This gluten-free cornbread is easy to make. Simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix until a batter forms, and bake until golden brown. That’s it. For an extra touch of richness, spread a pat of butter on the cornbread when it comes out of the oven.
It’s great enjoyed on its own or served as a side dish. The recipe includes a dairy-free option.
Cornbread at its best is deeply flavorful with a tender crumb. And, most importantly, it shouldn’t be dry. This recipe meets all of those requirements plus one: it’s easy to make.
Whether you like your cornbread savory or sweet, this recipe is for you. Adjust the sugar content to suit your tastes.
For the best texture, bake the cornbread in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. It makes cornbread that’s golden brown on the bottom with an almost crunchy crust.
And if you want to make corn muffins, follow this recipe for gluten-free corn muffins. The bake time and method are slightly different than they are for cornbread.
Gluten-Free Cornbread Ingredients.
- Gluten-Free Cornmeal. The key ingredient in this recipe is cornmeal. If you prefer a cake-like cornbread, use finely ground cornmeal. Use a medium ground cornmeal if you prefer a coarse, almost crumbly cornbread.
Note: Although corn is a naturally gluten-free grain, some brands of cornmeal aren’t considered gluten-free by their manufacturer because of how they’re processed. Use a cornmeal that’s labeled gluten-free.
- Gluten-Free Flour. A little gluten-free flour gives this cornbread a tender crumb. It also helps to keep it moist for a day or so.
Since there’s such a small amount of flour, most gluten-free flours should work. (This recipe was developed with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour.) Don’t use almond or coconut flour. The almond flour makes for a heavy, greasy cornbread, and coconut flour will give you an unpleasantly spongy cornbread.
- Sugar. This isn’t a sweet, cake-like cornbread, but it does contain two tablespoons of sugar. The sugar helps the cornbread to brown and enhances the natural sweetness of the cornmeal. In fact, if you try this cornbread with sugar and without, the recipe made with sugar tastes more “corn-y” than the one made without.
If you want a sweet cornbread, increase the sugar. You can use up to 1/2 cup granulated sugar. And if you don’t want to use sugar, leave it out of the recipe. Most of the time omitting sugar from a baking recipe is a no-no. But it works great in this recipe.
- Baking Powder. The rise and tender crumb come from a full tablespoon of baking soda. For a very dense cornbread, reduce the baking powder to one teaspoon.
Always use fresh baking powder for baking. The container should have an expiration date on it. If you’re unsure about its freshness, test it. Stir one teaspoon of baking powder into a half cup of hot water. The mixture should bubble immediately.
- Salt. A little salt helps enhance the flavor of the cornbread. Without salt, bread tastes flat. Use table salt (fine salt) for this recipe. It blends easily into the batter.
- Eggs. Two eggs give the cornbread lift, moisture, and flavor. I haven’t tested the recipe with egg alternatives. So I can’t say if this recipe works egg-free.
- Milk. Since I rarely have buttermilk in the house, I stopped using it in my cornbread. Not only is this great for making last-minute cornbread, but it also benefits folks who are on a dairy-free diet. If you follow a dairy-free diet, replace the milk with your favorite dairy-free alternative. Avoid using full-fat coconut milk. It’s too thick and rich for this cornbread.
- Oil (or Butter). Any baking oil (corn, canola, or soy) works well. If you include dairy in your diet and prefer the flavor of butter, swap the oil for melted butter. After melting the butter, cool it before adding it to the batter.
How to Make Gluten-Free Cornbread.
It’s easy to make a batch of this cornbread. Follow these steps and you’ll have a pan of cornbread in under 30 minutes.
1. Preheat the oven.
For the best rise and crumb, preheat your oven before baking cornbread. Most ovens take about 15 minutes to preheat. Small countertop ovens preheat much faster.
If you’re using a cast iron skillet, place it in the oven to preheat. A hot skillet gives the cornbread a crunchy exterior. Don’t have a skillet? No problem. Use a cake pan. (Don’t preheat an empty cake pan. If it has a coating, the heat can damage it.)
2. Make the batter.
All you need to make this batter is a large bowl and a whisk. Start by whisking together the dry ingredients. Don’t skip this step. It removes any lumps and helps distribute the sugar, baking powder, and salt throughout the cornmeal and gluten-free flour. This gives the cornbread a great texture.
