Campfire Cast Iron Cornbread


It doesn't get better than a deep pan of cornbread cooked over coals in a cast-iron skillet old-timey style. Here's my own super-moist recipe, with additional instructions if you prefer to use your oven. Serve with butter, honey, your favorite jam, or molasses.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
40 mins
Additional Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
8 servings


  • 2 tablespoons lard, or as needed

  • 1 cup cornmeal

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • ¼ cup melted butter

  • 2 large eggs

  • ¼ cup sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Optional)


  1. You will need a cast iron chicken frying pan with a lid and a few iron S-hooks to raise the pan up off the ground.

  2. Build a campfire with wood and allow the fire to burn until you have some good embers going. Add a layer of coal. Rake the coals into a flat bed on one side of the fire. Completely grease the inside of the cast iron pan and the lid with lard. Set the pan next to the fire on some coals to preheat for 10 to 15 minutes.

  3. Sift cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Make a hole in the middle of the mixture. Add buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract into the hole. Stir together until a lumpy batter forms, but don't overmix. Allow batter to sit while you check the pan; grease should not be smoking but only be hot and melted. If it is smoking, remove from heat and cool down until it no longer smokes. Pour batter into the hot pan and cover with the lid.

  4. Place a very thin layer of embers on the ground and use the S hooks to raise the bottom of the pan and allow air to circulate. Place about 1/3 of the amount of embers you used underneath on the top of the pan. Bake without removing the lid until cornbread is cooked through and a toothpick comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.

Cook's Notes:

If you don't have buttermilk, use 1 cup milk and sour it by adding 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice.

If you like to bake it in the oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place cornbread in the oven without a lid and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

301 Calories
12g Fat
42g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 301
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 69mg 23%
Sodium 507mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 168mg 13%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 137mg 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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