Hoe cakes also known as Johnny cakes are essentially a cornmeal flatbread made out of cornmeal. Fried in bacon grease or oil and smothered in maple syrup or used to soak up savory sauces or gravy.
We may earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this post. Read our disclosure policy here.
Southern hoe cakes are a delicious and satisfying food that my family can't get enough of. They can be enjoyed on their own or as a side dish to a variety of southern favorites like my Slow Cooker Green Beans, Shake and Bake Pork Chops, or my Cube Steak with Onion Gravy.
Why this recipe works
I love the texture the cornmeal gives this hoecake recipe, frying them in a little bacon grease or oil gives them those delicious crispy edges everybody loves! These corn cakes only require a few ingredients and can be eaten any time of day with a side of my Country Breakfast Sausage and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup or as a savory side dish.
Ingredients for Johnny Cakes
- Flour: All-purpose flour works best.
- Corn meal: Either yellow cornmeal or white cornmeal will work.
- Sugar: You can leave it out if you prefer.
- Buttermilk: You can use whole milk in a pinch or make your own buttermilk in the notes section
- Bacon Grease: Or oil to fry the cornmeal hoe cakes.
How to make Hoe Cakes
- Step 1: In a large bowl add the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
- Step 2: Make a little well in the center and add the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
- Step 3: Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat add the bacon grease or oil to the hot skillet and drop the batter into small discs.
- Step 4: Cook until golden brown and flip finish cooking and serve!
- These are best served hot off the pan when the edges are crispy.
- The batter is supposed to be thick.
- I prefer to fry these in bacon grease, I just fry my bacon first then use that grease to fry these Johhny cakes.
- I love to use a cast-iron skillet for these but another heavy skillet or griddle will work just fine.
They have a few different names like Jonnycake, Hoe Cake, and Shawnee cake, they are little round cornmeal pancakes or fried cornbread made with a combination of cornmeal and self-rising flour. Fried in bacon grease to get those delicious crispy edges that are enjoyed smothered in syrup or as a side dish to my Beef Chili.
Even though they look similar to traditional pancakes they are not the same. Pancakes are soft and fluffy and have a sweetness to the batter like my IHOP Pancakes. Johnny cakes are a form of cornbread made from a basic cornbread batter that's fried in bacon fat or oil to get those crispy edges.
You can use whole milk but I love the tanginess that buttermilk gives these southern hoecakes. You can make your own buttermilk with 1 cup of whole milk and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Southern Hoe Cakes (Johnny Cakes)
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup melted butter slightly cooled
- Vegetable oil or bacon grease for frying
- In a large mixing bowl add the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt and whisk together.
- Make a well in the center and add in the egg, buttermilk, water, and melted butter and mix until combined.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil (I use bacon grease) in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or frying pan on medium-high heat.
- Scoop about 3 tablespoons of batter and drop into the frying pan, (I usually do 4 corncakes at a time)
- Fry each Hoe cake until the edges start to bubble, flip and fry for another couple minutes until golden brown.
- Remove and serve immediately with butter, and or syrup.