Bacon cornbread

Southerners continue to debate the perfect cornbread recipe – with or without eggs, flour or sugar – but the idea of adding bacon is always a winner. If you’re vegetarian, this version is just as good without the meat. 

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes
  • Total time: 45 minutes 45 minutes

Serves: 8


75g smoked bacon rashers
150g polenta
150g plain flour
1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1⁄2 tsp baking powder
284ml tub buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp maple syrup
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp maple syrup 


1 Preheat the oven to 200 ̊C, gas mark 6. Chop the bacon as finely as possible (use scissors if it’s easier). Fry in a 20cm ovenproof frying pan until golden – about 5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and dry on kitchen paper; set the pan aside. 

2 In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. In a separate jug, beat the buttermilk, egg and maple syrup, then whisk into the dry ingredients along with the bacon bits. Stir through 3 tbsp melted butter until combined.

3 Add the remaining 1 tbsp butter to any leftover bacon fat in the frying pan; heat until foaming. Tip in the batter and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon; bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the glaze by melting the butter and maple syrup together.

4 Brush ½ the glaze over the top of the cornbread, then return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush over the remaining glaze and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing into wedges and serving while still warm.