Old-fashioned Spider Cornbread

Piece of Spider Cornbread on plate with additional cornbread in background in skilletI was intrigued by a recipe for Spider Cornbread in a hundred-year-old cookbook. What an unusual name! After doing a little research, I discovered that Spider Cornbread is a regional food that is eaten in New English and some other sections of the U.S.

Spider Cornbread has a creamy middle layer that is made by pouring milk on top of the batter after the has been poured into the skillet that will be used to cook the cornbread.

The verdict: The Spider Cornbread was tasty, though the creamy layer wasn’t very thick.  I baked the Spider Cornbread in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. If I made it again, I’d use a slightly smaller skillet – maybe a 10-inch skillet. This would result in a thicker cornbread and  a thicker creamy layer.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Spider Corn Bread
Source: The New Dr. Price Cook Book (1921) published by the Price Baking Powder Factory

Is “cornbread”, one word or two? I think that it’s one word, but see that the old recipe makes it two words – corn bread. Maybe the two word version is an older way of writing cornbread.

When I made this recipe, I reduced the salt by a small amount, and used 3/4 teaspoon rather than the 1 teaspoon called for in the original recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Spider Cornbread

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

1 tablespoon shortening

1 egg

1 cup milk + 3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup cornmeal

1/3 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a 10 – 12 inch cast iron skillet; with the shortening; then put skillet into oven while it is preheating.

In the meantime, put egg in mixing bowl and beat; add 1 cup milk and beat. Add sugar cornmeal, flour, salt, and  baking powder; beat to combine. Remove skillet from oven and pour batter into it. Pour the remaining 3/4 cup of milk on top of the batter, but do not stir. Return skillet to oven, and bake for approximately 25 minutes. When a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, the cornbread is done. Removed from oven and cut into triangles.


22 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Spider Cornbread

  1. I have eaten a lot of cornbread in my lifetime, but not sure I have ever heard of this option with the creamy custard layer. I do enjoy the information on how recipes came to be, and appreciate how cooking was more difficult when doing it over hot coals on the fireplace or wood-burning stove!

  2. This sounds wonderful! I love cornbread! I’ll have to give it a try ! The weather looks like it’s going to be cooler this weekend,about time then for some chili soup and cornbread.

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