Moist, fluffy, and perfectly balanced between sweet and savory, this Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Cornbread is equally delicious when served with a bowl of chili or a generous swipe of cinnamon-honey butter and a mug of tea. Best of all, it’s made with just 11 ingredients and only 15 minutes of active prep time, making it ideal for both weeknights and holidays.
This recipe was originally published on October 28, 2021. It was updated with new information on November 8, 2022.
Cornbread can be a pretty controversial topic since everyone has strong opinions on it. Should it be sweet or savory? Should it be made in a square pan or in a cast-iron skillet? For me, all I care about is balance.
I want it to be slightly sweet, but not so much so that it won’t pair well with my favorite soups and stews. And I don’t care what kind of vessel it’s made in so long as I get a big ol’ hunk of it when it’s out of the oven!
This amazingly tasty gluten-free dairy-free cornbread is my quintessential cornbread — slightly sweet, a little bit savory, deeply corn-flavored, and super moist. Plus, perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t upset my digestive system one bit. Hooray!
Table of contents
- Can you make cornbread without milk?
- Why you’ll love this dairy-free cornbread recipe:
- Ingredients & Substitutions
- How to Make Dairy-Free Cornbread
- Expert Tips
- Optional Variations
- Serving Suggestions
- Storage & Freezing Instructions
- More Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Recipes
Can you make cornbread without milk?
Absolutely! Nowadays there are tons of dairy-free, plant-based substitutes for milk in cornbread. Whether you like nut milk, seed milk, or grain milk, any will work for this tasty gluten-free dairy-free cornbread recipe.
What can you use in place of milk in cornbread?
For this recipe, you’ll use your favorite plant-based milk and any kind of cooking acid (e.g. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) to create vegan buttermilk as your milk substitute for cornbread.
Why you’ll love this dairy-free cornbread recipe:
Call me crazy, but in my opinion, cornbread should actually taste like corn. 🤷🏻♀️ I add a hefty dose of puréed corn to the batter which not only contributes to the deliciously moist texture of this gluten-free cornbread but also pulls double duty by adding a BIG punch of sweet summer corn tastiness.
The gluten-free all-purpose flour blend provides the right amount of bounce and fluff, while the cornmeal provides the classic cornbread crumb. My recipe for gluten-free & dairy-free cornbread also has a touch of sweetness, but not enough to make it taste like dessert. That said, if you want sweet cornbread, feel free to top it with a drizzle of honey!
Aside from having all the textural and flavor characteristics you could possibly want, this gluten-free cornbread recipe is:
- Quick & Easy. You only need about 15 minutes of active prep time to make it!
- Made With Just 11 Ingredients, most of which are pantry staples.
- Super Versatile. Serve it with savory soups and stews or top it with sweet compound butter for a post-dinner treat. You can also jazz it up with your choice of mix-ins. Read on below for more ideas!
- Budget-Friendly. You basically only need staple ingredients and an ear of corn, making this one of the most affordable sides I can think of.
- Meal Prep & Freezer-Friendly. You can make a batch (or three!) of this non-dairy cornbread up to a month in advance.
Ingredients & Substitutions
As promised, you only need a couple of ingredients and some pantry staples to make this moist cornbread with no milk. Here’s what to grab:
- Gluten-free 1-to-1 flour blend - Make sure to use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend that includes xanthan gum! My go-to is Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. You can also use equal amount of traditional all-purpose flour.
- Cornmeal - I like when there’s a bit of textural bite in my no-milk cornbread, so I typically use medium-ground cornmeal. Feel free to swap in corn flour for more of a cake-y consistency, or use coarser polenta or grits to really double down on the rustic texture.
- Fine salt - If you’re using a different type, please refer to this conversion chart.
- Baking soda & baking powder - These two leaveners act differently from one another, so make sure you add both.
- Light olive oil - Just your regular cooking oil is perfect here. Feel free to trade in your favorite fat (e.g. melted vegan butter, coconut oil, avocado oil) instead.
- Granulated sugar - White sugar is neutral-flavored, which really lets the flavor of the corn shine through. Feel free to swap in your favorite alternative (e.g. cane sugar, coconut sugar, diabetic sugar substitute).
- Eggs & egg yolk - Adding an extra egg yolk gives this dairy-free cornbread recipe an extra tender consistency and fine crumb.
- Non-dairy milk - Your favorite unsweetened plain or vanilla plant-based milk is perfect. Whether you make this cornbread with almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk, one thing is certain: it’s going to be delightful.
- Apple cider vinegar - This is for making vegan buttermilk. Feel free to swap in an equal amount of white vinegar or lemon juice instead.
