Close this search box.


How To Make Civil War Hoe Cakes



Feature | Hoe cakes on table | How To Make Civil War Hoe Cakes

Hoe cakes or Johnnycakes may be your go-to survival food, so learn how to make some now!

RELATED: The Ultimate Protein-Rich Survival Food

A Civil War Hoe Cakes Recipe to Have Handy

Civil War Curiosities: Strange Stories, Oddities, Events, and Coincidences
236 Reviews
Civil War Curiosities: Strange Stories, Oddities, Events, and Coincidences
  • Garrison, Webb (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 10/25/2000 (Publication Date) - Thomas Nelson (Publisher)

Hoe Cakes: Bill's Recipe

Old-fashioned hoe cakes are the perfect option if you're running low on dry ingredients and other materials. Also known as Johnnycakes, they provide people with ample nutrition.

Hoe cakes history goes far back as the 1600s, but they grew in popularity during the first civil war, since they're simple and easy to cook. Here's how you make them!

Things to Prepare

Hoe cakes make for great survival food because their ingredients are simple cupboard essentials. They also store long because they don't spoil fast with proper preparation.

Hoe cakes weren't an important civil war food for nothing. They're the perfect bread for when SHTF, indeed.

We're sure you have cornmeal, sugar, and pork or bacon for grease, including eggs. If you don't have any hard bread, you can also try to make them with this recipe. You will need crushed hard bread for this recipe, you see.

You don't need complicated baking tools, as well. In fact, all you need is a spatula, a skillet or shovel, and your two good hands.

Making hoe cakes is just like making pancakes. If you're cooking in an iron skillet, you can adjust the consistency to make the batter soupier.

If you're cooking in an open flame over a rock or hoe though, you will need a thicker batter. The usual ration in one part fat, 2 parts water, to 4 parts flour or cornmeal but as I've mentioned, you can always adjust the consistency.

Now let's get these survival cakes recipe started!


1. Mix Hard Bread with Grease

First, mix the crumbs of your hard bread with grease to make your batter. This'll be the foundation of your hoe cakes.

2. Add Corn Meal

Corn powder on table | How To Make Civil War Hoe Cakes

Cornmeal is one of the most important parts of hoe cakes, but you can also use flour. Cornmeal gives your cakes taste and nutritional value, though. So, make sure to give preference to this ingredient.

What is cornmeal? It is a common staple food made from ground dried corn with either fine, medium and coarse texture.

3. Mix Ingredients

Now, use your spatula to stir your batter until the cornmeal, hard bread, and grease mix well.

4. Add Water

Pouring water in a glass | How To Make Civil War Hoe Cakes

Next, prepare a 1/3 cup of water, and pour it into your batter. If you feel that it's too dry, you can add a few more tablespoons.

RELATED: Making Granola | A Quick & Simple How To For On The Go Survival Food

5. Continue Mixing

After adding the water, continue mixing your ingredients together. Do this until you get your desired consistency for your batter.

6. Add Some Sugar

White heart shape sugar | How To Make Civil War Hoe Cakes

Just because you're on survival-mode doesn't mean your hoe cakes have to taste terrible. Add a few pinches of sugar to make your cakes sweeter and easier to eat. If you want some more flavor, add a few sprinkles of salt, too.

7. Mix Well

After adding the sugar, mix the batter until you get the right consistency. It should be firm and thick, but not too firm.

8. Compress the Dough

Take clumps of batter into your hands and squeeze. This'll help improve the consistency of your hoe cakes some more.

9. Add Water and Corn Meal

After compressing, add some more water and cornmeal into your mixture.

10. Shape the Hoe Cakes

Here, you have to use your hands again, so don't be afraid to get dirty. Shape your cakes into small circles that'll be easy to cook.

11. Place the Hoe Cakes on the Shovel/Skillet

Once you've shaped your cakes, put them on a shovel to get them ready for cooking. If you prefer, you can also use a skillet or frying pan for this part.

Pre-heat the pan over a small fire or bed of coals. You'll know it's ready if you sprinkle some water over it, and it sizzles. Also, you can add some vegetable oil or butter to make sure the hoe cakes don't stick.

12. Cook the Cakes

After you've prepared your shovel or skillet, put your hoe cakes on its hot surface, then, wait for them to cook.

Also, if you're a little more high-tech and own a griddle, you can use that! A gas or electric-powered griddle will cook your cakes just as well as the old-fashioned way.

