Make Hot Water Cornbread using just three ingredients: cornmeal, baking powder, and hot water. It is a gluten-free, vegan and simple side dish that you can make effortlessly and within minutes.

It is pretty versatile as well. You can turn it savory or sweet and make it more enjoyable. The golden crispy outside and a relatively fluffy interior make it a perfect choice with stews, soups, and curries.

If you love hot water cornbread, you are definitely going to love Venezuelan Arepas and Vegan Pupusa Recipe.

hot water cornbread

This recipe for hot water cornbread is a perfect side dish you can serve at parties and dinners. It is easy to make and can feed the crowd. It is wholesome and very filling and, therefore, a must-try for those who particularly love bread as a side dish.

Try this amazingly simple recipe, and I bet you will love it!

Hot water cornbread is a unique bread made with only three ingredients: cornmeal, baking powder, and hot water. The recipe calls for boiling water, giving it a different texture than traditional bread. Instead of baking, this cornbread is fried and shaped into disks. This southern recipe is a staple and is quite a popular side dish.

The hot water cornbread origin dates back to the slavery era. Although the dish was a staple of Native Americans, it was quite popular during the days of slavery and the great depression, i.e., in the 1930s. The reason for its popularity was the fact that it was cheaper than wheat bread.

As a result, it was affordable for the poor and was easy to make. Because of its simplicity and cheap ingredients, people often made it and consumed it with greens, bean stews, and even with rice.

Although today affordability might not be the only reason people consume hot water cornbread. It is super easy to make and is a vegan and gluten-free dish.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Only Three Simple Ingredients: You only need cornmeal, baking powder, and hot water to make this delicious cornbread. It’s a minimalist recipe that’s easy to prepare.
  • Gluten-Free and Vegan: Perfect for those with dietary restrictions, this hot water cornbread is both gluten-free and vegan, making it a versatile option for a wide range of eaters.
  • Quick and Effortless: This recipe is incredibly quick to make, with preparation taking just 10 minutes and cooking requiring only 10 more. It’s a great choice for busy days when you need a side dish in a hurry.
  • Versatile: You can customize it to your taste by making it savory or sweet. It pairs wonderfully with stews, soups, curries, and more, allowing you to adapt it to your meal.
hot water cornbread ingredient, cornmeal, baking powder, salt

Ingredients Needed

You can easily make hot water cornbread with three simple ingredients. If you are a cornbread lover, you will love how simple this recipe is. Here is what you need for this recipe:

  • Cornmeal: Cornmeal is flour that has a coarse or granulated texture. Cornmeal is a staple in many parts of the world, used to make cornbread or porridge. It is made by grinding dried corn kernels into a fine flour, also known as cornflour. You can use it to make a variety of dishes. You can easily buy cornmeal from any grocery store. It is a gluten-free flour that has several benefits and is a cheaper option than wheat.
  • Baking powder: Baking powder is a compulsory ingredient in also every baking item and bread. Despite the difference in the cooking of cornbread, it still uses baking powder. The main reason for adding baking powder is that it lightens the texture of the cornbread, and makes it fluffy and airy. As a result, the cornbread doesn’t dry out or become hard.
  • Salt: Because it is a savory cornbread, you will need salt. You can use sea salt, table salt, or Himalayan salt. Whatever you prefer will work. Also, you can adjust the quantity of salt according to your flavor preference.
  • Boiling water: This recipe specifically calls for boiled water. So, measure it and boil it. You don’t have to keep boiling it. Once it starts to boil, that’s when you can remove it from the stovetop and pour in the dry mixture.
  • Oil: You will need oil for frying. You can use canola oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, or avocado oil for this purpose. I prefer using canola oil.
ingredients for hot water cornbread in a white bowl

How to make hot water cornbread

Making this recipe for hot water cornbread is a piece of cake, really. It is a super easy procedure. The preparation takes no more than 10 minutes, and the cooking takes 10 minutes at most. Here are a few simple steps you have to follow:

  1. Start by adding the dry ingredients, i.e., cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, in a large bowl. Mix.
  2. Now boil the water in a saucepan. When it starts to boil, take it off the heat and pour it into the boil slowly.
  3. Start stirring the mixture using a wooden spoon until you get a thick batter. Make sure you mix it well so that there are no lumps in it. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
hot water cornbread in a white bowl
  1. Scoop the batter so that you get six equal pieces. Roll them using your hands. The batter will be easy to handle. Flatted them either using a rolling pin or with fingers until you get a half-an-inch thick disk.
  2. Pour oil into a skillet and place it on medium heat. once the oil heats up
  3. Once the oil heats up, place disks into it and cook for about 3 minutes or until the edges start turning golden brown.
hot water cornbread frying in skillet
  1. Flip the cornbread to cook on the other side for three more minutes until it gets crispy and golden. Once done, remove from the skillet and serve hot.

