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Southern Hoe Cakes

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.

Hoe Cakes piled on a plate and topped with butter.

Similar To Cornbread

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

Hoe Cakes Origin

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.

Hoe Cakes on a plate with cast iron pan in background.

How To Serve

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.

If you love okrs, try these fabulous Okra Hoecakes!

Try These Other Classic Southern Recipes

Southern Cornmeal Hoe Cakes

Southern Hoe Cakes

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.

PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 10 minutes


  • 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
Course: Breads, Breakfast
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: johnny cakes

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Stack of Hoe Cakes on a plate.

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41 thoughts on “Southern Hoe Cakes”

  1. Had these today to go with some fried cabbage and sausage. Definitely fried them in bacon grease and they were delicious.

  2. Marilyn Miller

    I tried it and it tasted good thanks for sharing your recipe. My first time trying it and my family does want corn bread any more.

  3. I cooked these tonight and they are wonderful, reminds me of grandma. She always had these on hand, church people, family came at any time of day. She also had pot of homemade beef soup with large elbow pasta and stewed tomatoes OMG so good! I miss her dearly.

  4. In my opinion these were pretty bland. They did not bubble on top, even though they were cooked through. I didn’t fry them in bacon grease and I am sure that would have added flavor. If I try this recipe again, I will add 1 or 2 teaspoons of baking powder, as I’m sure that will make them a little fluffier. Thank you for posting the recipe.

  5. Fantastic! Just like my mother made decades ago. This served as a base for her turkey dressing (stuffing).

  6. Josephine Ball

    Hoe cakes were named from the fact that SLAVES cooked them on the blade of their instruments (hoe) while working the fields and hot sun. The SUN was their open flame! Ask any descendant of those slaves (me), as told by my grandparents whose parents were slaves.

    1. Seriously? So … we’re not supposed to make or eat them? Get a grip on yourself. It’s the 21st century. And just to be “equatable”, my people were slaves for 430 years in Egypt … but I’ll still eat bagels.

      1. That’s not at all what this comment says. It simply explains the origin of them. Absolutely no one cares what you eat or make.

        1. ivy michael

          Southern hoe cakes are a delightful treat that I’ve come to love. Their crispy edges and soft skilled nursing care facilities centers make them a versatile dish, perfect for breakfast or as a side. I enjoy experimenting with different toppings, from classic syrup to savory options like bacon and cheese. They never disappoint!

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