- The Basics
- A Winning Combination
- Recipe: Gluten-Free Cornbread
Just cornmeal! That’s all you need for perfectly moist gluten-free cornbread – no additional flours to juggle! It is so easy my kids can make it. Don’t forget to top it with lots of real fat, like butter (read more about the margarine vs butter debate here).Trying an elimination diet meal planner can be a very tricky and scary endeavor. You miss the foods you’re used to, and even worse, sometimes you don’t know how to make substitutes that don’t include your X food.
When we went grain-free, then gluten-free, a year and a half ago for the first time, I couldn’t stomach buying the fancy flours often called for in gluten-free recipes. We started by basically just making elimination diet recipes that didn’t include grains, or just cutting them from meals, like stir fry without the rice and chicken noodle soup without the noodles.
$9 for a bag of xanthan gum? Needing two, three, or even four different gluten-free flours to blend together to make one recipe, no guarantees that you’ll even like it? No, thanks. I’ll stick with my coconut flour muffins (from Healthy Snacks to Go) and these pumpkin Paleo pancakes.
The two flours often used in grain-free baking are coconut flour and almond flour, and I quickly learned that coconut flour is used in such small amounts that it stretches a long way. As I mentioned on Facebook yesterday, I think coconut flour is the one new thing you should buy if you want to go grain-free OR gluten free.
After a while, though, I started wanting more variety to go with soup and salad (other than just soup and salad). I found a marvelous grain-free cheesy biscuit recipe in Well Fed Homestead’s A Whole Food Holiday, but I really wanted a gluten-free cornbread recipe to go with chili (Recipe available in The Everything Beans Book) last fall. There’s actually a gluten-free cornbread in Is Your Flour Wet?, the free downloadable soaked grains ebook, but it called for that pesky xanthan gum plus FOUR flours I didn’t have.
Twitter to the rescue!
I tried two different recipes, pegged the definite favorite, and then tweaked it a little more to make it both easier to make and a bit more sturdy.
A Winning Combination
It’s simple and doesn’t use any weird ingredients. If you’re just starting a gluten-free journey or trying to bring a gift of meal to someone who can’t have gluten, this cornbread will make chili possible!
Recipe: Gluten-Free CornbreadPrint
Gluten-Free Cornbread (with no fancy flours)
- 1 1/4 c. milk
- 2 eggs
- ¼ c. refined or unrefined coconut oil or butter, melted
- 2 c. yellow cornmeal
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Grease an 8 or 9 inch square cake pan. (Bet this would go wonderfully in a cast iron pan, too, I just haven’t tried it yet!)
- Using a whisk, beaters, or stand mixer, mix the egg, milk and coconut oil – be sure to mix immediately after adding the melted coconut oil because it will solidify quickly once it hits the cold milk.
- Put the cornmeal on top, then sprinkle the other dry ingredients over. Mix everything together well.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until bread pulls away from the edges of the pan.
It will look kind of orange when finished. That’s normal (but weird, I know).
Got a Nutrimill? You can mill whole popcorn, which I think is fabulous for this cornbread. About 2/3 c. popcorn makes one cup of cornmeal. (I hear other grain mills can’t handle popcorn, so be sure to know your machine.)
Tip for melting coconut oil: put the measured amount into the glass baking dish you’re going to use for the recipe and place in the oven while it preheats. Ta da! Melted oil and a greased pan.
If the coconut oil does solidify into chunks, just do your best to incorporate them. The final product doesn’t seem to be compromised if the batter is full of coconut oil chunks. It seems to happen to me every time.
If you’re looking for a sweeter version of cornbread, add a Tbsp. or two of honey or maple syrup to the batter. This recipe is definitely for savory meals (or to be served with maple syrup or honey on top! At least, that’s what I thought before I tried sorghum, my new utter favorite cornbread topping).
The recipe doubles well and freezes excellently.
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No lying here, this cornbread is rather thin and not nearly as tasty as my old cornbread recipe, which I miss, but it’s good. It fills the gap when you’re gluten-free.
