Cheesy Cornbread In A Skillet
This tender, rustic Cheesy Cornbread in a Skillet is a perfect side for any soup or chili. Studded with sweet peppers and kernel corn and laced with mild, melty Oaxaca cheese, this simple homemade cornbread is so much more than the sum of its parts. As an added bonus, it takes just 5 minutes of prep and will be ready for eating in under 30 minutes!
About This Recipe
I can’t think of a cozier, more comforting meal than a bowl of navy bean soup and a wedge of my Cheesy Cornbread in a Skillet; it takes me right back to some of the happiest moments of my childhood. It’s amazing how a simple dish can bring back so many wonderful memories.
Every once in a while when I was little, my Mom would pick me up from school and take me to Marie Callender’s for a Mommy-Daughter date. We would always order the navy bean soup and share a piece of cornbread while we gabbed about our lives and dreams. I cherished every moment of our special alone time, and now I can’t help but think of my Mom whenever I eat cornbread.
The last time my Mom was in town, I asked her to help me develop some recipes. She found a jalapeño cheesy cornbread recipe and suggested we tweak it to make it our own. I just laughed to myself; if she only knew how much I think of her when I eat cornbread!
We used the recipe she found as inspiration and but eliminated the chili peppers and instead used colorful mini sweet peppers. Like good Southerners, we also eliminated the sugar to make it more savory. The result was a lovely rustic cornbread studded with plenty of goodies: whole pieces of juicy corn, bits of colorful peppers, and melted Oaxaca cheese.
As soon as we took a bite of this cheesy skillet cornbread I was flooded with the memories of us sitting together in a restaurant booth. It’s those precious memories that remind me of the special bond I’ve always had with my Mom.
Ingredients & Substitutions
If your only experience with making cornbread has come from a box, you’re about to have your mind blown. This simple recipe for cheesy cornbread in a skillet requires just a few extra ingredients and tastes like a million bucks. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Yellow Corn Meal – I feel like cornbread should be yellow, but white or even blue cornmeal will work just as well here.
- All-Purpose Flour – Use the scoop and sweep method to ensure you’re not adding too much flour and drying out the batch. While I haven’t tried it myself, I’d imagine you could swap in your favorite cup-for-cup all-purpose gluten-free flour substitute here.
- Baking Powder – Not to be confused with baking soda, this ingredient becomes active as soon as it comes into contact with liquid. Be sure to preheat your oven before mixing up the batter to get the most lift out of your leavening.
- Salt – I use regular ol’ table salt for this recipe. If you are substituting sea salt or kosher salt, be sure to refer to this handy guide.
- Buttermilk – The acidity of buttermilk is a blessing in the world of Southern baking; you’d be hard pressed to find a biscuit recipe without it! If you don’t have use for a whole quart, try your hand at making your own by adding a teaspoon of cooking acid (e.g. lemon juice or vinegar) to a cup of milk and stirring it. After about 5 minute, the milk will have curdled and thickened into buttermilk. This works for non-dairy milks, too.
- Evaporated Milk – This canned milk is simply milk (usually 2%) that has been heated until roughly 60% of the liquid has evaporated. If you don’t have any on hand, you can make your own with either dairy or plant-based milk — simply multiply the amount of evaporated milk you need by 1.6 and simmer it down until it hits the measurement you need. In this case, that’s 4/5 cup (or approximately 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) of regular milk, simmered down until it hits 1/2 cup.
- Eggs – Allow your eggs to come to room temperature before making the batter so they can incorporate more easily.
- Vegetable Oil – Any neutral flavored oil will work here. Try corn, canola, peanut, or grapeseed if you don’t have any vegetable oil on hand.
- Oaxaca Cheese – Any melty cheese will work for this skillet cornbread recipe. Monterey Jack or mozzarella would be the closest substitutes, but feel free to experiment with cheddar or Muenster instead.
- Whole Kernel Corn – I always have a can of corn kicking around in the pantry, but frozen kernels will work just as well. You can also use fresh corn if it is in season.
- Mini Sweet Peppers – Feel free to substitute about 1/3 of a bell pepper.
How To Make Cheesy Skillet Cornbread
Prep: Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a 10-inch oven-safe skillet.
Make Batter: Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Combine milk, eggs, and oil in a medium bowl. Add to cornmeal mixture; stir just until combined. Stir in cheese, corn, and peppers. Pour batter into prepared skillet.
Bake and Enjoy! Bake for 20 minutes on the bottom rack and an additional 5 minutes on the top rack or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan. Serve warm with butter and a drizzle of honey.
Frequently Asked Questions
No problem! You can convert just about any recipe to fit whatever size or shape of pan you have on hand if you can do a little math. Your skillet also doesn’t need to be cast-iron; any oven-safe 10″ skillet will do just fine.
Sure thing! No need to defrost it first.
While this cheesy cornbread tastes best straight from the oven, you can easily refrigerate any leftovers for 3-4 days. Be sure to warm up the leftovers in a toaster oven before serving for the best texture and flavor.
Dedicated To My Mom
I am so lucky to have such an amazing mother. She has a heart of gold and is always so giving. We didn’t grow up with a lot of money, and this simple cheesy cornbread recipe reminds me of my upbringing and all the lessons she taught me about life and love: It’s not about having money, it’s about taking the time to spend with family. It’s not about expensive gifts, it’s about making something with love and sharing it.
Mom, I love you! Your love and support has made me the person that I am and hope to be. You have taught me to never give up and go after my dreams. You have taught me to be independent and kind. I appreciate everything you have done for me. I would not be the woman, wife, and mother I am today if it wasn’t for the person you’ve always been.
More Delicious Cast-Iron Skillet Recipes
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Cheesy Cornbread Skillet
- Preheat to 375 F.
- Lightly grease a 10-inch oven-safe skillet.
- Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Combine milk, eggs, and oil in a medium bowl. Add to cornmeal mixture; stir just until combined. Stir in cheese, corn, and peppers. Pour batter into prepared skillet.
- Bake for 20 minutes on the bottom rack and an additional 5 minutes on the top rack or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan. Serve warm with butter and a drizzle of honey.
- If there are no kids eating with you, you can use jalapenos instead of mini bell peppers.
- Cornbread leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days after baking. Be sure to heat them up before serving for the best flavor and texture!
Photography by Jenna Sparks
Originally published: April 2015.