nature of cornbread. Not only does this combination create a harmonious balance of flavors, but it also adds a vibrant pop of color, giving the cornbread an eye-catching, golden appearance. With fall right around the corner, it's also a marvelous way to incorporate that seasonal touch into an all-year-round, familiar dish.

How to add sweet potatoes to your cornbread

Start by selecting fresh, high-quality sweet potatoes that are small to medium in size and also firm, with smooth, blemish-free skin and vibrant orange flesh. These qualities ensure that your sweet potatoes are packed with vivid flavors and great nutrients.

You can prepare the sweet potatoes for cornbread either by roasting or steaming them until they are tender. This helps to intensify their natural sweetness and enhances their creamy texture. Once cooked, allow the sweet potatoes to cool before peeling off their skin and mashing them into a smooth puree. Then, simply whisk it together with the eggs, buttermilk, and cream, and when done, combine the mixture with dry ingredients like flour, cornmeal, sugar, spices, etc. Don't be afraid to take it one step further with the use of cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice for a batch filled with that quintessential fall warmth. Once your batter is ready, pour it into a well-greased baking dish and smooth the top. Pop it into a preheated oven and let the magic happen. 

Note that since sweet potatoes have a high moisture content, they may require a slightly longer (around two to five minutes) baking time to keep the cornbread from getting soggy. For certainty, use the foolproof toothpick method to check for doneness–stick a toothpick into the center and if it comes out clean, the cornbread is good to go.