My favorite cornbread is skillet cornbread. And Merri Ann can’t eat gluten so skillet cornbread is perfect for her-it relies on eggs for the structure, not flour. We’ve made it so often that it has evolved from a series of recipes to a technique. Using a ratio of ingredients, we use this technique to make both sweet and savory cornbread-whatever we are in the mood for-from Jalapeo Cheese Cornbread to Banana Nut Cornbread.

Today we’ll tell you how to make your own cornbread and give you several recipes to get you started. 

Apple and Bacon Cornbread

AppleCornbreadAt first glance, this is similar to our Cheddar and Bacon Cornbread but it is really quite different, a sweeter cornbread with a different texture. Apple and bacon are a wonderful combination. Instead of cheese, it’s made with melted butter and with maple syrup, it is a little sweeter. Again, it is an egg-rich, skillet cornbread and a flourless recipe.


1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 melted butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 pound bacon
1 1/2 medium sized apples, finely diced or shredded with peel


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1. Fry the bacon to a crisp, pat the grease from the bacon with paper towels, and crumble or chop the bacon.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, baking powder, salt and spices.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs then stir in the milk, melted butter, and maple syrup plus the bacon and apples.
4. Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix with a spatula until well combined.
5. Bake in a ten-inch, nonstick skillet for 20 minutes or until all but the center of the cornbread is set. Remove the cornbread from the oven and immediately sprinkle the reserved cheese over the cornbread to melt. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

Pepper Jack Cornbread

Full-PotatosCornbreadThis is great cornbread. It is best eaten on a plate with a fork, maybe drizzled with maple syrup.

You will need a heavy, ovenproof skillet for this cornbread. This recipe was designed for a ten-inch skillet.

If pepper jack cheese is not your thing, cheddar or Monterey jack may be substituted.


1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 15-ounce can of corn kernels, well drained
11/2 cups grated pepper jack cheese, lightly pressed in a cup for measurement

2 tablespoons butter


1. Place a ten-inch, ovenproof skillet or frying pan on the middle shelf in the oven. (A heavy-duty or cast iron skillet works best.) Set the oven temperature to 400 degrees and let the oven heat while the pan is in the oven.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
3. Add the eggs, milk, and corn kernels and stir until well combined. Fold in the cheese.
4. Remove the hot pan from the oven and place the butter in the hot pan. Place the pan back in the oven for a minute or two to allow it to melt.
5. Remove the pan from the oven and pour in the cornbread mixture.
6. Bake the cornbread for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean.

Serve warm drizzled with maple syrup.

Texas Chili Cornbread

Full-cornThis recipe was adapted from Baking in America by Greg Patent.  (We recommend this book.)  For our version of this recipe, we used chiles instead of jalapeos, red bell pepper instead of pimentos, and garlic powder instead of clove garlic but feel free to experiment.   

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped and diced
1/2 medium sized onion, chopped and diced
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 4-oz can diced green chilies, drained (less if you prefer a less spicy bread)
1 cup corn kernels–fresh, frozen, or canned
11/2 cups grated cheese, cheddar or jack 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a ten-inch skillet and place it on the middle shelf in the oven.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt.   In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs then stir in the rest of the ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup of the grated cheese.
  3. Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Mix with a spatula until well combined. 
  4. Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and immediately pour the batter into the pan.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and return to the oven.
  5. Let bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean.  The top will be a rich, golden brown.  Let cool for ten minutes before unmolding. 

Here’s How to Make Your Own Cornbread Recipe

Skillet cornbread is very forgiving. Consider the following as guidelines and a palette for creating your own masterpieces. Build a basic cornbread batter and add whatever you are in the mood for. Here are some suggestions for additions:

Bacon snipped into pieces
Chopped ham
Diced onions (consider steaming them in the microwave until partially cooked)
Diced bell peppers
Jalapeo peppers
Sun-dried tomatoes
Fresh or canned corn (one 15-ounce can well drained of one cup fresh or frozen kernels)
Grated cheese (add up to 1 1/2 cups)
Dried fruit (cranberries are a favorite)
Bananas (up to two ripe bananas)
Chopped walnuts (3/4 cup seems about right)
Chopped apple (one apple finely chopped and unpeeled)

What are some of our favorites? We like savory cornbreads with plenty of cheese and onions or bell peppers. Pepper jack cheese is good when you are in the mood for something spicy. When making savory cornbread, we usually add corn kernels. Banana nut cornbread is very good. (The banana taste is even more pronounced the second day.)  Try it with a teaspoon of <a href="http://www.

<hr class=’system-pagebreak’ /><hr class=’system-pagebreak’ />”>allspice or cinnamon. We made a cranapple nut the other day that was very good. (Made with one apple, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.)

Be sure and refrigerate any leftovers. Cut the cornbread into wedges and wrap them in plastic wrap.

Here’s how to make your cornbread:
You will need a ten-inch, ovenproof skillet. A heavy metal skillet is best. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with the skillet in the oven.

1. Cornmeal. Place 1 1/2 cups cornmeal in a medium bowl. If you are going to use corn kernels, reduce the cornmeal to one cup. If you would like a softer grain to your cornbread, add the liquids and eggs to the cornmeal and refrigerate it for an hour so that the cornmeal grains absorb the liquid.

2. Eggs. Add three large eggs to the cornmeal. It’s the eggs that are going to give your cornmeal structure and hold it together.

3. Fat. Cornbread tends to be dry and the addition of an oil or fat is essential for a moister cornbread. Without adequate fat, your cornbread will be dry. The eggs provide some of the fat. Bananas or applesauce reduce some of the need for fat. Use melted butter or vegetable oil. If you are using cheese, bananas, or applesauce, 1/4 cup will do. (We suspect that you can leave it out all together with a cheesy cornbread.) Otherwise, use 1/2 cup. Add the fat when you add the eggs.

4. Spices and salt. Generally use 1/2 teaspoon salt. If you are using cheese, you may reduce it to 1/4 teaspoon. Add whatever spices you choose. One teaspoon of allspice or cinnamon is about right. You can add the salt and spices anytime.

5. Sweetener. For a savory cornbread, one teaspoon of sugar or honey will do. For a sweeter cornbread, we use up to two tablespoons. Add it anytime.

6. Leavening. You can get by without any leavening but we prefer to add 1 teaspoon of baking powder. (If you do not use baking powder, increase the salt by 1/4 teaspoon since baking powder contains sodium.) Since baking powder loses potency after sitting in the batter, add the leavening just before the “additions” and soon before baking.

7. “Additions.” Stir in the additions of choice.

8. Liquid. You will likely need some liquid to make the batter soft and of the right consistency. It should be barely pourable. The amount of the liquid will be determined by the moisture content of the additions but you will need anywhere from a couple tablespoons to one cup. Stir in the liquids after the additions. We usually use milk but you can use what you want from water to a juice.

Mix all ingredients well. Notice that this is a one-bowl technique.

Remove the hot pan from the oven being careful not to burn yourself. Add one tablespoon of butter and tip the pan from side to side until the butter is melted and the bottom and sides of the pan are covered. Add the batter to the pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden. Serve hot and refrigerate any leftovers.

We often serve our cornbread, even savory cornbread, with hot maple syrup. Our gourmet fruit syrups open up some very nice combinations. Jams or just a pat of butter work well too.

Dennis Weaver is the founder of The Prepared Pantry. He is the author of How to Bake, a 250 page book about the art and science of baking. You can download a free copy of How to Bake here.