This recipe for gluten free blueberry cornbread is a lightly sweet, naturally dairy-free take on a classic cornbread recipe. It's perfect for potlucks and barbecues, or even for breakfast!
Studded with sweet kernels of corn and juicy fresh blueberries, and just a bit of extra sweetness, this gluten free blueberry cornbread is summer's gift. Make it one bowl, with one spoon in a cast iron pan or round cake pan, and serve it warm.
Is there gluten in cornbread?
On this blog and in my cookbooks, when we use the word “gluten,” we're referring to the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. But if you've ever had an in-depth conversation with a certain type of person about gluten, it's likely been pointed out to you that other grains have gluten, too.
There is something known as “corn gluten” which is found in corn, cornmeal and anything else derived from corn. And there are people who are intolerant of or allergic to it. But it's not at all the same as the gluten we talk about here.
Some cornbread recipes, like our old fashioned gluten free cornbread, have only cornmeal as a flour. That recipe is naturally gluten free, as it doesn't require any gluten free flour substitutions.
This recipe for gluten free blueberry cornbread, though, has all purpose gluten free flour as an ingredient. It isn't naturally gluten free—but it is, in fact, gluten free when made as written below!
How to make gluten free blueberry cornbread
This recipe is so easy, and you can even make it with frozen berries and corn. It's a straight-forward recipe, made in just one bowl.
Just whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl first, then stir in the wet ingredients until everything is just moistened. Like any baking recipe, the temperature of the individual ingredients is one of the keys to success. Here are a few more tips for success:
Corn: I've made this with sweet summer corn, fresh off the cob, at room temperature. I've also made it with frozen corn that's been thawed but never drained dry. There's no need to remove any moisture from the corn.
Berries: The blueberries should be fresh if possible, but you can use frozen berries. Do not thaw the frozen berries, though, as their color will bleed and they will get crushed no matter how carefully you handle the batter. Just use them frozen. If your berries are fresh but don't seem super sweet, toss them in about 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar before adding them to the batter.
Sugar: There's 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in the whole recipe, and you might be tempted to leave it out or reduce the amount significantly. Keep in mind, though, that sugar isn't just a sweetener, but it's also a tenderizer.
If you reduce or eliminate the sugar, you're changing the recipe more significantly than just eliminating sweetness. You can try reducing the sugar to 1/3 cup if you'd like to experiment.
Ingredients and substitutions
If you have additional dietary restrictions, here are my best educated guesses about how to make this recipe suit them.
Egg-free: I haven't tried making this recipe with an egg substitute, but I recommend trying it with one “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel)in place of each egg in the recipe. Since there are only two eggs in the recipe, it should work but you'll have to experiment!
Dairy-free: I wrote the recipe for nondairy milk, but of course cow's milk would work just fine as well. My favorite nondairy milks are either plain unsweetened almond milk or plain unsweetened coconut milk.
I don't care for rice milk, flavored nondairy milks or sweetened milks—unless it's for drinking and it's chocolate milk. ?
Corn-free: As I mentioned in my recipe for old fashioned gluten free cornbread, I’ve seen some Paleo recipes on the Internet that use ground millet in place of cornmeal to make a corn-free “cornbread.” Our old fashioned cornbread recipe is made using only cornmeal as a flour (no all purpose gluten free flour at all). That makes replacing cornmeal a very difficult task.
In this recipe, though, there's about as much all purpose flour as there is cornmeal. For that reason, I'm more optimistic about replacing the cornmeal in this recipe with ground millet. You'd also have to replace the corn kernels with another mix-in, which could just be more blueberries.
Keep in mind, though, that whenever you're looking to replacing a cornerstone ingredient in a recipe, you're living dangerously! ?
Berry-free: If you're interested in a more basic gluten free cornbread, but a recipe that is more like a gluten free cornbread mix, I've got you. Try my recipe for Jiffy-style gluten free corn muffin mix.
Sugar-free: Since there's only 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in this recipe, you can try replacing it with Swerve granulated sugar sweetener or Lankato monkfruit granulated sugar replacement. Keep in mind that those ingredients tend to be drying, so you might have to add some more milk by the teaspoonful to reach the proper batter consistency.
Gluten Free Blueberry Cornbread
3/4 cup (105 g) frozen (or fresh) whole kernel corn
1 1/3 cups (187 g) all purpose gluten free flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 1/4 cups (165 g) gluten free coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (135 g) fresh blueberries
3/4 cup nondairy milk (6 fluid ounces), at room temperature
1/4 cup (56 g) neutral oil (like grapeseed, canola or vegetable)
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet or a 9-inch round cake pan and set it aside. If your corn is frozen, thaw it either on the counter at room temperature or in the microwave until just unfrozen. Set the corn aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the corn kernels and blueberries, and toss gently to coat. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the milk, oil and eggs, and mix until just combined. The mixture will be thick but soft.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a moistened spatula or spoon. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It will bake more quickly in a cast iron pan than in a cake pan, unless the cake pan is dark in color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan briefly before slicing and serving warm.