Buttermilk cornbread is a staple during the holidays. Not only is it easy to make, it’s the perfect side dish for all your Thanksgiving favorites. The best buttermilk cornbread is dense but not dry and can hold up to gravy, turkey, stuffing, or any of your other holiday favorites.
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It’s crazy to think that Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. This is the first year that we’re spending the holiday in Arkansas since moving back from Florida.
Thanksgiving in Florida was different. It was hot and just the three of us. There was no need have the oven on all day and make a big meal with lots of leftovers. We’re excited to be back and enjoy time with family. That also means we’ll be doing a lot of cooking! In an effort to do some pre-Thanksgiving planning, John and I have already started working on the menu.
For almost a year now, I’ve been experimenting with pressure cooker recipes. If you follow along with our site, you may know that we have an entire category dedicated solely to pressure cooking. It made complete sense to add a few pressure cooker Thanksgiving recipes to the mix. An easy buttermilk cornbread recipe was a no brainer!
This buttermilk cornbread recipe makes a great Thanksgiving side dish. It’s a modified version of our spicy jalapeno cornbread. If you haven’t tried it, make it some day with a bowl of chili! You’ll be glad you did.
The original version is made in the oven and has cheddar cheese and jalapenos. The recipe we’re making for Thanksgiving is made in a pressure cooker, so it’s technically steamed, not baked. Let me just put this disclaimer out there now. I’m in no way saying the pressure cooker method is faster, but it is a huge space saver in regards to the oven! I’ll explain in more detail in a bit.
One of my favorite parts of this recipe are the ingredients. I used several Hiland Dairy products including their whole milk, buttermilk, and butter. The flavor of Hiland Dairy is wonderful, and the ingredients work great in this cornbread.
How to Make Cornbread in the Pressure Cooker:
Start off by mixing the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Use a whisk make sure they’re well combined with no lumps. Set that bowl aside, and grab a second small to medium-sized bowl for the wet ingredients.
In the small bowl, add the milk, buttermilk, and egg. Whisk to combine. Make sure the egg is fully beaten into the milk mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to stir until the ingredients become the consistency of pancake batter.
Next, add the melted butter. I like to wait until the very end to add the butter that way there’s less of a chance that it will scramble the egg. Give the batter a good stir, so the melted butter gets mixed into the other ingredients.
It seems that a lot of people like to use spring form pans for baking in pressure cookers. Spring form pans are probably my least favorite, because they have a tendency to leak. Here’s the pan I prefer for this recipe. It’s a 7 x 3-inch cake pan. This cornbread recipe cooks evenly every time, and it’s never gotten stuck, which is a huge plus! Of course, I spray the pan generously with cooking spray, just in case.
Pour the batter right in, and wrap the top of the pan in aluminum foil. Next, make a foil sling for easy removal of the pan from the pressure cooker. Place a trivet into the pressure cooker, and add two cups of water. I like to use this trivet, since it lets the pan sit above the water and not in it.
Carefully lower the cake pan onto the trivet. Close the lid, and set the valve to sealing. Use the manual/pressure cook button to set the time for 35 minutes on high pressure. After the time is up, allow a natural pressure release. I’ll be honest here. I’ve done this a couple of different ways. I’ve released the pressure at 30 minutes and at 40 minutes, both times were before the pin dropped on its own.
The results were the same both times. The only minor difference was that the 30 minute natural release looked wetter on the top, although the cornbread was still cooked through.
Remove the cornbread from the pressure cooker, and leave it in the pan for another 10-15 minutes. Run a knife between the cornbread and the pan to loosen any edges. Place a plate or cooking rack over the cake pan, and carefully flip the pan upside down. The cornbread should release without any issues.
The buttermilk cornbread can be served immediately, or it can be saved until a later time.
Tips for Making the Best Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe:
- I mentioned above that I used Hiland Dairy products for this recipe. I do recommend full-fat dairy products, and Hiland Dairy offers a lot of great options. Full-fat dairy helps keep this cornbread moist and tender. Dry cornbread is a big no for me, so using full-fat milk and buttermilk is a must! Click here to find a Hiland Dairy location near you. While you’re there, be sure to take the holiday style quiz and enter for the $300 gift card!
- This cornbread recipe is so easy to customize. Spice it up with some chiles or jalapenos. Make it cheesy with your favorite cheddar, or add some sweetness with a local honey. However you like your cornbread, this is a great base recipe.
- Check out the pan and trivet I linked to above. If you decide to use a springform pan instead, make sure it doesn’t leak. Additionally, make sure the trivet sets high enough to keep the pan out of water.
- For the oven version of this recipe, check out our Spicy Jalapeno Cornbread. It’s just as tasty with a kick!
Now, I did give a disclaimer about this not being faster than the oven. My thought is this. When you’re cooking for a crowd on Thanksgiving morning, the oven is already going to be full of turkey, dressing, stuffing, casseroles, pies, cakes, and so many other dishes. There’s really no need to add one more thing. Use the pressure cooker for this one.
YES, it DOES take more time, but set it out of the way and listen for the timer. If it goes into a full natural release of 40 or so minutes, it’s not going to hurt the cornbread. We all know how hectic Thanksgiving cooking can be. At least it won’t burn if it goes a couple minutes over, just don’t leave it in the cooker forever.
If you’re looking for some other Thanksgiving recipes, check back over the next few weeks for some new ones that we’ll post. In the meantime, here are some reader favorites from the last couple of years.
Pressure Cooker Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe
- 1 Cup Cornmeal
- 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (1 Stick)
- 1/2 Cup Full-fat Buttermilk
- 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Large Egg
- Spray a 7 x 3-inch round cake pan generously with cooking spray. (See the link in the post for the pan we used.) Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a microwave safe container, melt the butter. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, milk, and egg.
- Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. They batter should resemble pancake batter. Add the melted butter and mix well until all the butter is incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the greased cake pan, and cover with aluminum foil. Place a trivet in the inner liner of the pressure cooker. Then add 2 cups of water. Using a foil sling, carefully lower the cake pan onto the trivet.
- Close the lid and turn the valve to sealing. Use the manual/pressure cook button and set the timer to 35 minutes on high pressure. After the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. (I've waited as long as 30 minutes before opening the valve.)
- Open the lid, and use the sling to carefully remove the cake pan from the pressure cooker. Set the pan on a heat-safe surface, and allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Use a knife to run along the edges of the pan to loosen the cornbread. Place a serving platter or plate over the pan, and flip it over. The cornbread should come right out.
- Serve the cornbread immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.