Fennel-seed Skillet Cornbread

This foolproof recipe brings the earthiness of fennel seed to the buttery crumb of cornbread for a simple and elegant side dish. Try it slathered with a spread like our Charred Jalepeño with Lime Cream Cheese Spread or Honey-Lavender Whipped Cream Cheese Spread. Or, during the holidays, tear this cornbread into chunks for bread pudding or turkey stuffing.




8 to 10 pieces




  • 2 Tablespoons Challenge Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted and ground, plus a pinch of whole seed for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten


  • 1

    Preheat the oven to 425°F.

  • 2

    Melt the butter in a 9-10-inch cast-iron skillet. When butter is melted, pour into small cup or ramekin and reserve. Hold butter in a warm place so it does not begin to set. Set buttered skillet aside.

  • 3

    Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, ground fennel seed, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  • 4

    Add the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter and stir until just combined. Do not over-mix. The batter should be lumpy.

  • 5

    Pour the batter into the buttered skillet and sprinkle the top with a little salt and the whole fennel seeds.

  • 6

    Bake until the top is golden brown and a sharp knife or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

  • 7

    Remove from the oven, turn the cornbread out of the skillet, slice into wedges, and serve warm.

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