13. Cook Both Sides of the Cakes

It'll take a few minutes for your hoe cakes to heat up and cook, so always check their undersides to see if they've become golden brown and crispy. Once the first side is ready, flip your cakes to heat the other side.

14. Remove the Hoe Cakes from the Shovel

Once both sides of your hoe cakes are golden brown, you're done!

Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Civil War
  • Hardcover Book
  • Fisher, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

15. Enjoy!


Still craving for hoe cakes? Check out this recipe in this video below by Survival Common Sense! 

Hoe cakes or Johnnycakes aren't exactly known for their desirable taste, but they serve a good purpose for when there's no other choice. In times of crises, you will appreciate you've come along this recipe, for sure.

While there are plenty of tasty ready-to-eat meals, it's still more fulfilling when you use a recipe and cook from scratch. So, get your cornmeal ready, and start cooking!

Will you give this recipe a try this weekend? Tell us how you are planning on it in the comments section below!

Up Next:


For awesome survival gear, you can’t make at home, check out the Survival Life Store!

Check out 7 Cost-Effective Uses For Shipping Containers Survivalists Should Know at

Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitterTumblr, and Pinterest!


Editor's Note: This article was originally published on April 24, 2018, and has since been updated for quality and relevancy.

Last update on 2024-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Continue Reading


  1. Anonymous

    January 28, 2018 at 6:33 PM

    Thank you! Great info!

  2. The Doc

    January 28, 2018 at 8:54 PM

    As an accomplished campfire cook…I learned to cook on an open fire from the age of 13, as a line rider all summer…I would suggest 2 tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp salt and 2 tblsp bacon fat for each cup of corn meal. The hard bread and fat holds it all together, so it can be cooked, as cornmeal will fall apart, unless it is quite moist…like “slush”, that is cooked over coals wrapped around a metal ramrod! It takes a lot of bacon fat to hold “slush” together! It’s been more than 60 years since I regularly cooked on a campfire that way, but I still keep my bacon fat handy!

    • Richard Chenoweth

      January 30, 2018 at 4:39 PM

      Very good observation and reality thoughts. the hoe cake can be a corn based fritter if these simple acts are used.. can be good if not delicious. pan fry with bacon is suggested.

    • Charles R. Erps

      January 30, 2018 at 4:46 PM

      In our home bacon grease is a hot commodity. I use it for anything that goes into the frying pan, and that includes eggs, steak, pancakes, burgers, seafood, etc. In other words, if you can fry it, it will be fried in bacon grease. In fact I will often render a half pound of bacon just to recover the grease. I can’t imagine an egg cooked any other way.

      • April May

        February 6, 2018 at 10:02 AM

        if you want to live a little longer use any fat but bacon grease. Still, I suppose you are American, so it won’t make much difference

        • A Bailey

          February 1, 2019 at 12:45 PM

          Uh…not quite. Keto diet and saturated fats, such as bacon grease, are NOT poison, lol. It’s healthier fat than corn oil, soy oil, and especially canola (rapeseed) oil. Research the topic! Bacon may save your life someday 🙂

  3. Pingback: How to Make Civil War Hoe Cakes - Modern Survival Living

  4. dasbunker

    January 30, 2018 at 5:25 PM

    And now your shovel is as soft as a preachers heart after you have repeatedly annealed it.

  5. Rock

    January 30, 2018 at 7:22 PM

    I don’t quite see why you have to go to all this work. Simpler solution; go to a Saloon, find some hoe’s and tell them to make some cakes. Job done!

    Sorry, the devil made me say this!

  6. Renee' LaViness

    February 9, 2018 at 3:01 AM

    Had to survive on “hot water bread” for a week, once. Very similar, but no sugar or bacon grease in the mix. Corn meal, a little flour to keep it together, some salt for flavoring, and hot water. Shape them by hand and put it in a skillet of hot grease and enjoy! Best tasting cornbread, ever. Thanks to my grandmother in Louisiana for the easy recipe.

  7. Pingback: 16 Survivalist Movies To Watch in 2018 | Top Survivalist Films

  8. Pingback: 16 Amazing Movies Every Survivalist Should Watch in 2018 | Amrank Real Estate

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply



Enter for a chance to WIN a pair of these Tactical Boots when you sign up today for our exclusive email newsletter subscription.