How to make self rising cornmeal
Learn how to make self rising cornmeal (also called cornmeal mix) for the best homemade cornbread you’ve ever eaten even if you can’t buy it in a store where you live. This is the secret to great southern baking!Jump to Recipe
What is self rising cornmeal? Is there a difference between it and just “cornmeal”?
Yes there is a big difference. Self rising cornmeal (also called self rising cornmeal mix) is a blend of the dry ingredients needed to make cornbread, hoe cakes, or corn cakes. Many people think that cornbread is made exclusively from ground cornmeal alone–and it sure isn’t. You need to add all purpose flour, salt, and baking powder in the right ratios with cornmeal to get a light and tender cornbread.
What kind of cornmeal should I use? Yellow or white? Does it matter?
Honestly color doesn’t really matter. The color of your cornmeal will also be influenced by the eggs you use and yellow or white—both taste pretty much the same.
But what does matter is the texture.
I tested my cornbread with medium stone ground cornmeal and I knew it was going to be too coarse. I didn’t mind it in the final result—don’t get me wrong—and if you like crunchy bits in your cornbread you won’t mind either. But I’d recommend getting the finest ground cornmeal you can find and nothing that says stone ground.
If you only have something with a larger grind on hand you can still use it. Just try giving it a whirl through the food processor to see if you can get the pieces any smaller. A coffee grinder may do a better job for small amounts or you could put it in a Vitamix or high powered blender to further refine it.
How do I make 2 cups of self rising cornmeal mix?
My recipe makes 1 1/2 cups–doggone it–but that’s plenty by the time eggs, oil and milk are added and your cornbread is headed to the oven. Either way if you want 2 cups, you’ll need:
- 2 cups cornmeal (finely ground)
- 8 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
>>Attention! This is the sure fire way to ruin your cornmeal mix!<<
And that is to use old baking powder. Folks, if your baking powder is more than three months old, it has likely lost its ability to react with the buttermilk in your recipe and will not rise.
You simply cannot pull some old container out of the back of the cabinet and complain when you bake a beautiful hockey puck.
David Lebovitz has an easy test you can do with your baking powder to see if it’s fresh. Take a couple of minutes to test yours before wasting ingredients, okay?
And definitely test before you come screaming at me. I’m over that y’all.
Get the recipe for the best southern skillet cornbread out there
You can kick off your cornbread making skills with my classic crispy skillet version. It’s not sweet–you can read allll about that controversy in the post but it’s loved by many, sugar or not.
How to make self rising cornmeal
- 1 3/4 cups cornmeal finely ground if possible
- 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoons salt sea salt or table salt
- Blend everything together in one bowl. Use according to whatever recipe you are following.
Self rising cornmeal, buttermilk and one egg. Melt 1/4 stick of butter in a 8” cast iron skillet on the stovetop while the oven is preheating to 425 degrees F. Mix self rising cornmeal, one egg, and enough buttermilk to make a slurry to your liking. When the butter is sizzling, pour in your slurry..it should sizzle. Bake until as brown as you like it..approximately 15/ 20 minutes ( I like mine crusty). NO flour and definitely NO sugar. The crust is yummy, and the interior has a tooth. Don’t ruin my southern cornbread with flour please. Try it you’ll like it…like Mikey! My grandma made a thin cake as she liked the crust the best!
You wrote, “Many people think that cornbread is made exclusively from ground cornmeal alone–and it sure isn’t. You need to add all purpose flour, salt, and baking powder in the right ratios with cornmeal to get a light and tender cornbread.”
This statement is true only if making baked cornbread. If making hot water cornbread all you need is cornmeal, salt, and boiling water, then fried in oil using cast iron skillet.
Right Glenn. When I wrote this post it was with baked cornbread in mind but I will say that I also use this same recipe for skillet cornbread with great results. –Rachel
Isn’t that called hoe cakes or lace bread on top of the stove?
can i use self rising flour in this recipe?
Yes Annie you absolutely can if you have it. Most people can’t find it where they live so I give them a homemade version here. –Rachel
Fried (skillet) cornbread patties has many names depending on where you live and what the ingredients are.
Cornbread where I grew up was made with white cornmeal, salt, boiling water and was called “Hot water cornbread” or just “cornbread”. Boiling water is an important part because you must have high temps to release the starch from the cornmeal. It is this, when fried, that gives the little patties a wonderful crunchy outside, but a softer and moist inside. Darn, I’m getting hungry just writing this.