Growing up in the South means you have an opinion about cornbread. Ask any Southerner about cornbread, and they will surely tell you whether or not they add sugar to the batter. While there can be a place for both, that’s not why we’re here today. The sweet vs. savory debate is as old as the country itself, but thankfully this cheddar scallion Southern cornbread skirts the whole issue!
Cheddar scallion Southern cornbread delivers the savory beauty of traditional cornbread with the added sharpness of good cheddar and twang of fresh scallions. This Tex-Mex variation was a childhood favorite of mine, especially when my Mama served it alongside chili. It may feel a bit fancier, but it’s no harder to make than the original.
I don’t use extra oil in my cornbread, and I don’t miss it. It was a happy accident that changed my entire cornbread recipe!
Choosing Your Cheese
This is a forgiving recipe, so you can definitely choose your favorite cheese, but here are some tips. First, grate your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is coated with cellulose or potato starch. Cellulose is NOT wood pulp, people. It’s a naturally occurring substance found in plant walls. That white substance keeps it from clumping together in the bag. It also keeps it from really melting together, though.
Grating your own cheese can be done once a week if you like to prep or per recipe if you don’t. Your cheese will clump together a little bit, but it’s not a problem unless a major food corporation tells you it is. If it really bothers you, toss your shredded cheese with a little cornstarch. That substance will actually help your cheese melt cohesively together.
Second, choose cheese(s) that are sharply flavorful. Creamy, smooth cheese like Havarti is a great melter, but its low-key flavor isn’t going to shine through all that beautiful cornmeal. Choose a sharp cheddar or pepper jack to really stand out in this side dish.
Cast Iron Skillet vs. Casserole Dish
For cornbread, I always use a cast iron skillet. Cast iron can withstand super high temperatures, so I like to oil my skillet and preheat it alongside the oven. When I add my batter, it immediately starts to sizzle on the bottom, helping create a delicious crust on my bread. If you do not want to use cast iron for this recipe, you can use a casserole dish or a metal cake pan. Do not preheat those, though. Spray them with nonstick baking spray to ensure your cheddar scallion Southern cornbread doesn’t stick.
Cheddar scallion Southern cornbread is such a nice addition to a chili or stew dinner, but it’s also perfect on its own. The cheese and green onions really make it a tasty snack smeared with just a bit of butter.
Great New Year’s Day Recipes
Cheddar Scallion Southern Cornbread is a great side dish for New Year’s Day! Eat it on New Year’s Day along with these other traditional recipes:
Cheddar Scallion Southern Cornbread
- cast iron skillet
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 cup buttermilk
- 2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup sliced scallions
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Coat the inside of your cast iron skillet with the oil, making sure to get up the sides.
- Put your skillet into the oven, then preheat to 450 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
- Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients. Crack the egg into the well, whisking it to break up the yolk.
- Add the buttermilk to the well and stir to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
- Gently fold in the cheese and scallions.
- Carefully remove your skillet from the oven, then add your batter. Smooth it out with a spoon to make sure it reaches the edges of the skillet.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. If you use a casserole or muffin tin, you may need to adjust the time.
- Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cornbread and pulling it out. The toothpick should be warm but clean.
- Allow your cornbread to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- Your batter should be fairly thick. If it feels too thick, add more buttermilk a little at a time.
- Use sharp cheddar or pepperjack cheese. Grate the cheese yourself to avoid any coating on the cheese.
- To turn up the heat, add 1 tbsp minced fresh jalapeno pepper.
- If you choose to use a cake pan or casserole dish, you might need to adjust your cooking time by letting it go a little longer. The toothpick test is your fail-safe way to know when your cornbread is done.
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