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Gluten Free Cornbread

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Do you love cornbread? Then you’re in luck with this delicious gluten free cornbread recipe! This recipe makes the soft, dense pan bread we all know and love safe for our friends with celiac. 

Image, taken from above, shows a cast iron skillet with slices of gluten free corn bread stacked on one another.

Cornbread has been an essential part of southern cuisine for decades – centuries even. Southern climates support the growth of corn crops much more than of wheat or other hard winter grains, so the South’s tendency to lean on corn everything from bread to breakfast cereal (such as grits) makes a lot of sense. 

The importance of a good cornbread

For a gluten free person especially, having a good gluten free cornbread recipe is important. When a person has to give up gluten, it can feel like their world is falling apart. Everything they knew and loved was no longer available to them. 

Our knowledge of making quality gluten free foods has come a long way, and we now have access to gluten free recipes that are nearly identical to traditional versions. But in many cases, no matter how good your gluten free bread may be, it’s not quite the same. 

That’s why it’s so nice that we can make a gluten free version of cornbread that appears identical in both texture and flavor to what they’re used to. It’s nice to have such a familiar comfort food. 

Is cornbread normally gluten free? 

Sadly, though the main ingredient in cornbread is, of course, cornmeal, the co-ingredients in all-purpose wheat flour. 

So to make it gluten free, we need to replace those flours with either a custom combination of gluten free flours or a good gluten-free flour blend (more on that in a minute). 

Is cornmeal gluten free? 

Image shows a close up of slices of cornbread sitting in a cast iron skillet.

Yes, cornmeal is naturally gluten free. While you may want to check to make sure your cornmeal was processed on separate equipment from gluten-containing wheat or barley, the prevalence of gluten allergies today has made it pretty much standard practice. That said, Bob’s Red Mill provides certified gluten free cornmeal

Tips for making the best gluten free cornbread

  • Use quality gluten free flour. Look for flours or flour blends with a fine grind like Authentic Foods superfine rice flour. Quality grains with mild flavors like Judee’s quinoa flour, and a powdery starch like Judee’s arrowroot powder or cornstarch.
  • Don’t forget a binding agent. In the absence of gluten, we need something to give the batter some viscosity, trapping the air bubbles generated from the chemical reaction of baking powder and acid, forcing the cornbread to rise. The best binding agent for this is guar, or xanthan gum, which can be used interchangeably.
  • Substitute honey for sugar. This is an alteration that tastes great and gives your cornbread a rustic feel.
  • To make dairy-free cornbread, substitute your favorite dairy-free milk (I like almond milk) and use lard or light olive oil in place of butter.
  • Use sour milk or buttermilk. The acidity of sour/buttermilk will have a bigger reaction with the baking powder, helping your finished cornbread to be lighter. You can also sour your milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice. 

Equipment needed for making gluten free cornbread

Cornbread is super easy to make. So easy it’s one of the first things my kids learned to make. 

  • A mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • A whisk
  • A heavy pan such as a cast iron skillet

Using the right cookware

I like to use a cast iron skillet to bake cornbread. For me, pouring cornbread batter into a hot, oiled cast iron skillet before sliding it into the oven gives it the perfect crunchy bottom crust. 

That said, a cake or casserole pan also works well. You can use a muffin tin to make gluten-free cornbread muffins. Of course, to make corn muffins, you’ll need to reduce the baking time by about ten minutes, from 25 minutes to 15-18 minutes.

How to make gluten free cornbread

Image, taken from above, shows ingredients needed to make gluten free corn bread- including cornmeal, rice flour, quinoa flour, arrowroot powder, sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs, milk and melted butter.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup superfine rice flour
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter

Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 350º

Combine cornmeal, flours, xanthan/guar gum, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.

Whisk eggs, and add them to the dry ingredients, along with milk and butter. 

Image, taken from above, shows the eggs ready to whisk into batter

Stir until the mixture is combined.

Heat a 10 inch skillet, and grease with 2-3 tablespoons of oil (I use light olive oil), lard, or bacon grease.

When the oil is hot enough to sizzle when a drop of water hits it, pour in the cornbread batter.

If you’re not using a skillet, generously grease a 9-inch baking pan and pour the cornbread batter into that.

Image, taken from above, shows the cornbread batter poured into a cast iron skillet.

Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle, comes out clean. 

Remove from oven, slice, and serve. 

That’s all there is to it!

Photo, taken from above, shows fresh cornbread in an iron skillet.

How to store cornbread

If you find yourself with leftover cornbread to save for another day, simply store it in an airtight container. I prefer to use Ziploc bags, as they’re easy to seal the air out of to keep your cornbread from going stale. 

Your cornbread should keep on the countertop for 2-3 days, or in the refrigerator for about a week. 

Can you freeze cornbread? 

Storing cornbread in the freezer is much like storing cake. Wrap it first in foil, then tightly in plastic wrap. If you prefer not to have tin foil touching your food, you can wrap it in parchment paper first. 

To thaw and use, remove from the freezer and let it thaw, fully wrapped, in the refrigerator. In a pinch, you can also thaw it on your countertop to have it ready sooner, but it’s important to keep it wrapped in order to keep condensation from turning your cornbread mushy. 

After freezing, your cornbread will likely be a little more dense and moist than it was freshly baked. 

What goes with cornbread? 

Image, taken from above, shows a cast iron skillet with fresh cornbread cut into slices in it.

My husband would counter with, “What doesn’t?” 

Some of our favorites are black bean chili. It’s perfect on a chili (pardon the pun) day. 

Another really good one with with homemade baked beans or calico beans. 

Basically, any soup. Cornbread makes a really good complement to Italian peasant soup or beef stew. 

BBQ chicken or pork. So good! Honestly, this GF cornbread recipe is so incredibly versatile it’s hard to think of something it doesn’t go with. 

Print

Gluten Free Cornbread

This delicious and versatile homemade cornbread is the perfect addition to any meal. 

  • Author: Elise
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 40
  • Yield: 810 slices 1x

Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Combine cornmeal, flours, xanthan/guar gum, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Add eggs, milk, and butter. 
  4. Stir until mixture is just combined
  5. Heat a 10 inch skillet, and grease with 2-3 tablespoons of oil (I use light olive oil) or lard
  6. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle when a drop of water hits it, pour in the cornbread batter
  7. If you’re not using a skillet, generously grease a 9 inch baking pan and pour the cornbread batter into that
  8. Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle, comes out clean. 
  9. Remove from oven, slice, and serve. 
  10. Enjoy!

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