How To Make Self Rising Cornmeal

Homemade Self Rising Plain Cornmeal. Use in place of packaged brands for any cornbread recipe not containing flour. Mix makes 4 cups total (enough for 2 dozen+ cornbread muffins).

If you’re out of self rising cornmeal, or don’t live in an area where the stores carry it, here’s a quick version to make at home!

Homemade self rising cornmeal in a prep bowl

Use this homemade cornmeal mix in any recipe calling for “self rising cornmeal”.

It works well for skillet cornbread, cornbread muffins, breading, hoe cakes, hush puppies, and more.


Ingredients for self rising cornmeal

Cornmeal – preferably fine ground. We like white cornmeal but yellow is good, too.

Baking Powder – this leavener adds the necessary baking soda and calcium phosphate found in self rising cornmeal.

Salt – just plain, fine salt adds flavor.


  • Always be sure to use fresh baking powder for baking or baking mix recipes so the leavening will still work like it should. Baking powder should be no more than 3 or 4 months old.
  • The recipe calls for 4 Tablespoons, which can add a bitterness if you’re used to super sweet cornbread, but if you’re unsure– it can be adjusted down to 3 Tablespoons easily.


self rising cornmeal ingredients in a bowl

Simply add everything to a large bowl and whisk to combine.

whisking self rising cornmeal in a bowl

Store up to 3 months in an airtight container in the pantry. Use as directed in your recipe.


Is this self rising cornmeal gluten free?

Yes, because there’s no flour or enriched wheat in this homemade mix. Just be sure to use cornmeal that hasn’t been processed with wheat.

Keep in mind since this recipe does not call for flour — it will not work as a substitute for enriched cornmeal mix, so you would need to adjust and add flour to the mix if that’s what you’re looking for.

What is the yield for this recipe?

This recipe makes 4 cups worth of self rising cornmeal which is enough for 2 to 3 dozen muffins, or two 10 inch skillets worth of cornbread.

Self rising cornmeal in a jar
Homemade self rising cornmeal in a small bowl

Homemade Self Rising Cornmeal

Emma J. Watling
Simple, homemade version to use in place of any plain self rising cornmeal. This does not contain flour. Recipe makes 4 cups total.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Prep
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 32
Calories 47 kcal


  • large bowl
  • airtight storage container


  • cups white or yellow cornmeal fine ground recommended
  • 4 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt


  • Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl until evenly incorporated.
  • Pour into an airtight storage container and keep for up to 3 months in the pantry.


  • Ensure your baking powder is fresh for best results (not open for longer than a few months).
  • This recipe is for plain self rising cornmeal (not enriched- it does not contain flour).
    • Plain self rising cornmeal is the staple ingredient in southern style cornbread or cornbread muffins but it’s difficult to find in stores outside of the southern US.
  • Use this homemade version in your recipe as directed


Serving: 2TablespoonsCalories: 47kcalCarbohydrates: 10.7gProtein: 1.4gFat: 0.5gFiber: 1.4g
Keyword Cornmeal, How To, Self Rising Cornmeal Recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

I always pick up a few bags of self rising cornmeal when I visit family in Virginia– but I sometimes run out of my stash before I can go back in. It’s kind of pricey online so I’ve started making my own. I do prefer to buy the pre-made bag from Virginia’s Best but this homemade recipe is easy and a good one to have on hand!

This post is not sponsored or affiliated, I just use and love this brand. My family has used Big Spring Mill and Virginia’s Best products for decades.

8 thoughts on “How To Make Self Rising Cornmeal”

  • 5 stars
    I bought 20lbs of Virginia’s Best before the mill closed and have now used it up. I am trying to find meal like this and it’s not easy. I’ve tried using plain cornmeal and adding the baking powder, but I didn’t use enough. One thing I’ve learned is that if you’re using buttermilk, which is acidic, you can use baking soda in half the amount. This is because baking powder is half soda and half acidic activation powder (with a bit of starch). I will try the proportions you give here and I’m sure it will be better.

    • Hi John,

      Hope it works well for you! We were so sad to lose Big Spring Mill 😢 And unfortunately, their line of self-rising cornmeal was my favorite! I’ve heard from my Virginia friends there’s a similar brand called Boonville Milling (from Boonville, NC) that’s close to the old seasoned flour. Boonville’s cornmeal looks promising, but had some flour in it, so that’s different than VA’s Best.

      Hope this helps! Take care. Emma

      • I had heard of Boonville Milling but have not used their products. Cornmeal with flour is unusable for me because a) I’m philosophically opposed, and b) I am celiac and need it to be gluten-free. I am working on getting the leavening right for plain cornmeal, and as soon as I do I will have options. One thing I have learned is that self-rising cornbread has a lot more baking powder (up to 5X) than is usually called for in cornbread recipes. My first few attempts didn’t rise much. Food Lion carries two brands of self-rising meal: Tenda-Bake and Yelton’s. They are not stone-ground, but are white corn and make bread closer to Virginia’s Best than the other meals I’ve tried — but that was because I hadn’t worked out the leavening issue.

        • Oh I miss Food Lion! I always have to stop in when I’m in town and I always bring back some of their shelf products. I hope you’re able to find a good option– one that works well and is completely gluten-free. I don’t believe in having flour in cornbread either 🙃 it’s always hard when a product we are used to is discontinued…

    • I only use the self-rising to make cornbread or corn muffins (or in a batter) but you can use plain cornmeal as a coating (for the bottom of pizza dough, etc). Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.