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When autumn and Thanksgiving season roll around, cornbread is one of the things I look forward to, so I knew I had to share this simple recipe for Vegan Cornbread Muffins.
Now, if you’ve never heard of cornbread before, it’s a bread made of primarily cornmeal with a lot of rich history behind it. Cornbread is said to have originated in the South, where temperatures were too hot for wheat to flourish, and corn was a much more weather adjacent crop. Back in the day, cornbread was really just made of cornmeal and water, like a corn based alternative to bread. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see variations of cornbread with sugar, in bakery style muffin form, or baked with maple syrup, for example.
So is cornbread sweet or savoury? The answer will vary depending on who you ask and the argument is actually a lot deeper than it may seem. The type of cornmeal you were able to afford back in the day and whether you had access to additional ingredients like eggs, buttermilk etc. would of course determine how you took your cornbread too. Yellow cornmeal was more affordable than white cornmeal, which had a naturally sweeter taste, for example. Side note: racial issues and slavery are important parts of the conversation when it comes to cornbread and Southern food history in general, and I highly recommend reading more into the topic if you’re interested in understanding its roots. Here is a great article.
I’m doing my best not to bastardize a sacred Southern staple, but I did want to share my method for making cornbread both vegan and gluten free, so this recipe will be fairly neutral in flavour and you can use it as a base to take the flavour in whatever direction you choose. Personally, I like my cornbread with just a touch of sweetness, but prefer to slather it in vegan butter and a drizzle of maple syrup too. Sweet and salty!
The muffin shape is really for convenience, as I find it’s much easier to transport and bring to family meals, but you can also make this cornbread in a pan if you prefer. I’ll share some suggestions in the notes below for flavour variations, as this recipe is quite simple on its own. Feel free to share in the comments if you put a twist on the base!
These Vegan Cornbread Muffins are vegan, as the name suggests, but also gluten free, nut free and refined sugar free.
What’s in these Vegan Cornbread Muffins?
Cornmeal (you can use either white or yellow cornmeal) → This is the base of our cornmeal, and you can use either fine ground or coarse.
Oat flour → To lighten things up and give our muffins a little more body, I’m using oat flour. Feel free to use regular all purpose flour if gluten is not an issue for you.
Tapioca starch, or cornstarch/arrowroot starch → When baking gluten free, a starch is essential to prevent gummyness. Cornbread is on the denser side, but you don’t want something so tough it’ll crack your tooth!
Light coconut milk → To add moisture, but also a healthy source of fat to the bread. I strongly recommend coconut milk over other plant milks as this recipe doesn’t call for any added oils.
Apple cider vinegar → For some rise and fluff in this recipe, we’ll be combining ACV with the plant milk to create a butter milk situation.
Maple syrup → A touch of sweetness, optional.
Baking powder → You know what this does!
Pumpkin purée or applesauce → For additional moisture, I like adding a purée in place of oil for something a little more whole food based. Trust me, it won’t make your cornbread taste like pumpkin or apples!
Also add in a pinch of salt, and any additional ingredients you’d like to flavour your cornbread.
To make a spicy, savoury cornbread, consider a cheezy jalapeño cornbread. Add a shredded vegan cheese of choice and sliced or pickled jalapeño peppers into the batter.
An herbed cornbread can be made by adding in your favourite fresh or dried herbs of choice into the batter. Chives also make an amazing addition.
Maple is a lovely addition to cornbread in my opinion, and you could sweeten the batter as you would a sweet muffin. If you want to play up the savoury sweet, consider a plant based bacon AND maple.
If you try this recipe out, tag me on Instagram@veggiekinsso I can see your delicious re-creations and feature them! As always, I love when you share your reviews in the comments below, and if you make any fun substitutions, let me know how it worked out below too.
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees and line or grease a muffin tin.
Prepare your batter by whisking together cornmeal, oat flour, tapioca starch and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
In a separate small bowl, add apple cider vinegar to coconut milk and let sit for about 5 minutes to thicken. Whisk in pumpkin purée or apple sauce and maple syrup until smooth.
Create a small well in the center of the dry ingredient bowl and add your wet ingredients, using a spatula to mix until combined.
Pour batter into your muffin tins and bake for 15-18 minutes, until tops are golden brown and muffins are cooked through.
You can use both yellow or white cornmeal, and fine ground or medium grind cornmeal. I’ve tried with several cornmeal types and the outcomes vary slightly in texture, but you shouldn’t have any issues with the actual recipe. I find that the medium grind cornmeal is my favourite end result texture, but use what you have available!
Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.
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