I do love that this version is so easy my kids can make it.
GLUTEN-FREE CAN BE CONFUSING BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HARD!I’m thrilled to share a FREE gluten-free cheat sheet mini eBook to help get you started! This is perfect if you’ve just been told you need a GF diet, if you have a friend or family member eating GF and you’d like to cook for them, or if you’re just curious what it’s all about!
Disclosure: I am an affiliate and earn commission from well fed homestead and Honeyville Grain, and others. But that’s where I get mine, anyway! See my full disclosure statement here.Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.
34 thoughts on “Recipe Connection: Gluten-Free Cornbread (with no fancy flours)”
Works great in my cast iron! I used butter, melted it in the oven in the pan, swirled it to grease the pan then mixed it into the batter. Turns out lovely 🙂
I made a double batch tonight in my cast iron skillet. This was SOOOOO good!!!
I think it’s kinda funny that this recipe is a trimmed down “gluten-free” recipe for you, but this is pretty much how my mother always made cornbread! She never added flour to it, and many times she made it without eggs. She cooked it in a shallow baking pan (1″ x 11×12) and it was thin and crusty on all the edges. Actually she made a large batch for our 8-member family, so there was also a 9″ cast iron frying pan full, too, and it was probably twice as thick as the thinner pan was. I don’t remember it being overly crumbly, it was so delicious. I remember the first time I ate some Fritos corn chips, and they tasted just like my mom’s cornbread!
I’ve been wondering about sorghum flour; does anyone know anything about it and is it a real-food item? I’ve also heard/read some negative things about xanthan gum, although don’t ask me what because I don’t remember. I just know that I’ve been hesitant to use xanthan.
I think whole sorghum is all good; check out naturallyknockedup.com – I know she has some recipes using it. Xanthan….maybe b/c it’s made from corn? I do see a lot of real foodies still using it, but I haven’t looked into it myself…
I made a cornbread recipe using coarse millet flour instead of cornmeal and something like sorghum flour or the like in place of the wheat flour. Dh loved it, even more than real corn bread.
I found millet bread from Food for Life with minimal ingredients and none that are very odd. I have been trying to find a good recipe for this, as one small loaf is over $6.
I use Sue Gregg’s blender cornbread recipe with the added step of soaking the cornmeal in lime water per NT. I just use all corn. Looking forward to coming off GAPS and being able to eat it again! Hard to watch the kids scarf it all down. 🙂
Can you share the recipe with us?
I’m sorry. I can’t legally share it. I did some digging on her website though and you can get it there. You would go to www.suegregg.com and click on Free Starter Recipe Printouts in the upper right hand corner of the screen. It looks like you have to complete a short lifestyle survey to get them, but the blender cornbread is one of the recipes offered. I just put proper amount of whole corn in my blender, blend it briefly to start breaking it up, then add the lime water to cover. In the morning, I rinse and strain it then follow her recipe from there.
Thanks–I googled it out and filled out her survey. First, where do you get whole dried corn and what is lime water? I soak my grains in vinegar overnight–I assume it’s the same principal. It is in Nourishing Traditions? thanks, Joyce
I order the whole corn through Country Life Natural Foods. The lime water is different than the vinegar soak. The instructions for making and using lime water are in Nourishing Traditions. After the lime soaking, I then soak the grain in sour milk.
isn’t corn a grain that needs to be nixtamalised or something like that according to nourishing traditions?
Ah, yes…I have just not gotten around to learning that skill, which is silly, because I have the GNOWFGLINS eCourse to teach me and the lime in my basement. Someday…
Gluten-free baking does not HAVE to use all the “fancy” flours but let’s be fair to the maligned xanthan gum… it and/or guar gum really help texture (keep things from being otherwise crumbly) and only 1/2 to 1 teaspoon called for in any recipe. That bag will last a LONG time.
