Appalachian Food

Fried Cornbread from The Old Mill

Wilderness Wildlife Week pigeon forge TN

I had a great time at Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge TN! I’ve got lots to tell you about the whole event. I met several folks who are trying to preserve the old ways of Appalachia while keeping a foot firmly planted in the present with at least one eye fixed on the future. I’ll tell you about each of them in the coming weeks.

One highlight of the trip for The Deer Hunter and I was getting to tour The Old Mill. I’ll share the behind the scenes story of the visit in a later post, but today I want to share a recipe from The Old Mill.

There are all sorts of vendors set up at Wilderness Wildlife Week. We visited The Old Mill booth at least once every day while we were there. Outside the LeConte Center (where Wilderness Wildlife Week was held) The Old Mill had a constant stream of tasty fried cornbread for folks to sample as they walked by.

We’ve had fried cornbread before but there was just something about The Old Mill’s that was so good! Maybe it was because the cornmeal was freshly ground or maybe it was because we were doing lots of walking and had worked up a great appetite.

One of our favorite meals to eat during the summer is a big pot of soup beans, fried taters, kill lettuce and cornbread. With our last pot of soup beans The Deer Hunter suggested I make some fried cornbread. Instead of using my old recipe I did a quick google and found the one used by The Old Mill.


Miller’s Fried Cornbread from The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge TN


2 cups OLD Mill White or Yellow Self-Rising Cornmeal
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Canola oil or bacon drippings


Mix cornmeal and buttermilk in a bowl until well blended. Let stand at least 10 minutes.

Heat 1/2 inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drop batter, by heaping tablespoons, into hot oil; brown on both sides, reducing heat as necessary.

Makes about 14 to 16.


As you cook the cornbread you can play around with the size. I found my bunch likes theirs on the small side-say about the size of a 50 cent piece or just slightly larger. The ones I made were very good although I’m not sure they’re as good as the ones the fried cornbread expert working The Old Mill booth made.

After tasting the first one Chatter said “Now that’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.” I’m thinking that’s pretty good praise coming from girl like her.

If you’d like try some of The Old Mill’s fresh ground cornmeal you can order it right from home. I’m partial to white cornmeal but I’m sure everything produced by The Old Mill is great! Jump over to their website to see what’s available here. I’ve heard their catfish breading is outstanding.

Let me know if you like fried cornbread and be on the lookout for more about Wilderness Wildlife Week and The Old Mill right here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn.



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  • Reply
    Verna gadberry
    June 10, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    I also make fried cornbread frequently,my husband prefers fried cornbread to baked most of the time, I also make fried biscuit from time to time. along with fried bean cakes made from leftover soup beans. refried beans make great bean patties

  • Reply
    Helen Gardner
    January 5, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    I grew up calling them hoe cakes and it was a big treat when mom fixed them. We ate them like pancakes with lots of butter and syrup. Mmmmm good!

  • Reply
    July 13, 2018 at 10:20 am

    As I was reading today’s post about the way to keep skeeters and knots away (great idea), with the smoking rags, I saw under you might also like , this older post…I wanted to have a look at that recipe and post about it… we live in Kentucky , and when we have the privilege of going to the smokies (every chance we get ) :), we always come back with some cornmeal from the mill, for ourselves, and gifting to others…. the store bought cornmeal we have around here by no means can compare with it , :)… I love the mountains, ever since I got to come there for the first time in 1962…we camped in a campground, our mama, her neighbor lady and 4 kids … we were in awe of everything we saw ,and never forgot it…never came again till I was grown ,and married in 1979….I was so thrilled ,to see those mountains come into view after going through Marysville….Our Mama loved it there, and we do too, and go at every opportunity, it always seems so odd , after returning to Kentucky ,not to be able to look up and see a a huge deep green sometimes hazy mountain , raised up in view…so yes those mountains are special to us,,,,and yes we still honk when we go through a tunnel, love the music of the flowing creeks in the air at night…and count how many bears we got to that trip….back in 1962, we went in two cars, one pulling a u-haul , piled full of everything we thought we’d need for a weeks camping…our fun-loving,and funny mama’s hung a sign on the back of the u-haul that read ”Smoky Mountain or Bust”……reaching Nashville, where we’d never gone before, another car sped up to ours, and coming alongside said,” Lady ,are you going to the Smoky Mountains ?” …while trying to stay in her lane from being startled somewhat he said her …” Well you’re going the wrong way ”…..haha we finally did get there (it’s a wonder)… then we hardly wanted to leave….. when we did, we left with the awe of a mountain range in our hearts. awe because God made it . 🙂 and we got to have a look and experience it.

