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This healthy cornbread recipe is 100% whole grain, made without eggs, dairy free and naturally sweetened! This cornbread is quick and easy to throw together, too! Ready to be baked in just minutes. Whip this up and serve with your favorite chili or soup this Fall.
I don’t know what it is but I have a hard time resisting a slice of cornbread. Honey cornbread is something that I grew up on. In fact, when I was younger and a member of 4-H I entered a honey cornbread recipe passed down from my grandmother. It won me a blue ribbon and a chance to go to the State Fair.
So awhile back on the blog, I posted this easy buttermilk honey cornbread recipe. It’s everything I remember about my childhood and has the perfect sweet, moist texture. However, I’ve been on a roll lately to cut out the refined sugars, white flours, and dairy from my life (and this includes my baking!).
So with the holidays around the corner I thought why not take this cornbread recipe and see if I could make into a healthier version that I still wanted to devour.
Took me a few attempts but this cornbread is everything I love about the original – soft, moist, and lightly sweetened – but so much healthier! And since it’s healthier, I don’t feel too guilty about slathering on some cinnamon honey butter or my easy 3 ingredient honey butter.
What makes this cornbread healthy?
- 100% Whole Grain – I used white whole wheat flour in this recipe as opposed to regular AP flour. If you are unfamiliar with white whole wheat flour it’s a 100% whole wheat flour. This variety though comes from a softer wheat variety than the traditional bags of 100% whole wheat. So it’s softer in texture but still 100% whole grain.
- Uses Less Sweetener – I used only honey in this recipe, and cut way back on the amount. It still brings a little sweetness to the table, but uses much less. I also used zero granulated sugar in this version.
- Dairy Free – No butter or milk in this version! I used coconut oil and almond milk to eliminate the dairy. As a person who is lactose intolerant I was super happy I could enjoy this dairy free cornbread without taking a Lactaid pill.
- No Eggs – I know some of you have written into say you or someone you love has an egg allergy. And I know that my eggless pumpkin pie recipe is so popular around the holidays for that reason I knew another eggless holiday recipe would be right up your alley!
What Does Cornbread Taste Like?
Cornbread is a bread that originates from ‘native’ American settlers. It can be sweet or more on the plain side, crumbly and has a slightly grainy texture due to the cornmeal.
It can be a wonderful side dish to serve around the holidays. Great to serve with chili, barbeque, or just enjoy on its own!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Quick To Throw Together – Cornbread is essentially a quick bread which means it comes together quickly and relies on a chemical leavening agent (baking powder) to rise so it’s ready to be put in the oven in minutes.
- Freezes Well – You can eat it all over a few days, or go ahead and freeze some for later.
- No Fancy Equipment Required – It’s a simple quick bread. So that means whisk your dry together, then your wet, then stir to combine. That’s it!
So you ready to make some crazy good cornbread? I thought so.
Ingredients For This Healthy Honey Cornbread
- White Whole Wheat Flour – I used white whole wheat flour which is a 100% whole wheat flour, but comes from a softer wheat variety than 100% whole wheat flour. So I get a soft texture in the end and it’s 100% whole grain. Just be sure to measure your flour accurately if you are using dry measuring cups. I do always recommend using a scale and weighing your ingredients. But if you are measuring by volume, then be sure to measure your flour accurately. Start by stirring up your flour, then spoon the flour into your cup. And level off with a flat edge. Don’t pack it down or you will end up with too much in your cup!
- Cornmeal – Of course cornbread wouldn’t be cornbread without cornmeal! I used finely ground cornmeal from Bob’s Red Mill.
- Baking Powder -The baking powder will help to leaven the flour in the recipe giving us together the perfect combination that will result in a light and fluffy cornbread. Baking powder can expire as well so be sure to test it out if you’re not sure how long it’s been sitting in your cupboard. Just mix a little with hot water to see if it bubbles. Don’t mix it up with your baking soda! They are not the same thing and do not react the same way. Read more here about Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda
- Salt – Salt is very important to help balance the sweetness in a recipe. So don’t skip it! You can read more here about the role that salt plays in baking.
- Honey – I swapped out regular granulated sugar for honey in this recipe. I also reduced the amount overall. Since honey is a liquid I never use a 1:1 swap that a recipe calls for. If you want to make this vegan you can swap out honey and try using agave nectar or maple syrup instead.
- Coconut Oil – To make this healthier, I nixed the butter and used melted coconut oil instead. But you can use melted butter, or vegetable oil if you need to.
- Almond Milk – I used almond milk to make this a dairy free cornbread. Any plant-based milk would work. But you could also use regular milk if dairy isn’t a concern.
Time To Make It!
Like I said making this honey cornbread recipe couldn’t be easier….
Step One: Whisk Together Your Dry Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl you want to whisk together your flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then set aside.
Step Two: Combine The Wet Ingredients
Now in a second bowl, go ahead and combine the coconut oil, honey, and almond milk.
Pro Tip: Make sure your almond milk is at room temperature. If it’s too cold it will solidify the coconut oil on you.
Step Three: Combine The Dry And Wet Ingredients
Now you want to make a well (fancy word for push the dry ingredients aside and make a hole in the middle of your dry ingredients) and pour in the wet ingredients.
And then just simply stir the ingredients together just until the last of the flour is combined. And always remember….
Step 4: Pour Into Pan And Bake
Now the batter is ready for the pan! I sprayed and then lined my pan with parchment. You can use an 8 or 9-inch square pan to bake the cornbread in.
And it bakes at 400oF for about 20-25 minutes.