Expert Tips

Here are a few things you should keep in mind when making this hot water cornbread recipe:

  • You can easily shape the batter by greasing your hands or the cup. Moreover, you can also create different shapes by using molds.
  • You can also use self-raising cornmeal. It is ready to use and has baking powder in it. So, you don’t have to add it separately. Self-raising cornmeal is super convenient to use.
  • Make sure you don’t make large patties as they will take more time to cook. A small to medium-sized patty will cook easily.

Substitutions and Variations

You can add more flavors to this savory hot water cornbread as well. Add dried herbs to bring out an herbaceous flavor.

You can also make a sweeter version of this recipe. Add maple syrup or agave syrup and enjoy the sweet flavor.

For a healthier and oil-free version, cook these hot water cornbread patties in an air fryer. Moreover, you can also cook them in the oven.

Storage Tips

You can easily store the leftover hot water cornbread for later use. Once it is completely cool, place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Furthermore, you can also freeze these patties. Place them in a baking tray over parchment paper and flash freeze for three hours. Next, stack them one upon the other by placing a parchment sheet in between. Place in a Ziplock plastic bag and freeze. It will last for up to 3 months.

Reheat these patties in the oven or a toaster until they are crispy again.

Serving Suggestions

Hot water cornbread is a great side dish for those who are looking for a vegan and gluten-free substitute for bread. It is traditionally served alongside stews and soups. However, you can serve it with curries as well. Moreover, by adding more flavors, you can turn it into a savory or sweet snack.

Recipe FAQs

What is hot water cornbread, and how is it different from traditional cornbread?

Hot water cornbread is a unique type of cornbread made with only three ingredients: cornmeal, baking powder, and hot water. The key difference is that it’s fried instead of baked, resulting in a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior.

Why is boiled water specifically called for in this recipe?

Boiled water is used to create the desired texture and consistency of the batter. The heat from the boiling water helps form the hot water cornbread’s unique qualities.

Can I make hot water cornbread without boiling water?

Boiling water is a crucial step in this recipe to achieve the desired consistency. It’s recommended not to skip this step for the best results.

What type of oil is best for frying the cornbread?

You can use various oils like canola oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, or avocado oil for frying. The choice of oil can influence the flavor, so use your preferred option.

Other Vegan Soul Food Recipes

  1. Gluten-Free Vegan Cornbread
  2. Green Bean And Potatoes
  3. Vegan Gumbo
  4. Vegan Sweet Potato Pie
  5. Mac And Cheese
  6. Collard Greens
  7. Black-Eyed Peas
  8. Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Potato Biscuits
  9. Southern Style Coleslaw
  10. Black-Eyed Peas Salad
Recipe for hot water cornbread on white plate on white background

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(Per serving)
  • Energy: 113 kcal / 472 kJ
  • Fat: 1.1 g
  • Protein: 2.6 g
  • Carbs: 24.6 g

Cook Time

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking: 10 min
  • Ready in: 20 min
  • For: 4 Servings



  1. In a large bowl, add cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. Mix well.
  2. Pour boiling water and mix well using a wooden spoon until you get a thick batter. Make sure there are no lumps.
  3. Scoop the batter so that you get six equal pieces. Roll them using your hands.
  4. Flatten them with fingers until you get a half an inch thick disk.
  5. Place a skillet on medium heat and add oil.
  6. Once the oil heats up, place disks into it and cook for about 3 minutes or until the edges start turning golden brown.
  7. Flip the cornbread to cook on the other side for three more minutes until it gets crispy and golden.
  8. Once done, remove from the skillet, pat with a paper towel to remove excess oil and serve hot.


  • Shape the batter easily by greasing your hands or using molds for different shapes.

  • Opt for self-raising cornmeal with built-in baking powder for added convenience.

  • Keep patty size small to medium for quicker cooking.

  • Store leftover cornbread in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days once it’s cooled.

Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.