Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe - Easy, Foolproof, Best (2024)

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe - Easy, Foolproof, Best (1)

5 from 794 votes

Prep Time : 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time : 20 minutes minutes

This easy gluten free cornbread recipe can be made naturally gluten free with all cornmeal and no other flours. Use it to make muffins, too!

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Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe - Easy, Foolproof, Best (2)

This easy gluten free cornbread recipe will give you the perfect balance of delicious sweetness and melt-in-your-mouth crumbly softness. It's the perfect side for nearly any meal, from soup to BBQ, and it's naturally gluten free if you use all cornmeal and no other flours.

Need your cornbread to be dairy free? Egg free? I can help with these too! Want to take your GF cornbread to go? Use my tasty recipe to make gluten free cornbread muffins that you can enjoy on the run.

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe - Easy, Foolproof, Best (3)

What makes this recipe the best gluten free cornbread?

This recipe was one of the earliest gluten free recipes I shared on the blog, and it's become a staple in so many readers' homes. The recipe has always been simple, and still remarkably adaptable.

Many of you have written to me of the years, telling me that you made it with granulated sugar instead of honey, milk instead of buttermilk or yogurt, shortening or coconut oil (or even vegetable oil!) instead of butter. The recipe has turned out every single time.

It bakes very quickly, especially if you're making it in a cast iron pan, since that conducts heat very well. The sides and bottom of the cornbread also brown very nicely in the oven.

Is cornbread gluten free?

Corn itself does not have gluten in it, so it’s naturally gluten free. Cornmeal is made by simply grinding yellow corn into a coarse or fine grind.

For complete information on which grains and other ingredients are naturally gluten free, please check out myUltimate Guide to the Basic Rules of a Gluten Free Diet. It’s a great way to begin a gluten free lifestyle on the right foot.

By this logic, making cornbread gluten free requires no extra thought, right? Unfortunately, that's not the case. You first have to be careful about the cornmeal you buy to ensure that it isn’t contaminated with gluten-containing grains during manufacturing.

Bob’s Red Mill brand has a certified gluten free cornmeal variety, so if you buy that brand be sure to pick up the right package. Most cornbread is made from cornmeal and wheat flour, so it’s not actually gluten free.

The only flour in my original “old fashioned cornbread” recipe is coarsely ground yellow cornmeal. There's no wheat flour, so it’s naturally gluten free.

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe - Easy, Foolproof, Best (4)

What's the best pan for making gluten free cornbread?

Cast iron skillet. Cake pan. Muffin tin.

These are all possibilities for making GF cornbread, but which is the best? I'll be honest: I have made this easy gluten free cornbread recipe in nearly every container imaginable.

My favorite way by far is my cast iron skillet — I love my pan, and I find myself using it nearly every day. And as with many things, it does a superb job with this gluten free cornbread. I'm talking quick cook time, crunchy edges, and lovely color.

But if you don't have a cast iron pan, don't sweat it — you've got options.

A round 9-inch cake pan works well too. The only difference I notice between my cast iron pan and cake pan is that bread doesn't get as crunchy around the edges when I use the cake pan. If you're not a fan of too much crunch, try a cake pan instead!

Believe it or not, I hadn’t tried this gluten free cornbread recipe in a standard 12-cup muffin tin — until recently. And no surprise, they came out just as nicely.

Making gluten free cornmeal muffins

For “flourless” cornbread muffins, I didn't need a separate gluten free corn muffin recipe; I used the same one.

I lined the wells of the tin with greaseproof paper liners so the muffins didn’t stick, and distributed the batter evenly among the wells. In my muffin tin, the wells were nearly full of batter.

This isn’t a high-rising cornbread, so I wasn’t concerned that the gluten free corn muffins would overflow the pan. I made the variation with half coarsely ground yellow cornmeal and half corn flour, as discussed below.

The muffins rose evenly, and they baked perfectly at 350°F in 18 minutes flat.

I was considering adding another egg, since the batter is looser than an ideal muffin batter, but I wanted to see if it worked as written. And it did!

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe - Easy, Foolproof, Best (5)

Gluten free cornbread: all cornmeal recipe

This recipe has long been a staple of this blog for so many reasons, not the least of which are because it’s so incredibly simple—and strikingly adaptable.

The original gluten free cornbread recipe calls for 2 cups of coarsely ground yellow cornmeal as the only flour—without any added starches or more finely ground flours.

I call it “coarsely ground yellow cornmeal,” but that’s a bit redundant since cornmeal is simply corn that’s been dried and coarsely ground. All cornmeal is, by definition, coarsely ground.

Made this way, as the recipe was originally written, this classic cornbread recipe is moist and tender, but has a fair amount of “bite” from the cornmeal. The honey helps keep the cornbread tender and helps offset any bitterness from the cornmeal.

