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Gluten Free Southern Cornbread Recipe

By: Mary Frances Pickett      Date: December 6, 2007      Prep Time: 10 Min      Cook Time: 25 Min

Cornbread is one of John’s favorite foods. He has been known to eat an entire pan all by himself, and yet somehow he is still a slim, trim hunk (I’m waiting to see how long it takes him to edit this!). We make when we’re having soups, stews, and any food that has yummy juices that we want to soak up. It is also the main ingredient in the Cornbread Dressing recipe that I’ll be posting in the lead-up to Thanksgiving.

For more ideas on how to make your favorite foods gluten free, so you can enjoy them this holiday season (or anytime!), make sure to check out my ebook, The Gluten Free Survival Guide. I packed it full of practical strategies to help you enjoy the holidays and still stay gluten free, plus it’s got all of my favorite recipes included too.

If you’re wondering why this recipe is titled “Southern” cornbread, it is because it does not contain any sugar. Cornbread should not have any sugar! It is blasphemous! I know Jiffy puts sugar in their mix, but they are just wrong. This may offend some people who were raised on sweet cornbread, but please don’t hurt your cornbread by adding sugar. Now that I’ve finished that rant, on to the cornbread.

I used to think that cornbread was the best bread recipe ever for a gluten free diet because you don’t need any special ingredients. (I do add some brown rice flour to mine, but you can just as easily use 1 3/4 c. cornmeal, if you want.) However, I’ve been having trouble finding a non-contaminated cornmeal at our grocery store, so I’ll probably order fromKinnikinnick next time. We’ve never noticed a problem with the cornmeal we’ve purchased at the local grocery, but we’re not as sensitive as some of you, so I don’t want to recommend it. Update John found gluten free cornmeal by Arrowhead Mills at Whole Foods so that’s what we will be using in the future.

If you do look for cornmeal at your grocery store be careful because most grocery stores carry cornmeal and cornmeal mix. The cornmeal mix contains cornmeal and wheat flour along with leavening agents. Read your labels and make sure you’re just getting cornmeal. I’ve also had friends tell me that their cornbread was gluten free only to find out that they didn’t realize that cornbread mix had flour in it (or they didn’t realize that “flour” is made of wheat!).


Yield: 8 slices

Cornbread should really be made in a cast-iron skillet, but you can use a glass casserole dish in a pinch. The crust won’t be as crispy, but that’s the only difference.

Cornbread after being poured into the pan

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the shortening or oil to a 10″ cast iron skillet and put the skillet in the oven to heat up.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Measure out 2 Tbsp. of cider vinegar into a 2 c. measure, and then add soy milk until you get to the 2 c. mark. The vinegar will curdle the soy milk, and give you a casein free buttermilk. Pour the milk and vinegar into a mixing bowl. Add the eggs to the milk and vinegar and whisk thoroughly.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until well-mixed.
  5. Check the skillet and see if the oil/shortening has started to smoke a bit. Once it has, pull the oven rack out (with the skillet on it) and pour the cornbread batter into the skillet. It will sizzle and some of the oil will come up around the sides and onto the top of the batter. This is supposed to happen and is what makes the crispy crust. Here’s what it will look like.
  6. Cook the cornbread for 20 – 25 minutes. When it is done the top will be golden and the middle will be firm but slightly springy to the touch. If you like, rub some butter over the top of the crust at this point. After the bread has cooled for a few minutes, you can cut it into 8 wedges and then remove it from the skillet.

This recipe has been brought to you by the Gluten Free Cooking School.

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