Gluten-free chilli cornbread

Gluten-free chilli cornbread

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(8 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 30 mins plus at least 2 hrs soaking

More effort

Serves 4 - 6
Golden polenta and frozen sweetcorn make a deliciously different alternative to your regular loaf - best eaten fresh from the oven

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Gluten-free
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving (6)

  • kcal200
  • fat6g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs29g
  • sugars3g
  • fibre1g
  • protein7g
  • salt1g
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  • 200g polenta or fine ground cornmeal



    An Italian storecupboard staple, polenta has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy…

  • 284ml pot buttermilk
    Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



    There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…

  • 25g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp baking powder (look for a gluten-free one)
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • 50g frozen sweetcorn, defrosted
  • 2 large eggs, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…


  1. Lightly toast the polenta in a dry frying pan for 3-4 mins, stirring to ensure even cooking, until the polenta has heated through, is fragrant and small patches are starting to turn golden brown. Take off the heat, tip half into a large bowl and add the buttermilk. Stir well, cover and leave to soak for 2-3 hrs.

  2. Melt the butter in a 25cm ovenproof frying pan (a cast-iron one is perfect) and heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Stir the butter and the remaining ingredients, including the rest of the toasted polenta and 1/2 tsp salt, into the buttermilk and polenta mixture. (Don’t wipe out the frying pan – the slick of butter will ensure the bread doesn’t stick.)

  3. Put the pan back on the heat and turn up the temperature. Pour the mixture into the pan – it should sizzle as it hits it, like a Yorkshire pudding. Put the whole pan in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown and firm in the middle. Leave to cool a little, then serve cut into wedges.

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Comments, questions and tips

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1st Apr, 2020
comments below have suggested improvements. why? because they would work. for something gluten free, it's quite a robust template. i agree it would taste better with more chillies (i used jalapenos, could have done with more) and with cheese. caramelised onions sounds awesome. scallions would be great. it's also low salt - increase if you want to send your blood pressure soaring. the best cornbread i ever (Brad Macdonalds) had had 2 tbsp of honey butter slathered on the outside while the surface was still so hot it bubbled. that was for one portion. There was probably more butter inside and salt. It was so calorific, it could have fuelled Drax. When i asked to take away half of it, they gave me another two tablespoons of honey butter in the box, clearly wanted me dead. And this one was nice hot with butter on it. Of course it was. Most of the recipes for cornbread have cornmeal as decoration on lard. most also have wheat flour and sugar, which i didn't want. in these covid lockdown days, you cannot get wheat flour for love nor money. i didn't even have cultured buttermilk, so i whacked in non-dairy milk with lemon and probably not enough lemon, as the metallic taste of the bicarb was still in evidence (mea culpa). And it still worked. And with a stew - which is what cornbread is for - none of this mattered. It did the job of soaking the juices without hardening my arteries. So yes - I do recommend. The toasting tip is good, as is the soaking tip. It's a good canvas.
28th Apr, 2019
Not great - quite bland. Other recipes leave out the frozen sweetcorn and add caramelised onions and loads of grated strong cheddar cheese to make chilli cheese corn bread which is a lot tastier.
ruth.laube's picture
9th Jul, 2015
I made this bread and sprinkled parmesan on top before baking. It looked fabulous and tasted great. Everybody loved it.
kathryndonna's picture
21st Jun, 2015
Probably the best cornbread recipe I've tried but sadly I just can't love it. Maybe a bit more chilli and perhaps some Parmesan might help to liven it up.
Asta Keil's picture
Asta Keil
31st Jul, 2020
How much is it suppose to rise? my pan was 27cm wide, I wonder is that why mine was quite flat. Its great to get recipes that are on the healthy side, so thank you.
lulu_grimes's picture
5th Aug, 2020
Hi, Yes that's probably why it came out a little flat, cornbread doesn't rise a huge amount anyway. If you only have the large pan, it is relatively deep, and you don't mind eating lots of cornbread, you could try 11/2 times the mixture. Lulu
11th Jan, 2016
Why frozen corn, will tinned be the same?
goodfoodteam's picture
12th Feb, 2016
Thanks for getting in touch. Canned corn is perfectly fine to use in this, provided it is well drained.
29th Apr, 2015
I want the wheat and particularly yeast-free, but also am allergic to eggs....are these essential to this recipe, or just to add extra bulk and/or flavour?
goodfoodteam's picture
12th May, 2015
Hi kaybairstow, thanks for getting in touch. The eggs in the recipe are needed to help bind the ingredients and create the sponge-like texture. However, after some experiments in the test kitchen we have found that you can replace the 2 beaten eggs with a mixture comprised of 2 tbsp of linseeds which have been ground and then mixed with 6 tbsp of water. Add the ground linseed and water mixture to the polenta in step 2. The resulting cornbread may not be as light as the original version but it tastes just as good. Hope this helps. 
20th May, 2015
Thanks for this, but could you tell me how much fibre is in the linseeds as I also have to avoid fibre in my diet. I can just cope with white flour, but cannot eat anything with wholewheat or even brown rice. Plain polenta is fine and I occasionally eat soda bread to avoid yeast.
goodfoodteam's picture
16th Jul, 2015
Hi, this varies depending on the type you're using - it's best to check the pack for details.
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