Grandma’s Famous Hoecakes

by Alli

I’m about to share with you the easiest and most scrumptious southern recipe ever – the southern hoecake. My family can’t seem to get enough of Grandma’s Famous Hoecakes. These hoecakes are so crispy and good.

My maternal grandma had a stroke when I was a toddler and she passed away when I was 17.  Most of my memories are of her tucked up in bed. But, she was the perfect grandma! I could sit and talk to her for hours. 

Grandma always ate her main meal at lunch. For the evening meal, she would usually have a couple of hoecakes 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 hoecakes were originally cooked outdoors, over a fire, on a garden hoe. That was way before my time, but sounds doable to me! 

Grandma's Hoe-Cakes - Fried Cornbread

These Hoecakes Have Only Two Ingredients

You can find several different variations of the southern hoecake. However, our family recipe has two simple ingredients – self-rising cornmeal 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). 

I have a large family – 16 so far. My family gets together every Sunday and shares Sunday dinner right after church. That means I usually make dessert and a few of the dishes on Saturdays. 

Sometimes, I make hoecakes 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.

Grandma’s Famous Hoecakes

To make hoecakes, you will need two cups of self-rising cornmeal mix and one to 1-1/4 cups water. I use cornmeal mix because it has flour, baking powder, and salt mixed in. 

Cornmeal Mix for Hoecakes

The batter needs to be slightly thinner than pancake batter. You don’t want it to be so thin that it separates while cooking, but you don’t want a thick batter either.

Hoecake Batter

These hoecakes cook in just a couple of minutes and you want a good crunch. We like crispy sides – lacy is what we call it.

You’ll also need oil for frying. You can use any oil that has a high smoke point. Vegetable oil, canola oil or peanut oil works just fine. 

Heat about ¼ cup of oil in a non-stick skillet on med/high. You’ll want to make these in batches so you will probably need to add more oil as you go. 

When the oil is heated, pour a scant ¼ cup of the cornmeal mixture into the skillet, making several cakes, but not overcrowding. 

frying hoecakes in a pan

When the hoecakes begin 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.

My southern son-in-law loves these hoecakes.  Even my Yankee (NY) son-in-law loves them.  My grandsons also love these. They all try and find the crispiest, laciest ones.  

And every time I make these, I think of my beloved grandma.  Here’s to you, grandma!

Yield: Approximately 10 hoecakes

Grandma’s Famous Hoecakes

Grandma's Hoe-Cakes - Fried Cornbread

Grandma's hoe-cakes are always a hit! These crispy little cakes are easy to make with just 2 ingredients.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
  • 1 to 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup oil (peanut or canola) for frying


    1. Heat about ¼ cup of oil in a non-stick skillet on med/high heat.
    2. Mix together the cornmeal mix and water. The batter should be on the thin side.
    3. When the oil is heated, pour a scant ¼ cup of the cornmeal mixture into a large skillet, making several cakes. Don't overcrowd the skillet.
    4. When the cakes begin to bubble and the edges start to crisp up, turn and cook the other side. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm until all the hoecakes are cooked.


You will need to add oil as needed because the hoe-cakes are cooked in batches.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 82Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 0mgSodium 305mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 2gSugar 0gProtein 2g

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