    • Reply
      July 13, 2018 at 10:22 am

      Haha skeeters and ”knats” away I typed , but spell check typed something else, haha , guess if I had any knots I’d wanna smoke them away too 🙂

  • Reply
    Kat magendie
    June 5, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Love me some fried cornbread! Sometimes I just mix a little cornmeal, water/milk, salt and pepper, and egg and shape them in patties and then sauté them in olive oil in an iron skillet. Always enjoy your blog!

  • Reply
    June 2, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Ron-thank you for the comments! I think some folks do call them johnny cakes. I wrote about gritted bread once-I need to re-post it : )

  • Reply
    June 2, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Rooney-I think lots of folks call it hoe cake : )

  • Reply
    Jimmy Proffitt
    June 1, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Tipper,
    What a great post! I grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, but I now live in East TN and work at the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge. I just started a blog about growing up and would love it if you would consider me for “Sit A Spell”. I will be adding you to “Tales from the other site” on The Appalachian Tale. As I said, it’s still a baby, so there’s only a couple of other recommendations, such as The Revivalist.
    Great writing! I don’t expect this message to be approved for posting, since it’s not that kind of message.
    Have a great day!
    Jimmy Proffitt
    The Appalachian Tale

  • Reply
    June jolley
    May 31, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Fried cornbread fritters are The Best! I usually fix cornbread this way because it is faster and doesn’t heat up the oven on a hot summer day. They are especially good with butter and honey while still hot. Oh my!

  • Reply
    May 31, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    I love cornbread any way you fix it.. My Pap Paw would always keep fresh ground corn meal, he didn’t like store bought meal, he’d send some home with us every once in a while when we would visit..

  • Reply
    May 31, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    When I was a kid, my family would make an annual pilgrimage to eastern North Carolina to visit family members who were tobacco farmers. My most vivid recollection of those visits is the plate of fried cornbread that was on the table at every lunch and dinner (known to us as dinner and supper). Good stuff. Your daughter’s comment made me smile – she got it right.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 31, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    I love fried cornbread. I like mine with a smear of mustard. Gives it sort of a corndog taste. I also like fried cornmeal mush. And fried livermush which is just cornmeal mush flavored with liver and some spices.
    I looked at the Old Mill website to see what kind of corn they used to make their cornmeal. It only says it is locally grown but doesn’t mention whether it is GMO corn (at least I didn’t see it.) I am not strictly against GMO products but I don’t like to consume them directly if I can avoid it. Feed them to a cow first and if it does OK, I’ll eat the cow.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Our Radio Gal sure got a Blessing this past Sunday. I told her it was good meeting her finally, and she agreed. She just played Paul and Jerry Wilson’s “Shepherd of My Soul” and she just raved on and on about you all coming to her Church. Then she played “Rock of Ages” by you, Pap, Paul, and them gorgeous Pressley Girls…Ken

  • Reply
    May 31, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    I woke up craving cornbread this morning…then remembered I had no milk in the house. Oh well, something to look forward to, anyway 🙂
    I’m also looking forward to all your posts about your trip. This event sounds like just my cup of tea.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    I love cornbread fritters fried in a cast iron pan. I’ve never been to the place you and the Deer Hunter went the other day, but I’ve been to corn meals and had fresh shelled corn ground. Daddy use to take me with him when he had a couple of bushels ground at Raleigh Gregory’s place. It was on the left less than 2 miles from the Topton Bridge going into the Nantahala Gorge. He didn’t charge money for grinding, but kept a portion to sell to others. I was always amazed at this method…Ken

  • Reply
    Joe Penland
    May 31, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Their cornmeal is great for fried okra. Barbara made some this weekend when our children were here to celebrate Memorial Day and there was not one little bit left over!

  • Reply
    Carol Rosenbalm
    May 31, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Just a quick note! Glad you got enjoy wildlife week in pigeon forge and your husband got to attend with you!
    Fried cornbread is the best! Cherokee have a fry bread they make also. The museum where I volunteer makes it. Delicious
    Also the museum where I volunteer sells the old mill cornmeal in their store in Townsend.
    Glad you got to get away and enjoy yourself for a few days!
    Carol R.

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    May 31, 2016 at 10:58 am

    YUM! The version I make is pretty much the same except I add chopped onion to the batter. We call them hush puppies. Oh my gosh are they good!!!

  • Reply
    May 31, 2016 at 10:33 am

    We love fried corn bread and have visited the Old Mill. What a great place! Can’t wait to hear about your trip and the people you met.

