France has their baguette. Italy has focaccia. In Ethiopia, you can enjoy injera. In the US, we have cornbread.
While it’s true that cornbread doesn’t seem much and can’t compete with the delicious and intricately created breads from different parts of the world, it’s one proof that something delectable can be made out of humble ingredients when used right.
And the craving for this simple yet fantastic bread is ingrained in most of us. And this is most especially true for the people in the South who will never eat their barbecued meat without cornbread on the side.
But did you know that there are plenty of dishes you can serve with cornbread aside from the usual Southern BBQ meat?
Yes, there are! We’ve rounded up all of the best delicious pairings in this article—from the sides to toppings to main dishes!
- Top Side Dishes to Pair With Cornbread
- The Best Main Dishes to Serve With Cornbread
- The Must-Try Toppings With Cornbread
- Wrapping It Up
So are you ready to be a-maized? If so, let’s get started!
Top Side Dishes to Pair With Cornbread
Of course, we’ll begin with the side dishes or starters!
If you’re planning a family dinner or just a simple family gathering and you want everyone to have a bite of your favorite cornbread recipe, we suggest starting the meal with these side dishes that you can serve with cornbread:
1. Chicken Soup
If you want to enjoy the ultimate Southern comfort food combination, pair your cornbread with a piping hot bowl of hearty chicken soup. The richness of the soup goes oh so well with the fluffiness and sweetness of the cornbread.
Pro Tip: For a different take on this classic combination, try serving your chicken soup with cornbread dumplings.
You can make the dumplings by mixing flour, cornmeal, baking powder, milk, egg, and oil and form the mixture into a bowl.
2. Kale Soup
While cornbread and soup make a perfect combo, please note that not all soups pair well with cornbread. But if there’s one type of soup you should put in your book, it’s no other than vegetable soup.
Kale soup is one of the best recommendations since it’s easy to make, plus kale is one superfood you should add to your diet. (*)
Just sauté kale, carrots, potatoes, and onions to make kale soup. Once done, add vegetable broth and let it cook for 15 minutes.
Pro Tip: To make the soup creamy, you can add either cream cheese or sour cream.
Here’s another Southwestern combo you wouldn’t want to miss out on—cornbread and chili!
If you feel like the flavors of chili are a bit overwhelming for you, a bit of cornbread will give your taste buds the break it needs without totally neutralizing chili’s flavors. Instead, the sweetness of the bread will just make all the fantastic flavors come together to give you one unforgettable dining experience.
Pro Tip: Break the bread into cornbread chunks and dip it into the chili to enjoy all of the amazing flavors in just one bite!
4. Baked Beans
Same with cornbread, almost all regions in the US have their version of a beans dish. That’s why it doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s one of the most popular combinations all over the US.
But if you ask us, the best version that we’ve tried so far is baked beans. Baking the beans gives them a chewy texture which provides an exciting contrast against the bread’s fluffiness.
Pro Tip: You can also choose to smoke the beans in a cast iron skillet to give the dish a smoky flavor.
5. Sour Soups
Do you love sour soups, but it seems like it lacks a specific flavor? Well, cornbread might give you the flavor that you’re looking for.
Sour soups are not that common, and they are often made with either lemon juice or vinegar, which give it its distinct sour taste.
When you take a bit of cornbread and a sip of sour soup after, you’ll be amazed at how the sweetness of the cornbread balances the soup’s sour taste.
6. Taco Soup
While only a few people love sour soups, many can’t get their hands off taco soup.
After all, what’s not to like? It has an intense flavor from the chilies, onions, and seasonings. But more than that, its’ quite filling and satisfying, thanks to its meats and beans content.
Same with chili soups, the sweetness of cornbread can also balance out all of its complex flavors.
The Best Main Dishes to Serve With Cornbread
How about the main dishes? What the main dish goes with cornbread?
Since cornbread is like a blank canvass, you can pair it with lots of main dishes—from chicken to pork to veggies to beef and many more. Here are some of the best examples:
7. Fried Chicken
Ahhh. Cornbread and fried chicken—the one combination you probably already expected to see in the list. And we didn’t disappoint, right?
This match works so well because the crunch of the chicken’s skin complements the fluffiness of the cornbread—very much like the chicken and waffles partnership. Plus, their flavors make the duo the perfect candidate if you’re craving a sweet and savory meal.
Pro Tip: For a healthier version of this classic combo, try roasted chicken with cornbread stuffing.
If you want to serve cornbread with something nutritious yet delicious, greens are your best bets! Some of the best options are collard greens, spinach, and kale.
You’ll love this because preparing greens is easy because of their versatility. Just make sure to sprinkle them with enough salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Pro Tip: Use olive oil for roasted greens so that you can unleash the delicious flavors of the greens.
9. Roasted Veggies
In addition to greens, you can serve cornbread with roasted vegetables. Any veggie works, but our favorite is no other than Brussels sprout.
It’s so easy to make too! You just need to coat the brussels sprouts with salt, pepper, and oil, then roast them for a few minutes. To make the dish more hearty and savory, you can top it off with crumbled bacon bits.
Pro Tip: If you want a more flavorful veggie dish, go for buttered veggies. The creamy flavor of the vegetables matches the sweetness of cornbread pretty well.
10. Southern BBQ Meat
Another Southern tradition that you may want to try is serving cornbread with BBQ meat.
There’s just something about taking a bite of a good chunk of meat smothered with sticky and sweet bbq sauce then enjoying a serving of a fluffy and sweet cornbread afterward.
