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Three Rivers Cornbread Recipe – Easy Kitchen Guide

Last Updated on December 7, 2023

Welcome to the heart of southern cooking – where the aromas are enticing, the flavors are rich, and the traditions are cherished. Today, we’re diving into a classic staple that has graced countless dinner tables and evokes the warmth of home – the Three Rivers Cornbread Recipe. This recipe pays homage to the confluence of three rivers in Pittsburgh, symbolizing the blending of diverse ingredients to create something truly delightful.

Much like the city itself, this cornbread recipe is a melting pot of flavors, bringing together sweet corn, creamy butter, and a subtle hint of spice. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to embark on a culinary journey to the heart of the South with this mouthwatering Three Rivers Cornbread Recipe. Let’s get started!

Three Rivers Cornbread Recipe

What are Three Rivers cornbread?

Three Rivers Cornbread is a classic southern-style cornbread recipe that originated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It gets its name from the confluence of three rivers – the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio – which meet in Pittsburgh to form a unique blend of flavors and cultures. This cornbread recipe pays tribute to this diversity by blending sweet corn, rich butter, and savory spices.

Cornbread has been a staple in southern cuisine for centuries, with various versions found throughout the region. But how did Three Rivers Cornbread come to be? The exact origins are unknown, but it is believed that this recipe was brought to Pittsburgh by settlers from Appalachia in the early 1800s.

With the abundance of corn and butter in the area, it quickly became a popular dish among locals. Today, Three Rivers Cornbread remains a beloved recipe in Pittsburgh and is often served at holiday meals and family gatherings.

Why You’ll Love This Three Rivers Cornbread?

Three Rivers Cornbread is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Whether you’re looking for a comforting side dish or a tasty snack, this cornbread recipe has got you covered. Here are a few reasons why you’ll love it:

  • Classic Southern flavors: Three Rivers Cornbread brings together traditional Southern ingredients, such as sweet corn and creamy butter, to create a delicious and comforting dish that will remind you of home.
  • Easy to make: This recipe is simple and requires minimal ingredients, making it perfect for beginner cooks or busy weeknights. Plus, it can be made in just 30 minutes!
  • Versatile: Three Rivers Cornbread can be enjoyed on its own as a snack or paired with your favorite dishes, such as chili or BBQ. You can also add your twist to this recipe by incorporating different ingredients, such as cheese, herbs, or spices.
  • Nostalgic: This cornbread recipe carries with it a sense of nostalgia and tradition. Whether you’re from Pittsburgh or just visiting, the Three Rivers Cornbread will transport you back in time to the heart of southern cooking.

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The Ingredients 

  1. Eggs: Eggs are a fundamental ingredient in many baked goods, including cornbread. They contribute to the structure by providing proteins that are set during baking to give the bread its form. The water in eggs also turns to steam in the oven, helping to leaven the bread for a lighter texture. Additionally, the fats in the yolk enrich the flavor and contribute to a tender crumb.
  2. Vegetable oil or Coconut oil: These oils are used for their high smoke points and neutral flavors. In baking, they add moisture to the batter, ensuring the cornbread doesn’t dry out during baking. They also help to create a tender crumb by shortening gluten strands.
  3. Buttermilk or Regular Milk: Buttermilk lends a tangy richness to the cornbread that contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of the cornmeal. It also reacts with baking powder to help leaven the bread. If you don’t have buttermilk, regular milk can be used as an alternative, though the resulting flavor will be slightly less tangy.
  4. Vegetable Oil for the Skillet: This isn’t mixed into the batter, but is important for cooking the cornbread. Pouring the batter into a hot, oiled skillet gives the cornbread a deliciously crisp edge and ensures it doesn’t stick to the pan.
  5. Self-Rising Cornmeal Mix: This is the star of the show in Cornbread. Cornmeal provides the distinctive, slightly sweet flavor and grainy texture associated with cornbread. The ‘self-rising’ part means that baking powder and salt are already mixed in, saving you a couple of steps and ensuring the bread rises properly.
How ot Make Three Rivers Cornbread Recipe

Step by Step Instructions 

Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Skillet

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Place a cast-iron skillet in the oven while it preheats.

Prepare the Cornbread Mix

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup of self-rising cornmeal mix with ½ tsp baking powder.
  • Set the mixture aside.

Prepare the Wet Ingredients

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs until they become light and fluffy.
  • Add ¼ cup of vegetable oil or melted coconut oil to the beaten eggs and continue to beat until well combined.

Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients

  • Slowly pour in 1 cup of buttermilk or regular milk while continuously mixing the wet ingredients.
  • Gradually add the dry cornmeal mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in a tough and dry cornbread.

