Crispy on the bottom but moist on the inside, this easy jalapeño cornbread is kicked up with jalapeños, creamed corn, cheddar cheese and green onions, and is a family favorite.
Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread Recipe
You know how they say owners start to resemble their dogs (as evidenced here)? I think the same thing may be happening to me, but with the food I eat.
Spicy and sweet…Yep, that’s me. Crispy on the outside but soft on the inside…Sure, I’ll admit to that. And, why yes, I do melt every time I come into contact with butter.
Just like the food I like to eat, I’m a contradiction in terms.
I’ve become a spicy-sweet, crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, better-with-butter humanoid version of…cornbread.
So does this mean I need to turn my bed into a cast iron skillet?
My mother-in-law, Pat, is a master at Southern cooking. As a little girl growing up in Arkansas and the second to youngest of 7 children, she would ask her her mom if she could help her cook but her mom was too busy putting from scratch food on the table for the large family to become a teacher too. “It was just easier for mother to do it herself,” so my MIL was more often shushed off to set the table instead.
But Pat paid attention. She watched. She learned from the sidelines. And she took those lessons through life to develop her own cooking style.
The other night Pat made this jalapeño cornbread recipe for us. Unlike her mother, Pat is happy to share her how to’s in the kitchen, even when I ask a million questions and sometimes interject a few ideas of my own.
But Pat takes it all in stride. She knows her way is the best way, and her way always starts in true Southern form.
What’s in This Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread?
The base of this cornbread is the simple part, and is basically the classic recipe from the side of the box of cornmeal. It’s the way Pat’s been baking it for years, so why go changing? The add-ins and the way it’s baked are what take it to the next level.
Basic cornbread is doctored up, with jalapeño and green onion added for spice and spunk, with a splash of creamed corn added for moisture. Cheese is another key player. We used a medium cheddar but a colby would be tasty too.
Somewhere along the line, Pat had written down the jalapeño portion of the recipe in one of her notebooks. “Where did you get the recipe?” I asked. She couldn’t remember. It had just sounded good. I wonder if she saw it on Facebook. After a quick search online, I can be reasonably sure it was adapted from the always dependable Ina Garten.
After the basic cornbread has been doctored up, the real magic and Southern charm of this recipe happens when it’s baked in sizzling bacon drippings. I’d reserved a bit of drippings after making this dip recipe and this salad, so we had some on hand.
How to Make Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread
To make this jalapeño cheddar cornbread, first mix together the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry in another. Combine the two, then stir in the creamed corn, diced jalapeño, green onions, and shredded cheddar.
Pre-heat a cast-iron pan with the bacon drippings and enough cornmeal to cover the bottom of the pan and bake until the cornmeal turns a light brown. Then, add the batter to the hot pan. Remember your hot pads!
Bake the jalapeño cornbread with creamed corn until it’s slightly browned on top and the edges are pulling away from the sides of the skillet.
You’ll never want to have cornbread any other way. The drippings and cornmeal combo create a crispy, crunchy bottom you won’t get any other way.
Do I Have to Use Bacon Drippings?
No. If you don’t have drippings on hand, vegetable oil works too.
Can I Freeze Jalapeño Cornbread?
Yes, cornbread freezes incredibly well. Let it cool to room temperature, then slice and seal it in a freezer bag. You can reheat the cornbread in the microwave, or set it on the counter to thaw.
Tips for Making Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread
It’s very important that you buy corn meal and not a similar corn product, like grits or polenta. Corn meal is a completely different product, and there’s no substitute for it.
I’ve only ever made this cast iron skillet cornbread recipe with fresh jalapeños, but I’ve had readers report success using pickled jalapeños. If you try this out too and it works for you, please let me know in the comments below.
To my knowledge, you can’t substitute any other ingredients in this recipe. Real milk and butter are key to achieving the right flavor and texture in this jalapeño cheddar cornbread, and creamed corn is also a must.
More Southern Side Dishes to Master
- How to Make Fried Green Tomatoes
- Heavenly Funeral Potatoes
- The Best Homemade Mac and Cheese
- Homemade Creamy Coleslaw
- How to Make the Best Potato Salad
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Skillet Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread
- 1 cup + plus 1-2 tablespoons yellow corn meal divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- ⅓ cup melted butter
- 1 large egg beaten
- ⅓ cup canned creamed corn
- 2 green onions chopped
- 1 jalapeño seeded and chopped
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1-2 tablespoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven to pre heat.
- In a medium bowl, mix the 1 cup corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl whisk the milk, butter and egg together. Add to the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the creamed corn, green onions, jalapeño and cheddar cheese.
- Remove the hot skillet from the oven (use hot pads!) and add 1-2 tablespoons bacon drippings to the pan to melt. Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons corn meal or just until the bottom of the pan is covered. Place back in the oven (use hot pads!) and bake just until the cornmeal begins to brown, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the batter to the skillet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the edges are pulling away from the side of the skillet. Serve warm or at room temperature.
