Crackling Bread

| March 24, 2014 | 25 Comments

Crackling Bread Recipe, as seen on Taste of
Follow our easy, step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe to make this old Southern favorite Crackling Bread. We just call it Cracklin Bread, dropping that G, but it’s super easy to make and delicious with just about anything. This is a follow-up recipe using the cracklings we made from rendering our own leaf lard but you can find cracklings available in many grocery stores throughout the South. Printable recipe included.


Crackling Bread, slider
Cracklin Bread Recipe:

It’s Cornbread with WHAT in it?


You don’t say. What are Cracklins?

If you’re scratching your head and wondering what this recipe is all about, your may not be from the South. On the other hand, if you recognized it right off the bat, it’s likely you either grew up Southern, or know someone that did.

A few weeks ago, I did a post on How To Render Leaf Lard. I had purchased about a pound of leaf fat, then melted it down into Leaf Lard, right on my stove top. Leaf Lard is supposedly the best lard one can use to make pie crusts with. I still haven’t tried it, but hope to be making another pie before too long.

When pork fat is melted down, the hot liquid fat solidifies into what we know as lard. It’s fairly easy to make your own at home, it’s just a bit time consuming. Lard can still be purchased throughout the South, but the store bought stuff has to be overly processed these days and just takes away from the quality of the product.

When you render the fat down, most of the fat melts. The pieces that remain are called “Cracklings.” We just call them, “Cracklins,” dropping the G all together. The size of the cracklins will depend on how large the chunks of fat were when you started. I had diced mine up pretty small as they say that helps the fat to produce more liquid during rendering.

Crackling Bread can be made different ways. It’s basically cornbread with the cracklins added to it for more flavor. As you know, even folks in the South argue about how to make basic cornbread, so we’ll stay away from getting too far involved in that debate here. But, for the purists, I will say that “No Sugar was harmed during the making of this Crackling Bread.” How’s that? (Even though I like a little sugar in my cornbread.) Oops, now I’ve done it.

We didn’t eat a lot of Cracklin Bread as I was growing up. Normally, cracklins were only available after we killed hogs during the fall. Thanksgiving Day was normally set aside for that special occasion. Once the men folk started butchering up the pig, the big black “wash pot” was used to render down lard. The leftover cracklings were often divided among those that helped do the work. After that, Mama would make Cracklin Bread as opposed to just plain cornbread.

All you really need is a hunk of Cracklin Bread and a baked Sweet Potato to have a good meal. Ever tried it?

I know this isn’t going to be one of my most popular recipes here on Taste of Southern. Still, it’s an old favorite worth saving and I really wanted to add it to the collection. I hope you’ll give it a try.

Check out our How To Render Leaf Lard post, to see how we ended up with the Cracklins. Then, if you’re ready to give it a try, we’ll heat up the cast iron skillet. Oh, you’re ready now? Alright then… Let’s Get Cooking!


Crackling Bread, you'll need these ingredients.
Crackling Bread Recipe: You’ll need these ingredients.

You can’t tell from the photo, but that’s some really good Buttermilk in that jar. It comes from Maple View Farm, a little North of Chapel Hill, North Carolina in Hillsborough. I love this stuff. It’s thick and creamy, totally unlike the watery stuff you’ll find in those cartons at your grocer. I just learned about it recently and can’t wait to visit their Country Store and try out their Ice Cream. I promise I’ll give you a full report when I get the opportunity to visit.

Moss’ Cornmeal is another great North Carolina Product. They make various cornmeals, breaders and mixes. All good stuff.


Crackling Bread, melt the bacon grease.
Normally, I’d be asking you to place the two Tablespoons of Bacon Grease in your skillet and let it melt. As it happened, I had just fried up a batch of Bacon in my skillet and drained the remaining fat from the pan. Here, I’m just returning two Tablespoons of that fat BACK into the skillet.  The skillet was still hot and the fat was already melted. Hope that doesn’t confuse you.


Crackling Bread, add the cornmeal.
Place the cornmeal in a medium size mixing bowl.


Crackling Bread, break the eggs in a separate bowl.
In a smaller bowl, break the eggs. It’s always best to break eggs in something else first. That way, you can easily remove any pieces of shell that might fall in. It happens you know. OK, maybe just to me, but it still happens.


Crackling Bread, whisk the eggs.
Whisk the eggs up with a fork. Mix them up really good.


Crackling Bread, add eggs to the cornmeal.
Make a small well in the cornmeal, then add the beaten eggs.


Crackling Bread, slowly add the buttermilk.
Add the Buttermilk.


Crackling Bread, stir the batter, adding more buttermilk, if needed.
Stir the batter together. You may have to add a little more Buttermilk to get it to the proper consistency. You want a batter pretty much like that of a pancake batter. It should pour easily, but not be watery thin.


