Hot Water Cornbread

Hot water cornbread is a mixture of cornmeal, flour and boiling water mixed together, shaped into small patties and cooked in a skillet with hot oil. 

Hot Water Cornbread is a favorite in our house. I actually call it lazy cornbread because it only calls for a few ingredients and takes minimal time to make. It was about 30 years ago when I got my first taste of  these delicious cornbread patties and I've been making them ever since. 

Hot water cornbread is also known as corn pone, hoecakes, and poor mans cornbread because it doesn't require any baking powder, milk or eggs. Hot water cornbread was quite popular during the depression era. I wasn't around back then, but I did eat the meals my mother grew up on during the depression. 

Growing up I wasn't even aware that what I was eating was considered poor mans food, I just ate the meals that my mother prepared. Meals such as S.O.S, fried spam, fried hot dogs, potatoes and hot dogs, potato pancakes, fried spaghetti noodles, fried spam, cornbread, hot rice cereal, rice puddingchocolate gravy with biscuits, farina cookies and fried potatoes with eggs. 

We also rarely ate frosted cakes, but mom always made a marble or yellow pound cake for us kids. My parents raised four kids on a tight budget, but we always had a hot meal on the table. I still enjoy several of these dishes today, especially this cornbread and it's so simple to make. 

To make hot water cornbread a cornmeal mixture is mixed with boiling water to make a soft dough. 

The mixture needs to be the consistency of mashed potatoes. The dough is then formed into patties and fried in a skillet with hot oil. 

The result is golden cornbread patties that are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. 

Hot water cornbread is delicious served as a side with soups, red beans and rice, gumbo, pinto beans, greens and fried dishes.  

I hope you'll give this recipe a try. 

Yield: 12
Author: Tina Butler | Mommy's Kitchen
Hot Water Cornbread

Hot Water Cornbread

Hot water cornbread is a mixture of cornmeal, flour and boiling water mixed together, shaped into small patties and cooked in a skillet with hot oil.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 5 MinTotal time: 15 Min


  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water (start with 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil


  1. In a large bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar and softened butter.
  2. Stir in just enough boiling water until the batter sticks together. You want it to be the consistency of mashed potatoes.
  3. Heat oil in a cast iron pan or skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Wet your hands with cold water (so the batter does not stick) add about 2 tablespoons batter into the palm of your hand.
  5. Flatten the batter into a small pancake shape then gently drop into hot oil.
  6. Fry each cornbread until lightly brown and crisp; turn with a spatula, and then brown the other side about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Remove and drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
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Unknown said…
I made this using gluten free Bisquick instead of flour. It was good.
Tina Butler said…
That's good to know. I'm glad you liked it!
Unknown said…
Why mines separate when I put it in oil?
Tina Butler said…
You might of added too much water. You need to slowly add the hot water until the batter is the consistency of mashed potatoes or sticky sand. If you make it thin like cornbread batter it will just run all over the pan when you fry them.
Unknown said…
I was just looking for a good recipe on google and this one looks the best. Bisquick, Thanks for the tip.