We send good emails. Subscribe to FoodieCrush and have each post plus exclusive content only for our subscribers delivered straight to your e-mail box.
Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for more FoodieCrush inspiration.
As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. There may be affiliate links in this post of which I receive a small commission. All opinions are always my own.
David L Palenshus
Native born TEXAN here.. very similar to my GodMother’s recipe, called Caliente Cornbread.. cept she used some cottage cheese and creamed corn in her recipe… and layered either the green chilies or diced jalapeno’s after half the batter was poured into the hot skillet; then topped with the rest of the batter, and another 1/3 cup of cheese on the top before the cook in the oven. As a Pitmaster, I have kinda coupled all the above, but put it (after the oven indoors cooked it 90% done) in my BBQ smoker (a David Klose (Houston) custom offset stick burner smoker), so it developed a smokey crust on the top, similar to my smoked Mac-n-Cheese I use when catering events.
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
That sounds absolutely incredible!
My Mom would place enough cheddar cheese on the top of the cornbread after placing it in the skillet to cook which makes it nice also. She would also chop regular onion (I/2 cup) or so instead of the green onions.
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
That sounds delish!! Thanks for sharing
We love this recipe in our house. It’s the only cornbread recipe I use. I substitute smoked Cheddar and pickled jalapeños and don’t use green onions. I’m sure it’s perfectly delicious as written, too.
Best cornbread I’ve ever made. Moist and good!
I was looking for a cornbread recipe to use for a fun cornbread and chili cook off at a friend’s home. This sounds so good. I will let you know how I fare later. ☺
My mother and grandmother would have called this cake. Too much flour and an egg. They used 90% coarse cornmeal to 10% flour. Buttermilk, but no egg. Fat in the skillet in a very hot oven until it begins to smoke. Then add the batter and spread the fat over the batter. Back into the oven until dark brown. This produces a very thick crust and moist, but grainy middle. Unbelievably delicious….though some will find it too coarse.
nice! thank you so much! Thank you for sharing. Your blog posts are more interesting and impressive. I think there are many people like and visit it regularly, including me.
At which step does the creamed corn factor in?
This is really good but I am more of a spicy taste maybe 3 large jalapeños and more cheese
I like the way you think Lou :)
Lou – if you like it spicier, then you might want to try using pickled jalapenos. I make my own pickled peppers, and use about 1/3 cup, chopped up. Gives the cornbread quite a zing!
Very good recipe . Thanks for sharing this to the public.
Awesome! I made a few small changes and it was perfect and suited my needs. I used 2 jalepaneons instead of 1, left out the green onion and the creamed corn, and replace the 1 cup milk with 1 cup of light coconut milk soured with the juice of 1 lime.
Glad that you made it your own Evi!
This is pretty much the way I make my cornbread but I use Martha White self-rising corn meal mix (Hot Rize) INSTEAD of the cornmeal, flour, salt and baking powder.
If you do this you may need to adjust amount of milk as I don’t measure the milk just add to right consistency. Easy…
The recipe leaves out when to add the creamed corn. Presumably its with the wet ingredients but in any event the recipe is deficient.
Liz @ Floating Kitchen
This cornbread looks incredible. I have always had trouble getting a nice crust, but I think it’s because I’ve been leaving out the bacon drippings. How shameful! Gotta fix that little oversight on my part! Cheers!
I’m telling you now…you’ll never go back :)
They are great. Thanks for the recipe!
Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits
This looks absolutely delicious. I’ve never made cornbread in a skillet before, but I’m definitely trying this soon. Thanks for the recipe!
How much creamed corn is “a splash”? It seems to have been left out of the ingredients list…
Hi Susan, it’s 1/3 cup. Sorry about that, fixed now!
This corn bread looks delish, I’d like to make it for dinner tonight!!! But It doesn’t say when to add the creamed corn in the directions? -does it get added to the wet ingredients before mixing with the dry?
The creamed corn isn’t in the directions although it isn’t rocket science to figure out when to mix it in
Your reply is unhelpful and demeaning. Perhaps the person asking the question is new to baking and just wants to confirm about the directions. It’s a legitimate question that doesn’t deserve a sarcastic answer. Courtesy, please.
there is a seriously huge place in my heart for cast iron skillet cornbread!
Mary @ The Kitchen Paper
TASTY! I’m attached enough to my cast iron skillet that the idea of a cast iron skillet bed didn’t throw me at all… That might be a problem. They’re the best! Thanks for the recipe, Heidi! xo
I can only imagine what you whip up in your skillet Mary! You’re so good!
Those bacon drippings are important. :) I’m a lover of cornbread as I ate it almost everyday growing up. I love this recipe with the cheddar and jalapeño fixins. :)
Your mother in law is one smart cookie! Sticking to a tried and true recipe can be so hard as a food blogger but my Nan keeps reminding me that “great recipes always stay great recipes”! I can’t wait to try this one! Cornbread is the best.
Tell your Nan she’s a smart cookie. In fact, you probably better make her some cookies :)