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Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe

If you’re looking for the perfect side to almost any meal, this naturally gluten free cornbread recipe is just the thing.

The only grain is cornmeal—no rice flour blend—and this forgiving recipe can be made with sour cream or even milk (nondairy is fine!) instead of yogurt.

This old fashioned recipe for gluten free cornbread is the perfect side to any meal, especially warm, comforting chili. Or serve it with salsa and beans!

As you can see here, I baked the cornbread* in a cast iron skillet. But only because, well, I love baking in a cast iron skillet.

Nothing heats as evenly or bakes as well as a cast iron skillet. It creates the most distinctive, lovely crust, without any input from me. But this recipe happens to be incredibly versatile.

*If you’re just getting started on a gluten free diet and you’re wondering if corn is gluten free, for example, it is! Please check out my Ultimate Guide to the Basic Rules of a Gluten Free Diet. Everything you need to know is in that guide, along with plenty of links for a deeper dive into some important information.

This old fashioned recipe for gluten free cornbread is the perfect side to any meal, especially warm, comforting chili. Or serve it with salsa and beans!

Over the years, you have written to me, telling me that you made it with granulated sugar instead of honey, milk instead of buttermilk or yogurt, shortening or coconut oil (or even vegetable oil!) instead of butter.

And every single one of those modifications has turned out a delicious cornbread. Beat that!

This old fashioned recipe for gluten free cornbread is the perfect side to any meal, especially warm, comforting chili. Or serve it with salsa and beans!

Just so we’re clear, I have not tested this recipe myself with every single one of these substitutions so I can’t really vouch for them personally. But when every other blog comment seems to be asking about substitutions.

The best I can usually do is to advise you to experiment (I am but one person! I can’t make every recipe every imaginable way!), this recipe is a bit different. Experiment with confidence. This recipe can handle it.

This old fashioned recipe for gluten free cornbread is the perfect side to any meal, especially warm, comforting chili. Or serve it with salsa and beans!
And at least consider making this gluten free cornbread in a cast iron skillet, if you have one. It’s just … so nice. This cornbread is only lightly sweet, so it can be served savory (I usually serve it with chili) or sweet.

I’ve even made it into a simple gluten free cornbread stuffing, and it’s my favorite holiday stuffing yet.

Push play ▶ to watch me make this simple cornbread

Then it’s your turn!

Ingredients and substitutions

This is such a simple recipe, which often makes substitutions more difficult, but somehow this gluten free cornbread recipe is magic ✨ and can take all sorts of modifications in stride. Some of the following suggestions are from personal experience with this recipe, others are just well-educated guesses.

Dairy-free: I have successfully made this recipe dairy-free by using Earth Balance buttery sticks in place of unsalted butter (just reduce the salt by half) and non-dairy plain yogurt in place of yogurt. You can also try a mix of half plain dairy-free yogurt and half unsweetened almond milk. I think that’s your best bet.

Egg-free: As always, whenever there is one egg in a recipe, I recommend trying it with one “chia egg” in its place (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). I haven’t tried this egg-free, though, so you’ll have to experiment but I feel pretty confident that you’ll get good results.

Corn-free: Well, this is a super tough one, and the only reason I think this might be even remotely possible is because I’ve seen some Paleo recipes floating around that use ground millet in place of cornmeal to make a corn-free “cornbread.”

Since this recipe contains only cornmeal, and no other gluten free flour, replacing the cornmeal entirely is a big risk. But if you’re feeling adventuresome, try it!

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 cornbread


2 cups (264 g) coarsely ground yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups (340 g) plain yogurt, at room temperature (can substitute an equal amount of sour cream or buttermilk)

4 tablespoons (84 g) honey


  • Preheat your oven to 400°F. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet or an 8-inch square or round pan, and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the cornmeal, salt, baking soda and baking powder, and whisk to combine well. In separate bowl, mix the egg, butter, yogurt and honey, and whisk to combine well.

  • Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.  Mix until just combined. The mixture will be relatively thin (thinner if you used buttermilk). Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes (closer to 20 minutes if using a cast iron skillet), or until lightly golden brown on top, golden brown around the edges, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Slice and serve immediately.

  • Adapted from Old Fashioned Cornbread in Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Da Capo 2011).



P.S. If you haven’t joined the gluten-free bread revolution, what are you waiting for? Pre-order Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, and get your sandwich fixins ready!

Comments are closed.

  • Alyssa
    September 10, 2012 at 6:39 PM


    I was given your cook book as a birthday present and this is the first recipe I’ve tried. Like the recipe in the book, I used sour cream and although it called for 2 eggs, I used “2 eggs” of Ener-G Egg Replacer, since my boyfriend is allergic. 

    It is AMAZING. This recipe is so moist compared to any GF mix I have tried. Thank you!