Prepare the Skillet for Baking

  • Remove the hot skillet from the oven.
  • Pour in 2 tbsp of vegetable oil, tilting the pan to ensure it coats the bottom evenly.

Bake the Cornbread

  • Pour the cornbread batter into the hot skillet and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the Cornbread Cool

  • Allow the cornbread to cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving it warm.

Notes 

  • For a sweeter cornbread, you can add 2 tbsp of honey or sugar to the batter.
  • To make this recipe gluten-free, use a gluten-free self-rising cornmeal mix.
  • Leftover cornbread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen for longer storage.
  • For a fun twist, you can add chopped jalapeño peppers, shredded cheese, or herbs like rosemary or thyme to the batter before baking.
  • Make sure to use a cast-iron skillet for best results. If you don’t have one, you can use an 8×8-inch baking pan instead.
Three Rivers Cornbread Copycat Recipe

Nutrition Information

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How to store three rivers of cornbread?

Three Rivers Cornbread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen for longer storage. To freeze, let the cornbread cool completely and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing it in a freezer-safe bag or container. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Variations 

  • For a savory twist, add crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese to the batter before baking.
  • Serve warm with honey butter or maple syrup for a sweet treat.
  • Use leftover cornbread as a base for homemade chili or crumble it on top of a casserole for added texture.
  • Get creative with toppings such as whipped cream, fresh fruits, or powdered sugar for a unique and delicious dessert option.
  • You can also cut the cornbread into smaller pieces and use them as a base for appetizers, such as mini cornbread bites topped with pulled pork or guacamole.
  • Experiment with different types of milk, such as almond milk or coconut milk, to make this recipe dairy-free.
Three Rivers Cornbread Copycat Recipe

Three Rivers Cornbread Recipe

Welcome to the heart of southern cooking – where the aromas are enticing, the flavors are rich, and the traditions are cherished.
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Course: Bread
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 366kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 large-sized eggs
  • 4 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 3 ½ cups of vegetable oil for the skillet
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk or regular milk

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) with a cast-iron skillet inside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup self-rising cornmeal mix with ½ tsp baking powder.
  • In a large bowl, beat 2 eggs, then mix in ¼ cup vegetable oil.
  • Slowly add 1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk) to the egg-oil mixture.
  • Gradually blend the dry cornmeal mixture into the wet ingredients, avoiding overmixing.
  • Remove the hot skillet, add 2 tbsp vegetable oil, and coat the bottom.
  • Pour the batter into the skillet and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving warm.

Notes

  • For a sweeter cornbread, you can add 2 tbsp of honey or sugar to the batter.
  • To make this recipe gluten-free, use a gluten-free self-rising cornmeal mix.
  • Leftover cornbread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen for longer storage.
  • For a fun twist, you can add chopped jalapeño peppers, shredded cheese, or herbs like rosemary or thyme to the batter before baking.
  • Make sure to use a cast-iron skillet for best results. If you don’t have one, you can use an 8×8-inch baking pan instead.
Keyword: Three Rivers Cornbread Recipe

FAQs

Can I make this recipe without eggs?

Yes, you can use flax eggs or applesauce as a substitute for the eggs. However, the texture and rise of the cornbread may be slightly different.

What if I don’t have a self-rising cornmeal mix?

Self-rising cornmeal mix is a combination of cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. This mix simplifies the process as it eliminates the need to add these ingredients separately. It ensures that the bread rises properly and gives it a slightly sweet, grainy texture. If you don’t have the self-rising mix, you can make your own by combining 1 cup of cornmeal with 1 tsp baking powder and ½ tsp salt.

Why is buttermilk used in this cornbread recipe and can I use regular milk instead?

Buttermilk lends a tangy richness to the cornbread that contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of the cornmeal. It also reacts with the baking powder in the self-rising cornmeal mix to help leaven the bread. If you don’t have buttermilk, regular milk can be used as an alternative, but the resulting flavor will be slightly less tangy.

Wrapping Up

This Three Rivers Cornbread recipe is versatile and can be customized to your liking. Whether you prefer it sweet or savory, adding your twist with different ingredients will make this cornbread unique and delicious. Enjoy it as a side dish for dinner or as a snack on its own. The possibilities are endless! 

So next time you’re in the mood for some Southern comfort food, try making this simple and tasty Three Rivers Cornbread. Happy baking!

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Author Profile

Dr. Leah Alexander, M.D., is a board-certified Pediatrician in New Jersey and has been working at Elizabeth Pediatric Group of New Jersey since 2000.
She also has a passion for culinary arts that extends beyond the medical realm. After completing culinary school at the French Culinary Institute, she started Global Palate, LLC, a catering firm, in 2007. She ran her own six-year-old catering company and served small group parties as an owner and executive chef.

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