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What to Eat with Cornbread: 29 Tasty Sides and Main Dishes

Wondering what to eat with cornbread? The list is endless! But there are some foods that just scream out to be served with a slice of delicious cornbread.

The list below highlights some of my family’s favorite sides. I also included a recipe that is made from cornbread. If you have one you’d like to share, please let me know in the comments below.

brussels sprouts, milk, butter, and corn muffins

My very southern grandmother taught me how to make this delicious southern-style skillet cornbread. This is my favorite cornbread recipe.

And my great-grandmother showed me how to make this super moist fine-ground cornmeal cornbread, also made in an iron skillet. It’s a southern specialty that you’ll find on many dinner tables in the South.

Both of these recipes are amazing. I still make both of them when I crave some of the delicious flavors from my childhood. 

Each is a southern favorite, depending on the family’s personal preference. There’s seriously nothing better than a slice of hot cornbread that’s been baked until the top is a gorgeous golden brown.

Slice of cornbread on a plate

Popularity of Cornbread

There’s a reason cornbread is so popular. It is one of those iconic American dishes that can be enjoyed with a variety of toppings and sides. 

In my opinion, any kind of cornbread is delicious. And if it’s homemade cornbread, it’s all the better.

Whether you’re looking for something to serve at your next dinner party, at a weeknight family meal, with your Thanksgiving feast, or just want a delicious snack, I’ve got you covered. 

Check out some of my favorite recipes for cornbread dressing, chili con carne, and more! Some of the recipes below can be the main course, while others are side dishes.

Gluten-Free Cornbread

Cornmeal is normally fine for people who have to be gluten-free. The main thing to watch for is any addition of wheat flour in the mix.

That’s why I purchase 100 percent cornmeal and add my own flours to the mixture. I usually use a gluten-free all-purpose flour, but there are times when I use almond flour.

For a slightly sweeter version of cornbread, I’ll even add a little bit of baking or pancake mix to the batter. However, I normally prefer the savory version rather than the sweet.

Classic Cornbread Pairings

Cornbread is delicious and versatile. In fact, there are many types of cornbread as there are southern families. 

But what should you eat with it? All cornbread enthusiasts will give you their opinions, which is exactly what I’m doing here. And you’ll probably notice that I like cornbread with just about anything.

Here are a few food items to get you started, all of them made from easy recipes. Whether you’re sitting down to a family dinner, dining with good friends, or enjoying a snack, you’ll find something you like on this list.

Chili in a bowl and topped with sour cream and shredded cheese

1. Chili Con Carne

One of our favorite foods around here is a bowl of chili of any kind. But I think our absolute top pick is the chili con carne. It’s a hearty main dish that is so satisfying.

The ground beef with beans is the perfect match for any kind of savory cornbread. A sprinkle of cheddar cheese is optional—both on the chili and on the cornbread.

Chicken strips on a plate

2. Oven-Fried Chicken

I love having a slice of cornbread with fried chicken. However, I make my chicken a little different since I have to be gluten-free.

What I like about this particular recipe is that everyone who has tried it around here likes it just as much.

pan and plate of pork sausage and rice skillet dinner

3. Pork Sausage Skillet Dinner

This super easy meal is delicious on its own. But add a slice of corn bread, and it’s even better.

package of cream cheese

4. Cream Cheese

I like cream cheese on almost anything. And it’s especially delicious on a side of cornbread. 

The creaminess of it balances out the grainy texture of the cornbread for a delightful flavor that will send your tastebuds into orbit.

bowl of spaghetti with sauce

5. Spaghetti with Sauce

Nothing balances out the different flavors in spaghetti with sauce better than a piece of cornbread. 

I enjoy dipping the cornbread into the sauce as I eat to get the full flavor experience.


6. Honey

My good friend Julie who runs the Back to My Southern Roots food blog has perfected the fine art of making Jiffy cornbread more moist.

Drizzle a bit of honey over it, and your cornbread will turn into a yummy dessert.

Although some people argue that a true southerner would never put sugar in cornbread, I disagree. I like mine without sugar, but I know many folks who like sugar in anything they can put it in. I think it’s time to relax about this and enjoy it the way we want to eat it.

jalapeno corn muffins

7. Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

If you like a little heat in your food, you’ll love this recipe for jalapeño corn muffins. It has just enough spice to keep you wanting more.

chopped jalapeños

Most of the time, I cook cornbread in an iron skillet. However, for this one, I usually use a muffin tin. 

It’s just as good in a skillet, but this is my way of differentiating what’s in it.

homemade bean soup

8. Homemade Bean Soup

Homemade bean soup is a popular dish during cold weather because it warms you from the inside out. Add a dash of black pepper to deepen the flavors even more.

Around our house, we eat soup any time of year. And we like all types of bread to go with it. However, we feel that having cornbread makes the experience extra special.

pouring a glass of milk

9. Glass of Milk

If you’ve never crumbled a piece of leftover cornbread into a glass of milk and eaten it with a spoon, you’re missing out on a wonderful treat. After you’ve had this, it’s a cornbread feast that you’ll find yourself craving often.

This is one of my favorite snacks when we have extra cornbread around the house. Or I might just slather a little butter on the cornbread and have the milk on the side.

2 grilled pork chops

10. Grilled Pork Chops

These grilled pork chops practically scream to have cornbread on the side.

