Grandma’s Hoe Cakes

I’m about to share with you the easiest and most scrumptious southern recipe ever – the hoe cake.  It can be written as two words or one.  I prefer two.

My maternal grandma had a stroke when I was a toddler and she passed away when I was 17.  All of my memories are of her tucked up in bed, but oh, she was the perfect grandma!

She always ate her main meal at lunch. For the evening meal she would usually have a couple of hoe cakes and a glass of buttermilk.  I didn’t cook much while I was growing up but I did learn how to make those little cakes for grandma.

Southern lore has it that hoe cakes were originally cooked outdoors, over a fire, on a garden hoe.  That was way before my time, but sounds doable to me!

You can find several different variations of the southern hoe cake but our family recipe has two simple ingredients – self-rising corn meal mix and water.  Yep.  That’s all, folks.  But, oh, are they tasty.  They are cooked in a little oil (well, a bit more oil makes them, oh, so  crispy, just the way we like them) kind of like you would cook a pancake.  (We like crispy pancakes, too.)

I have a large family so I decided several years ago to stop fighting the Sunday lunch crowds after church and, instead, go home to some peace and quiet and a home cooked meal.  So I do the Sunday lunch cooking on Saturday night and early Sunday morning.  I usually do the entree in the slow cooker and when we open the front door around noonish, we are greeted by smells of deliciousness.

And sometimes, not every Sunday, but sometimes, I make hoe cakes when I get home from church while the casseroles are being reheated, etc.  And I make a huge platter full.

This is one of those recipes that has never had any measurements whatsoever.  But, it’s really easy once you get the hang of it.  Note:  Sometimes, just like when making pancakes or crepes, you have to toss the first one. For some strange reason, it just does not want to turn out right.

Grandma’s Hoe Cakes

  •  2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
  •  One to 1-1/4 cups water (mixture should be a little thinner than pancake batter)  Add slowly, adding more or less, as needed
  • Oil for frying (I use peanut oil)


You want the mixture to be a little soupier than pancake batter.  Heat about ¼ cup of oil in a non-stick skillet on med/high. When the oil is heated, pour a scant ¼ cup of hoe cake mixture into the skillet, making several cakes, but not overcrowding.  When it begins bubbling and the edges start to crisp up, turn and cook the other side.  Drain on paper towels.  Keep warm until they are all cooked.

hoecake1My southern son-in-law loves them.  My northern (NY) son-in-law loves them.  My grandsons love them. They all try and find the crispiest, laciest ones.  And every time I make them and every time I eat them, I think of my beloved grandma.  Here’s to you, grandma!

About Alli

Southern, Morning Person, Jesus Girl, Frugal Party Planner, Writer/Blogger, Mom, Nana, Wife, Beach Bum Wannabe - Let's Have a Party!


  1. Not from the south, way up north in Maine, but my grandma used to make these, too! I don’t have a recipe, so thank you for posting! 🙂 Stopping by from SITS and so glad I did!

    • I love Maine. One Christmas, we packed up all the kids and headed to Maine, in search of snow. We only got a few flurries. We stayed in Ellsworth and went skiing at a nearby resort. And ate at a restaurant called Helen’s so many times, because we loved it so much, that we almost became regulars. I still dream of those grouper sandwiches and homemade onion rings.

      Hope you enjoy the hoe cakes!

  2. I LOVED THIS!!! I took off Friday to be with daddy and mama….Perfect timing for this post! Mom and I both cried!!! Loved It!

    • I’m glad you liked it! Linda called me last night to tell me she had read it, also. What fond memories I cherish of growing up with grandma and with you! Love ya, girl!

  3. Hey,
    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! These Hoe Cakes look fantastic! I love that these are so versatile and that you left room to play around with the recipe!


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