In “Gluten Free Girl and the Chef” authors Shauna and Daniel Ahern give a nice breakdown on flour ratios/types. They suggest that for the most part you should use at least three flours: one should be a whole grain, sturdy base flour like brown rice or sorghum, one should be a starch like arrowroot or tapioca and the third should be one that contributes the particular “personality” you want to add to your baked goods, such as amaranth for soft and malty, almond for protein and fat, teff for super fine texture. Yes some of those flours are spendy but if you try them in small quantities, decide which ones you really like and then buy in bulk and grind your own they are priceless variety in your baked goods.
Minimalizing your baked goods cuts down on price as well. In our family we never have cornbread with our chili anymore and no one misses it much. In Hawaii, chili and stew are served over rice, so if you realize it’s all about cultural programming you also realize it’s a choice!
My 16yo daughter has taken over much of the baking and she prefers grain free and sugar free which means almond and coconut flours and honey. Coconut flour sucks up a LOT of moisture which some cooks try to replace with lots of eggs. To us it just turns out really eggy so we use more coconut oil, more moisture (from water, kefir, yogurt, applesauce, banana or squash/pumpkin… plus at least one extra egg! 😉
Teff is a personal favorite and probably THE most expensive flour. I bought a 25 lb bag (while holding my breath) and store it cold and use it sparingly, but it is such a lovely flour and extremely nutrient dense.
There’s another reason for choosing flours: how much nutrition are you receiving back from your investment? If you are eating nutrient dense foods it takes less to fill and satisfy hungry bodies.
We are also incorporating sourdough spelt products back into our diet and find we can digest them just fine as long as they are not a staple. Even alternative grains can and should be soured or sprouted before baking.
Thanks for the scoop on the balancing of flours in GF baking! That’s kind of cool to know, if/when I someday get to adapting recipes for GF. When we first jumped in, I just needed simple, quick, and not too expensive. I used coconut flour exclusively for any GF baking for a while. I’ll have to experiment more with coconut flour and cutting some of the eggs – we go through a LOT of eggs, for sure!!!
Sorry I vilified xanthan gum. It just seemed like the sticking point on SO many recipes that I could almost make if it wasn’t for that item! Ironically, it’s on my shopping list for very soon, now that I’m a bit more committed to GF baking…
I’m SO excited about this post. I found this recipe last week and have been looking for an easy GF cornbread.
I agree that it gets out of control trying to get all the flours. I tend to use oat flour quite a bit. It’s easy and affordable.
I had a recipe I used to use that called for corn flour instead of wheat flour. Tasted just the same as regular cornbread — and corn flour (often sold as “masa mix”) is traditionally prepared. It’s usually in the Hispanic section and quite cheap.
Please be aware that “masa mix,” etc. is made from genetically modified corn…
Before my son’s corn allergy was diagnosed we loved just using a 50/50 mix of corn starch and white rice flour in place of any AP flour. It makes GF baking very easy.
Angie – there is good information here on Kitchen Stewardship, of course, and also Millie of realfoodforlessmoney.com would probably be really useful to you!
Thanks so much, I’m off to check it out now! 🙂
My family is on a TIGHT budget, but we still want to eat as healthfully as possible. Have you posted somewhere a ‘whole foods priority list’? I would love to know your thoughts–right now I’m really struggling with paying for coconut oil–I just read your article on canola oil via your ‘old’ cornbread recipe.
Try VITACOST for very affordable Coconut Oil and they have Bob’s GF Cornbread Mix as well:
http://www.vitacost.com/Vitacost-Extra-Virgin-Certified-Organic-Coconut-Oil-54-fl-oz (only $5.92/lb and Bob’s GF Corn Bread: http://www.vitacost.com/Bobs-Red-Mill-Gluten-Free-Cornbread-Mix#
They also have Shipping on orders over $49
Actually, I do!
I’m working on a post for NEXT month’s Eat Well, Spend Less series about what traditional foods practices save money, which things cost more, and where I source expensive things (like coconut oil). My source is just over $4/lb now: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/08/13/a-good-deal-on-top-fats/
Check out some past Eat Well, Spend Less posts too, especially the early ones from last April (use the tab at the top of the page). Hope that helps! 🙂 Katie
Please post the cheesy biscuit recipe you say that you love!