Crackling Bread, add the melted bacon grease.
Add the hot Bacon Grease that you’ve melted in the skillet.


Crackling Bread, add the cracklins.
Add the cracklings to the batter.


Crackling Bread, stir it all together well.
Stir everything together until combined. Don’t worry about any lumps, they’re OK. Just mix it together until it’s fully combined, then stop.


Crackling Bread, pour batter into the skillet.
Pour the batter into the hot skillet.


Crackling Bread, spread it out evenly in the skillet if needed.
Spread the batter out if need be. This was just a little thick, but still OK.


Crackling Bread, bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until done.
Place the skillet in the hot oven. Bake the bread for 20-25 minutes, or until done, at 450°F. You can test the bread if needed, by inserting a wooden toothpick in the center. If the toothpick pulls out clean, the bread is done. If the toothpick pulls out with a few crumbs clinging to it, let it bake a few more minutes until done.


Crackling Bread, butter while hot.
Remove the pan from the oven when the bread is done. Place the skillet on a folded towel or wire rack to cool. I like to add a few pats of Butter to the top for added flavor.

After a couple of minutes, flip the baked bread out into a serving plate, or just slice and serve from the skillet.


Crackling Bread, enjoy.


clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon print print icon squares squares icon
Crackling bread recipe, as seen on Taste of

Crackling Bread

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 pieces 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


Follow our easy, step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe to make this old Southern favorite Crackling Bread. We just call it Cracklin Bread, dropping that G, but it’s super easy to make and delicious with just about anything. This is a follow-up recipe using the cracklings we made from rendering our own leaf lard but you can find cracklings available in many grocery stores throughout the South.



  • 2 cups Self Rising Corn Meal
  • 1 cup Pork Cracklins
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Bacon Grease


Preheat oven to 450°F

  1. Place bacon grease in cast iron skillet, over Medium heat, let melt.
  2. Place corn meal in a medium size mixing bowl.
  3. Add eggs.
  4. Add buttermilk.
  5. Stir ingredients, adding more buttermilk as needed to make a slightly thin batter.
  6. Add the cracklins, stir well to combine.
  7. Pour the melted bacon grease in with the batter, stir again to combine.
  8. Pour batter into hot skillet, spread out evenly.
  9. Place skillet in preheated oven.
  10. Bake 20-25 minutes as needed, until lightly browned on top.
  11. Remove from oven.
  12. Run a butter knife around the edges of the cornbread to loosen from skillet.
  13. Flip bread out onto a plate.
  14. Top with butter, serve warm.
  15. Enjoy!

Keywords: Crackling Bread, cracklin bread, crackling corn bread, made from scratch, southern recipes, buttermilk


Your Comments:  Have you ever tried Crackling Bread? Ever made your own? I’d love to hear your comments on our recipe, especially if you decide to give it a try. It will only take a minute or two to share your comments and memories with us. And, if you try our recipe, be sure to share your results with us. Your comments could encourage someone else to try the recipe as well. That would be greatly appreciated. Just know that all comments are moderated. That just means that I personally read each and every one of them before they are approved for our family friendly home here on the Internet. Your comment will not appear right away, but I’ll do my best to get it posted online just as soon as possible. I also try to reply to as many comments as possible, so be sure to check back for that. Thank You.

Sign Up For Our FREE Newsletter: Each week, I send out a brief Email to remind you about the latest recipe, or anything else, that might be going on around Taste of Southern. It’s a great way to keep up with all of our recipes so you can be sure not to miss one. I’ll also keep you informed of any contests, giveaways, or any other special news that might be taking place. It’s absolutely FREE to sign up. All you have to do is enter the requested information in the sign up box below. There is also one in the top right hand corner of each page of our site. It only takes a minute to join, and should you ever decide you’re no longer interested, its even easier to unsubscribe. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up today! I’ll be looking for you on our list.  Plus, if you like our recipes, be sure to share our information with your family and friends. It will help us, and hopefully help them as well. Thank You in advance for all your support.

Be Blessed!!!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Breads

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (25)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Steven Gambrell says:

    I’m on the way to the store for what I need now! It’s been years since I’ve had any cracklin bread. This looks like a great recipe for it. Thanks a lot!: )

  2. Kim says:

    My cracklins are frozen. Is it best to reheat them prior to making the cornbread? If so, what is ur preferred method?

    Thank you.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Kim, I would just thaw them out in the refrigerator, then add them. I hope this helps. Thank you for your visit today. I do appreciate it and I trust you will visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  3. Floretta Dambrosio Mangus says:

    I am Italian killing of the hogs is familiar,my Mom made crackin bread not with corn bread
    Regular bread dough.,rolled it out pressed in the cracking and some hot red pepper ,rolled it up brought the ends together ( like a ring) ,and baked it. This is how I remember..

