Perhaps it’s watching too many reruns of The Pioneer Woman. Perhaps it’s my subscription to Southern Living or the fact that we have Sweet Home Alabama DVRed. 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.

Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread. Moist, tender and loaded with cheese. Made with unsweetened apple sauce, this healthy cornbread will be your go-to recipe!

My first pan of cheesy 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, we had cornbread with grilled cheese. It was a little weird, but hey, is there ever actually a bad time for cornbread? If yes, I haven’t found it yet and plan to continue living in blissful ignorance.

The second pan was more logical. We were having leftovers of this dynamite Slow Cooker Turkey Quinoa Chili, and where chili goes, cornbread best follow.

I alternated between dropping chunks into my chili to allow it to soak up the rich, spiced broth and drizzling pieces with honey to enjoy alongside. It was all things cozy and warm and wonderful.

The third pan was because my friend was making chili, and therefore she clearly was in need of cornbread to go along with it, so I a) invited myself over for dinner and b) brought a pan of cheesy jalapeno cornbread to barter for my meal.

Both parties were pleased with the exchange.

Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread. Less than 10 minutes to prep and SO moist!

About This Healthy Cornbread Made with Applesauce

Although cornbread and I have a love for all seasons and even all meals (try a Raspberry Jam Corn Muffins for breakfast!), I crave it most especially in the fall and winter, beside my bowls of steaming soup.

I’ve made many cornbread recipes over time, and this one has become both my go-to and my most requested. It takes fewer than 10 minutes to prep, is ultra tender and moist, and thanks to whole wheat pastry flour and applesauce, it’s healthy too!

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, you can swap at least half of the recipe’s called for quantity of oil or melted butter for the same amount of unsweetened applesauce, with no noticeable difference in taste or texture.

In fact, I feel so strongly about this technique, I even have an applesauce page in my recipe index!

From Sweet Potato Cookies to Honey Pecan Blondies to today’s cheesy jalapeno cornbread, unsweetened apple sauce makes for moist, tender, and tasty baked treats, with a fraction of the fat and calories.

Healthy Jalapeno Cornbread made with unsweetened apple sauce

*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.

Easy Jalapeno Cornbread Mix-ins and Toppings

  • Mix-ins. My favorite version of this easy jalapeno cornbread recipe (and the one you’ll find below) includes a handful 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. 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. Instead of sugar, however, I sweetened this cornbread recipe with a touch of honey, a lovely flavor with the cornmeal…and the extra honey I can’t seem to prevent myself from pouring over the top.
Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread

More Delicious Bread Recipes

Super moist Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread. Less than 10 minutes to prep, healthy, and SO moist and tender. This will be your go-to cornbread recipe!

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

Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread. Moist, tender and loaded with cheese. Made with unsweetened apple sauce, this healthy cornbread will be your go-to recipe!

Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread

5 from 2 votes
Ultra moist and cheesy Jalapeño Cornbread made with unsweetened apple sauce. Less than 10 minutes to prep, this healthy cornbread is perfect for chili, BBQ and more!

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

Servings: 1 8×8-inch pan (9 to 16 pieces, depending on size cut)


  • 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
  • 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


  • 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. 
  •  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8×8-inch pan with cooking spray.
  •  Once the batter has rested, pour it 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.


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. For cheese, any combination of shredded sharp cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Colby, or Pepper Jack (extra heat) will be oh-so-nice.

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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 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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    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!

  1. 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!

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