The Ultimate Cornbread Salad Recipe: A Southern Classic

Welcome, fellow foodie, to my guide on Carolyn Mclemore’s famous Cornbread Salad recipe. This dish is a true game-changer when it comes to potluck-style meals, and I’m here to convince you that it should have a prime spot in your cookbook.

Picture this: a harmonious blend of pinto beans, crispy bacon, fresh vegetables like scallions and green bell peppers, and a tangy mix of mayo and sour cream layered between crumbly cornbread chunks. It’s an explosion of textures and flavors that work seamlessly together.

Now, this recipe isn’t the kind of bland salad you’ll find at your local cafe. In fact, it’s far from it. It’s full-bodied, packed with protein, fiber and of course – BAM – deliciousness.

If you haven’t already tried this recipe, I urge you to give it a chance. Don’t just take my word for it, join me in the next section where I’ll explain why you will love this dish.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Carolyn Mclemore's Cornbread Salad
Carolyn Mclemore’s Cornbread Salad

I know what you’re thinking. Cornbread salad? That sounds like an odd combination of flavors. But let me tell you, once you try Carolyn Mclemore’s cornbread salad recipe, you’ll never go back to plain old salads again.

First of all, the ingredients are a beautiful blend of savory and sweet. The crispy bacon pairs perfectly with the sweet corn and tangy pinto beans. And let’s not forget about the fresh scallions, green bell pepper, and juicy tomatoes that add a burst of flavor to every bite.

But the star of the show is the homemade cornbread. The combination of yellow cornmeal, buttermilk, eggs, baking powder and soda creates a beautifully fluffy and moist cornbread that is perfect for mixing into this salad. It adds a nice texture and a subtle sweetness that complements the other flavors in the salad.

But what really sets this recipe apart is the dressing. A mixture of ranch dressing mix, sour cream, and mayonnaise creates a creamy and tangy dressing that ties all the flavors together into one cohesive dish.

Trust me when I say this – this cornbread salad recipe is not just any old recipe. It’s been passed down through generations and has become a staple at potlucks across the country. Big Bob Gibson even included it in his cookbook.

So if you’re looking to impress your guests at your next summer barbecue or potluck, I highly recommend giving Carolyn Mclemore’s cornbread salad recipe a try. You won’t regret it.

Ingredient List

 Golden crumbled cornbread mixed with colorful vegetables
Golden crumbled cornbread mixed with colorful vegetables

Here’s a rundown of all the ingredients you need for this Cornbread Salad Recipe:

For the cornbread:

  • 1 cup of yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 egg

For the salad:

  • 10 oz cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 bunches scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 tomatoes, diced

For the dressing mix:

  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

This recipe was created by Carolyn McLemore, who included it in her cookbook. One famous BBQ pitmaster named Big Bob Gibson republished it in his own cookbook because he loved it so much. Just a warning: this Mclemore Cornbread Salad isn’t your grandma’s bologna salad old recipe. This “10-layer salad” with pinto beans, bacon and cornbread is a beloved potluck recipes staple that has become quite popular over the years.

The Recipe How-To

 A deconstructed southern staple that's both flavorful and visually stunning
A deconstructed southern staple that’s both flavorful and visually stunning

Now, I’ll guide you on how to make Carolyn Mclemore’s famous cornbread salad. Get your apron and let’s start cooking!

Step 1: Making the Cornbread

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
  • In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of self-rising yellow cornmeal with 1 tsp of baking powder and 1 tsp of baking soda. Mix well.
  • Add 2 eggs, 2 cups of buttermilk, and half a cup of vegetable oil to the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let cool.

Step 2: Cook the Bacon

  • Place bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Cook about 6-8 minutes or until crispy.
  • Remove from heat and crumble it into small pieces.

Step 3: Making Cornbread Crumbles

  • Cut the cooled cornbread into bite-sized pieces.
  • Spread in one layer on an ungreased baking sheet pan and bake at 350°F (175°C) for approximately five minutes or until they begin to turn light golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Step 4: Prepare Vegetables

While the cornbread is cooling, you can prepare the vegetables:

  • Thinly slice one bunch of scallions.
  • Core and chop one green bell pepper.
  • Chop three tomatoes.