  • […] some exploring to do. In the meantime, I’ve found some good websites with recipes. I LOVE the cornbread recipe that Nicole has on “Gluten-Free on a Shoestring”! Like a lot of folks, I live on a […]

  • […] you prefer your cornbread straight-up, try my recipe for Old Fashioned Cornbread. That one is pure cornmeal, no flour. Somethin’ for […]

  • Carol Cripps
    April 29, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    Mmm..Cronbread. My favourite brekkie, as a teen, was hot cornbread, (especially the corner bits) slathered with butter and honey, and a tall glass of cold milk. Now I can have it again. Thank you!

    • Nicole
      April 29, 2011 at 2:30 PM

      I love this, too, Carol. It’s so useful as a meal component, or all on its own, as you said.

  • Jeff
    December 8, 2009 at 10:38 PM

    Hi Nicole,

    Thanks for the recipe, I am making the apple and leek stuffing 4 my 16yo daughter w/Celiac. Your cornbread will work perfectly for the stuffing! Happy Holidays.


    • Nicole
      December 9, 2009 at 1:16 AM

      Hi, Jeff,
      Yup. That’s the cornbread to use for the stuffing. I hope you both enjoy it!

  • Keesha
    December 2, 2009 at 2:01 AM

    I am in love with this cornbread!!! I’m new to eating gluten-free and my hubby made a batch of this to go with our vegetable soup at lunch today. I ate three pieces, then had more after dinner tonight, and plan to eat it again in the morning topped with a sunny-side up egg. :-) Hubby was a little skeptical about an all-cornmeal cornbread but after one bite he agreed that it was just as good, if not better, than our “pre-GF” recipe. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!

    • Nicole
      December 3, 2009 at 12:18 AM

      Hi, Keesha,
      Thank you so much for posting. I’m so glad you’re off to such a good start. Cornmeal is a celiac’s ace in the hole!

  • Nicole
    November 28, 2009 at 6:16 PM

    Hi, Amy,
    I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you in time! I was knee deep in Thanksgiving, and didn’t come up for air until, well, now…. I know nothing about using egg replacer. Did you figure anything out??

    Hi, Kristen,
    I’m glad it was a hit! I actually have a recipe on the blog for Apple & Leek Cornbread Stuffing, using this cornbread recipe. Enjoy!


  • Kristen V
    November 28, 2009 at 4:01 PM

    I made this for a Thanksgiving celebration yesterday, and everyone loved it. I specifically told everyone that it was gluten-free cornbread, hoping that most of the guests would think, “Ew, gluten-free? Don’t want any of that!” and that I’d have some leftovers. No such luck! I will definitely be making this again–maybe I’ll use it to make some stuffing for Christmas. Thanks!

  • Amy K
    November 24, 2009 at 2:30 PM

    ps I’m figuring on a soy based yogurt/sour cream in my health food store (in place of buttermilk), not sure if it exists, but will try… ;)

  • Amy K
    November 24, 2009 at 2:27 PM

    Holiday emergency — have blue-haired vegan niece coming over.

    What’s your best ballpark guesstimate about using egg replacer in this cornbread recipe?

    many thanks!

  • […] salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped 1 recipe Old fashioned GF cornbread, crumbled 2 eggs, beaten 1/3 cup […]

  • Nicole
    October 17, 2009 at 7:51 PM

    Hi, Amy,
    My pleasure. And feel free to take credit for the flatbread. I don’t mind, and you made it!

  • Amy K
    October 17, 2009 at 4:42 PM

    Nicole, thanks for the great idea of leeks, apples, etc for the stuffing. That’ll be on our table this year. Right now, I’m making flatbread again for family coming over. I’ve made it so often I feel like it’s “my” recipe! ;)

  • Amy K
    October 12, 2009 at 6:06 PM

    Can this be made into a Thanksgiving stuffing? Just wondering…

  • Amy K
    October 12, 2009 at 5:10 PM

    Making your cornbread today with chili, can’t wait! Still loving and appreciating your blog!

    • Nicole
      October 17, 2009 at 2:53 AM

      Hi, Amy,
      You could definitely make this into stuffing. Some onions, some stock, maybe some leeks and apples….

  • October 11, 2009 at 8:04 PM

    Oh yummy, we loved this! Thanks for a great (and budget conscious) recipe! GF kids and a houseful of guests all loved it!

    • Nicole
      October 17, 2009 at 2:56 AM

      Hi, Sharon,
      Thank you for posting. I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe. I really prefer a cornbread recipe that only uses cornmeal. Cheaper, and more authentic tasting.

  • Nicole
    September 30, 2009 at 3:36 PM

    Hi, Becky,
    I love this cornbread. I’m so glad you do, too.

  • Becky
    September 30, 2009 at 12:56 AM

    Awesome recipe!! You were dead on about the consistency, and the finished product was fabulous! Went great with fresh chili!

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