Brown Sugar Cornbread: All Tarted Up with No Place to Go

Brown Sugar Cornbread

Brown Sugar Cornbread. I wish I had some sort of schmaltzy cornbread story to share. Cornbread is the kind of food I grew up with. But truthfully cornbread is so ubiquitous the details that make it special can get passed right over on a blog like this. Cornbread is like mashed potatoes. It’s just there. When it’s good you’re pleased, when its bad you just squinch up your face and think to yourself, who can f*ck up cornbread?

The basic cornbread recipe is so simple and forgiving that you may “find yourself making it as often as your mother made mashed potatoes.” To borrow a phrase from Mark Bittman.

I quote Mr. Bittman because he got it just right. I don’t mean his recipe for cornbread. Frankly I’ve never really given his recipe for cornbread much of a look see. Because, like I said, you have to be a pretty terrible cook to f*ck up cornbread.

What I mean is, just like your mother’s mashed potatoes, cornbread is a blank canvas. Ready to to be twisted and cajoled into any shape, any form, any flavor you can imagine. Which is why, when it comes to blogs, you’ll find fancy pants recipes for cornbread of every kind and on every kind of cook’s URL.

Cornbread with whole corn kernels. Cornbread with jalapeños. Cornbread with cheese. Grilled cornbread. Mini cornbread muffins. And my entry into this tired cornfield. Brown Sugar Cornbread with Bacon Crumble.

Brown Sugar Cornbread

Yes, I’ve managed to tart up our simple friend well beyond anyone else on the web. Google it. Nobody has overdone cornbread quite like me.

Brown Sugar Cornbread with Bacon Crumble. Keep saying it enough and it will become as familiar as your mother’s mashed potatoes (that is if your mother crumbled bacon into your mashed potatoes. Mine did). GREG

Brown Sugar Cornbread

Brown Sugar Cornbread with Bacon Crumble 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 1 loafPublished
Brown Sugar Corn Bread with Bacon Crumble


  • ½ cup unsalted butter (plus more for pans)
  • 4 slice bacon
  • 5 tablespoon brown sugar (divided)
  • 1 ⅓ cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)


Set the oven rack in the center position. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9‑by‑4 ½‑inch loaf pan; set aside.

Place bacon slices in a large, unheated heavy-bottomed or cast iron skillet. Turn heat to medium and cook bacon, turning often until almost crispy. About 7 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Crumble the warm bacon into a small bowl, stir in 2 tablespoons brown sugar; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the yellow cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Heat ½ cup butter, molasses and the remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat just until melted. Whisk until the sugar is well incorporated into the butter mixture. Remove from heat; whisk in the milk and then the eggs. Pour into the dry mixture, stirring just until blended, and scrape into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

Bake in the heated oven 15 minutes. Carefully open the oven and slide out the rack. Sprinkle the bacon and brown sugar crumble mixture evenly across the top. Rotate the pan and continue to bake until golden and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 15 more minutes. 

Move the pan to a wire rack to cool somewhat. When cool enough to handle, run a knife around the edge and gently turn the loaf out onto the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.