Old-Fashioned Corn Pone

updated Sep 6, 2023

Serve these old-fashioned cornmeal cakes with butter and jam or braised greens.


Prep5 minutes

Cook6 minutes to 7 minutes

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Old-fashioned corn pone is a classic Southern side dish that has stood the test of time. The simple cornmeal pancakes are fried in a skillet (in bacon fat!) until crisp and golden. Made from just four ingredients, these corny cakes are welcome at breakfast or as a starchy side to serve with savory stews come dinnertime.

Credit: Kristina Vanni

What Are the Main Ingredients in Corn Pone?

You don’t need much to whip up a batch of corn pone. These skillet cakes are made from cornmeal, salt, water, and bacon grease.

  • Cornmeal: Choose a fine or medium grind of stone-ground cornmeal (white or yellow, both work well) instead of machine-milled meal. Mass-produced cornmeal lends a gritty, sandy texture to the cornmeal. With an ingredient list this short, using quality cornmeal is of utmost importance. If you can’t find stone-ground cornmeal in your grocery store, order it from a reputable source like Logan Turnpike, Anson Mills, or Palmetto Farms.
  • Bacon fat (or oil): Rendered bacon fat adds smoky, salty flavor to the corn cakes. If your grease can is empty, substitute with an equal amount of vegetable oil.
Credit: Kristina Vanni

What Is the Difference Between Corn Pone and Cornbread?

Corn pone is a variation on cornbread, with a thick and soft dough made from just cornmeal, water, and salt. The dough is shaped into individual patties and cooked in a skillet of hot bacon grease.

  • Cornbread is made with cornmeal, eggs, milk (or buttermilk), butter, leavening, and sometimes all-purpose flour and sugar. The batter is baked in the oven until it has a light, fluffy, and crumbly texture.
  • Corn pone is shaped into flattened cakes, then fried in a skillet (or in some recipes, baked). It’s thicker and more dense than cornbread.

How Do You Serve Corn Pone?

Corn pone can be served as a sweet or savory side dish. Drizzle the corn pone patties with honey or maple syrup, or dress them up with homemade honey butter. For a savory side, spread the corn cakes with salted butter and serve with braised collard greens, Brunswick stew, or rich sausage gravy.

Corn Pone Recipe

Serve these old-fashioned cornmeal cakes with butter and jam or braised greens.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 6 minutes to 7 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info



  1. Place 1 cup medium or fine stone-ground cornmeal and 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add 1/2 cup hot water and stir until a soft, thick dough forms. The dough should be able to shape into a disk and hold an indentation when pressed with a finger. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

  2. Divide the dough into 4 (1/4-cup) portions (about 2 ounces each). Form each into a 4-inch-wide, 1/4-inch-thick patty. Place on a plate.

  3. Heat 1/4 cup bacon grease or vegetable oil in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the patties and cook until golden-brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until the second side is browned, 2 to 3 minutes more. Meanwhile, line the plate with paper towels.

  4. Transfer the corn pones with a flat spatula or slotted spoon to the plate.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.