This easy Jalapeno Cornbread is a little sweet, a little spicy, a little cheesy, and a whole lotta YUM!

Slices of cheesy jalapeno cornbread with honey on parchment paper

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Perhaps it’s watching too many reruns of The Pioneer Woman. Perhaps it’s my subscription to Southern Living or the fact that I’ll never get tired of watching Sweet Home Alabama on repeat.

Maybe my pot of chili looked like it needed a friend. Whatever the reason, I can’t stop coming up with excuses to make this cheesy jalapeno cornbread.

My first pan of cheddar jalapeno cornbread occurred because I discovered a forgotten bag of cornmeal while cleaning out my pantry, and a cornbread craving that would register on the Richter scale struck.

That night, I whipped up a batch of this dynamite Slow Cooker Turkey Quinoa Chili, because where there’s cornbread, there must be chili (or at least a bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup).

I’ve made many cornbread recipes over the years (including my favorite Rosemary Cheddar Cornbread that’s in my cookbook), but classic jalapeno cornbread is one that will never go out of style.

Healthy Jalapeno Cornbread made with honey and unsweetened applesauce

5 Star Review

“Thanks for a wonderful and healthy cornbread recipe! I love how moist this is!”

— Amy —

How to Make Healthy Jalapeno Cornbread

Although cornbread and I have a love for all seasons…and all meals (try a Raspberry Jam Corn Muffins for breakfast!), I crave it most especially in the fall and winter, beside bowls of steaming Pumpkin Chili and Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup.

This one has become one of my most requested (along with this Mexican Cornbread). It takes fewer than 10 minutes to prep, is super tender and moist, and thanks to whole wheat pastry flour and applesauce, it’s healthy too!

Cornbread with Applesauce

Unsweetened applesauce is an ingredient I always have in my pantry because it is one of my tried and true stealthy-healthy baking tricks.

In nearly any quick bread recipe, I swap at least half of the recipe called for quantity of oil or melted butter for the same amount of unsweetened applesauce, with no noticeable difference in taste or texture.

Cornbread is no different. In today’s cheesy jalapeno cornbread, unsweetened apple sauce makes for a moist, tender, and healthy cornbread recipe, with a fraction of the fat and calories.


The Ingredients

  • Cornmeal. Gives the cornbread its signature yellow hue and delectable subtle corn flavor.
  • Flour. I like to use whole wheat pastry flour because it keeps the jalapeno cornbread light and fluffy while also sneaking in a dose of whole grain goodness.
  • Baking Powder. The leavener that gives this cornbread recipe its high rise and fluffy texture.
  • Eggs. Give the cornbread structure, adds richness, and makes the bread melt-in-your-mouth tender.
  • Honey. Instead of sugar, however, I sweetened this cornbread recipe with a touch of honey, a lovely flavor with the cornmeal.
  • Applesauce. Lightens up the cornbread batter by reducing the fat content while still keeping the bread moist.

TIP!

If you don’t think you will go through an entire jar of applesauce before it spoils, try purchasing the individual applesauce cups. They last much longer in the pantry, can double for snacks, and each is about 1/4 cup, making for easy measuring during baking.

  • Canola Oil. I use just enough canola oil to keep this easy jalapeno cornbread rich and tender.
  • Cheddar Cheese. Part-skim sharp cheddar cheese keeps the bread lean while imparting as much cheese flavor as possible.
  • Jalapeno. Provide just the right amount of kick to this slightly sweet honey cornbread.

TIP!

Use just 1 jalapeno if you prefer a more mild jalapeno flavor. Alternatively, up it to 3 jalapenos if you want your jalapeno cornbread screamin’ hot.

  • Green Onion. Adds additional green color and a light onion flavor that pairs well with the corn and jalapenos.

Easy Cornbread Mix-ins and Toppings

  • Mix-ins. My favorite version of this easy cornbread recipe (the one I’m sharing today) includes a handful of chopped jalapenos for spice, scallions for balance and bite, and extra sharp cheddar for the ooey-gooey factor, but if you are looking for a simple cornbread, you can certainly leave out the mix-ins.
  • Toppings. A smear of rich butter or a drizzle of extra honey. I’ve witnessed a few colorful debates as to whether or not cornbread should include sugar—I grew up in a family that added it, so by way of birth, I prefer my cornbread a little bit sweet. Hence, the reason I cannot resist pouring a healthy amount of honey on top.
Whole wheat Jalapeno Cornbread smeared with butter and drizzled with honey

The Directions

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl stir together the wet ingredients.
a mixing bowl with wet and dry ingredients for healthy cornbread
  1. Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
healthy cornbread batter in a mixing bowl with a spoon
  1. Stir to combine, then let the batter rest for 20 minutes.
jalapeno cornbread batter with cheese and green onions in a mixing bowl with a spoon
  1. Stir in the cheese, jalapenos, and a portion of the green onions. 
a square baking dish lined with parchment paper filled with cornbread batter
  1. Transfer the batter to a pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining green onions.
Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread in a square pan topped with green onions
  1. Bake until golden and the top and edges appear dry. Let cool, slice, and serve. ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Leftover cornbread may be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.
  • To Freeze. Freeze cornbread by wrapping it tightly in plastic and a layer of foil, once fully cooled, for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
  • To Reheat. Let cornbread come to room temperature on the counter prior to serving. You may also warm in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave until warm.
Moist Jalapeno Cornbread with green onion and cheese

So…does anyone want to invite me over for chili? Guess what I’m bringing!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Use Instead of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?

