Raise your hand if you grew up eating Jiffy cornbread mix then shed a tear when you had to go gluten free and rely on decent yet expensive gluten free mixes for your cornbread fix instead?
I present to you an easy Gluten-Free Cornbread recipe that not only kicks Jiffy’s behind, but is way less expensive than store-bought, gluten free cornbread mixes. This gluten free cornbread can be made in a pan then cut into squares, or baked as muffins. Plus it can be made dairy-free or vegan if you need it.
Each slice is tall and supremely tender with just the right amount of sweetness. Softened butter and honey drizzle optional — but highly recommended!
Watch How to Make It
Sweet Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe
First thing’s first, this recipe is for sweet cornbread, vs unsweetened or savory cornbread. It’s not as sweet as cake but both granulated sugar and honey in the batter give the cornbread the perfect level of sweetness and flavor imho.
As I alluded to, I grew eating Jiffy cornbread with chili, soups, and BBQ, and am thrilled to report that homemade gluten-free cornbread is nearly as quick and simple as using a boxed mix, plus its tastes SO much better. Moist and fluffy with an irresistible cornmeal crunch.
Break out the chili, we’re having cornbread with dinner tonight!
Is Cornbread Gluten Free?
Cornbread gets it’s golden brown hue and fabulous texture from yellow cornmeal, which is dried yellow corn ground into fine, medium, or coarse meal. While corn is gluten free, most cornbread recipes also include regular, all-purpose flour which makes them not gluten free.
That said, my recipe swaps all-purpose flour with a measure-for-measure / 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. I promise that nobody will ever know the difference.
- Butter: I use salted butter — you can use plant-based / dairy-free butter if you need to.
- Milk: any kind except buttermilk. I’ve used everything from unsweetened almond milk to whole milk.
- Sugar: regular granulated sugar sweetens the batter.
- Honey: honey helps brown the top and add sweetness.
- Eggs: I’ve used powdered egg replacer to keep this cornbread vegan with great results.
- Gluten-free baking flour blend: I’ve tested this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour Blend, but any GF baking blend that already includes a binder such as xanthan gum should work.
- Gluten-free yellow cornmeal: I like finely ground or a medium grind cornmeal and will share my favorite brands below.
- Baking powder and baking soda: make the gluten free cornbread tall and fluffy.
- Salt: a pinch to balance the flavors out.
Which Cornmeal Brands are Gluten Free?
Corn is a naturally gluten free grain but, similar to oats, is easily contaminated with non-gluten-free grains during the growing, harvesting and/or processing process. That said, it’s important to buy cornmeal that clearly states “gluten free” on the packaging. Here are two brands I love:
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Cornmeal: the medium grind of this cornmeal gives the cornbread an amazing texture. This product is processed and tested in a dedicated gluten free facility.
- Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten Free Cornmeal: this finely-ground cornmeal is certified gluten free.
If you want a more rustic, gluten free corn bread with a deep, golden-brown top and cornmeal crunch, go with a medium grind like Bob’s cornmeal. If you want gluten free cornbread that’s similar to Jiffy in that it’s not as textured, choose a finer ground cornmeal like Arrowhead Mills.
How to Make Gluten Free Dairy Free Cornbread
To make this gluten-free cornbread also dairy-free, use dairy-free milk such as unsweetened almond milk, and plant-based butter. I like Country Crock’s plant-based butter sticks.
How to Make Gluten Free Vegan Cornbread
Use the dairy-free swaps listed above and also replace the eggs with a powdered egg replacer. I’ve had great success using Bob’s Red Mill Powdered Egg Replacer in this recipe.
Tips for Success
Don’t overthink this gluten-free cornbread recipe by any means — it is extremely simple and straight forward — but I’ve made it enough times to pick up on a few tips for success:
- Don’t underbake. This is a tip I give for most gluten-free baked goods because they can become dense and gummy in the center if underbaked. The top of the cornbread or cornbread muffins should be deep golden brown before removing from the oven. The top will become especially dark if you’re using a medium grind cornmeal. That’s good. That’s flavor!