Then add the milk, eggs, and oil. Stir until the batter is smooth. It’ll be a little thick. If you’re using finely ground cornbread and the batter seems too thick to spread, add two tablespoons more milk.
3. Bake Until Brown.
If you’re using a skillet, the cornbread should take about 15 minutes to bake. Cornbread baked in a cake pan takes about 18 minutes.
To check the cornbread for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the bread. It should come out clean. You can also gently press the top of the cornbread with your hand. It should feel firm and spring back to the touch.
Baking Gluten-Free Cornbread in a Skillet
I think a cast iron skillet is one of the best pieces of equipment you can have in your kitchen. You can use it to make a steak or make a cake. (Or, in this case, cornbread.)
If you have an 8-inch cast iron skillet, use it. Pop it in the oven before you turn it on to preheat. A hot skillet gives gluten-free cornbread a crispy and brown exterior. And if you’ve ever baked gluten-free, you know how challenging it can sometimes be to get a nice brown crumb on baked goods.
When the oven is at temperature and your batter is ready to go, remove the skillet from the oven. Grease it generously. Use either cooking oil or nonstick cooking spray. If you use vegetable oil, swirl it around in the pan to coat the pan evenly.
Spread the batter into the hot pan. It might sizzle a little. Quickly return the pan to the oven.
Cornbread baked in a hot skillet bakes a little faster than cornbread baked in a cake pan. Check the cornbread after 15 minutes.
When the cornbread comes out of the oven, you can spread a pat of butter over the top. It’ll melt right away. Doing this adds a little richness and flavor.
4. Cool and Serve.
Before serving, cool the cornbread for about 5 minutes. If you cut the cornbread as soon as it comes out of the oven, it can crumble. Cut into pieces and enjoy.
You can enjoy this cornbread on its own. A lovely way to eat a slice is to butter it and toast it in a skillet. Or serve it as a side dish. It’s great with chili or roast chicken.
If you like your cornbread on the sweeter side, drizzle a little honey over the top. It’s so good.
How to Store Gluten-Free Cornbread.
Cornbread tastes best the day it’s baked. Wrap leftovers and store on the counter for up to two days.
If you’d like to reheat the cornbread, place it in a warm oven or butter it and toast it on a griddle or in a hot pan.
This cornbread freezes really well. Allow the cornbread to cool. Then wrap tightly or place into a freezer container. Freeze for up to three months.
Easy gluten-free cornbread recipe. Mix all ingredients in one bowl and bake until brown. Dairy-free variation included.
- 1 ½ cups coarse/medium ground gluten-free cornmeal (see note) (8 ounces; 226 grams)
- ½ cup gluten-free flour, see note (2 1/2 ounces; 70 grams)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, see note (1 ounce; 28 grams)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup milk, see note for dairy-free option (6 ounces; 170 grams)
- 2 large eggs (about 4 ounces out of shell; 114 grams)
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil (2 1/3 ounces; 66 grams)
Heat oven. Preheat oven to 425°F.
If using an 8-inch cast iron skillet, place into oven before preheating.
Whisk together gluten-free cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the milk, eggs, and oil. Whisk until combined. Batter will be thick. If it's too thick to spread, add two tablespoons of additional milk.
If using a skillet, remove it from the oven and place it on a heatproof surface. Grease with nonstick cooking spray or brush generously with vegetable oil.
If using an 8-inch round cake pan, grease the pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
Spread batter into pan. Bake until set, about 15 minutes. The cornbread should spring back when touched.
Allow cornbread to cool for about five minutes before cutting into pieces.
To store: Wrap cornbread and store on the counter overnight. Or cool thoroughly, wrap tightly, and freeze for up to two months. Allow cornbread to thaw on the counter.
This recipe was developed for coarse and medium-ground cornmeal. If you use finely ground cornmeal, the batter might be thick. If that occurs, add 1/4 cup additional milk.
Bob’s Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour is recommended.
Replace milk with a dairy-free alternative, such as rice milk or soy. Full-fat coconut milk is not recommended because the fat content makes for a very rich, almost greasy, cornbread.
For a sweet cornbread, increase sugar to a ½ cup.
For a savory cornbread, omit the sugar. Gluten-free cornbread baked without sugar doesn’t brown as much. Check for doneness by using a toothpick.