You may swap the whole wheat pastry flour for an equal amount of all-purpose flour or regular whole wheat flour. If you use regular whole wheat flour, I’d suggest adding an extra tablespoon of applesauce to the recipe so it doesn’t come out too dry.

Can I Make Jalapeno Cornbread Gluten Free?

I have not tried making this recipe gluten free so it would be an experiment if you attempt. For best results, I would try swapping the whole wheat pastry flour for a 1-to-1 gluten free flour alternative you have used with success in the past for other recipes. If you try it, I’d love to hear about your results.

Can I Use Agave Instead of Honey for Jalapeno Cornbread?

Yes. You may swap the honey for an equal amount of agave if you prefer. I personally love the flavor the honey gives the cornbread, however.

Slices of cheesy jalapeno cornbread with honey on parchment paper

Jalapeno Cornbread

5 from 4 votes
This moist and easy cheddar jalapeño cornbread made with honey and applesauce is a healthy cornbread recipe that's simple to prep and bake.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 55 mins

Servings: 9 – 12 slices; 1 (8×8) pan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated part skim sharp cheddar cheese or any combination of shredded sharp cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Colby, or Pepper Jack (for extra heat)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions white and green parts, plus additional 1-2 tablespoons for garnish (2-3 scallions total)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers seeded and minced

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, combine the milk, eggs, apple sauce, oil, and honey.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients.
  • Stir by hand, just until combined, then let the batter rest for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the cheese, 1/4 cup green onions, and jalapenos. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8×8-inch pan with cooking spray. Then, pour the rested batter into the prepared pan, then smooth the top. Sprinkle remaining green onions over the top.
  • Bake until the top and edges are dry and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 24-29 minutes. Let cool, then slice and serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • The jalapeño flavor in this cornbread is actually fairly subtle. If you prefer more of a kick, I’d suggest adding an extra half or leaving in a few of the seeds. 
  • TO STORE: Leftover cornbread may be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze cornbread by wrapping it tightly in plastic and a layer of foil, once fully cooled, for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
  • TO REHEAT: Let cornbread come to room temperature on the counter prior to serving. You may also warm in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave until warm.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 9) slicesCalories: 202kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 7gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 44mgPotassium: 324mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 236IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 150mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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19 Comments

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  1. You really out l did yourself.. Erin I luv this jalapeño cornbread.. Had it tonight, my freind Megan made it.. Delish!!5 stars

    1. Louis, I’m so excited to hear that you and your friend made an enjoyed this recipe! Thanks so much for trying it and for letting me know too.

  2. Cornbread is one of those recipes I wanted to make for a long time but never did manage. I love the looks of this, I will save it and maybe I will actually get to taste cornbread soon. :)

  3. I made this bread tonight to go with our dinner and my girls each requested it for their lunch boxes tomorrow! It was delicious!5 stars

    1. Hi Colleen! If you swap agave for honey, the recipe will definitely come out, though I prefer the honey’s flavor. It adds a little something to the cornbread. It’s up to you though!

    1. Hi Lauren, I haven’t tried it with a gluten-free blend myself, so I can’t say for sure. If you have a blend that you’ve substituted before in other recipes and liked the result, you could experiment and try it out here!

    1. Hi Laura! White whole wheat flour will be fine. I’d add an extra tablespoon of applesauce to the recipe so that it doesn’t come out too dry. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Thanks for a wonderful and healthy cornbread recipe! I love how moist this is! Next time I’ll add more jalapeano for a real kick. I’ll probably double them. Would you use picked jalapeanos from a jar or just regular? Would you recommend adding sugar if we wanted it a little sweeter? Either way love love love how it’s moist it came out, and we don’t have to feel guilty eating this ?5 stars

    1. YAY Amy! So so happy you loved this! I’d stick to the regular jalapeno but just double them as much as you dare :). For more sweetness, I’d add one more tablespoon of honey. I hope you enjoy it just as much the second time around!

  5. Oh Honey you don’t make cornbread in a casserole dish……. JK.. gotta try this. I’m one of the no sweet cornbread. But honey sounds good to me! Thanks for the recipe!