Should cornbread have sugar in the recipe?

A friend posted a note on Facebook about whether or not cornbread should have sugar in the recipe.

The obvious answer is no, but it got me to thinking: How many people have the wrong opinion about cornbread (Just kidding — I know everyone is entitled to their own cornpinion).

So, I figured I’d share my cornbread recipe, taught to me by the saintly Donna Kay Jones, my mother, in case you guys were in doubt about the validity of the excellence of non-sugared cornbread.

If you’d like to register your opinion, take our survey below the recipe.

Donna Kay’s Cornbread recipe


  • Two cups cornmeal mix (this is our favorite brand, but any will do)
  • About 1 cup milk (any variety, including soy, almond, 2 percent, skim, goat, etc.)
  • One egg
  • Mayonnaise (as much as it takes)
  • Some form of fat to grease your skillet with (any oil will work, but to use Donna Kay’s traditional recipe, use shortening).
  • Cast iron skillet


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, except for the mayo. Stir until it looks like cornbread batter (not too runny). Add two dollops of mayo (instead of oil. This makes the cornbread extra moist and not crumbly). Stir until it looks right again, adding extra milk or cornmeal mix as needed. Grease your skillet well, and pour in the mix. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Or use the traditional Donna Kay timer: When the young’uns have asked you when supper will be ready for the 15th time, snatch the skillet out of the oven and slam it on the table and tell them to “hush!”*

*I love you Momma!

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Melissa has a background in marketing, brand management, graphic design and photography. She left corporate America to pursue her dream of living a simpler life. Simpler doesn’t always mean easier but she enjoys every minute on her small homestead. She loves to cook, practice herbalism and gardening. Her passion is spreading the word about sustainable living and sharing her love of herbalism and living from scratch.

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