Tender and moist gluten-free cornbread! The corn-studded batter gets baked in a ripping hot cast-iron skillet until a gorgeous crust forms and the bread is perfectly golden. It’s incredibly flavorful thanks to olive oil, honey and actual kernels of corn.

The freshly baked bread gets brushed with warm honey and sprinkled with flaky sea salt to give it the perfect sweet-and-salty finish. 

cornbread in a cast-iron skillet

Ingredients Needed

  • Gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (I like Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free blend)
  • Yellow cornmeal 
  • Baking powder & baking soda
  • Kosher salt 
  • Buttermilk 
  • Frozen corn kernels
  • Large eggs
  • Honey
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt
Grid of four images showing how to mix up cornbread batter

Tips for Making Really Good Gluten-Free Cornbread

  • Preheat a cast-iron skillet in the oven. There are two things to consider here. For one, use a cast-iron skillet. It’s the best way to get a gorgeous crust on the bread.
    The second part of this is to preheat the skillet in the oven while the oven itself preheats. Adding the batter to a ripping hot oiled skillet jump starts the cooking process and sets the crust. 
  • Use a quality 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. I prefer Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend. It’s consistent, reliable and has a great texture. 
  • Add actual corn! I recommend using frozen corn because it’s accessible and always available. If you’re using fresh, I recommend steaming it quickly in the microwave.
    To steam fresh corn, add kernels and splash of water to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap or place a microwave-safe plate over top. Microwave for 2 minutes, check the tenderness and continue steaming in 1-minute increments as needed. Drain the corn well before folding it into the batter. 

a grid of two images showing how to brush honey over cornbread and top with flaky sea salt

How to Keep Gluten-Free Cornbread Moist

The combination of buttermilk, honey and olive oil are key to keeping this gluten-free cornbread recipe moist and delicious. Bake time and oven temperature are also key. If you don’t already have an oven thermometer, I highly recommend snagging one. They’re super affordable and a great way to test the actual temperature of your oven. 

Most ovens are about 25 degrees higher or lower than the specified temperature. Once you know where your oven lands, you can adjust the temp as needed. For instance, my oven is generally about 15 degrees higher than it says. So instead of heating to 350ºF, I start at 340º and see where the temp lands, I then adjust as needed. 

Storage Tip: store cornbread in an airtight container or zipper-lock bag at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to one week. I do not recommend keeping the bread in the cast-iron skillet for more than one day.

a piece of cornbread on a white place with a skillet of cornbread off to the side

Gluten-Free Cornbread with Real Corn

Do you find cornbread to lack oomph? I find most cornbread recipes lack actual corn flavor. Which is why I always add corn to my cornbread. The benefits are three-fold; fresh corn adds flavor, texture and moisture. 

For this recipe I call for frozen and thawed corn. But you can definitely use fresh, just be sure to steam it before using. 

Getting that “Buttery” Flavor without Using Butter

I wanted to find a way to add a buttery flavor without actually using butter in this recipe. Here’s what I did:

Baked the bread in a preheated cast-iron skillet: the moment the batter hits the hot cast-iron skillet, the maillard reaction occurs. What is that? It’s the reaction of food browning, aka flavor.

The milk solids and honey caramelize while the grains (flour and cornmeal) toast. Together, these ingredients undergoing the maillard reaction creates a flavor very similar to butter. 

Finishing with flaky sea salt: even if you use unsalted butter, there’s a certain savory, salty flavor that butter adds to baked goods. To maintain that salty bite, I finish this cornbread with flaky sea salt. Why not just add salt to the batter? Well I do that too, but finishing with a sprinkle of sea salt is a surefire way of bringing that flavor to the forefront. 

a piece of cornbread on a white plate with honey dripping down it

Serve Gluten-Free Cornbread with…

If you give this Gluten-Free Cornbread recipe a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @zestfulkitchen on Instagram. I love hearing about and seeing your ZK creations!

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cornbread in a cast-iron skillet

Moist Gluten-Free Cornbread with Honey

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • cooling time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Tender, moist and bursting with corn flavor, this gluten-free cornbread recipe is the ultimate! Rich in flavor and easy to make, this cornbread is great for all occasions. You’d never know this is gluten-free, so go ahead and make this for the whole crowd!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1½ cups (190g) 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour blend 
  • 1 cup (136g) yellow cornmeal 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 cup (235g) buttermilk 
  • ¾ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
  • 2 large eggs (100g)
  • ¼ cup (86g) + 2 tablespoons honey, divided
  • ¼ cup (55g) + 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Flaky sea salt

Instructions

Set a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in oven on middle rack; heat oven to 400°F (204ºC). 

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt in a large bowl. 

In a food processor or blender, pulse together buttermilk, corn, eggs, ¼ cup honey, and ¼ cup oil until combined, about 15 pulses (corn lumps will remain). 

Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and mix, using a rubber spatula, until mixture is just combined. 

Carefully remove cast-iron skillet from oven. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and swirl to coat bottom and partially up sides (you can also use a pastry brush to do this). 

Pour batter into skillet and smooth top with spatula. 

Carefully return skillet to oven and bake cornbread until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with a few small crumbs, about 24–25 minutes.  

Microwave remaining 2 tablespoons honey, in a microwave-safe bowl until bubbling, 12–15 seconds.

Using a pastry brush, brush warm honey over surface of warm corn bread; sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool at least 20 minutes before cutting. 



Notes

Measuring Pan Size: to determine what size your cast-iron skillet is, measure the bottom of the pan. 

Dairy-free: I haven’t tested this, but if you need the cornbread to be dairy-free you can replace the buttermilk with vegan buttermilk. To make vegan buttermilk, combine scant 1 cup unsweetened and unflavored almond or soy milk  and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before using. 


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 215
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Sodium: 277mg
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 31g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 48mg

Keywords: gluten-free cornbread, gluten-free cornbread recpie

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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  1. The absolute best cornbread ever.Moist and nutritious. Ladies pot luck group raved about it.