None of these variations contain cornstarch, which is a flavorless powder made from only the starch in the endosperm of the corn grain. You could probably replace a bit of the cornmeal with cornstarch and get a more tender cornbread, but I prefer the other variations listed in this recipe.

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Gluten free cornbread: the cornmeal and corn flour recipe

Cornmeal is coarsely ground corn, and corn flour is finely ground corn. You can buy corn flour, but I generally take my coarsely ground yellow cornmeal and simply grind it again in a blender until it’s lighter.

I consider this variety, made with half coarsely ground yellow cornmeal and half corn flour, to be the best gluten free cornbread of all.

Replacing half of the coarsely ground cornmeal in this recipe with more finely ground corn flour makes for a less crumbly, more cohesive cornbread. It also has a smoother mouth feel, and tends to stay fresh another day longer when stored at room temperature, wrapped tightly.

Since I’ve started experimenting with changing up the flours in this recipe, this variation has become my favorite. I do sometimes buy corn flour if I’m placing an order for other things from nuts.com (where I buy gluten free corn flour), but more often grind my own.

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe - Easy, Foolproof, Best (7)

U.K. terminology

To confuse things a bit, I’m afraid that these terms are used differently in the U.K.

In the UK, “corn flour” is actually what we call cornstarch in the U.S. (the starch only).

What you need to look for to make this gluten free cornbread is”coarsely ground cornmeal” (what we simply call “cornmeal” in the U.S.) and “finely ground cornmeal” (what we refer to as “corn flour”). You may also see the latter labeled as “maize flour” or “finely ground polenta”.

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe - Easy, Foolproof, Best (8)

Gluten free cornbread: the cornmeal and all purpose gluten free flour blend recipe

I learned that this recipe could be made with halfall purpose gluten free flour(I’ve only used Better Batter, but I’m sure any of my recommended blends would work) when I ran out of cornmeal after I had already prepared all the ingredients to make cornbread.

Since it was only for my family, and my husband will eat anything, especially if it’s warm when I serve it, I decided to try it with half all purpose gluten free flour. The recipe worked (although it took about another 5 minutes to bake fully)!

The all purpose gluten free flour version makes for a cornbread that has a much smaller crumb, and a lighter crumb color overall (although the top is just as yellow). The crust itself is also less crispy.

As you’d expect, it has little bite and is much less chewy than the other two versions. I would not recommend making the cornbread with a combination of all purpose gluten free flour and corn flour, though, as it would not have the right texture.

You’ll also notice that this gluten free cornbread tends to dome more in the center during baking. That’s likely because the combination of flours leads to less even baking, but of course, it doesn’t affect the flavor or texture any further.

How to serve gluten free cornbread

There are so many yummy ways to serve gluten free cornbread, whether you're serving the bread as an accompaniment to a meal or enjoying it on its own.

One of my favorite ways to snack on cornbread is to grab it when it's still hot from the oven and quickly top it with a bit of dairy-free butter. So decadent!

But when I'm craving a bit of sweetness, I drizzle my gluten free cornmeal muffins with extra honey. For a sweet and tangy twist, spread a little strawberry or raspberry jelly instead.

On those days when I need something extra sweet to end my day —hear me out — I warm my cornbread in the microwave for just a few seconds and then drop a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

When I'm serving my gluten free cornbread alongside soup, stew, gluten free chili, BBQ, and other meals, I generally offer my family and guests butter and honey, but I find they rarely use them. Instead, they top the cornbread with their meal or use it to soak up the last bits on their plate.

Using gluten free cornbread to make stuffing

If you couldn't already tell, I absolutely love this cornbread, both for its yummy taste and for how versatile it is.

When I need to make stuffing, I often turn to this recipe for a base, and make gluten free cornbread stuffing.

After baking a pan of gluten free cornbread, I let it dry out for a couple of days. Then, I chop it up and add rosemary, thyme, sage, vegetable broth, and a few more ingredients.

Seriously, give it a try at Thanksgiving or the next time you're making chicken or turkey.

Storing gluten free cornbread

I'll be honest, my gluten free cornbread doesn't tend to last long around my house. But when I'm really craving it, I'll make a couple of batches so I can enjoy it throughout the week.

Thankfully, storing this delicious GF cornbread is super easy — just wait until it has cooled completely, and then store it in an air-tight container. I have a plastic container that fits a whole batch beautifully, but zip-top storage bags work great in a pinch too.

If you'll eat your cornbread within two or three days, leaving it outside at room temperature is fine. Any longer than that, I recommend storing it in the refrigerator.

Is this GF cornbread recipe suitable for freezing?

Yes, you can absolutely freeze this gluten free cornbread (or corn muffins, if you go that route).

I've found that if you make this recipe with at least some all purpose gluten free flour, your baked goods will stay fresh for a bit longer and freeze a bit better.

