How do I know when my cornbread is done?

Last Updated on May 24th, 2023

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Cornbread is a baked good usually made with cornmeal and baking powder. While cornbread is considered to be a staple for those within the southern regions of the United States, it actually originates in Native American cuisine.

When making cornbread, you can tell if it’s ready by the golden brown color of the bread and by testing the internal temperature. 

How long should you bake cornbread for, and should it be soft in the middle? Let’s discuss everything you need to know about baking your next batch of cornbread.

Cornbread slices - how do I know when it's done?

For how Long Should you Bake it?

The bake time for cornbread can vary depending on if you are using a family recipe or some easy box mix from the store. Generally, a typical cornbread recipe without special additives or extra ingredients will typically bake for an average of 20-25 minutes.

Other cornbread varieties, such as Mexican or Jalapeño cornbreads, will bake for a bit longer than average at around 30 minutes. It’s always fun to put a little spin on a good old cornbread recipe to explore new flavors and textures.


What Should it Look Like?

When cornbread is done, it should have a beautiful golden brown color, and if it’s still looking paler in color, it’s likely that it’s not done baking. If the color seems darker than golden brown, closer to a dark earthy soil in color, it’s likely that it’s baked for too long.

The cornbread should have slight crumbles as well as carry a good amount of moisture, and if the bread is too hard, it’s likely you have overcooked it. Adding oil and sour cream to your mixture before baking the cornbread will make it less likely to be dry and crumbly. 


Should you Poke it with a Fork?

Many will do the fork or toothpick test to ensure the bread is done all the way through the middle.

You can complete this test with your utensil of choice, whether that be a fork, butter knife, or even a toothpick. The idea behind it is that if the utensil comes out of the bread clean, it’s done.

If the utensil comes out of the bread with batter or an overwhelming amount of crumbs stuck to the utensil of choice, then it’s time to pop it back into the oven because it is not ready to serve. 


Is Cornbread Supposed to be Soft in the Middle?

Cornbread can be soft yet still hold its own structure. A moist cornbread is a good cornbread. If it’s too hard to crumble, it might indicate that the cornbread has been overcooked. 

If the cornbread is soft only directly in the middle, you might have to put it back in the oven until it gains more of a structure.

If the cornbread is so soft in the middle that it falls or seemingly deflates, and you’ve made it from scratch, you might have made an error within the measurements of your ingredients. Therefore, it might be important to double-check the recipe that you’ve chosen. 


Does Cornbread Continue to Cook While Resting?

When the cornbread rests, it means that you are giving the baked goods time to allow any baking powder to activate and bring in more air after taking it out of the oven. This is considered a part of the cooking process, so it’s important not to skip the resting step.

Overall you should always allow the cornbread to rest for at least 15-20 minutes. This will also allow the food to cool before serving. Others will say to serve it while it’s hot. However, the entirety of the ‘cooking’ process would then not be complete. 


Final Thoughts on Making Cornbread

Take a look at the color and consistency of the cornbread to understand if it is ready to be served. 

To do this, the fork or toothpick tests to see if the batter in the middle is too soft or not. It should be complete if you’ve baked the cornbread for at least 20-25 minutes unless you’ve added other ingredients.

Once baked thoroughly, always allow the cornbread to rest for at least 15-20 minutes, for this is still a part of the ‘cooking’ process, and it will not be completed until it’s cooled off. The middle of the cornbread should not be too soft but moist with a slight amount of crumbs.