Grandma Hill’s Hoecakes

Grandma Hill’s Hoecakes

Courtesy Vivian Howard
12 to 16 hoecakes
Pati Jinich
Course: Antojos, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttermilk, cornmeal, onion, pati’s mexican table
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Grandma Hill’s Hoecakes recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 8, Episode 3 “South by South of the Border with Vivian Howard”


  • 1 cup self-rising cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup water, divided
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided

To Prepare

  • If you plan to serve these within 20 minutes of cooking, preheat your oven to 200°In a medium bowl, sift together the cornmeal, salt, and sugar. Put the buttermilk and the onion in a blender and puree till it’s a homogenous liquid. Pour that plus 1/2 cup of the water into the cornmeal mixture and whisk to combine.
  • You’re looking for something akin to slightly loose pancake batter — a batter that, when you drop it into the skillet, spreads on its own, bubbles up around the edges, splatters a little. If you need to add more water to accomplish this, add the remaining water increments.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter onto the edge of the pan to form 1 corn cake. If the batter sizzles a little, the pan’s ready. Continue to drop the batter around the perimeter of the pan, finishing off with one in the middle. Make sure you get as many of them in there as you can without letting them touch. Lower your heat slightly and cook on one side for about 3 minutes. When they’re brown on the cast-iron side and little bubbles are shooting up through the center of batter, flip and cook an additional 3 minutes. Transfer the browned hoecakes to a baking sheet and hold them in the oven till you’re ready to eat. Add another tablespoon of oil and continue with the next batch.
  • If you, like my grandma, want to make these ahead and serve them a few hours later, warm them in a 375°F oven for 12-15 minutes. Do not use a microwave. The results will disappoint.

18 comments on “Grandma Hill’s Hoecakes

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  1. I made them and they were so good. Loved this episode. I want to make a Michelada too. There was an ingredient in it that you said Pati but I did not catch what it was. Something to add to it. Thank You! Love you and your show!

  2. Delicious as all your recipes are, Pati! I made them for breakfast without the onion & everyone enjoyed them! Thanks for sharing your Grandma’s recipe😊

  3. I saw the episode with you and Vivian Howard a few days ago. I was so excited to see two of my most favorite Chef’s – TOGETHER! You are both so endearing, and the recipes are so wonderful! Can’t wait to try these hoecakes with my version of borracho beans.

  4. I don’t have self-rising cornmeal. How much baking powder or baking soda would I need to add to the mix?

    I really enjoyed watching you and Vivian cooking together.

  5. What brand of cornmeal do you use? We love fried cornbread and would love to know which brand is best! Enjoyed watching you and Vivian on PBS.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Lisa, I do not have a preferred brand of cornmeal, but I have used Quaker and Goya and they are pretty good 😉

  6. I saw this episode today. The Texas caviar, the pork adobo, the hoecakes and the greens, made my mouth water- made me long for my grandma’s cooking. That pork reminded me of pulled pork. Thank you for these great recipes.

  7. Hoecakes are very popular in the South and my grandma, momma Rosie and my mom made these all the time. Their hoecakes were similarly made but without the onions and served up with lot’s of butter on them and we dipped the hoecakes in soups, beans and pot licker from the greens often (turnip, mustard and kale). Thanks Pati for sharing your Delicious recipe.

  8. Hi… I have been making a similar Hoecake for several years.. (probably around 45). I love tasty Cornbread any way that it is made. I do not add sugar though, but that is a southern thing here in the US. I tend to make my Skillet Cornbread a little more thinner than these Hoecakes.. We called them Fritters or Flitters when I was a young child. Either way they are great for dipping into great Soup Beans (Brown or White), Thank You for posting this! 😊🙏

  9. so cool ta see a Hoe Cake recipe ,, very popular in da South ,mentioned in my 1935 cook book , does not give measurements ,just ,,”moisten salted corn meal wit scalded milk let sit for one hour ,put two or 3 teaspoons half inch thick on a hot griddle , turn when cooked brown serve wit sausage ,,,, now Grandmas recipe sounds so good Im gettin buttermilk tamorrow thank you for sharing this so many times we have to look from where we came to be the cooks we are today , I can only Pray those we pass our heritage ,and our time tested recipes will continue to pass them on ,like Jimmys recipes how to roast a chicken ,white onion soup even how to chop garlic and not touch it ,,He did not like the smell on his hands ,,,,,,,,,,,