Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread

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 rector 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. Super tender and cheesy, but made with apple sauce, this healthy cornbread will be your go-to recipe!

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

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 Musselman’s Unsweetened Apple Sauce, it’s healthy too!

Unsweetened apple sauce 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 apple sauce, with no noticeable difference in taste or texture. In fact, I feel so strongly about this technique, I even have an apple sauce 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 apple sauce before it spoils, try purchasing the individual apple sauce 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. (You can see the different sizes and varieties Musselman’s offers here.)

My favorite version of this cornbread recipe (and the one you’ll find below) 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.

Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread

I’ve also 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.

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!
5 from 2 votes
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Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread

Yield: 1 8x8-inch pan (9 to 16 pieces, depending on size cut)
Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
55 mins
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!


  • 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 Musselman’s Unsweetened Apple Sauce
  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8x8-inch pan with cooking spray.
  4.  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.

Recipe 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. For cheese, any combination of shredded sharp cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Colby, or Pepper Jack (extra heat) will be oh-so-nice.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread, Easy Cornbread Recipe

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…


  1. Yum! jalapenos are cornbread’s bff and cheese makes it a perfect threesome!

  2. In my book, cornbread is not cornbread without a fiery kick!

  3. This is one of my favorite combinations. You can’t beat the sweet/spicy/cheesy trifecta!

  4. I nearly always put jalapeño peppers in my cornbread, but I’ve never tried subbing applesauce for some of the oil. Intriguing. It works in other baked goods; why not cornbread, right? I normally make my cornbread in a cast-iron skillet. I’m making this next time we have chilli. Thanks

  5. Um, have I told you lately that you are awesome?!! How did you know cheesy jalapeno cornbread was my fav? Love, love, love this!!

  6. Cornbread is one of those foods that I do NOT trust myself around. I can kill a pan of cornbread ridiculously quickly!

  7. i’ve been craving cornbread lately. this is the perfect version for summer!! and healthy too! woohoo :)

  8. Cornbread is SO good! My mom makes the best veggie chili and she’d allllways make cornbread alongside it! This jalapeno version has just the perfect kick :)

  9. I don’t think I’ve ever turned down anything involving cheese and jalapenos, and I’m not about to start now! I love that you used apple sauce to make this a little lighter, too.

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

  11. 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. :)

  12. This is on the menu for next week!  There’s some ingredients missing from the directions though. I could probably figure it all out, but do you mind filling in the blanks?

    • Hi Marci! Can you take another look? The ingredients are all added in the first two steps, except for the remain green onions which are sprinkled over the top. I made an update to the recipe shortly after it published, so if you aren’t seeing them, try clearing your browser’s cache. Sorry for any inconvenience!

  13. It looks wonderful. Cornbread is the perfect comfort food during these cooler Autumn months.

  14. I’m with you–chili without cornbread is a crime against comfort food. This looks great! I also use applesauce and honey in my cornbread and love it!

  15. Some of the best jalapeno cornbread you’ll ever eat is a very simple recipe as follows:
    Cornmeal Mix like Aunt Jemima, While Lilly, etc.  Just follow the instructions on the bag , and for Pete’s sake, use Buttermilk, even if you get the Buttermilk variety.  (Don’t use Jiffy, it’s too sweet)

    To that add:
    1- can of whole kernel Corn (Drained)
    1- can cream style corn
    1- small can of chopped Jalepenos (not pickled) you can find them where the canned green chilies are. Kroger has a brand, Ortega, LaVictoria and other main stream food companies have them.  I get them at Walmart foods or Kroger.
    And;  At least 8 oz of grated Sharp (I used Extra Sharp) Cheddar cheese. The bagged cheese is OK, but never melts the same and usually isn’t sharp enough.  If you do use it, be sure to get the coarse grated and not that finely grated stuff.  You won’t get a good cheese bite with it.  More cheese is better.  

    Mix it all up and bake per instructions.  I prefer using muffin pans to get more crust  and browning.  Due to the extra liquid, it may have to cook a tad longer to keep them from being wet in the middle.  just check with a knife or toothpick as you would any baked recipe.  It’s good to cook in a preheated cast iron frying pan, again the crust, but do oil or spay the pans well or they won’t come out easily.  

    It’s real easy, and fantastic.  Try it.

  16. Looks amazingly delicious recipe. Thank You for sharing <3

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

  18. Can you substitute agave for honey? I am planning on making this tonight!

    • 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!

  19. I do t gave the pastry flour. Can I sub regular flour?

  20. Do you think this would work with a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend?

    • 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!

  21. This sounds delightful! Can’t wait to try it! Cheese is my BFF!

  22. Pingback: Slow Cooker Wild Rice Pilaf with Corn and Basil – Always Stay Fit

  23. Finally made your famous cornbread for the first time tonight. D-E-L-I-S-H!

  24. Can I use white whole wheat flour or does it need to be pastry flour? Thanks!

    • 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!

  25. 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 ?

    • 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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