- Corn kernels - For extra moisture and yummy corn flavor.
What is the best type of corn for cornbread?
I suggest reaching for either fresh or frozen corn. I've also tried this recipe using canned corn, but it's honestly not as good. If you’re using frozen, let the kernels defrost first for an easier time blending.
How to Make Dairy-Free Cornbread
Making this cornbread recipe gluten-free, dairy-free, and downright craveable is easier than you might think. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Dry Ingredients. In a bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, cornmeal, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
Step 2: Wet Ingredients. In a cup or bowl, add non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for 5 minutes to let the milk curdle. Add the corn kernels and milk mixture to a blender and purée until smooth. Pour the mixture out into a large bowl with sugar, oil, eggs, and egg yolk. Stir until combined.
Step 3: Mix Dry & Wet. Add the cornmeal mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until smooth. Cover and let it set for 30 min.
Step 4: Prep. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease an 8x8-inch square pan with coconut oil and set aside.
Step 5: Bake. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Let it bake for 40-45 min, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs. Let it cool completely before cutting.
Making this allergy-friendly cornbread with coconut milk (or any other vegan milk) is super simple, but I’ve learned a few tricks along the way:
- Don’t skip the resting period. Gluten-free flour is “thirstier” than regular wheat flour. Giving it 30 minutes to absorb the liquid from the batter means the texture will come out light and fluffy rather than dense and gritty.
- If you’re using a fresh ear of corn, bust out your bundt or tube pan. Use the middle hole to hold the ear in place, then slice the kernels off. The surrounding pan will catch all (or at least most) of the kernels, keeping your kitchen tidier.
The great thing about cornbread is that it’s a springboard for all kinds of tasty variations. Here are a few to consider:
- Optional add-ins - Feel free to add your choice of diced roasted chiles, vegan cheese shreds, more whole corn kernels, bacon bits, or crumbled sausage to add more flavor to this tasty quickbread.
- Using bacon fat instead of olive oil gives cornbread a decidedly smoky, savory flavor profile.
- Vegan - Swap in your favorite egg substitute for the whole eggs (e.g. store-bought brands like JUST Eggs or homemade flax eggs) and add a tablespoon of silken tofu or vegan yogurt in place of the egg yolk to replace the added fat.
- Cornbread muffins - Instead of baking this cornbread in a tin, swap in muffin cups to make it easy to share. Just be sure to adjust the baking time down if you do.
I could wax poetic about this tender, delicious, DF & GF cornbread for what feels like forever. It goes perfectly with:
- Soups, stews, and chili
- Compound butter (savory or sweet)
- Strawberry jam
- BBQ favorites (e.g. smoked meats, BBQ chicken, mac & cheese, baked beans)
You can also go rogue and cut it into little bits for making cornbread stuffing or using it as cornbread breadcrumbs.
Storage & Freezing Instructions
Wrap up the leftover oat milk/almond milk/coconut milk cornbread with aluminum foil and keep them in the freezer. When you reheat them, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and place the aluminum-wrapped cornbread inside for 10 minutes.
How far in advance can you make cornbread?
You can definitely make this gluten-free cornbread a day in advance. You can cover the top of the pan with aluminum foil, or if you cut it into pieces, store them in an airtight container.
If you want to make this recipe several days in advance, I highly suggest storing the loaf in the freezer. Either way, don't forget to reheat it before you serve and enjoy!
“Healthy” is a loaded term that means a lot of things to a lot of people, and I’m not a nutrition or medical professional. That said, this dairy-free, gluten-free cornbread recipe is made using all whole food ingredients that I feel great about serving to my loved ones.
Milk doesn’t just provide moisture, it also provides fat. If you want to swap in water for milk (vegan or dairy), I suggest adding about a tablespoon of butter per each cup of water you use. If you don’t, this cornbread will end up being drier, crumblier, and less satisfying.
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Mixing bowl
- Silicone spatula
- 8x8-inch baking pan
More Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Recipes
Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving desserts:
And here are some stellar sides:
Dairy Free Cornbread (Gluten-Free!)
- In a bowl, combine gluten free flour, cornmeal, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
- In a cup or bowl, add non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for 5 minutes to let the milk curdle. Add the corn kernels and milk mixture to a blender and purée until smooth. Pour the mixture out into a large bowl with sugar, oil, eggs, and egg yolk. Stir until combined.
- Add the cornmeal mixture into the wet ingredients and stir until smooth. Cover and let it set for 30 min.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease an 8x8-inch square pan with coconut oil and set aside.
- Pour mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Let it bake for 40-45 min, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs. Let it cool completely before cutting.