Retro - Hot Water Cornbread

cornbread grandma

It would not be a holiday without this dish on our table. It takes a bit of time, but like all good things it is worth it.

Hot Water Cornbread + Cornbread Dressing/Stuffing From Old-time Tennessee
From my grandmother Fannie Karnes Miller (1906-1998)

Hot Water Corn Bread
My grandmother always used Martha White corn meal and flour, because she knew owners, the Williams family, from our neighborhood.  

4 Cups Martha White Plain Enriched White Corn Meal
1 Teaspoon of salt
4 Tablespoons of Bacon Drippings
3 Cups Boiling Water

Heat Oven to 400ºF.  

Add dry ingredients to Boiling Water and Bacon Drippings.  Stir until all Bacon Drippings are melted.  Mix well.

Use more Bacon Drippings or Crisco shortening to grease a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Some folks add a spoon of sugar and a cup of flour and others preheat the skillet for a few minutes, but according to Fannie Karnes Miller, no need to do any of that.  

Pour in mixture and bake for 28 - 30 Minutes until lightly brown.

Set aside and let cool for at least 15 Minutes.  The center should be a bit moist.

Remember this is not to be stuffed into the bird, but served separately... a dressing.  And note, while cooking the turkey spoon off a half cup of the juice for the Stuffing.  

Cornbread Dressing (Or Stuffing)


6 Celery ribs chopped (Not too small... to save the crunch)
2 Large Onions chopped
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
2 Teaspoons of ground dried Sage
1/2 Teaspoon of ground Thyme
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
1/2 Teaspoon fine ground Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Turkey Juices
1 Can Chicken Broth

Pre-Heat oven to 375ºF.

Melt the Butter in an iron skillet on medium heat.  Add onions and celery.  Cook until tender, but the celery is still a bit crunchy.

Crumble the cornbread by hand to make about 6 - 7 Cups.  Combine in skillet with all spices and Turkey juices and Chicken broth.  

Mix well and put iron skillet in oven for about 45 Minutes.  Check until lightly browned. 

(For a great variation make oval patties from the same original mix.  Hold a couple of big spoons of the mix in one hand and bring the other hand together like a prayer.  Put the patties on a baking sheet in a 375ºF oven for about fifteen minutes.)