Beans and Cornbread

beans and cornbread

We frequently ate beans and cornbread growing up because it’s inexpensive and sticks to your ribs. It’s a complete meal and one of my comfort foods.


I have eaten many a bean in my lifetime and almost all can be paired with cornbread, so I’m not going to be dogmatic about this. Use what makes you happy, but I prefer pinto beans. I taste an earthier flavor in them than navy, black, northern or kidney beans. The secret, regardless which you choose, is the seasoning.


Grandma was proficient in making all kinds of cornbread. She made corn pone, oven baked, muffins and hot water cornbread, but she always made skillet fried for this. It’s my favorite.

I’m not picky about the recipe whether from scratch like grandma or by using a muffin mix. Convenience tips the scale in favor of a mix and I honestly can’t say scratch tastes better after I mash it with the beans.

Thoughts and Rumination

Regionality is a big influence how your family might make beans and cornbread. There are many bean and bread combinations that will each yield their own unique flavor and that doesn’t include any variation of seasonings. In truth the possibilities are almost endless.

I’ll get to details after one final observation. When the subject of cornbread comes up I’m always surprised that so few have tasted fried cornbread. Let’s take a roll call on the subject. Check in with a comment to let us know your home state, if you have eaten skillet fried cornbread and which is your favorite style.

Makin’ the Beans and Cornbread

one big pot of ingredients

A recipe doesn’t get any easier. Throw everything in a pot with water and chicken stock.

pinto beans finished

Two hours later they’re ready to taste and adjust the seasoning.


Whisk together your cornbread batter

fried cornbread

Skillet fried cornbread ready for the beans!

beans and cornbread

The perfect serving!

mashed beans and cornbread

Mash up those beans in the cornbread and add a little onion with each bite. Print

Beans and Cornbread

Pinto beans seasoned with ham hock and skillet fried cornbread

  • Author: Tim
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 135
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x


  • 1 lb dried pinto beans
  • 1 ham hock
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 1 qt water
  • 1 small yellow onion – diced
  • 4 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 11/2 tsp sea salt – to taste
  • (1) 8.5 oz box corn muffin mix
  • 2 TBL sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBL buttered shortening – melted
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • Salted butter – for serving with cornbread by itself
  • 1 more yellow onion – thickly sliced


  1. Rinse, then cover the beans with water and soak overnight
  2. Drain, then combine the beans with water, chicken stock, garlic, pepper, salt, onion and ham hock in a big pot
  3. Cover and simmer for 2 hours or a little more until the beans are tender and the ham is falling off the bone
  4. Pick the ham off the bone, taste and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary
  5. Remove from the heat, cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Re-heat to serve
  6. Whisk your cornbread muffin mix with the egg, shortening, sugar and milk. Do not use extra milk or it will be too thin
  7. Pour a quarter cup into a hot, lightly buttered cast iron skillet on low-medium heat and fry until golden brown and almost crisp on the edges – about a minute on the first side until it has bubbles on top and another 30 seconds after you carefully turn it over. Repeat until you use all the batter
  8. I serve the beans over 2-3 pieces of cornbread with sliced onion and salted butter, then mash it into a delicious mess!