Seriously, pork is almost always good with cornbread. We also enjoy having it with bacon or ham.

butter in a butter dish with a knife

11. Butter

Cornbread is delicious with a melting pat of butter oozing down the side. It’s such a delicious combination, and you can’t go wrong when you serve it this way.

When I see even a picture of buttery cornbread, I can’t help but smile. And there’s a good reason for that. It tastes wonderful!

bottle of olive oil

12. Olive Oil

Another delicious way to enjoy a piece of cornbread is with a dash of seasoning sprinkled into a pool of olive oil.

If you’ve never had it this way, give it a try. I think you’ll love it.

Bowl and plate of creamed spinach with mushrooms

13. Creamed Spinach

I love cornbread with any kind of greens, especially this yummy but easy to make creamed spinach.

It’s actually good with collard greens, turnip greens, or any other type of greens you just happen to have on hand. In fact, 

roasted brussels sprouts

14. Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Another vegetable we love with cornbread is the underrated Brussels sprout.

These little balls of nutrition are delicious if cooked correctly … and enjoyed with some yummy cornbread.

greek olive salad in a bowl

15. Greek Salad with Olives

The flavors from Greece and the American South go together so well, which is why I like to enjoy cornbread with my Greek salad.

Regardless of the style of cornbread you prefer, give this a try. I bet you’ll agree that it’s the perfect pairing!

plate of barbecued baked beef ribs

16. Baked Beef Ribs

We like our barbecued ribs with lots of sauce, some greens, and a side of cornbread. 

Any kind of sauce will do, whether it’s loaded with brown sugar or cayenne. And we love a variety of greens, depending on what we can find at the store. 

And my favorite cornbread to eat with barbecued ribs is the traditional southern style with a pat of creamy butter.

3 salmon patties on a plate

17. Salmon Patties

My mother always called these salmon cakes or salmon croquettes.

But no matter what you call them, some cornbread on the side makes them even better!

chicken thighs in an air fryer

18. Crispy Chicken Thighs

The air fryer makes these chicken thighs extra crispy on the outside. And they’re perfect when served with cornbread. 

You don’t even need anything else to go with the meal. But if you insist, some mashed potatoes or rice will be great!

pan of cornbread dressing

19. Cornbread Dressing

This cornbread dressing was the only kind of dressing (or stuffing) I ever knew about when I was growing up. Since then, I’ve had all kinds.

But my favorite still is and always will be this delicious cornbread dressing. I make it gluten-free, and no one can tell the difference.

bowl of black beans and rice

20. Beans and Rice

We love red beans and rice, black beans and rice … or any kind of beans and rice.

Add a hunk of cornbread, and you’ll see our smiles get even bigger.

mac and cheese casserole
Classic Mac and Cheese Casserole

21. Macaroni and Cheese

What can be more comforting that mac and cheese?

My answer—mac and cheese with cornbread on the side. Yum!

Bowl of beef stew

22. Beef Stew

One way to incorporate all of the food groups into a meal is to make this delicious beef stew.

Mop up the gravy with a piece of cornbread because you don’t want to miss out on any of the goodness of this dish!

This recipe is for 2 people, but you can easily double or triple the ingredients if you’re serving more people. 

pesto chicken with tomatoes and cheese

23. Pesto Chicken

When you want a delicious main dish that doesn’t take much effort, make this pesto chicken from Back to My Southern Roots.

After the first time I made this, my husband let me know he wanted me to add it to our dinner rotation. So I did. And we’re both happy about it!

sliced pork tenderloin

24. Barbecued Pork Tenderloin

You can choose any number of sides to go with a barbecued pork tenderloin.

Potatoes or rice. Carrots or greens. But always cornbread!

Pecan crusted fish with tartar sauce

25. Pecan Crusted Fish

My family ate a lot of fish dinners when I was younger. And I can’t remember a single time when we didn’t have some sort of cornbread on the table to go with it.

This pecan crusted fish has the ideal balance of texture and flavor. Adding a side of cornbread takes the meal to the next level!

Scooping a bite of chicken rice soup from a bowl

26. Chicken Soup

I’ve always heard that chicken soup is good for whatever ails you. But I even like it when I’m feeling good. 

I mean, there’s always room for improvement, right? And this chicken and rice soup makes any day better, especially when it’s served with some cornbread.

Slice of cracklin' cornbread next to a skillet of cornbread

27. Cracklin’ Cornbread

Some people like a whole lot of extra stuff in their cornbread. And these are the folks who appreciate good old southern cracklin’ cornbread.

In case you don’t know what cracklin’ cornbread is, it’s cornbread with pieces of pork added to the batter. I enjoy it because it has a little extra chew that makes the meal even more satisfying!

Scooping a bite of chicken rice soup from a bowl

28. Chicken and Rice Soup

We enjoy cornbread with any type of soup, especially this one. The combination of flavors of the cornbread and chicken brings comfort to any weeknight dinner.

plate with Mexican ground beef with Ro-Tel, yellow rice, and green beans

29. Ground Beef Patties with Ro-Tel

This Mexican-inspired dish pairs perfectly with your favorite type of cornbread, from the southern-style version to muffins with jalapeños.

Cornbread—the Perfect Side for Any Meal

Cornbread is the perfect sidekick for a variety of dishes. Whether you’re serving up some chili, soup, or just want something to munch on, cornbread is always a good idea. 

butter, brussels sprouts, cornbread, and milk

I’ve shared some recipes with you that I think will complement your next batch of cornbread perfectly. So what are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen and start cooking!

Please feel free to share!