  4. Eggy says:

    I’m in Australia, reading To Kill A Mockingbird. This recipe gave me great insight into Scout’s favourite snack! Thanks

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Eggy, Hope you enjoy the book, and hope you’re doing well in Australia. Greetings all the way from North Carolina. I hope you’ll get to try Crackling Bread one day as well. Calpurnia would be proud. Smile. I do appreciate your comment and your visit today. I hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

    • Andrea says:

      I also came here after stumbling across the “crackling bread” in To Kill a Mockingbird! Funny how life brought us together 🙂 thanks for the recipe and the smile, Steve. Greetings from Austria!

  5. Jimbo says:

    My family is from Breathitt County Kentucky, and settled in southern Illinois. We were dirt poor so I grew up on Cracklin bread, hocake, fried okra, poke salad…. such memories! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Jimbo, I tell everyone that I grew up poor, I just didn’t know it. Looks like we enjoyed many of the same types of foods though. Smile. I’ve never had poke salad, you’ve got me on that one. I’m glad we could bring back some good memories for you with our recipes. Thank you for your visit and I do hope you’ll visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  6. curious says:

    Could we use crushed pork rinds? Like from the bag on the chip aisle.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Curious, I’ve never tried the pork rinds, but according to the Internets, it can be done. And, you know the Internets is never wrong. Smile. I wish I could give you some more information. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to help. Thank you for the question, and if you try it, please let me know how it turns out for you. I do appreciate the visit and hope you’ll visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve



  8. Bob Christian says:

    I enjoyed the recipe for cracklins bread. We had it fairly often when I was growing up in North Georgia. The idea of making your own cracklins really rang my chimes because the bought ones have bits of skin attached. The rendering process makes them hard and difficult to chew. The ones we always had were homemade so no skins allowed. In fact if my thinking is correct then there should be no skin because the leaf fat is not attached directly to the skin of the belly. I am going to get the fat and make some just for old times sake. As you can probably tell I have a lot to worry about! lol. I love your recipes and comments and the facts that you just tell us your way and if someone doesn’t do it the exact way….fine!
    I do get a little irked when a recipe is changed before ever making it first and then complain that it was no good or didn’t turn out properly. Soap box back under the bed now.
    Thanks for a great read and informative recipes!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Bob, Thank you for sharing your comments. I do hope you’ll render down some fat and try the recipe. Please let me know how it turns out for you. I appreciate your visit, and trust you will stop by often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  9. Sandra says:

    When my mother made this she soaked the cracklin in buttermilk until they soften & that made it easier to chew.

  10. Debbie Robinson says:

    I’m as southern as it gets. ..Mississippi born and raised and proud. First of all I never put oil of any kind in my cornbread cuz it makes it dry and crumbly. I put the oil or bacon fat in a cast iron skillet, sprinkle a little cornmeal in and toss the skillet til the bottom is coated, heat it in a 400 degree oven til lightly browned then pour my cornbread mix in and bake til golden brown and has crunchy edges using the top rack in the oven. Second of all when making cracklin bread you should soak the cracklins in the buttermilk you plan to use in the bowl you plan to use in the fridge for about an hour so you don’t Crack a tooth with the cracklins cuz they can be hard as a rock if not softened before you add them to your mix. The longer you soak them the softer they get so if you want a little crunch or non at all is up to you. ..we love them either way. Enjoy! (Almost as good as our grits)

  11. Ann says:

    I have read “To Kill a Mockingbird” many, many times and never knew what craclin’n bread was and finally looked it up. Thanks so much for the explanation and the recipe. Sounds wonderful. I grew up in Maryland – not really North or South and my parents were from NY so there are a lot of foods and expressions I have had to look up over the years when reading TKAM.

  12. Soapy says:

    This is a very easy recipe I like it

  13. Jeri says:

    I love cracklin bread, my aunt used to make it . I found cracklins at the super mkt here in Mi. Also i
    tried stirring a cup or more of crumbled up bacon to my cornbread. It turned out pretty good. The kids loved it, but i still like my old fashioned Cracklins.

  14. Heather says:

    I love cracklin bread and yours looks so good. I always pour my batter directly into the hot bacon grease in the skillet, but I’m going to try it your way mixed into the batter next time. Thank you for all your efforts, God Bless you.

  15. Becky says:

    Thanks for publishing this. I grew up in NC and ate fried fat back my whole life, which is a little like cracklins. I still love to fry some now and then and just eat the crispy fat back in a piece of bread. My mom did not make cracklin bread (we didn’t have our own hogs)but I had some one time at a covered dish luncheon and it was deliscious. Let’s don’t let these old recipes die. Good job.

  16. Bro. Fred says:

    Easier than my involved recipe. THANKS from an old county Preacher.

Leave a Reply to Steve Gordon Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *