Old-Fashioned Hot-Water Cornbread

Old fashioned hot water corn bread

The Spruce


Ratings (85)
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 cakes (4 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
167 Calories
7g Fat
23g Carbs
2g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This basic hot water cornbread is shaped into cakes and fried in hot fat in a skillet. The hot fat can be shortening or vegetable oil, but bacon drippings would add some very nice flavor.

Hot water cornbread is also known as corn pone, hoe cakes, or corn dodgers. The corn cakes are an old-time Southern staple. Some people use self-rising cornbread mix in the cakes, and some add a small amount of flour or sugar. This version is very basic. No flour, no baking powder — just cornmeal, water, and salt. For fluffier fried corn cakes, try these corn oysters or cornmeal pancakes.

Serve the cornbread cakes with maple syrup or cane syrup. They would be great with sorghum molasses as well and would work as a side bread with chili or beans.



  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 3/4 cup water (boiling)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (or oil for frying; use bacon drippings if you have them)

Steps to Make It

Melt shortening in a heavy iron skillet.

Place cornmeal and salt in a bowl.

Pour boiling water over meal and salt.

Add melted shortening; stir well.

When the mixture is cool enough to handle, divide it into four portions.

Shape each into a cornbread cake about 3/4-inch thick.

Heat about 1/4-inch of shortening or oil in the skillet over medium heat.

Place corn cakes in the hot oil and fry until browned, turning to brown both sides, about 4 to 6 minutes.

Tips and Variations

Add a few tablespoons of chopped green chile peppers to the cornmeal mixture.

To lighten the texture slightly, replace 2 tablespoons of cornmeal with 2 tablespoons of flour.

Add a few tablespoons of crumbled cooked bacon to the cornmeal mixture.