If you make a naturally gluten free variety of the cornbread, without any rice-based flour blend, you should eat it soon after baking, or quickly freeze it for later use. When you're ready to eat it, defrost briefly in the microwave, as even a warm oven will dry out the cornbread.

While you can freeze many non-gluten free cornbread batter recipes, I wouldn't recommend it with mine. It may taste largely the same in the end, but it won't rise as much so it will be quite dense.

Gluten free cornbread ingredients and substitutions

This is such a simple recipe, which often makes substitutions more difficult, but somehow this gluten free cornbread recipe is magic ✨ and can take all sorts of modifications (dairy free, egg free, etc) in stride.

Some following suggestions are from personal experience with this recipe, others are just well-educated guesses.

How to make gluten free dairy-free cornbread

I have successfully transformed this into a gluten free, dairy-free cornbread recipe by using Earth Balance buttery sticks in place of unsalted butter (just reduce the salt by half) and dairy-free plain yogurt in place of yogurt.

You can also try a mix of half plain dairy-free yogurt and half unsweetened almond milk as a buttermilk replacement. That’s your best bet.

How to make gluten free egg free cornbread

As always, whenever there is one egg in a recipe, I recommend trying it with one “chia egg” in its place (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel).

I haven’t tried this egg-free, though, so you’ll have to experiment, but I feel pretty confident that you’ll get good results.

Gluten free cornbread — without corn?

Well, this is a super tough one, to make gluten free cornbread without, well, corn. The only reason I think this might be even remotely possible is because I’ve seen some Paleo recipes floating around the Internet that use ground millet in place of cornmeal to make a corn-free “cornbread.”

Perhaps the all purpose gluten free flour variation, which contains only 1 cup of coarsely ground cornmeal, can be made with ground millet in place of the cornmeal.

But note that replacing the cornmeal entirely is a big risk, so only try it if you’re feeling adventuresome!

The best gluten free cornbread recipe, step by step

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe - Easy, Foolproof, Best (9)

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Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread | the original best recipe

This easy gluten free cornbread recipe can be made naturally gluten free with all cornmeal and no other flours. Use it to make muffins, too!

Course: Quick bread

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Author: Nicole Hunn

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (264 g) coarsely ground yellow cornmeal (See Recipe Notes)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups (340 g) plain yogurt at room temperature (can substitute an equal amount of buttermilk or half sour cream/half whole milk)
  • 4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 1 (50 g (weighed out of shell)) egg at room temperature, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons (84 g) honey

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet or an 8-inch square or round pan, and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the cornmeal (See Recipe Notes), baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to combine well. In a separate bowl, place the yogurt (or buttermilk or sour cream and milk mixture), butter, and egg, and whisk to combine well.

  • Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients and the honey. Mix until just combined. The mixture will be relatively thin (thinner if you used buttermilk). Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

  • Bake for 20-30 minutes (closer to 20 minutes if using a cast iron skillet, closer to 25 minutes if you made the all purpose gluten free flour variation), or until lightly golden brown on top, golden brown around the edges, and firm to the touch in the center. Slice and serve immediately.

  • Adapted from Old Fashioned Cornbread in Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Hachette/Da Capo 2017). Originally posted in 2013. Post updated with variations.

Notes

Alternative flours:
Half of the cornmeal, by weight, can be replaced with an equal amount, by weight of corn flour, and the recipe is otherwise unchaged.

You can also replace half the cornmeal, by weight, with all purpose gluten free flour. I like Better Batter as an all purpose gluten free flour here.

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe - Easy, Foolproof, Best (10)
Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe - Easy, Foolproof, Best (11)

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe - Easy, Foolproof, Best (12)

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Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread | the original best recipe

This easy gluten free cornbread recipe can be made naturally gluten free with all cornmeal and no other flours. Use it to make muffins, too!

Course: Quick bread

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Author: Nicole Hunn

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (264 g) coarsely ground yellow cornmeal (See Recipe Notes)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups (340 g) plain yogurt at room temperature (can substitute an equal amount of buttermilk or half sour cream/half whole milk)
  • 4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 1 (50 g (weighed out of shell)) egg at room temperature, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons (84 g) honey

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet or an 8-inch square or round pan, and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the cornmeal (See Recipe Notes), baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to combine well. In a separate bowl, place the yogurt (or buttermilk or sour cream and milk mixture), butter, and egg, and whisk to combine well.

  • Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients and the honey. Mix until just combined. The mixture will be relatively thin (thinner if you used buttermilk). Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

  • Bake for 20-30 minutes (closer to 20 minutes if using a cast iron skillet, closer to 25 minutes if you made the all purpose gluten free flour variation), or until lightly golden brown on top, golden brown around the edges, and firm to the touch in the center. Slice and serve immediately.

