This lightly sweet and tender cornbread is made in one bowl using a handful of vegan pantry staples. This recipe takes just over 30 minutes and is a delicious addition to any meal!
- Made in one bowl in just over 30 minutes
- Soft, tender and sliceable with only a few crumbs
- Made with vegan "buttermilk" and a flax egg to make 100% dairy and egg-free
- Easy to substitute to make soy-free, nut-free or gluten-free
This was one of the very first recipes on my blog. Sweet vs unsweet cornbread is a big debate, so I'll start off this blog post front and center: this is a sweet cornbread.
While I live in Georgia and have for the majority of my life, my family is originally from the Midwest, where sugar is always an ingredient in cornbread and Jiffy mix belongs at every family meal. You can read more on the history of southern cornbread and the sweet vs unsweet debate if this sort of thing interests you.
Now that we've cleared that up, let's get to the recipe. And yes, I have tips if you prefer to leave the sugar out.
What you'll need
Vegan buttermilk: Simply combine unsweetened, unflavored soy milk and apple cider vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes to form a thick, buttermilk-style liquid. I use this combo in everything from vegan buttermilk pancakes to southern-style biscuits. You can use an equal amount of lemon juice or white vinegar in place of ACV and most non-dairy milks work in place of soy milk.
Flax egg: Made from ground flaxseed and water, this egg-replacement adds richness and helps with binding.
Cornmeal: I use Bob's Red Mill medium grind corn meal. I recommend sticking with medium grind cornmeal for this recipe because it adds great texture, but finely ground works in equal amounts.
All-purpose flour: King Arthur is my go-to, but this recipe isn't fussy so there's no need to be picky. White Lily is my other favorite flour.
Vegan butter: Earth Balance buttery sticks are my go-to but any plant butter should work. This recipe does work with melted coconut oil.
Step by step instructions
- Start by mixing together the soy milk and vinegar to make the "buttermilk". Let sit for 10 minutes. Make the flax egg by mixing together the ground flaxseed and water. Let rest 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients: melted butter, flax egg, buttermilk. Stir until just combined. Some lumps will remain.
- Add the batter to a lightly greased 8x8 baking dish. You can also use a preheated and greased 9x9 cast iron dish.
Bake at 400F for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden and beginning to crack. The edges should be pulling away and golden-brown. Enjoy with a drizzle of maple syrup and a pad of butter.
Note: You might notice that the batter thickens up a lot if you let it sit. That's okay! It's just the baking powder and vinegar reacting.
Recipe FAQ and expert tips
- Pimento cornbread: This recipe was originally written as pimento jalapeño cornbread. You can add ¼ cup drained pimentos (from one jar) for a little bit of sweetness and pimento cheese-style flair.
- Make it spicy: I love making jalapeño cornbread with this recipe. Just add 2 small (or 1 large) minced jalapenos to the batter for a lightly spicy kick.
- Whole wheat: Use one cup of whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose white flour for an earthier result. The texture will be a little less tender.
- No sugar cornbread: You can technically remove the sugar but it will end up less tender and more crumbly.
- Cast iron skillet: This recipe can be made in a 9x9 cast iron skillet. I recommend preheating the skillet with the oven for a nice and crispy cornbread crust. Make sure to lightly oil the skillet unless it's super well seasoned.
I haven't tested this recipe as muffins but it should work. I do have a vegan cornbread muffin recipe that uses molasses. Muffins will bake much more quickly.
I haven't tested this recipe with gluten-free flour but it should work if you use an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend like the kind from Bob's Red Mill.
For best quality, store covered at room temperature for 2-3 days. Best served warm with a dab of vegan butter and drizzle of agave or maple syrup.
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- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup soy milk unsweetened and unflavored, see note #1
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar see note #2
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup medium grind cornmeal see note #3
- ⅓ cup organic white sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup melted vegan butter see note #4
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Make the flax egg by combining flax and water in a small bowl. Let sit for at least five minutes before using. Whisk together soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and let sit for at least 10 minutes before using.
- Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl: flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
- Pour in the remaining ingredients: soy milk mixture ("buttermilk"), flax egg and melted butter. Stir until just combined.
- Pour cornbread batter into a lightly oiled 8x8 baking dish or a 9x9 cast iron skillet (feel free to preheat the skillet in the oven).
- Bake at 400°F for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the edges are golden and pulling away from the pan. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Soy milk can be replaced with almond milk or your favorite non-dairy milk. Make sure to choose unsweetened and unflavored.
- Apple cider vinegar can be replaced with white vinegar or lemon juice (lemon juice will add only the slightest hint of lemon).
- Cornmeal: Medium grind corn meal adds a great texture. Fine grind cornmeal will also work.
- Butter: I use Earth Balance buttery sticks. This recipe also works with melted coconut oil. Measure the oil after melting to make sure it's ½ cup.
- Leftovers and storage: For best quality, store covered at room temperature for 2-3 days. Best enjoyed warm.
Author's note: This recipe was originally shared April 2018. It was updated in May 2021 with new photos, a video and more tips. The only recipe change is the removal of jalapenos and pimentos (see "expert tips" section for how to add these).