Cornbread might be a Southwestern barbecue staple and a sidekick for a hearty bowl of chili, but the crumbly cornmeal dish can be the source of culinary experimentation. If you're stuck in a cornbread rut (even if it's a delicious and reliable one), it's about time to step up your game. Although it contains the word "bread" in its name, the starchy recipe doesn't have to fit its usual sliceable mold. Whether that means enhancing the basic ingredients or switching up the shape and format, there are countless ways to highlight its qualities in new ways.
We've collected our favorite cornbread recipes from Tasting Table recipe developers to offer inspiration the next time a desire for cornbread strikes. Don't limit your corn-flavored munching to the usual occasions; cornbread makes a great breakfast, side dish, and even dessert. From traditional versions and gluten-free tweaks to flavorful add-ins and sweet twists, you're sure to find something to suit your tastes.
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Old-Fashioned Hot Water Cornbread
Portion-sized cornbread is the perfect solution to keep your cravings in check. Try this old-fashioned recipe which incorporates boiling water into the batter to soften the cornmeal and produce an optimal consistency for handling.
Shape the dough into patties and fry them until they're golden brown with a crispy outer shell. Serve them up with a hearty bowl of chili, or slice them in half and spread the warm surface with a layer of butter and a drizzle of honey to bring out the subtle sweetness.
Granted cornmeal doesn't contain gluten, but some recipes include all-purpose flour to make a cakier texture. Avoid any signs of gluten by choosing a recipe that guarantees its absence, without compromising on flavor or consistency.
Use your favorite gluten-free all-purpose flour alternative, along with cornmeal, leavening agents, sugar, almond milk, eggs, and olive oil. Bake the batter in a pan until it's fully set, then serve it with a meaty side or simple spread. This base recipe is easy to modify, such as by increasing the sugar content for a sweeter take.
Recipe: Gluten-Free Cornbread
Honey Sage Skillet Cornbread
It's pretty common to serve cornbread with honey, so try adding the sweetener to your batter for a delightfully luscious bite. This recipe includes the basics like cornmeal, flour, sugar, oil, and eggs, but it also calls for an extra yolk and buttermilk to add richness and a moist consistency.
Fresh sage leaves infuse the bread with a fragrant touch and give it a gourmet flair. Once it's baked and golden, brush the surface with a mixture of honey and butter to finish it off.
Recipe: Honey Sage Skillet Cornbread
Cast Iron Fig Cornbread
Figs are stunning fruits, and when you dot them over the surface of your cornbread, they add plenty of visual appeal to the classic dish. This sweet creation is great for serving as an after-meal treat or at tea time.
With that in mind, the recipe goes heavier on the sugar, avoiding any confusion about its taste profile. Place halved figs over the surface, then brush the top with a honey lemon butter glaze once baked. Add some contrast and a creamy touch by serving it with a dollop of ricotta.
Recipe: Cast Iron Fig Cornbread
Loaded Cornbread Casserole
If you love cornbread but wish there was a bit more to it than mainly cornmeal, this loaded casserole is the answer. For starters, it triples down on the corn element by including creamed corn and corn kernels.
Milk, sour cream, and butter guarantee a moist center (so moist in fact, that you'll want to use a fork and a knife to eat it), while bacon bits and shredded cheddar cheese bring a salty flavor to the party. Serve it with your next barbecue spread and it's sure to disappear quickly.
Recipe: Loaded Cornbread Casserole
Honey Sweet Potato Cornbread
This tantalizing cornbread incorporates mashed sweet potatoes to add flavor, a bright color, and a moist consistency to every bite. It also features honey and maple syrup for sweetness, and cinnamon and cayenne to give it an aromatic note and a spicy kick.
Serve it in the morning for a heartwarming start to the day, and pair it with a hot cup of coffee to balance out the taste. It boasts plenty of flavor as is, but a pat of butter or drizzle of honey adds a nice pop, too.
Recipe: Honey Sweet Potato Cornbread
Green Chile And Tomatillo Corn Bread
Cornbread might traditionally be a pale yellow color, but this green chile and tomatillo variation transforms it into a vibrant green hue. Poblano and jalapeño peppers add spicy and earthy notes, while tomatillos and fresh cilantro infuse each bite with a citrusy herbal element.
To top it off, the dish is loaded with Monterey Jack cheese, giving it a decadent touch that makes it extra satisfying. Munch on a square along with your main course, or slather it with hot pepper jelly to play up the flavors.
Classic Old-Fashioned Corn Pone
Cornbread might bring to mind a specific image, but the label extends beyond the obvious. Corn pones pack everything you love about the dish into a portion-sized patty format.
They're also remarkably simple to make, with only five ingredients and a quick pan fry. Skip the pancake breakfast and make a stack of crispy corn pones to start the day off right when you're craving cornbread but don't have time to bake. Serve them with butter and honey for a classic combination.
Recipe: Classic Old-Fashioned Corn Pone
From-Scratch Cornbread Dressing
Making dressing (aka stuffing) from scratch might seem like a hassle, but there's no doubt the results are worth it. Start by making a basic cornbread recipe (this one is sweetened), then... deconstruct it. Crumble it into bits and combine them with alliums, broth, seasonings, and eggs.
Bake this flavor-packed concoction until the top is golden and set, then serve it with fresh herbs for a bit of zing and a splash of gravy to amp up the richness. You'll crave leftovers before they even reach the fridge.
Recipe: From-Scratch Cornbread Dressing
Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing
Crumbled chorizo and roasted poblano peppers transform a standard cornbread stuffing into a gourmet side dish you'll want to make long past Thanksgiving. This recipe calls for cubed pieces of baguette and cornbread, giving it yet an extra oomph to make it stand out.
Alliums round out the flavors, while a simple broth and egg mixture creates a moist consistency. Thanks to the salty and smoky aromas from the add-ins, this tasty stuffing keeps the seasonings to a bare minimum.
Recipe: Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing
Corn Bread Ice Cream Sandwiches
Cornbread gets the sweet treatment with these ice cream sandwiches. If you're craving a corn-infused bite, maxing out on the flavor in every aspect of your dish is sure to satisfy your desires.
Start with corn ice cream in the center, then squish it between two slices of sweet cornbread. Contrast the creamy and tender texture by coating the topping with a corn nut and Corn Pops crumble. This recipe makes a dozen sandwiches to curb your corn cravings for days on end.
Recipe: Corn Bread Ice Cream Sandwiches
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