  • Reply
    Cheryl Soehl
    May 31, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I just found a cast iron mold for fish-shaped cornbread. I have never seen one like that, just the corn dodger shape that my Mom used when we were kids. Can’t wait to try it out. Wondering how a hushpuppy type recipe would work in it.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    May 31, 2016 at 9:40 am

    We love cornbread around here–in a skillet in the oven or fried.
    For oven bakers; here’s a secret tip from my mama: sprinkle about a tablespoon or so of cornmeal around in your grease before heating the skillet and be sure you’ve got plenty of grease in it. When the cornmeal is brown, the skillet is ready & your corn bread will almost never stick even in a skillet that’s not completely seasoned. For my biggest skillet that is not used as much, I will run a metal spatula up under it to be sure it’s loose before I turn it out of the pan.
    We love cornbread with all the good garden vegetables, especially the purple hull peas. What a meal that is with some good tomatoes and a sliced sweet onion. And some fried sweet corn.
    I am pretty famous for my hush puppies and am really proud of them–my secret is plenty of chopped onions. That little tablespoon the recipes call for is not nearly enough! Even onion haters love my puppies!!
    Does anyone else like their cornbread with jelly or honey?? We like it hot or cold with either one & I like molasses on it too.
    I think of you & your family every day, Tipper. I know the holidays are hard when a loved one has gone on. It will get easier with time.

  • Reply
    William Dotson
    May 31, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Tipper I love fried corn bread but we make ours into a pancake and Harriett has been making it in a waffle maker, but I don’t get it very often because it shoots my sugar up too much.

  • Reply
    Brenda Schlosser
    May 31, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Your soup beans, wilted lettuce, fried taters, and fried cornbread reminds me of my Granny’s wonderful dinners. I’m going to order from Old Mill, for sure!

  • Reply
    May 31, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I had the opportunity to participate in my little town’s Pioneer Day event earlier this month. My part of the event was to dress in period clothing (a cotton ‘work cap’, long gown and apron) and cook over a fireplace in a historically accurate replica of a 1800s cabin. Guess what I made?? Cornbread, fried in a cast iron skillet set on coals!! And a peach cobbler in my dutch oven. Oh, that cabin smelled so good!!!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    May 31, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Oh my GOSH! If we had not already experienced visiting the OLD MILL, I would be planning a trip back. THANKS very much for sharing!
    Now let me tell you about seeing the beautiful memorial on the Square in Hayesville! It is so beautiful and will just grow more so as the summer passes!
    PLUS my high school reunion was just wonderful, thanks to a dozen ‘local’ classmates! I just buzz in and out back to TN – but I am so grateful for my very dear classmates – who make it a special event!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    May 31, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Looks yummy!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 31, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Put me in with the fried cornbread crowd. (Is that the same as a hoe cake or a Johnny cake?) My favorite ways to eat it are; (1) with home-made vegetable soup made with home-grown vegetables, and (2) as cornbread and milk. I like crust and fried bread has lots of crust in proportion.
    My Grandma used to talk about ‘gritted bread’ which is made with corn that is just hard enough to ‘grit’ on a punched tin ‘gritter’. I expect there is a real art in getting the timing right; after roasting ears but before ground corn. I do not recall ever tasting gritted bread.
    You’ve made me want some.

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    May 31, 2016 at 8:25 am

    I think when my S. C. folks cooked cornbread in a skillet on top of the stove, they called it “hoe cakes”. Is this the same thing?

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 31, 2016 at 8:22 am

    I’ve made fried cornbread all my cooking years. It was a favorite at our home. This is also the way my dad made hush puppies….only he added chopped onion salt and pepper grease from frying the fish and then fried them along with the rest of the fish. He claimed that his were real hush
    puppies not those little fru, fru balls of dough!

  • Reply
    Cynthia Schoonover
    May 31, 2016 at 8:20 am

    These look like the corn pancakes my mama made when I was growing up! We loved them with fried fish, and I can taste them now! They were crisp and even better with some butter smeared on top.

  • Reply
    Lisa Snuggs
    May 31, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I visited the Old Mill last fall and could have made myself sick on the fried cornbread! Chatter got it right. Needless to say, I left with a bag of their meal, and I bought some buttermilk when I got home. Yum! I’m looking forward to your upcoming posts from your time at Wildlife Week!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 31, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Tip, anything worth eating is better fried! Cornmeal from a mill is ALWAYS better than cornmeal from a store! I used to order corn meal from a mill, white cornmeal, and it made the most delicious cornbread ever.
    In our current world mode of faster is better we have lost a lot of flavor, nutrition, and satisfaction.

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