Cast iron skillet cornbread with blueberries and baked until golden brown. Whole wheat quick bread cooks in a pan for crisp edges, but with a moist cake center. Cornmeal adds a crunchy texture with each slice.
Skillet cornbread is the best way to combine two of the tastiest summer ingredients, corn, and blueberries! I am a sucker for freshly baked cake, especially when it combines nutritious ingredients like whole wheat flour and antioxidant rich fruit.
There is something so comforting and rustic about baking bread in a cast iron skillet versus glass or metal pan. Pre-heating a sizzling hot pan creates crunchy golden brown edges almost immediately. The batter then continues to bake in the oven until the rest of the cake is soft and tender. The cornmeal adds tiny bits of crunchiness to give the quick bread, which complements the whole grain flour nicely.
How to make skillet cornbread
Using corn meal, flour, milk, eggs, butter and leavening agents as the base, you can then add any extra ingredients that you like to your cornbread. Here are the essential steps for baking the batter in a skillet:
- Pan Selection: Heavy cast iron pans have excellent heat retention properties for cooking. They require extra attention to prevent from rusting in between cooking by seasoning the pan with oil. The pan is preheated in a hot oven before baking, and then butter is added to season the pan. This creates a nonstick surface for the batter mixture and adds a nutty browned butter flavor! This step is essential for even cooking, texture development, and easy release of the cake from the pan.
- Leavening Agents: Cornbread is a fast and simple “quick bread” that doesn’t require yeast leavening. It uses baking powder, baking soda, and eggs as its leavening agent to instantly make the batter rise in the presence of water and high heat conditions.
- Mix-In’s: Blueberries have fresh sweet flavors and add a beautiful contrast of color in the golden bread. As the berries cook in the batter, they become plump, juicy and almost burst with each bite. You can instead add cheese, bacon, or jalapeños for a more savory cornbread flavor.
I have four sizes of Lodge cast iron pans that I purchased to serve different uses (5, 8, 10, and 12 inch – I call them: baby, sister, brother, and BIG momma).
They are affordable at $10-30 depending on the size and are quite versatile. These skillets can be used for cooking savory dishes, desserts, baking, grilling, and frying.
The great thing about cast iron pans is that they last forever, I’m sure in many families some have been passed down from grandmas to younger generations! You just have to make sure you clean and store them properly, because they can rust if water is left in the pan after cleaning.
I’m not shy about slathering each slice with softened butter and some honey. I served this blueberry cornbread side dish with my Memphis-style barbecue pork ribs and All-American potato salad. Everyone was incredibly stuffed and happy!
How to properly clean and store my cast iron pans
The pans from Lodge come pre-seasoned as the company has vegetable oil baked onto the iron at a high temperature. Seasoning creates the natural, easy-release properties. The more you cook, the better it gets. You should always hand wash the pan with a soft sponge and mild soap, then dry immediately to prevent rust. After drying, rub the pan with a light coat of vegetable oil after every wash, enough to restore the sheen without being too sticky. If rust does occur, just scour the rust, rinse, dry and rub with vegetable oil. According to Lodge, because you create, maintain, and even repair the seasoning, your cookware could last 100 years or more!