Step 5: Test With A Toothpick And Cool
When the timer goes off, be sure to test with a toothpick. You want some moist crumbs clinging to the toothpick, but not wet batter.
Then be sure to let the pan cool before cutting into it. I know it’s going to take some patience!
Heather’s Baking Tips
- Measure your flour accurately – I said it above but it is worth saying again! Measuring your flour wrong could leave you with a dry, crumbly tough cornbread (too much) or one that doesn’t hold together (too little). Use a kitchen scale for accuracy. Or if using measuring cups, scoop the flour into the cup and level it off. Do not pack it down in or tap the sides which could result in too much flour.
- Do not overmix. Once your dry ingredients are added to the wet ingredients you have to be careful to not overmix. Overmixing results in gluten forming and this change the texture. Too much gluten = tough cornbread. So stop mixing once the flour has just mixed in.
- Test with a toothpick. Every oven is different so make sure you test your cornbread for moist crumbs and not wet batter clinging to the toothpick or wooden skewer.
What Can I Add To Cornbread?
I mean a slice of plain cornbread on its own with an extra drizzle of honey is all I need. However I get it. You might want to get creative and throw some fun stuff in. Try adding:
- Bacon – 4 slices of cooked chopped bacon
- Jalapenos – 1 or 2 (depending on how spicy you like!) chopped fresh jalapenos
- Cheese – try adding a 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- Herbs – try 2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives, sage, rosemary, or thyme
- Corn – 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
- Fruit – Add some fresh fruit into the batter like 1 cup of blueberries!
Or try mixing and matching a few of the add-ins! Maybe bacon jalapeno cheddar cornbread anyone?!
Healthy Cornbread Recipe FAQ’s
Here are some of the common questions that might come up as you are making this honey cornbread.
Because this uses honey, it’s not considered vegan. But you can swap out the honey and try using agave nectar instead. Or maple syrup. Or use regular sugar or coconut sugar as well. Because honey is a liquid, and sugar is not it may affect the overall texture. I always like to use a little more sugar than honey in a recipe. You may find that you need to add a little extra milk as well. Here is a helpful article on swapping honey for sugar.
If you don’t have white whole wheat flour on hand, you can just swap and use AP flour 1:1 in this recipe.
I like using white whole wheat flour because it doesn’t create a dense cornbread quite like 100% whole wheat flour would. If you can’t find white whole wheat flour but still want to up the nutrition level try using 50% whole wheat flour and 50% AP flour.
You can definitely swap out the regular all purpose flour and use your favorite gluten free flour instead. I love Cup 4 Cup, but also recommend Bob’s Red Mill.
I baked this healthy cornbread in a 8×8 square pan but you can also bake this cornbread in different pans if need be.
- Different sized pan: Instead of the 8×8 square pan, you can bake in a round cake pan (8-inch or 9-inch). A 9-inch pan may just take a few less minutes in the oven.
- Cast iron skillet: I baked one batch in a cast iron. I did find it was a bit darker on the edges, but I was perfectly fine with that. If yours is getting too dark around the edges, just cover with foil.
- Muffin pan: I haven’t baked these into cornbread muffins, but you certainly can. I would recommend baking these for about 18-20 minutes. Set your timer for a few minutes early to check on them and be safe.
How To Store Cornbread
Be sure to allow the cornbread to cool completely. Then wrap any leftovers and store at room temperature. It will keep for 2 days. Or you can store it wrapped up in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Or freeze it! Wrap it up well. I like to wrap it in plastic wrap, then place in a plastic bag. And then freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, unwrap and thaw at room temperature.
More Quick Bread Recipes
Tools Needed To Make This Cornbread Recipe:
- 8×8 square pan
- Mixing bowls
- Whisk – This 2-in-1 whisk/bowl scraper is my favorite tool!
- Dry measuring cups and spoons – These magnetic measuring spoons are the BEST!!
- 1 1/4 cups (150 g) white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup (120 g) cornmeal
- 1/3 cup (112 g) honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 cup (300 g) almond milk
- 1/3 cup (75 g) coconut oil (or other other oil, or melted butter) melted
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a 8 x 8 pan, or a 9 inch round cake pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder.
- Now pour in the almond milk, honey, and coconut oil. Stir just until the last of the flour is mixed in (some lumps may remain). Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Tools: 8×8 square pan | Mixing bowls | 2-in-1 whisk/bowl scraper | Dry measuring cups | Liquid measuring cup | measuring spoons
- Make vegan: Swap out the honey and try using agave nectar or maple syrup instead. Or use regular sugar or coconut sugar as well. Because honey is a liquid, and sugar is not it may affect the overall texture. I always like to use a little more sugar than honey in a recipe. You may find that you need to add a little extra milk as well. Here is a helpful article on swapping honey for sugar.
- Use A Different Flour: If you don’t have white whole wheat flour on hand, you can just swap and use AP flour 1:1 in this recipe. If you can’t find white whole wheat flour but still want to up the nutrition level try using 50% whole wheat flour and 50% AP flour.
- Make gluten free: You can definitely swap out the regular all purpose flour and use your favorite gluten free flour instead. I love Cup 4 Cup, but also recommend Bob’s Red Mill.
- Use a different oil: You can swap out the coconut oil and use vegetable oil, canola oil, or even melted butter if you would like.
- Different pan: Instead of the 8×8 square pan, you can bake in a round cake pan (8-inch or 9-inch). A 9-inch pan may just take a few less minutes in the oven.
- To bake these into muffins: I haven’t baked these into cornbread muffins, but you certainly can. I would recommend baking these for about 18-20 minutes. Set your timer for a few minutes early to check on them and be safe.