  • Adapted from Old Fashioned Cornbread in Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Hachette/Da Capo 2017). Originally posted in 2013. Post updated with variations.

Notes

Alternative flours:
Half of the cornmeal, by weight, can be replaced with an equal amount, by weight of corn flour, and the recipe is otherwise unchaged.

You can also replace half the cornmeal, by weight, with all purpose gluten free flour. I like Better Batter as an all purpose gluten free flour here.

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe - Easy, Foolproof, Best (2024)

FAQs

Why isn't cornbread gluten free? ›

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.

Can you use heavy cream instead of milk in cornbread mix? ›

You can substitute heavy cream for 1/2 cup milk plus 1/2 cup sour cream, combined. You can also substitute the cream for milk. Use 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of milk plus 2 Tablespoons melted butter to the batter. The cornbread will have a close texture.

What ingredient keeps cornbread from crumbling? ›

I want to keep the cornbread taste, just less crumbly! I recommend extra egg yolk, adding corn, and using cast iron to bake. Also, try a little lower temperature.

What is gluten free cornbread made of? ›

Cornmeal -- Make sure the cornmeal is gluten free! Sugar -- some people think sugar doesn't belong in cornbread, but I say they don't know what they're talking about. Baking Powder -- this will help the bread rise. Vegetable Oil -- the oil in this bread makes it the most incredibly moist cornbread you'll ever have.

Why can't celiacs eat corn? ›

Corn is naturally gluten free. The protein in corn is sometimes referred to as “corn gluten” but it is not harmful to those with celiac disease.

Does Jiffy mix contain gluten? ›

Jiffy mixes are not gluten free, and the main ingredient of their corn muffin mix is wheat flour. Bob's Red Mill apparently makes a gluten-free cornbread mix similar to Jiffy's, and I suspect others do. Jiffy's corn bread mix is not vegetarian, so I have not tried it.

Can I use sour cream instead of milk in cornbread? ›

Sour Cream can be substituted for milk in cornbread but will need to be thinned. I recommend using 75% sour cream and 25% water. Sour Cream will also change the taste of the cornbread and will add a slight tangy flavor which can be counteracted by using a small amount of vanilla extract.

What happens if you use water instead of milk in cornbread? ›

Can I substitute water for milk in cornbread mix? Yes, you can, but it may result in a less rich flavor. If you're out of milk, try using cream or half-and-half, evaporated or powdered milk, or even plain yogurt. If you have dietary restrictions, try soy milk or oat milk.

Can you use half-and-half in cornbread mix? ›

Combine the half-and-half, eggs, butter (or shortening), and sugar (if using). Add half-and-half mixture to the flour mixture and combine just until the flour is moistened, no more than 10 to 15 seconds. Then fold in the corn, but don't overmix the batter or your cornbread will be too tough.

What does adding an extra egg to cornbread do? ›

The extra egg which is increased protein and binder makes the cornbread denser and heavier in texture.

Should you let cornbread batter rest? ›

1Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Note: We recommend allowing cornbread batter to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before baking, so if you prefer, you can delay heating the oven until you make the batter. 2Melt the butter, and then set aside to cool slightly.

Why is my cornbread gummy in the middle? ›

Cornbread, or any baked good, will fall in the middle if it is not completely baked, or if you add too much leavening, which causes it to rise more than the structure of the batter can sustain. Always use a tester inserted in the center of your cornbread to make sure it's done.

What brand of cornmeal is gluten-free? ›

Gluten Free Medium Cornmeal :: Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods.

What cornbread mix is gluten-free? ›

Gluten Free Cornbread Mix :: Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods.

What are the ingredients in Trader Joe's gluten free cornbread? ›

ingredients. Sugar, cornmeal, brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder (monocalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch), rice flour, corn, natural vanilla flavor (maltodextrin, natural flavor), salt, xanthan gum.

Can gluten intolerant people eat cornbread? ›

Cornmeal, the main ingredient in cornbread, is naturally gluten free. However, most cornbread recipes also include wheat flour, which contains gluten. So, if you have Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, you should avoid regular cornbread.

Is Jiffy baking mix gluten free? ›

Do you manufacture gluten-free “JIFFY” mixes? No. Our current facility does not support the manufacture of gluten-free mixes.

Can celiacs eat cornmeal? ›

Cornmeal is also gluten-free. Cornmeal is a coarse flour made from maize, (i.e. corn). Just like cornflour, it's important to look for labeled gluten-free cornmeal whenever possible, as cross-contact can easily occur during manufacturing.

Does baking powder have gluten in it? ›

Baking powder is typically a combination of an acid (like cream of tartar), baking soda, and a starch to absorb moisture. These days, the starch found in baking powder is usually either potato starch or regular cornstarch, both of which are gluten-free. This, in turn, makes most baking powder gluten-free.

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