Southern Hoe Cakes

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Southern Hoe Cakes are little cornmeal pancakes that are wonderfully crispy around the edges. Serve them warm and top them with butter for a delicious southern breakfast or treat any time of day.

Southern Cornmeal Hoe Cakes


This classic southern recipe is wonderfully easy. The batter is basically a cornbread batter so these cute little pancakes are basically fried cornbread. Yum!

Southern Cornmeal Hoe Cakes


Hoe Cakes may seem like a strange name but it was thought that they got their name because they were cooked on a hoe over an open flame, but now it is thought that the name comes from the name of the griddle pan they were cooked in.

Hoe Cakes were a staple of early American life in the South, but you’ll find their name varies some in different regions of the south. Some areas refer to them as Johnny Cakes, corn pone, or corn cakes.

Southern Cornmeal Hoe Cakes


Hoe Cakes are typically either served for breakfast like pancakes or with a bowl of greens (typically collard or turnip greens). When served with greens, they are used to mop up the pot licker, the tasty liquid that the greens are cooked in. Try spreading pimento cheese on them for an amazing appetizer.

Hoe Cakes are made from self-rising cornmeal, self-rising flour, a touch of sugar, eggs, oil, and buttermilk. I use bacon grease to fry these Southern Hoe Cakes in but it’s more common to use vegetable oil. Feel free to do so.

Southern Cornmeal Hoe Cakes

Try these other classic southern recipes:

Southern Cornmeal Hoe Cakes

Southern Hoe Cakes

Course: Breads, Breakfast
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: johnny cakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 448kcal
Southern Hoe Cakes are little cornmeal pancakes that are wonderfully crispy around the edges. Serve them warm and top them with butter for a delicious southern breakfast or treat any time of day.

Print Recipe


  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup self-rising cornmeal mix
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup bacon drippings
  • butter


  • Combine flour, cornmeal mix, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Measure buttermilk in a glass measuring cup. Add eggs to measuring cup and whisk egg and buttermilk together. Pour into bowl with flour mixture.
  • Pour water and vegetable oil into bowl and mix everything together.
  • Heat a cast iron pan or nonstick skillet or griddle. Add bacon grease.
  • Pour batter into pan to form hoe cakes, using about 2 tablespoons of batter for each one. I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup and fill it about half way.
  • Cook until bubbles form on top, flip over and cook until bottom is golden.
  • Serve with butter.


I like to fry my hoe cakes in bacon grease, but it is more typical to fry them in vegetable oil. You can do it either way.


Calories: 448kcal

Stack of Hoe Cakes on a plate.

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14 thoughts on “Southern Hoe Cakes

  1. I had never heard of hoe cakes till today when I found letters from men in my great grandfather’s unit in the Civil Ware – the 141st Regiment of the NY Inf – that were published in a NY town newspaper. At this point they were with Sherman marching through Georgia: “Then collecting all
    the horses, mules and wagons on the plantation, load the forage, and make our exit as quickly as we came; unless those of
    the party who were prone to yield to the
    cravings of appetite, could obtain a permit from the officer in command to seek
    for delicacies in the cellar, where we generally succeeded in finding butter, eggs,
    &c. Then proceeding to the kitchen, inform Dinah that ‘hoe cakes’ would be acceptable; and soon make her eyes open
    wide with astonishment at the ravages of
    Yankee appetites among warm hoe cakes
    and butter. “

  2. Johnny cakes were made in our home when I was a little girl and we loved them. I’m going to make some soon and I thank you for reminding me how good they are.

  3. This sounds delicious. If I don’t have self rising flour & corn meal, can I sub regular and use baking powder? If so, how much baking powder?

  4. I was raised in Georgia over 50 uears ago and my Grandmother’s Hoecake were delish. She too used a combination of flour, meal, and a little sugar. She fried them in old grease which now is a no no but my oh my how good.

  5. This homegrown life long Southern girl would never put sugar in her hoe cakes or fry them in vegetable oil…

    1. My Grandmother (born in Alabama in 1888) made her hoe cakes just with cornmeal, hot water and a little salt and fried in a cast-iron skillet in butter. Delicious with vegetables – or just by themselves, hot and dripping with butter.

  6. Hi there! I had so much fun cruising around your website/blog. Your recipe for Southern Hoe Cakes caught my eye. I love fried cornmeal mush, so this sounded like a yummy variation …. and, it WAS. The pancakes were fun to make and everyone loved them. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ll be back.

  7. Recipe too fancy Hoe cakes were originally made by people that didn’t have a lot of money so the original recipe is a lot simpler.

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