Step 5: Make Sour Cream Dressing

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together:

  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • One cup of mayonnaise
  • One package of ranch dressing mix (1 oz)
  • Half tsp kosher salt

Whisk everything together until well combined.

Step 6: Assemble Your Salad
In a large clear glass bowl or trifle dish, assemble your salad in layers:

  1. Crumbled Cornbread
  2. Pinto Beans
  3. Green Bell Pepper
  4. Tomatoes
  5. Scallions
  6. Bacon bits
  7. Sour Cream Dressing

Make sure you end with an even layer of dressing before garnishing with bacon bits.

Now that you know how to prepare Carolyn Mclemore’s famed cornbread salad recipe, you can enjoy it at home or share it with your loved ones during potluck gatherings!

Substitutions and Variations

 A healthy dose of greens in every bite
A healthy dose of greens in every bite

As much as I love this cornbread salad recipe, sometimes I like to switch things up a little bit. Here are a few substitutions and variations that you can try.

For starters, instead of using bacon in the salad, you can use diced ham or even turkey bacon for a healthier option. If you’re not a fan of pinto beans, you can swap them out for black beans or kidney beans – whatever floats your boat.

If you want to add more veggies to your salad, go for it! Try adding some diced avocado or cucumber for some extra crunch. You can also throw in some jalapenos if you like your food with a bit of a kick.

If you want to make the salad a bit lighter, consider swapping out some of the mayonnaise and sour cream for plain Greek yogurt. It’ll give you that same creamy texture without all of the calories. Speaking of dressing, feel free to experiment with different flavors of ranch dressing mix or even try making your own dressing from scratch.

Finally, if you’re feeling really adventurous, why not turn this salad into a 10-layer version? Just layer the ingredients in a clear glass bowl starting with the cornbread and ending with the lettuce on top. It makes for an impressive presentation at potlucks and parties.

Overall, don’t be afraid to get creative with this recipe – half the fun is experimenting with different flavors and ingredients.

Serving and Pairing

 Layers of flavor and texture that will make your taste buds dance
Layers of flavor and texture that will make your taste buds dance

Ah, serving and pairing—the chance to flex my culinary creativity! But with this southern classic, Carolyn Mclemore’s Cornbread Salad Recipe, I have to play it smart. This dish has a lot going on already, so I don’t want to overwhelm or clash with any other flavors.

First off, let’s talk about serving size. This salad is hearty and filling, so id suggest serving it as a side dish rather than a main course. However, if you’re really in the mood for some comfort food, it can be a satisfying meal all by itself.

Now, as for pairing suggestions—I’ve got a list to tickle your taste buds. Since this dish has a blend of tangy and earthy flavors from the cornbread, pinto beans, veggies and dressing mix you’d want to stick with robust and boldlicious accompaniments-like slow-cooked meats and grilled dishes.

So go ahead and fire up the grill—you’re going to want that smoky flavor from meat like pulled pork sandwiches or barbeque chicken drumsticks. If you’re looking for something a bit lighter without compromising on flavor, try pairing with roasted vegetables or grilled portobello mushrooms.

And don’t forget about the cold drinks! This salad pairs perfectly with cold iced tea or lemonade. Or you can mix things up with some refreshing summer cocktails like margaritas or mojitos.

Remember: keep the sides simple yet flavorful. You don’t need every food group in one meal—sometimes less is more when it comes to balancing flavors. So whip up a batch of Carolyn Mclemore’s Cornbread Salad Recipe, grab your nearest bottle of ice-cold beverage and enjoy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A dish that proves that salads can be hearty and satisfying
A dish that proves that salads can be hearty and satisfying

Now, if you’re a planning person like me, you might be wondering about making this cornbread salad recipe ahead of time. And let me just say, it is an excellent dish to make-ahead! In fact, it tastes even better when prepared a day before serving.

To make sure your cornbread salad is fresh and crispy when it’s time to serve, I recommend following these tips for storing it:

After preparing the salad, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or an airtight lid and store it in the refrigerator for up to two days. If you made the salad a day ahead, separate the dressing from the vegetables and cornbread until just before serving.

