How to Make Healthy Cornbread

By: Hilary Meyer, EatingWell Recipe Contributor

It's tempting to reach for the box mix, but making cornbread from scratch is so easy, plus you can control the ingredients. Learn the tricks we use to make healthier homemade cornbread.

healthy cornbread

Pictured Recipe: Okra & Red Pepper Cornbread

If you're a fan of sweet cornbread but don't want an overload of added sugar, try making cornbread yourself. When you make it homemade, you can cut the sugar nearly in half compared to a boxed version. But it's still plenty sweet thanks to a touch of honey and the natural sweetness of fresh corn kernels, which also help to boost fiber and keep it delectably moist. Here's how.

Try these: Healthy Cornbread Recipes

3 Tricks to Make Cornbread Healthy

healthy cornbread

Pictured Recipe: Whole-Grain Cornbread

1. Make Your Own Mix

While convenient, many boxed cornbread mixes contain partially hydrogenated fat and/or oil and plenty of salt. When you make a batch of cornbread, whisk together enough dry ingredients for a triple or quadruple recipe and keep it on hand in your freezer. For each batch of bread, combine 2 cups dry mix with the liquid ingredients.

2. Replace Butter with Corn Kernels

Pureed corn kernels do three things in this recipe: they replace some of the butter to slash saturated fat while keeping the bread ultra-moist, they add fiber and they infuse the bread with a naturally sweet corn flavor.

3. The Whole-Grain Swap

To add 2 grams of fiber per serving to cornbread versus a traditional recipe, use whole-grain cornmeal instead of traditional yellow cornmeal and white whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose white flour. Look for whole-grain cornmeal in the natural-foods section of most supermarkets or in natural-foods stores. We like "fine-" or "medium-" ground cornmeal for cornbread.

Recipes to Try: Healthy Cornbread Stuffings & Dressings

How to Make Vegan Cornbread

healthy cornbread

Pictured Recipe: Vegan Cornbread

Making an eggless, dairy-free cornbread may sound like a daunting task (what's cornbread without buttermilk?), but not only is it possible, it's also completely delectable. You just need a few simple swaps:

  1. Substitute ground flax seed for eggs. Not only do they help bind the bread and keep it most, but they also add fiber.
  2. Swap out dairy milk for soy milk. It's delicate flavor doesn't compete with the flavor of the cornmeal.
  3. Make it buttery without butter by using avocado oil. It adds just the right amount of fat to keep the bread moist and tender.
  4. Skip the honey. Honey isn't vegan, so opt for another sweetener, like maple or just plain old sugar.

Related: Vegan Substitutes for Baking

How to Make Gluten-Free Cornbread

healthy cornbread

Pictured Recipe: Gluten-Free Cornbread

While there are finally several gluten-free cornbread mixes on the market, making it home is just as easy and way more delicious. Because corn is naturally gluten-free it's easy to make a few simple swaps to get gluten-free cornbread.

  1. Make sure the cornmeal you're buying is gluten-free (some brands are processed in the same facility as gluten-containing ingredients and could be crosscontaminated).
  2. Replace any wheat flour in your recipe with a gluten-free all-purpose mix, it's that easy! Or opt for a recipe that calls for all cornmeal and flour, like this traditional recipe.

Related: How to Make Gluten-Free Baked Goods