I recently made some corn bread on my own from scratch for the first time. The flavour was perfect as was the general firmness/crumbliness of the bread. However, the corn meal in the recipe resulted in an extremely gritty eating experience. It was like eating uncooked steel cut oats. But it's not like you can make corn bread without corn meal...

Anyway, every other corn bread I have ever had, whether it is made from scratch or from a pre-packaged mix, has not had this gritty quality.

I used a relatively fresh purchased package of yellow stone ground corn meal. It was open for about 3 days since I used a tablespoon in another recipe, but I stored it in an airtight container in the freezer (which is apparently what one should do).

Did I purchase bad corn meal? Is there something I can do to modify the recipe and make it less gritty?

Here is the recipe I am using.

  • Just to clarify- the grittiness was from uncooked granules of corn? Steel cut oats are much larger than cornmeal. Did you mean they were as hard as the oats or actually the same size? Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 18:41
  • @Sobachatina Just as hard. Not the same size. Thanks though. Good clarification.
    – gnomed
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 14:41
  • 1
    The grittiness is an essential element of good cornbread, IMO. I buy the coarsest grind of cornmeal I can find. Another essential element is no sweetness. Soft, sweet cornbread is awful stuff if you ask me. Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 15:35
  • @CareyGregory: ick. If I want a bread that's not sweet, I'll have a good sourdough. Cornbread should be moist, sweet, and the only crunch should come from the slightly-crispy edges.
    – Marti
    Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 16:34
  • @Marti - You'd go broke trying to sell cornbread like that in the southern US. We'll have to agree to disagree on what makes good cornbread. The only thing we agree on is the moistness. Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 17:46

8 Answers 8


If you don't want gritty bread, use finely milled polenta. Roughly milled polenta is like semolina, and results in a gritty batter. Finely milled polenta is like flour, and results in a smooth batter.

I don't know the proper names for the different milling grades in English. I don't mean cornflour, which is pure maize starch from the inside of the maize kernel. I mean whole maize kernels milled so the particles are the same size as wheat flour. It is yellow and tastes the same way as the rough one, only the texture is different.

The two types of polenta differ in their water absorption and soaking times, so you may want to use a recipe developed for the fine milled type, or tweak your own recipe.

To give you a better example, here is what you need:

enter image description here

You don't want to use the rough form, which looks like this:

enter image description here

  • 4
    +1. I'm not sure where the OP is from, but generally in the US, we call the stuff you make cornbread out of cornmeal (and there are variations in fineness). Polenta usually refers to coarser stuff for, well, making polenta (even though one can of course make fine polenta).
    – Cascabel
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 19:40
  • 3
    In the US, I have seen the very finely milled corn called "corn flour" and the stuff that's pure starch is usually labeled just "corn starch".
    – SourDoh
    Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 17:01

I use the coarse cornmeal because I like the flavor. I took my cue from the muffin recipe on the bag: It said to soak your cornmeal in the milk for 10 minutes. I did this for my buttermilk cornbread and it was delicious. I didn't add any extra milk.

  • This answer could be improved if you explicitly said whether the soaking reduced the grittiness: "it was delicious" doesn't tell us much, because some people like gritty cornbread.
    – Marti
    Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 16:31
  • 1
    @Marti It reduces the grittiness. It's a standard step in tons cornbread recipes.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 17:27
  • @Marti : for those who like gritty cornbread, I have a jonnycakes recipe that calls for soaking 3/4 of the cornmeal overnight, then adding the rest of the cornmeal, and letting it have a 10 minute rest before cooking. If you play around with the timing and proportions, you can have exactly the grittiness you want.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 13:25

You can soak the cornmeal in water overnight if you remember to reduce the water in your recipe to compensate for it. In your recipe, you can soak it in the milk and then you don't need to do any compensating.


I'd try letting the batter rest for a bit, like a 15 minutes.

This link talks about letting stuff rest for other reasons, but it talks about letting stuff absorb other stuff. It's very scientific.


It may be different from other things you've tried because of the coarseness of the meal that you've gotten. I don't know if there's any sort of regulation on the labeling for ground corn meal...

  • I was thinking something along these lines. The dough seemed so thick that I was worried any resting might dry it out, but I'll probably still give it a shot next time.
    – gnomed
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 18:28
  • You can rest it covered in saran wrap (or even just a plate) and that should be ok. Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 18:32
  • 2
    I wouldn't rest the batter, because the leavening will spend itself in the meantime. If you suspect it is a matter of the corn meal not getting hydrated, soak it first in part of your liquid, and use the soaked corn meal in the batter.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 18:32
  • 1
    The basic recipe is similar to a pancake batter which is often rested for a while so perhaps resting this batter would not be detrimental to the leavening. Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 4:00
  • The baking powder is most likely dual acting and will still give enough lift for cornbread after resting. Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 13:10

Just to add to rumtscho's response…

There are several different levels of coarseness of corn meal, from very fine (corn flour) to very coarse. If you want your corn bread to be less gritty, use a finer grind of corn meal.

(If you don't want to waste the corn meal you've already got, you can grind it finer in a coffee grinder.)


I use a coarse (polenta) grind cornmeal, and used to soak the cornmeal overnight like @Rob. Lately I've started pre-cooking the cornmeal instead. Mix the cornmeal 1-1 with boiling water, then microwave 3-4 minutes at 50%. Reduce any water/milk in the final recipe by 1/3.


First the gritty taste is the type of corn meal you purchased. Just purchase a fine milled corn meal. BUT you can make corn bread from Cream of Wheat. Yes corn bread can be made with other ingredients other than corn meal.

My grandmother could not eat corn meal because of an allergy so her doctor gave her the idea of cream of wheat use it just like corn meal in the recipe. It is lighter and taste pretty much the same.

Doctors also give this recipe to people suffering with any type of polyps in their colon as they are not suppose to have small seeds, nuts and also corn meal because it causes severe pain.

Of course being southern my grandmother only made corn bread in a cast iron skillet. She would add butter and touch of oil to grease the skillet put it in the oven or on top of the stove to get it screaming hot before pouring in the batter & baking it. That is how you achieve that really crunchy beautiful crust. The oven must be preheated well before making corn bread never put into a cold or warm oven because it will taste sort of raw tasting.

I actually hate corn bread. I was born and have lived my entire life in the south. I also hate ice tea sweet or not and will not eat fried chicken especially on the bone. I will eat boneless baked fried chicken in the oven. I also hate pecan pie, red velvet cake, coconut cream pie and southern cheap beer. I guess not everyone in the south is southern. lol But I can make corn bread like my grandmother for others in the family as well all other southern foods I don't eat!

I think I was suppose to be born some other place like France, Italy, England...Arizona, California, oh no a beautiful warm island that's it, an island. I love fresh raw fruits and vegetables. That's it an island.

Happy corn bread baking. P.S. the cream of wheat is lower in calories I think and it will never be gritty. You can use half corn meal and half cream of wheat for a lighter corn bread.


When I make my corn bread I mix one cup of the fine cornmeal/corn flour and one cup of the coarse rough form corn semolina. :)

and always use Butter milk.

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