When it’s time to serve or reheat the salad, feel free to be creative with presentation. I personally love layering the vegetables and dressing over fresh cornbread slices in a trifle dish or large clear bowl- it creates a beautiful presentation that adds to the overall enjoyment of this dish.

If you prefer individual servings and have leftovers, be sure to store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. When reheating, place the desired portion in the microwave for around 30 seconds or until just warm- you don’t want to dry out your delicious cornbread!

Overall, don’t be afraid of making this savory cornbread salad ahead of time- just store it correctly and reheat gently so the flavors can blossom anew. Trust me; your taste buds will thank you for days after serving this delicious dish!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors
The perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors

Alright folks, if you’re looking to make Carolyn Mclemore’s Cornbread Salad Recipe, then you’ve come to the right place! In this section, we will talk about some of the tips and tricks that I’ve picked up over the years to help you create the perfect cornbread salad.

First and foremost, let’s talk about the cornbread. It is essential to use a good quality cornbread for this recipe. You want to ensure that your cornbread is moist and flavorful. To attain that goal, avoid using pre-packaged cornbread mixes since they tend to be dry and lack flavor.

Furthermore, buttermilk is a key ingredient in this recipe; it gives the cornbread a rich and tangy taste while keeping it moist. Therefore, if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, a good substitution would be to add one tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of milk and let it sit for five minutes before using.

When preparing the ingredients for this dish, I would advise using fresh vegetables. Tomatoes, scallions, green bell peppers all work so well together in this salad that they give each bite a satisfying crunch.

In addition, you might want to consider stirring in ranch dressing mix since its flavors meld with that of the other ingredients perfectly. Add a teaspoon of kosher salt at the end before mixing things up well with mayonnaise and sour cream; it will balance out this tasty combo.

Lastly, if you want to go all out and make it 10-layered (yes you read that right), make sure everything is chopped finely enough to allow all these layers to create perfect harmony when your spoon hits them.

These tips will help you effortlessly whip up Carolyn Mclemore’s Cornbread Salad Recipe while also ensuring best results every time.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Carolyn Mclemore’s Cornbread Salad Recipe is an absolute must-try for anyone who loves cornbread, pinto beans, and other savory ingredients blended together into a satisfyingly delicious dish. Whether you are looking for a tasty potluck recipe to wow your friends with or just want to enjoy a new spin on the classic Southern cornbread, this recipe is sure to please.

Carolyn Mclemore’s Cornbread Salad Recipe is easy to make, versatile, and perfect for any occasion. It combines the rich flavor of cornbread with the wonderful mouthfeel of crisp vegetables, salty bacon, and creamy dressing. You can customize it easily by substituting or exchanging some ingredients according to your taste buds.

So go ahead and give this recipe a shot; I promise that you won’t regret it. Once you’ve tasted the heavenly medley of flavors and textures that Carolyn Mclemore’s Cornbread Salad Recipe offers, you’ll be hooked for life! So why wait? Grab all the ingredients listed in this article and start preparing today!

Carolyn Mclemore's Cornbread Salad

Carolyn Mclemore’s Cornbread Salad Recipe

From Peace, Love, and Barbecue
No ratings yet
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 857.7 kcal


For the cornbread

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, finely ground
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped jalapeno peppers

For the salad

  • 1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallion
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained
  • 1 lb bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled


  • Make the cornbread: Preheat the oven to 450°F Coat the bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with the vegetable oil; place skillet in oven to heat.
  • Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together in a large bowl. Add the cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and jalapeños while stirring briskly. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a rack; crumble into a bowl.
  • Make the salad: Combine the dressing mix, sour cream, and mayonnaise in a small bowl; set aside. Combine the tomatoes, bell pepper, and scallions in another bowl.
  • Place half the crumbled cornbread in the bottom of a large serving bowl. Spoon on half the pinto beans; top with half the tomato mixture, half the cheese, half the corn, and half the bacon. Spread on half of the dressing. Repeat the layers, ending with the dressing. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 531gCalories: 857.7kcalCarbohydrates: 84gProtein: 27.8gFat: 48.1gSaturated Fat: 15.4gCholesterol: 115.9mgSodium: 1257.8mgFiber: 15.4gSugar: 11.3g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Cheese, Corn, Peppers, Vegetable
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