I Tried 9 Boxed Cornbread Mixes and Now This Is the Only One I’ll Buy

updated Nov 4, 2022
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Credit: Lauren Volo

Even though the humble cornbread is usually eaten as a side, it’s also something that just makes the main meal or dish shine even brighter. When was the last time you ate chili without it? Or had Thanksgiving dinner without a whole skillet of cornbread?

While it’s easy enough to make cornbread from scratch, sometimes you just want to skip the hassle of getting out the measuring cups and spoons, and just crack open a box of mix.

All mixes, however, are not created equal. Some produce bland results, while others are so sweet that they could easily stand in for birthday cake. I know this because I made the rounds to my local grocery stores in search of all the cornbread mixes I could find in scientific pursuit of the best one. 

How I Tested the Cornbread Mixes

I baked all the cornbread mixes in muffin cups, rather than baking pans or skillets, so that they would bake up faster and I could taste them all side-by-side at onces. I also used butter instead of oil to even the playing field, as some mixes specified butter instead of oil — and I firmly believe that butter makes any cornbread mix taste better.

I set up a blind tasting, gathered a few trusted testers, and we sampled the cornbread muffins after they had cooled. The differences ran the gamut — some were too dry, while others were a bit too bland and lacked the corn flavor I was expecting. One was deeply fragrant with vanilla and so sweet that it truly could’ve served as dessert. (I can totally see it working great in a fruit cobbler format, but it was too sweet and birthday cake-y to serve with dinner.)

Keep in mind that if you’re baking cornbread from a mix, you’re likely going to end up with something on the sweeter side, not the savory kind of cornbread that’s traditional in the South. But sweet cornbread is what most people seem to be searching for these days, as evidenced by all the mixes I found that had either sugar or honey powder in the mix. 

So which mix took first place?

Credit: Danielle Centoni

The Best Cornbread Mix: Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade Cornbread Baking Mix

Everyone kept coming back to this one, saying how much they loved it because it was perfectly balanced. It was on the sweet side, but not over-the-top, and the rich corn flavor really came through. It was moist and tender, not dry, but didn’t venture into birthday cake or breakfast muffin territory. It’s savory enough to stand up to a bowl of chili and would welcome a slather of butter and drizzle of honey, too. 

Credit: Danielle Centoni

Runner-Up: 365 by Whole Foods Market Cornbread And Muffin Mix

This one was a close second. Like Fleischmann’s, it offers a similarly balanced flavor profile that goes a little bigger on corn flavor and a tad lighter on sugar than the rest. Just keep in mind that it’s best made with butter even though the package specifies oil. 

Do you have a favorite cornbread mix? Tell us about it in the comments below!