- Choose your cornmeal wisely. If you want a smoother cornbread, choose finely ground cornmeal. If you want cornbread with a little texture (which I love!) choose a medium grind cornmeal. Again, ensure whichever cornmeal you’re using specifically states “gluten free” on the packaging.
- Let it cool. If making the cornbread in a pan vs as gluten free cornbread muffins, be sure to let the cornbread cool completely before slicing into bars, otherwise it can crumble.
What to Serve Gluten Free Cornbread With
Gluten free cornbread is the perfect side dish for dinner because you can whip it up in minutes, it’s made with fridge and pantry staples, and can be baked up to several days ahead of time. It just gets better as it sits! We love it with:
- Signature Chili
- Crock Pot White Chicken Chili
- Stovetop Beef Stew
- Taco Chili
- Homemade Gluten Free Chicken Soup
- Baked Ribs
- No Bean Chili
- Green Chili
- Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork
- Smoked Chicken Wings
- Chicken and Rice Soup
- Pasta e Fagioli
- Use as the batter in Mini Corn Dog Muffins
- Gluten free cornbread stuffing — recipe coming soon!
Alrighty, let’s bake!
How to Make Gluten-Free Cornbread
Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients.
To a medium size mixing bowl add the gluten free baking flour mix, yellow cornmeal (this is medium-ground in the photo), baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine then set aside.
Step 2: Combine the wet ingredients.
To a large mixing bowl add the melted butter, milk, sugar, honey, and eggs then whisk to combine.
Honey measuring tip: spray your measuring cup with nonstick spray before adding the honey. It will slide right out!
Step 3: Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
Pour the dry ingredients into wet ingredients then whisk until just combined. Scrape the batter into a nonstick sprayed 8×8″ baking dish if making cornbread, or scoop 1/4 cup batter into a standard-size 12 cup muffin tin with liners if making cornbread muffins.
Step 4: Bake.
Bake the cornbread for 28-30 minutes or until the top is deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If making cornbread muffins, bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Err on the side of slightly over-baking vs underbaking.
It’s best to cool the cornbread completely before slicing into bars (though I won’t hold it against you if you simply can’t — I can relate!) ;)
How to Store Leftovers
- To store: cool the cornbread / cornbread muffins completely then store covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. Extend the shelf life by covering and refrigerating for up to 5 days.
- To freeze: cool the cornbread completely then slice into bars and transfer to a Ziplock freezer bag, or transfer completely cooled cornbread muffins into a Ziplock freezer bag. Remove the air then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
I hope you love each and every crumb of this sweet and tender gluten free cornbread. It truly is the best gluten-free cornbread recipe EVER — enjoy!
More Gluten Free Baked Goods
- Gluten Free Focaccia
- Strawberry Muffins
- Almond Four Blueberry Muffins
- Gluten Free Apple Muffins
- Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
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Gluten-Free Cornbread is sweet, fluffy, and pairs perfectly with chili, soups, and BBQ. Slice into squares, or make as cornbread muffins.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted then slightly cooled
- 3/4 cup milk, any kind (I use unsweetened almond milk)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup gluten free flour baking blend WITH binder (see notes)
- 1 cup gluten free yellow cornmeal (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray OR if making muffins, line a standard-sized, 12 cup muffin tin with liners and set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl add the melted butter, milk, sugar, honey, and eggs then whisk to combine.
- To a medium-sized mixing bowl add the gluten free flour blend, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt then whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients then whisk until smooth.
- To make cornbread: Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish then bake for 28-30 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through, or until deeply browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not underbake. Let cornbread cool then slice into squares and serve (it will fall apart if you try to cut into squares while the cornbread is hot.)
- To make cornbread muffins: Scoop 1/4 cup batter into each lined muffin cup then bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through, or until the tops of the muffins are browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not underbake. Let muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool.
- Serve with butter and honey. Store cornbread covered on the counter for up to 3 days or covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To freeze: place cooled cornbread into a Ziplock freezer bag then remove the air and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
- I tested this recipe using Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Medium Grind Cornmeal and Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free Cornmeal. Your results — especially the level of browning on top of the cornbread after baking — may vary if using different brands.
- I tested this recipe using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour as the flour.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin