Skillet Cornbread with Bacon Jam and Chive Compound Butter - Savory Simple

I have a crush. To clarify, it’s not a romantic crush (hi honey!) but a culinary one. Ever since I watched Bryan Voltaggio compete on Top Chef I have been a huge fan. I love his food. And I am so lucky that he’s local to the DC area and has several restaurants near me. I’ve copied his work before. Almost two years ago after dining at his restaurant Volt, I returned home to create my own version of one of his dishes- butter poached lobster with steel cut oat risotto. It’s as good as it sounds. I think Bryan is a culinary wizard and am in awe of his creativity in the kitchen. 

Skillet Cornbread with Bacon Jam and Chive Compound Butter - Savory Simple

If Volt wasn’t an hour outside of the city I would dine there much more often. You can imagine my joy when I learned he was opening a new restaurant right down the road from us called Range. It is one metro stop or a five minutes drive from my house. It was very difficult to get a reservation when the restaurant first opened but we were able to enjoy our first meal on my birthday in July. Everything was amazing from the kale caesar salad to the bone marrow with golden raisins, caramelized onions and pine nuts. I still daydream about the lamb course. But one of the unexpected highlights of the meal for me was skillet cornbread with bacon jam and chive butter.

All of the components worked perfectly together. I loved that it was served in a small cast iron skillet identical to the one I often use in recipes. It was the perfect serving for two people. And the bacon jam was phenomenal. Smokey, intense, rich. Within days I was planning out my own version of the recipe at home. I can’t say my bacon jam turned out quite as perfect as his but it’s pretty damn good. I know you will fall in love with this dish just as I did.

Skillet Cornbread with Bacon Jam and Chive Compound Butter - Savory Simple

Skillet Cornbread with Bacon Jam and Chive Butter
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This cornbread recipe works with one 5-inch cast iron skillet. For a large skillet, double the recipe. To save time on the day of serving, make the bacon jam in advance!
Serves: 1 5-inch skillet of cornbread and 1½ cups bacon jam
Bacon Jam
  • 1 pound bacon (preferably thick cut), cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup brewed coffee
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
Chive Compound Butter
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped finely
  • pinch of salt
Skillet Cornbread
  • ¾ cup finely ground cornmeal
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup buttermilk + 3 tablespoons
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Prepare the bacon jam
  1. In a dutch oven, render fat from bacon and then cook over medium high until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pot, leaving the fat, and drain on paper towels.
  2. Add the onion, shallot and garlic to the pot and cook over medium heat until the ingredients soften, approximately 10 minutes. Return the bacon to the pot and add the coffee, water, vinegar, maple syrup, sugar and honey. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring periodically, until the mixture thickens substantially, approximately 1 - 1½ hours.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mixture to a food processor, leaving as much excess fat behind as possible. Discard the bacon fat.
  4. Pulse the jam until finely chopped.
  5. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight jar for up to 2 weeks.
Prepare the chive compound butter
  1. In a small bowl or ramekin, mix the butter, chives and salt until evenly combined. Shape into a pat of butter and chill in the refrigerator or freezer until it firms up.
Prepare the cornbread
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the cast iron skillet in the oven on a middle rack and allow it to get hot while preparing the ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg and all but 1 tablespoon of the butter. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until just combined.
  3. Remove the skillet from the oven and turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F. Pour the reserved tablespoon of butter into the skillet and swirl it around. Pour the batter into the skillet and place back in the oven.
  4. Cook until a toothpick comes out of the center of the cornbread cleanly and the top is just starting to turn golden brown, approximately 25 minutes.
  5. Serve with bacon jam and compound butter.
Cornbread recipe adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli

Bacon Jam recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen D.I.Y. Cookbook


Tools I used:

Lodge 5 Inch Cast Iron Skillet

More Bacon Recipes

Savory Simple – Brown Sugar Bacon Brussels Sprouts
Savory Simple – Creamy Cauliflower Bacon Soup
Savory Simple – Arugula Salad with Soft Boiled Eggs, Bacon, and Shallot Dijon Vinaigrette
Pineapple and Coconut – Maple Brined Pork Belly and Purple Sweet Potato Hash
The Wicked Noodle – Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Bacon Tart 
Creative Culinary  – Spaghetti Carbonara

  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress)

    I have a crush on this cornbread, ohhhhh that butter and JAM! ahhhhh yum!

