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How to Make Hot Water Cornbread – Depression Era Recipe

Watch the How to Make Hot Water Cornbread – Depression Era Recipe video

Learn how to make Hot Water Cornbread with this Depression Era Recipe. Learning the techniques of Depression Era Cooking saves you money and makes good use of your pantry staples and food storage.

Affiliates note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My content may contain affiliate links to products and services. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. It does not affect the price you pay.

Sweet or Savory Cornbread?

When I first moved to Texas, I was surprised by the cornbread that was served here. Being a Yankee from New York 😉 , I was used to eating a sweetly flavored cake with a light texture. But the first time I tried cornbread in Texas, it was a dense, savory bread with corn kernels. And it had jalapeños in it too! What a surprise that was!

Hot Water Cornbread

In addition to both the sweet and savory cornbreads, there is a third type of cornbread called Hot Water Cornbread. This recipe’s origin goes far back in history to the native people of the Americas, and it has had a lasting impact throughout history. Thanks to the recipe’s simple list of common and affordable ingredients, many home cooks prepared Hot Water Cornbread during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

A Variety of Preparations

If you talk to home cooks throughout the southern United States, each one will have their own unique recipe for Hot Water Cornbread. Some cooks will add a bit of sugar, while others will add a bit of flour—or sometimes both. Some will use self-rising cornmeal, while others will add a pinch of baking powder to their plain cornmeal.

And then there is the most simple of all recipes, which is a mixture of cornmeal, salt, lard, and of course…hot water! That’s what I share with you in my recipe video and printable recipe.

But whatever variation you use to make this cornbread, it will be a tasty treat that is tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside with a rich corn flavor. Eat the plain cornbread right out of the frying pan, or add a dollop of butter, jam, or maple syrup.

Now that you know how to make Hot Water Cornbread, try your hand at more easy meals that use other pantry staples that most of us always have on hand.

If you would like to try a whole grain sweet cornbread, be sure to try my favorite skillet version. It’s foolproof and doubles the nutrition by using whole grains!

And if you’re looking for ways to reuse and regrow your kitchen scraps for future meals, watch the videos below to help you create a recurring harvest. Regrowing scraps provides you with fresh and nutritious ingredients for your modern-day or Depression Era recipes.

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Hot Water Cornbread – Depression Era Recipe

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Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Learn how to make this simple cornbread that makes great use of your pantry staples and food storage.


  • 2 cups Cornmeal For variations, see Recipe Notes below.
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Lard
  • 2 cups Boiling water
  • Additional lard for frying


  • To a large bowl, add cornmeal and salt and mix well.
  • To the cornmeal and salt mixture, add the lard and 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Mix well until the cornmeal is fully saturated.
  • To create a loose "pancake" batter, slowly add the remaining water to the mixture until you obtain the desired texture.
  • Heat approximately 2 tablespoons of lard in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Once the fat is melted and sizzling, but not smoking, using a 1/4 cup measure pour 4 dollops ("pancakes") of the batter into the hot melted lard and fry each "pancake" for approximately 5 minutes on each side.
  • Once fried, transfer each "pancake" to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Continue to fry all the batter in 1/4 cup dollops, adding additional lard to the frying pan as necessary, until you finish all the batter.
  • Serve warm plain or topped with butter, jam, or maple syrup. Enjoy!



If you want to use Self-Rising Cornmeal, but do not have any, you can make it by taking 1 cup of cornmeal and to it add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and a 1/2 tsp salt. Mix well.
If you are using plain cornmeal and also want to add baking powder to the original recipe, you will 3 teaspoons of baking powder. 
If you want to add additional ingredients to the basic Hot Water Cornbread above, you can also add up to 2 tablespoons of sugar and up to 1/4 cup of all purpose flour. If you are using plain cornmeal and also want to add baking powder to the original recipe, you will need to add 3 teaspoons of baking powder. 
You can find this recipe and accompanying video at
Copyright © 2020 Mary’s Nest, LLC, All Rights Reserved
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Americana
Keyword: Cornbread, Hot Water Cornbread, How Water Cornbread Cakes
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Disclaimer:I am not a medical doctor, a medical professional, a dietician, or a nutritionist. All content found on the website, including text, images, videos, eBooks or eGuides, social media, or other formats, were created solely for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or proper nutritional advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have watched in a video or read on this website. Use caution when following the recipe in this video. The creator and publisher of this video and website will not be held responsible for any adverse effects that may arise from the use of this recipe and method or any other recipe and method on this website or corresponding video channel.

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  1. Lgriff says:

    Delicious! I make mine with chicken or beef both in place of water ! Wow, so good served as Mary described! Thank you Mary for your great recipe.

    1. Mary's Nest says:

      Hi Lgriff,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. Great idea to use broth instead of water. I’m so glad you enjoyed the cornbread!

      Love and God bless,

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