Survival Bread – Hot Water Cornbread

This recipe may have come out of hard times, using only a few ingredients but folks this is still considered a delicacy in the South. We’re sharing a traditional recipe today and also adding a little twist for more flavor with green chiles and bacon! 

Step 1:

Start with 2 cups of yellow cornmeal with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and mix it really well.

Step 2:

Now, you’ll need 2 cups of boiling water to mix in with 1 tablespoon of cooled bacon grease, lard or shortening. The reason for the boiling water, is that it’s going to help melt that lard in when mixing. 

Step 3:

Mix all the ingredients well and you want it to be sort of like a Cream of Wheat consistency. Go ahead and add more water and/or cornmeal to get this consistency. 

Survival Bread

Step 4:

Traditionally, that’s all there was in this dish. But you know me- I’m going to jazz this up a little by adding some crumbled up bacon and a roasted Hatch green chili.

Step 5:

We have a 12” cast iron skillet with vegetable oil about halfway up the side. You can also add any leftover bacon grease in there for some more flavor. Warm the oil to 350-360 F degrees.

Step 6:

Get you a dollop of the dough and spoon it in to your hand ( about 1/4 cup full). Form it into a patty and lay it in the hot grease. A tip here is to wet your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you. 

When you see a light browning coming up the edges, flip them over. If you want to speed up the process, use slightly less oil. They’ll cook quicker and crisp up faster.

Cook these until they are a good golden brown, but are still soft in the middle. That’s the best part of these fellers is that they have a great outside crust but are soft in the middle. You’ve also got that great flavor of bacon and green chiles.

There we have it, folks. Our survival bread is a done deal. So, be sure to watch the video below for details on the recipe and also we’re sharing a little more history on survival breads.  We’ll see you down the trail!


Southern Hot Water Cornbread - Cowboy Kent Rollins


  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cooled bacon grease lard or shortening
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 roasted Hatch green chile chopped (or 1, 4-ounce can chopped green chiles)
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • Oil for frying


  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal and salt. Stir in the bacon grease, lard or shortening and lightly cut it in with a spoon until combined. Slowly stir in the boiling water.
  • Stir the mixture until it reaches a Cream of Wheat consistency. You may need to add more water to achieve this.
  • Stir in the green chiles and bacon.
  • In a large cast iron skillet, pour the oil until it reaches about halfway up the sides. Heat to about 350 degrees. F.
  • With a large spoon, spoon out about ¼ cup of the dough into your hands and form into a patty. Place the dough in the oil, a few patties at a time. When the sides being to brown, flip the dough over and continue cooking until golden brown and crispy.
  • Drain on a paper towel or wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


To keep the dough from sticking to your hands while forming into patties, wet your hands slightly with water.