Easy-to-make sweet and spicy gluten-free cornbread. Perfect served with chili!
Cornbread is one of my go-to side dishes. It’s great with chili (of course), roast chicken, and shredded Mexican beef. But sometimes I want something just a little different than my usual pan of gluten-free cornbread: enter cheesy jalapeno cornbread.
The great thing about this recipe is that it isn’t too hot, not is it too cheesy. It’s, as Goldie Locks would say, “just right.”
Gluten-Free Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread: The Ingredients
I prefer a finely ground gluten-free cornmeal when making cornbread. It gives the bread a lovely cake-like texture. If you prefer a cornbread with a bit more crunch, use a gluten-free stone-ground cornmeal.
Some recipes call for all cornmeal. This isn’t one of them. The recipe uses half cornmeal and half gluten-free flour for a nice texture. Unlike some gluten-free recipes, this one isn’t picky. I used (and recommend) Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking flour. But any good gluten-free flour blend should do the job well.
Sugar, Baking Powder, and Salt
Three other ingredients are important to the flavor and lift of this cornbread: sugar, baking powder, and salt.
The sugar adds sweetness and color. (I love the combo of sweet and spicy!) If you want your cornbread to be a bit less sweet, reduce the sugar from 1/4 cup to 2 tablespoons.
With ghost peppers and habaneros going mainstream, jalapeños now seem somewhat quaint. And, in this recipe, I guess they are. They aren’t terribly hot. They just add a pop of spice here and there. And you can control that spice by either omitting the seeds or leaving them in.
If you prefer a milder heat, remove the seeds. (The seeds contain the heat.) If you want some spice, leave the seeds in.
No matter which you prefer, with seeds or without, remember to wash your hands after chopping jalapeños. You don’t want to touch your eyes or other parts (ahem) with pepper spice on your fingers. You’ll remember the burn for a long time. Trust me.
Eggs, Milk, and Cheese
I haven’t tried this recipe without eggs. So, for our egg-free friends, I can’t say whether or not it works with an egg-replacer.
As for the milk and cheese, the recipe was tested with traditional (dairy) versions. If you’re dairy-free and have substitutes you love, they should work well.
How to Make Gluten-Free Jalapeño Cornbread
- Heat the Oven.
- Mix the Batter.
- Bake. (It’s that easy!)
Heat the Oven
Preheat the oven while you prep the other ingredients. And if you have a cast-iron pan, throw it in the oven while the oven preheats. Pouring batter into a hot skillet gives the cornbread a lovely crust.
If you don’t own a cast-iron pan, don’t preheat the pan. (And consider getting a cast-iron pan. They’re wonderful!)
Chop the Jalapeños
I like to get this step out of the way first. Grab a jalapeño or two and cut off the stem. Now you’ve got options. If you like things spicy, leave in the seeds and chop the pepper into small pieces. Take care when chopping as seeds can sometimes make a knife slide on a cutting board.
If you prefer a milder heat, cut the jalapeño in half lengthwise. Use a spoon and scoop out the seeds. (The seeds contain the heat) and then chop.
No matter which you prefer, seeds in our out, remember to wash your hands after chopping jalapeños. You don’t want to touch your eyes or other parts (ahem) with pepper spice on your fingers. You’ll remember the burn for a long time. Trust me.
Grate the Cheese (Or Not)
I prefer the texture of freshly grated cheese but, for this recipe, pre-grated cheese works well. As always, read labels to ensure the cheese is gluten-free.
And if you want to skip the cheese, that works too.
Make the Batter
This batter combines gluten-free flour and cornmeal to make a cornbread that has a soft, cake-like texture.
Whisk together the gluten-free flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. This step helps to distribute the baking powder so your cornbread rises evenly.
Then add the milk, eggs, and oil. Stir until the batter is smooth. No need to use a handheld mixer for this recipe, a wooden spoon works great. (Unless a handheld mixer is easier for you to use.)
Add the jalapeños and grated cheese. Stir until evenly distributed and you’re all set.
Gluten-Free Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup gluten-free cornmeal (4 ounces/ 113 grams)
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (5 ounces/ 142 grams)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (2 ounces/ 56 grams)
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk (8 ounces/ 226 grams)
- 2 large eggs (about 4 ounces out of shell/ 113 grams)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (2 1/3 ounces / 65 grams)
- 2 large jalapeno pepper, diced (see note) (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese or Pepper Jack (3 ounces/ 85 grams)
Heat Oven and Prep Pan. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Make the Batter. Whisk together the cornmeal, gluten-free flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the milk, eggs, and vegetable oil. Stir until a batter forms. Add chopped pepper and cheese. Stir to combine. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake and Cool. Bake until cornbread is set and a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cornbread comes out clean. Place pan on a wire rack and allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving. Store leftover cornbread wrapped on the counter for up to three days.
The Cheese: Grate your own cheese or use pre-grated cheese.
The Jalapeño: The jalapeño seeds contain most of the heat. For a spicy cornbread, leave the seeds in the pepper. For a cornbread with less heat, scoop out the seeds before chopping.
Gluten-Free Jalapeño Cheddar Skillet Cornbread: Place an 8-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven as the oven heats. Remove it from the oven, grease with nonstick cooking spray and carefully spread the batter into the pan. Bake about 18 minutes.
Gluten-Free Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Muffins: Scoop batter into 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake about 18 minutes.
Freezing: Allow the cornbread to cool completely. Wrap and freeze up to two months. Allow cornbread to thaw on the counter.