Wow, ladies! I am so, so, hungry right now. I may have to make some chili tonight, just so I can make cornbread!
I’m from the south and known for my cornbread. Your recipe is almost just like mine. However, get an equivalent size cast iron skillet. Put coconut oil (I use bacon grease) in pan when you are preheating. Use buttermilk, kefir, or yogurt instead of milk. Mix buttermilk, egg, and cornmeal together in heat proof bowl (after oven preheats to 400. Pour half of hot oil into other mixed ingredients and stir quickly. Then pour batter back into cast iron skillet. Bake for 20 minutes or so! YUMMY. Still gluten free!
Don’t forget your salt and other leavening agents!
We’ve found trying to go gluten-free difficult, not just because the gf “bready” products tend to be unaffordable (and we miss our bread ;0), but because just cutting out the grains entirely and going to fruits, veg, meat and other protein sources is ALSO unaffordable when your sons each eat more than their daddy and aren’t even teenagers yet (and are rail thin). So I’ve been dabbling in remaking some faves without the fancy flours.
I do like this recipe from another blogger, but it does call for rice flour (not too spency): http://glutenfreemommy.com/gluten-free-cornbread/
But I’ve also had good results just tinkering by replacing the all purpose flour in my old recipe with more cornmeal and doubling the eggs. I may have to try the yogurt suggestion. I also use melted butter instead of coconut oil. So:
2 c cornmeal
1/4 c melted butter
1 c milk (aprox, if the batter’s not wet enough, I add a little more milk after mixing)
2 T- 1/4 sugar (or replace with less honey)
1 tsp sea salt
3 tsp baking powder
Bake in a 8-9 inch round at 400 for about 20-30 minutes. Makes a nice high (but a little more crumbly than usual) cornbread.
DEFINITELY going to try this! We have been gluten-free for a few weeks now, and I am not buying any replacements for flours, so we are “roughing it”! I did buy some GF crackers and tortilla chips that are organic. My hubby asked me if I could make cornbread, and I told him No, since it calls for flour in my recipe. SOOOOOOO glad you posted this! Thank you!
Here is another suggestion – I love this recipe.
5 tb Butter
1 1/2 c Flour (used King Arthur’s All Purpose)
can use any all purpose, non leavening flour
2 1/2 c Cornmeal
3 tb Baking powder ( yes Tablespoons)
2 ts salt
1 tb Sugar
2 lg Eggs
21/2 c Milk (don’t use skim)(used 2 milk, 1/2 c kefir)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the 5 Tbl. of butter in a cast iron skillet. Mix together the dry ingredients. Turn the skillet to coat with the butter. Pour the remainder into the dry ingredients. Coat the skillet with cornmeal & put into the oven to brown lightly.
Meanwhile, cut in butter until well blended & mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix together the eggs & milk. Add to the dry ingredients; mixing just until blended.
Remove skillet from oven & pour batter into the cast iron skillet. (The skillet should have a browned coating of cornmeal.) Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown & a toothpick comes out clean.
You can also add a can of creamed corn for added flavor, texture, & moisture. Really yummy.
Bless your heart – thanks for this! I hadn’t realized how much I’ve been missing cornbread since going GF over two years ago. 🙂
Katie, try this one: http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/old-fashioned-naturally-gf-cornbread/ (it’s not my recipe, but I use it a lot)
It has a different ratio of ingredients (twice the cornmeal to only one and a half times the liquid). It also calls for butter so you won’t have the problem with the coconut oil solidifying. I do add the whole 4 tablespoons of honey–try it that way the first time, then cut back if you think you want to. Also, I use yogurt instead of the buttermilk. Since it has more stuff in the same size pan, it turns out nice and thick, and I think the yogurt is what makes it so moist and yummy 🙂 Just a suggestion!
Awesome! Where were you on Twitter when I needed this? 😉 I have two new recipes to try now, can’t wait! 🙂 Katie
Twitter and I don’t get along so well 🙂 I hope you find one you love! Gluten free is definitely easier said than done 🙂