Sweet Cornbread with Strawberries & Strawberry Compound Butter

March 3, 2022

Cornbread is a universal food. You can serve it for brunch, for a snack, as a side dish, or now, even with dessert if you add in some berries. It doesn’t matter at which meal you are enjoying your sweet cornbread with strawberries, just be sure not to forget the strawberry compound butter on top!

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There’s a pretty simple story behind this recipe, and it started with an overabundance of strawberries. Thanks to peak Florida strawberry season I may have to admit that I’ve been buying and eating a lot of berries. But it’s okay, when you have plenty of delicious treats to make with them.

Corn and strawberry together was a new flavor combination for me, but it works well. The addition of vanilla Greek yogurt in the cornbread batter helps make these into sweet and moist little bites. Plus you can’t beat the gorgeous presentation of well-arranged strawberries.

What You Need to Get Started

You can easily find all of the ingredients for this sweet cornbread with strawberries at your grocery store:

Let’s Make Sweet Strawberry Cornbread

This recipe comes together pretty quickly. Despite a couple unique ingredients that don’t usually find themselves in a cornbread, it’s a pretty basic recipe. Before you get started, be sure to preheat your oven, and prepare an eight-inch square baking dish by greasing it.

Next, it’s time to macerate the strawberries. If you are working with small-to-medium-sized berries, hulling and then halving them should work fine. However, if you find a few extra large ones, you may want to quarter or slice them about a quarter inch think.

Toss the berries up with some brown sugar. This will help the fruit release some of its own juices. Then that liquid helps to soften up the berries slightly. Set the bowl aside while you prepare the cornbread batter.

If you want to work ahead, this is a step you can do in advance, since berries can macerate overnight.

Meanwhile, to make the sweet cornbread, you’ll be mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately before combining everything together. This helps to prevent the baking powder from activating too early, and releasing air bubbles before they are able to get trapped in the baking batter.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder together. The brown sugar here complements the flavors of the strawberries, and brings a little extra moisture to the batter overall. Cornstarch will help with the texture, or crumb, of the finished bread, making it nice and tender.

Whisk to combine everything into a nice, uniform mixture.

Then it’s time to do the same with the wet ingredients: vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla Greek yogurt. I like the texture that oil brings to a cornbread, allowing for a finer and denser crumb. Similar to the cornstarch, it helps make things even more tender.

The Greek yogurt helps with moisture as well, but also provides some additional flavor. Personally, I liked the way that vanilla tied the flavors of the corn and strawberries together. However, you can use strawberry or other flavors. Feel free to experiment and see what you get!

If you decide to use plain Greek yogurt, it may not be as sweet as its flavored counterparts. Add an extra teaspoon of sugar to the dry ingredients before mixing for a little extra sweet goodness.

Whisk the wet ingredients together until they are smooth and the eggs are completely beaten. Then, add the whole mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Add the milk at this point too, which will help the batter come together nicely.

Gently fold the wet and dry together to prevent over-mixing. Ideally, you will want to do this just until everything is combined into a thick and grainy batter. It’s ready as soon as there are no large pockets of dryness or streaks of flour when folding. Some lumps are okay.

Finally, transfer the cornbread batter into your prepared baking pan. Use your flexible spatula to help spread it around into an even layer.

Now it’s time to rescue those strawberries from their brown-sugar bath. There should be a small amount of syrup at the bottom of the bowl, and the berries will be bright red, glossy, and slightly softened.

Leaving the syrup and a handful of berries behind in the bowl for later, arrange most of the strawberries on top of the cornbread batter. I alternated the direction of them as I was placing mine so that they tiled together nicely. But you can use any arrangement you’d like.

Once you’ve got your berry design all set, bake the cornbread for just about thirty minutes. You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and the top bounces back when gently pressed. Let the cornbread cool in the pan on a trivet for an additional half hour.

While the sweet cornbread is baking, mix up the strawberry compound butter. I like to start with just melted butter here, but be sure that it’s slightly cooled. Remember those strawberries and syrup we left behind earlier? Now is their time to shine.

Gently mash the berries with a fork until you have two tablespoons. Add those into a small bowl with the melted butter and an additional tablespoon of the brown sugar syrup from the bottom of the bowl. A pinch of salt will help finish it off if you are using unsalted butter.

