Top | Emily Horton


(recipe, Emily Horton)

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Supposedly, the flat cornmeal cakes known as hoecakes got their name from 16th-century European settlers who used hoes to cook their cakes over an open fire. Most of us aren’t cooking over open fires any longer, much less using hoes as a cooking tool, so a heavy skillet works just fine for turning out these crisp, dense, earthy-tasting breads. If you’re looking for a hearty, rustic accompaniment to dinner, hoecakes are the ticket. Or serve them drizzled with cane syrup, as they are in the deep South, for an early-morning meal.


  1. 1 cup fine-ground cornmeal
  2. ½ tsp. salt
  3. ¾ cup water
  4. Peanut or canola oil


  1. Warm a heavy, 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, blend the cornmeal and salt with enough of the water to create a thick batter. Pour enough oil into the heated pan to coat the surface, then carefully spread the batter into the pan in an even thickness.
  2. Cook for about five minutes on one side, then loosen with a spatula, slide onto a plate, and invert onto the other side. Continue cooking for another 3 or 4 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve hot.


It can take a little practice to cook hoecakes without leaving half of them on the bottom of the pan, so if you’d like to stay on the safe side, use a nonstick skillet, in which case you won’t need to preheat the skillet first.