Old-Fashioned Hot-Water Cornbread

Old fashioned hot water corn bread

The Spruce


  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
167 Calories
7g Fat
23g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 167
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 10%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 593mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 2g
Calcium 7mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(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, hoecakes, 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
  • 1 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

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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  2. Melt shortening in a heavy iron skillet.

    melt butter
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  3. Place cornmeal and salt in a bowl.

    mix cornbread and salt
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  4. Pour boiling water over meal and salt.

    add boiling water
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  5. Add melted shortening; stir well.

    add butter and stir
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  6. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, divide it into four portions.

    divide the mixture
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  7. Shape each into a cornbread cake about 3/4-inch thick.

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

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

  10. Enjoy!


  • Regular or self-rising cornmeal mix may be used in the recipe. For fluffier corn cakes, replace 3 to 4 tablespoons of the cornmeal with self-rising flour.

Recipe Variations

  • Add a few tablespoons of chopped green chile peppers to the cornmeal mixture.
  • Add a few tablespoons of crumbled cooked bacon to the cornmeal mixture.
  • Fry the corn cakes in bacon drippings.