If you want to enjoy a well-rounded meal, add more side dishes like collard greens or baked beans.
Pro Tip: For the ultimate Southern affair, try to serve cornbread with bbq ribs.
11. Hot dogs
Do you love corndogs? Well, eating hot dogs together with cornbread is like enjoying a deconstructed corndog!
If you’re planning to serve cornbread for breakfast, hotdogs or sausages are the perfect matches! Serve it with hot sauce if you want to enjoy a complete flavor profile.
Pro Tip: If you want an easy corndog recipe, you can use cornbread mixture to coat your hotdogs on a stick, and deep fry them to perfection!
12. Roast Duck
Thanks to the fried chicken and cornbread combo, we realized one thing—cornbread complements poultry dishes pretty well. That’s why you should also serve cornbread with roast duck.
Roast duck is a savory dish that usually comes with many sweet sauces. This is why you can also take advantage of cornbread’s sweetness to cut through the duck’s saltiness. The final result? You get the right balance between sweet and savory flavors.
Pro Tip: The perfect match for cornbread is a roast duck with citrus-based sauces.
13. Chicken Pot Pie
Just imagine the warmth, creaminess, and richness of chicken pot pie and the sweetness and velvety, buttery goodness of chicken pot pie? You’re drooling right now, aren’t you? Well, so are we!
Pro Tip: Serve this with a pitcher of iced, so you have something refreshing to was all the flavors down.
14. Roasted Turkey
Are you looking for a Thanksgiving side dish other than mashed potatoes? You may want to try the cornbread. As mentioned, poultry dishes go well with cornbread, and your favorite Thanksgiving oven-roasted turkey is not an exception!
You can also prepare Roasted turkey with cornbread stuffing if you want to serve something unique for Thanksgiving Day.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have the time to prepare an entire Turkey, you can roast Turkey breast instead and serve it with crumbled cornbread on the side.
15. Beef Stew
Cornbread goes well with chilis and soups, so it just makes sense that it can be the perfect match for stews as well.
If you’re craving something warm yet filling, try to serve cornbread with beef stew. Compared to chilis and soup, it has a thicker consistency and is loaded with great fiber and protein sources like beef chunks, potatoes, onions, and carrots.
Since cornbread originated from the South, it makes sense to pair it with another southern favorite like Jambalaya.
This flavorful rice dish contains lots of interesting ingredients—okra, jalapeños, crushed tomatoes, shrimp, andouille sausage, shrimp, chicken, onions, and many more. All of which work together to create a unique flavor that perfectly complements the sweetness of cornbread.
Do you have leftover cornbread batter? Well, you can turn it into a casserole dish instead of serving it as a side dish. In this way, it can be the start of your meal.
The good news is we have plenty of creative cornbread casserole recipes that you can try. Here are two of them:
– Baked beans, cornbread casserole
Spread the baked beans on your casserole, and then pour your cornbread mix over it. Top it off with sausage slices and a drizzle of maple syrup before baking.
– Corn Casserole
Here’s one casserole recipe that will undoubtedly be a hit at your dinner parties. The casserole contains cornbread, creamed corn, and dairy and is the perfect side dish for your roasted turkey.
The Must-Try Toppings With Cornbread
Well, what if you want to eat cornbread alone, but you’d love to add some flavors to it? Add toppings!
What topping goes with cornbread? Here are some of the best toppings that you should try:
18. Ice Cream
The fluffy texture of cornbread is an excellent pairing to the thickness of ice cream. But, if you’re worried that cornbread topped with ice cream can get too sweet, don’t. Cornbread has just the right level of sweetness that can allow the flavors of ice cream to come to life.
Pro Tip: Try topping cornbread with corn ice cream. That’s how the Mexicans do it!
And for a sweet and savory treat, try topping your cornbread with cheese.
But what cheese goes with cornbread? The good news is you can use any type of cheese, so go ahead and add your favorite cheese.
Some of our best bets are sharp cheddar cheese, gruyere, pepper jack, and cottage cheese.
Pro Tip: You can also add grated cheese in your cornbread batter before making cornbread.
If there’s one thing we learned about pairing cheese and cornbread, it’s this: dairy products taste good with cornbread.
So if you wish to serve cornbread for breakfast, serve it with milk.
Pro Tip: You can dunk cornbread in milk (just like Oreo!), so it can soak up the dairy goodness!
Adding melted butter to cornbread will add richness to this mild-tasting bread. However, if you like eating sweet and salty dishes, go for salted butter.
Pro Tip: Top it off with jam because butter and jam make the perfect sweet and salty combo.
Since cornbread is already sweet, make sure to go for less sugary jams like orange, fig, and raspberry.
You’ve tried sweet and salty, but have you tried sweet and spicy? Now, that’s one flavor profile you wouldn’t want to miss out on!
Mixing cornbread batter with jalapeños and paprika will undoubtedly satisfy your spicy cravings.
Pro Tip: Use roasted jalapeños so you can inject a smoky flavor into your meal.
Sometimes, you just need to keep things simple, and nothing can be simpler than drizzling cornbread with honey. We don’t need to say more. Just give it a try, and you won’t regret it. Promise!
Pro Tip: Add fruits to make the meal more filling and delectable.
Wrapping It Up
Determining what to eat with cornbread is a piece of cake. But, thanks to the bread’s neutral taste, it goes well with just about all types of food.
We hope that with this list of main dishes, toppings, and soups, you can be able to learn what dish you would like to serve with cornbread on your next meal.
So which one is your favorite? Did we miss out on other perfect pairings? If so, please let us know in the comments section!