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    That is one gorgeous skillet cornbread!

  • Two Red Bowls

    This sounds incredible. Bacon jam! Chive butter! A SKILLET! Definitely want to try it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Christina

    HellsYeah!! Making this on Sunday – thanks Jen!!

  • Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes

    This is superb, all of it! Love how the bread has the shape of the skillet including the little ears.

  • Jennifer @ Delicieux

    Bryan is a fantastic chef. I’m watching him on Top Chef Masters which is on here in Australia at the moment. I’ve never tried cornbread. It’s not something we eat much of here, but it looks amazing!

  • Tieghan

    Stunning!! The bacon jam is incredible and the cornbread is just wow! I have one giant crush on this cornbread and the bacon jam and the chive butter. The flavor together just sound so good!

  • Kathryn

    I loved Bryan too – he always seems to come up with such great flavours and everything he cooked on Top Chef looked so delicious. This cornbread sounds totally wonderful especially with that bacon jam.

  • Gerry @ foodness gracious

    Oooo, I wanna try that right now! Awesome pics,as always :)

  • Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet

    Oooh, lucky girl to be so close to Bryan’s new restaurant! Love this skillet cornbread but the bacon jam sounds absolutely amazing! I mean bacon, coffee and maple syrup? Woah!

  • Kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts

    I’m such a fan of cornbread in my little skillet that I scribbled down my recipe reduction (I know there’s an 1/8 of a cup of something in it) and stuck it on the fridge.
    The combination of cornbread, compound butter, and tomato bacon jam sounds delicious. I’ll have to try it with my green tomato bacon jam.


  • Marie @ Little Kitchie

    These flavors are so perfect! Trying this one out for sure!!

  • Laura Dembowski

    This cornbread looks so yummy! There are few things in life better than great cornbread! I also love the Voltaggios. You are very lucky to have eaten in Bryan’s restaurants!

  • Jenna

    I love bacon jam and I can only imagine how delicious this is!! Can’t wait to make this, thanks!

  • ashley – baker by nature

    Omg, Jen! Yes to all of this!!!

  • Christina

    Making the bacon jam as we speak! Ohyeah!

  • Jackie {Domestic Fits}

    I TOTALLY have a crush on those brothers. And sort of romantic in a dirty way. It’s OK, my husband is fine with it. I’ll just distract him with this cornbread and bacon jam.

  • Lily @ Life, Love, and Cupcakes

    I am obsessed with skillet cornbread! The bacon jam sounds awesome, I want to put it on everything!!!

  • Nutmeg Nanny

    Your photos are flawless. This cornbread looks amazing and I am dying to taste the bacon jam, yum!!

  • laurasmess

    YUM! Ah, this recipe sounds so delicious! Bacon, cornbread, chive butter… what’s not to like? I’ve never heard of the chef you mentioned but I think I need to look him up. My chef ‘crush’ at the moment is Yotam Ottolenghi, I was reasonably late in discovering him but now I’m cooking my way through Jerusalem. So many amazing, inspiring recipes. Thanks for this gorgeous cornbread recipe. I’m going to make it soon. And stuff my face, booyah! x

  • Libby with Lemony Thyme

    Jennifer you are amazing. Your photos captivate me. But it’s the way you hone in on a dish and deliver it that causes envy. xo

    • Jennifer Farley

      Wow, thank you. That made my day!

  • Christina

    Finally tried the bacon jam recipe – flippin’ deeeelicious. We’re trying to come up with other foods to spread the jam on!! Thanks Jen!