This easy Jalapeno Cornbread is a little sweet, a little spicy, a little cheesy, and a whole lotta YUM!
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.
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.
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.
- 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. I also use this trick in my Cornbread Muffins.
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.
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.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl stir together the wet ingredients.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
- Stir to combine, then let the batter rest for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the cheese, jalapenos, and a portion of the green onions.
- Transfer the batter to a pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining green onions.
- Bake until golden and the top and edges appear dry. Let cool, slice, and serve. ENJOY!
- 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.
So…does anyone want to invite me over for chili? Guess what I’m bringing!
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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