Mix everything together, and then cover and refrigerate for half an hour to allow the butter to set up again. Once it’s chilled, give the butter another stir to redistribute the berries throughout.

After the cornbread has cooled, flip the pan upside down onto a plate to remove the cornbread. It should slip out fairly easily, but if it gets stuck, simply run a butter knife around the edge. Cut the cornbread into sixteen slices, four by four.

Spread each slice with some of the compound butter and serve at room temperature or warm. The finished cornbread can be stored once fully cooled, tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to one day. I would not recommend storing this long-term, since it’s so moist and fluffy.

This classic cornbread gets a sweet upgrade when you make it with vanilla yogurt and fresh strawberries. Try it with a spread of homemade strawberry compound butter too!

How to Serve Sweet Strawberry Cornbread

I can’t think of a good reason to not have a piece of cornbread with every meal, especially when it’s topped with yummy fresh strawberries and smothered in sweet butter. But in most cases, I would suggest having a slice of this sweet cornbread with brunch or as an afternoon snack.

During brunch, you can lean into the strawberry flavor. Try having a completely strawberry-themed brunch party if you are really into it. If you are looking for more contrast of flavors, enjoy this cornbread alongside a smoky cheese and broccoli frittata. And don’t forget the coffee: serve some cold brew with vanilla spice cream.

As a snack, this cornbread can be wonderful served with a simple cozy beverage like a chai white hot chocolate. For a little more kick, you will love a slice of sweet cornbread with a birthday cake martini. It will definitely feel like a celebration!

Use Up Leftover Ingredients

Sweet Cornbread with Strawberries

An upgraded version of classic cornbread, made with vanilla Greek yogurt and topped with fresh strawberries. Add a spread of strawberry compound butter to pull it all together.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Cooling and Chilling30 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 pieces
Calories: 138kcal

Ingredients

Macerated Strawberries

  • ½ lb Strawberries hulled and quartered
  • 1 Tbsp Brown sugar

Sweet Cornbread

  • 1 Cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 Cup Cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • ¾ tsp Salt
  • ½ Cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt Plain or Strawberry will also work
  • ¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp Milk

Strawberry Compound Butter

  • 4 Tbsp Unsalted butter Melted and cooled slightly, you can substitute salted butter and omit the salt
  • 1 Tbsp Syrup from macerated strawberries
  • 2 Tbsp Mashed strawberries from macerated strawberries
  • ¼ tsp Salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the center. Grease a glass 8x8-inch baking dish and set it aside.
  • Macerated Strawberries: In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries and brown sugar. Set aside to macerate while you prepare the sweet cornbread batter.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
    Mix dry, mix wet, combine, transfer to pan
  • In a second slightly smaller mixing bowl, add the yogurt, oil, and eggs. Whisk until the eggs are fully beaten and the mixture is smooth.
  • Add the mixed wet ingredients and milk into the bowl with the cornmeal mixture, and gently stir and fold until the batter is just combined, and there are no large dry pockets or streaks of flour.
  • Transfer to the prepared baking pan, and use a flexible spatula to evenly distribute the batter throughout the pan.
  • Arrange the berries on top of the cornbread batter, alternating the direction to fit more. Leave the syrup from macerating and about 5-6 berry slices in the bowl for later.
  • Bake the cornbread for 28-34 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and it bounces back when gently pressed. Let the cornbread cool in the pan on a trivet for about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile make the strawberry compound butter. Combine the butter with the remaining strawberries, syrup, and salt. Stir to distribute, and then chill the butter in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once cooled, stir to redistribute the strawberries as needed.
  • Remove the cornbread from the pan, and cut it into 16 slices. Spread each with some of the compound butter and serve room temperature or warmed.

Notes

  • Make ahead tips:
    • Strawberries can be macerated overnight, which will release more syrup and result in softer berries.
    • The finished cornbread can be stored once fully cooled, tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to 1 day. I do not recommend storing this long term.
    • Compound butter can be stored for 1-2 days in a sealed container in the fridge.
  • Substitutions:
    • Vanilla Greek yogurt can be replaced with plain or strawberry yogurt. Plain will be less sweet, so you may want to add an additional tsp of sugar to the batter.
    • You can use salted butter to make the compound butter, but if you do, omit the salt from the recipe.
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