Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread is moist, tender, and loaded with extra flavor from crispy bacon, gooey cheese, and spicy jalapeño, making it the perfect side for all of your favorite soups, stews, chilis, and chowders!
I'm sharing this recipe today because Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread is a natural accompaniment to soup...and soup is associated with cold weather...and we're currently in the thick of winter storm season, folks! So I don't know about you, but I've already made Texas chili and corn chowder and chicken soup so far this week. And thanks to a double batch of baking, this here gloriousness was on the side each and every time!
But the way it's oozing with melty cheese, peppered with minced jalapeños, and studded with salty bacon, this Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread is so tasty that it doesn’t even require soup to justify it. 😉
Cornbread Mix Shortcut
I make cornbread so often through the fall and winter months that I keep a jumbo jar of Homemade Cornbread Mix in the pantry year round, allowing me to effortlessly whip up a skillet of golden goodness at a moment’s notice. If you enjoy cornbread with soup, stew, beans, chili, or chowder, I highly suggest you do the same!
It only takes a few minutes to whisk together a big batch of cornbread mix. And not only does it save you time when making a pan of cornbread, but it's also free of the additives and icky ingredients prevalent in most store bought cornbread mixes. Plus, you can easily jazz it up with other flavors, as evidenced by -- wait for it! -- Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread with Bacon!
Here are all of the ingredients you need to whip up your very own pan of Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread.
As mentioned above, you can save time by using my Homemade Cornbread Mix in place of the dry ingredients in this recipe, because they are one and the same.
- Cornmeal. When I make cornbread, I like to use a yellow cornmeal of a medium grind.
- Flour. All-purpose white flour is standard, but whole wheat pastry flour works beautifully for a more wholesome option.
- Baking powder. Make sure it's fresh for light, fluffy cornbread with a nice rise.
- Salt. I prefer fine sea salt.
- Buttermilk. If you don't have any on hand, it's easy to make your own by measuring 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar into the bottom of a glass measuring cup. Fill the cup to the 1-cup line with milk (whole milk, 2%, or even unsweetened almond milk will work), stir, and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Just like magic, the milk will thicken and curdle into buttermilk.
- Egg. Lightly beaten.
- Butter. Melted and cooled. You can substitute oil, but I think melted butter adds more richness and flavor to cornbread.
- Honey. You could leave it out if you like, but I think adding a bit of honey gives this recipe a more well-rounded flavor.
And now for the stars of the show!
- Jalapeño. If you remove the seeds and membranes from your jalapeño, it should lend flavor as opposed to heat. But if you enjoy some spice, leave them intact!
- Shredded cheddar. I think the flavor of sharp (as opposed to mild) cheddar translates best when melted into a recipe like this. However, feel free to change up the cheese if you prefer. Monterey jack or even pepper jack would be yummy as well!
- Bacon. This ingredient is technically optional, but it's highly recommended. In fact, some may argue that it's the best part. 😉
How to Make Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread
- Preheat your oven. Put some butter (or reserved bacon grease!) in a cast iron skillet and pop it in the oven to melt.
- Measure the dry ingredients (or 2 cups of Homemade Cornbread Mix) into a bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients on top.
- Stir or whisk until just combined.
- Add the shredded cheddar, minced jalapeños, and diced cooked bacon.
- Stir until well-incorporated.
- Use a pot holder to remove the hot skillet of melted butter/bacon grease from the oven (be careful!).
- Spread the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
- Bake until the surface is golden brown and the center tests done with a toothpick.
Say hello to tender, scrumptious Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread with Bacon...for extra flavor and extra fun!
I do recommend increasing the baking powder just a touch (I slightly heap it in the measuring scoop rather than leveling it flat) since I find that GF cornbread needs a little extra boost to help it rise.
Baking Dish Options
Instead of a cast iron skillet, you may bake this cornbread in an 8-inch round pan/dish or in 12 muffin cups.
If using a muffin pan, generously grease the cups with butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray (in lieu of preheating in the oven with melted butter). Or you can line the cups with paper muffin liners.
Also, keep an eye on the baking time. The 8-inch round pan should require pretty much the same amount of time, but the muffins will only need about 14 or 15 minutes to bake.
So are you enjoying cozy days bundled up against the cold?
Or are you ready to welcome summer with open arms?
Either way, make the best of winter with a big bowl of comforting soup and a generous side of Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread! It's guaranteed to keep your tummy warm and happy. 🙂
Soups to Enjoy with Cornbread
- Slow Cooker Ham & Bean Soup
- Slow Cooker Beefy 3-Bean Chili
- Hamburger Soup
- Slow Cooker Creamy Black Bean & Chicken Soup
Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread with Bacon
- 1 tablespoon butter OR bacon fat, for the skillet (reserve 1 T. grease when you cook the bacon, if desired)
- 1 cup cornmeal*
- 1 cup all-purpose flour*
- 1 tablespoon baking powder*
- ½ teaspoon salt*
- ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 5 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and diced
- 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 large jalapeño, minced (more or less, to taste)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a tablespoon of bacon grease (or butter) in the bottom of an 8-inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven to melt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.* Stir in the melted butter, buttermilk, egg, and honey. Mix in diced bacon, shredded cheddar, and minced jalapeño.
- Using a pot holder, remove hot skillet from the oven. Pour cornbread batter into center of skillet, allowing melted bacon grease to spread to the edges. Smooth the top.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until surface is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool skillet for 5 minutes before slicing and serving cornbread warm.
- You may use regular all-purpose white flour in this recipe, or whole wheat pastry flour, or a combination of the two. I used half white flour and half whole wheat pastry flour for the cornbread in these photos.
- If you don't have buttermilk on hand, make your own by putting a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar into the bottom of a glass measuring cup. Fill the cup to the 1-cup line with milk, stir, and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, after which the milk will have thickened and curdled like buttermilk.
- For flavor without heat, remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapeño.
- You may substitute another type of shredded cheese for the cheddar, such as Monterey Jack or pepper jack.
- Instead of a cast iron skillet, you may bake this cornbread in an 8-inch round pan or in 12 muffin cups. If doing so, generously grease the pan/muffin cups with butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray (in lieu of preheating in the oven with melted butter).
- To make this recipe gluten-free, make sure the cornmeal you use is labeled GF and substitute a gluten-free baking flour blend for the regular flour.
This recipe was originally shared at Lil' Luna in September 2015, published here on October 15, 2015, and updated on February 4, 2022.