This moist and golden honey jalapeno cornbread is infused with the goodness of corn kernels, tangy cotija cheese, and fiery diced jalapenos. With a luscious honey butter glaze drizzled on top, every bite is a harmonious balance of sweet and savory.
Honey Jalapeno Cornbread
- 1 cup cornmeal (140 grams)
- 1 cup rice flour (155 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ cup brown sugar (50 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 small corn on the cob, shucked and kernels cut (220 grams)
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (226 grams)
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup melted butter plus 1 tablespoon (70 grams)
- ¼ cup olive oil (56 grams)
- 7 tablespoons honey, divided (149 grams)
- ¾ cup crumbled cotija (90 grams)
- 2 jalapeno, diced, seeds and stem removed (45 grams)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 10-inch cast iron pan with cooking spray.
- Combine cornmeal, rice flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
- Blend corn kernels in a blender or food processor until fairly smooth. Whisk together corn puree with yogurt, eggs, ¼ cup melted butter, olive oil, and 4 tablespoons honey. Add wet mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Add cotija and jalapeno, stirring just until combined.
- Pour cornbread batter into prepared cast iron pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- When the cornbread has about 1 more minute until it’s done baking, heat remaining 1 tablespoon butter with 3 tablespoons honey in a small saucepot over medium heat. Heat until butter is melted.
- Remove cornbread from the oven and immediately pour honey butter on top, making sure to evenly coat the bread. Let rest for 15 minutes. Slice and enjoy warm.
Watch how to make this:
Cornbread was always one of those dishes that I could never perfect. It always turned out fine but never as good as I wanted it to be. After a while, I realized that I could never make it as delicious and moist and I accepted it. That is until I tried the black sea cornbread from Sarma in Boston. It was life-changing cornbread, so much so that it sparked something in me that made me want to try recreating it.
Over the next several weeks, I consumed more cornbread than I ever have in my entire life. I researched and tried different black sea cornbread recipes and came to the conclusion that Sarma is using magical powers to create their bread. No, I was unable to replicate their fantastic cornbread. However, I did write a recipe that is, without a doubt, the best cornbread I have made myself. This honey jalapeno cornbread uses fresh corn puree, crumbled cotija, jalapenos, rice flour, and Greek yogurt to create an incredibly moist crumb. And the best part? The honey butter glaze. It seals the deal. Even if you never had Sarma's cornbread, I would love it if you gave my recipe a try. Not to hoot my own horn but I do think it's the ultimate cornbread recipe.
- Cornmeal: Use fine-grind cornmeal if you can find it. You can also use medium grind but do not use coarse cornmeal or the texture will be too gritty.
- Rice flour: There are different types of rice flour, glutinous rice flour also known as sweet rice flour, and regular rice flour. Use regular rice flour for this recipe. Sweet rice flour, often used for Asian mochi desserts, will result in a stodgy, wet bread. There is also brown rice flour but I have not tested this recipe using this specific type.
- Brown sugar: Brown sugar adds more moisture to the cornbread compared to granulated sugar while adding a richer, slightly deeper flavor profile.
- Corn on the cob: If corn is in season, use fresh corn on the cob. However, you can substitute it with canned corn if desired. Drain the liquid from the can and puree the canned corn, using the same amount as listed in the recipe.
- Greek yogurt: Since black sea cornbread uses Greek yogurt, I decided to follow suit. The yogurt adds moisture and helps yield a softer, more tender texture.
- Olive oil: Another important ingredient in black sea cornbread, I used a combination of olive oil and butter for a moist crumb.
- Jalapenos: The spicy kick from diced jalapenos helps balance the sweetness from the honey while adding another flavor element. However, you can omit it if you prefer.
- Cotija: A crumbly, salty, sharp-flavored cheese that helps season the cornbread. If you can't find cotija, use crumbled feta or queso fresco instead.
How to Make Honey Jalapeno Cornbread
Step 1: Prepare the Corn
To prepare the corn for the cornbread, start by shucking the husks and silks from two small corn cobs. Carefully cut the kernels off the cobs, reserving any liquid that may come out from the cob.
In a separate bowl, blend the corn kernels in a blender or food processor until fairly smooth. Don't worry if it's not completely smooth, a little texture never hurt anyone.
Step 2: Make the Batter
Now let's make the actual honey jalapeno cornbread batter. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of cornmeal, 1 cup of rice flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, ¼ cup of brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix well to ensure an even distribution of the ingredients.
Then, whisk together the corn puree with 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt, 2 large eggs, ¼ cup of melted butter, ¼ cup of olive oil, and 4 tablespoons of honey. Stir the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until the mixture is well combined.
Add the ¾ cup of crumbled Cotija cheese and 2 diced jalapenos into the batter, ensuring they are evenly distributed. If you want your cornbread to have more of a spicy kick, throw some seeds in there as well.
Step 3: Bake
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 10-inch cast iron pan with cooking spray. If you don't have a cast iron pan you can use a 9x9 baking dish instead.
Pour the prepared cornbread batter into the greased pan, using a spatula to smooth the top and create an even layer.
Bake the cornbread in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it turns golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 4: The Finishing Touch
While the cornbread is baking, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 3 tablespoons of honey in a small saucepot over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted, creating a glossy honey-butter glaze.
Once the cornbread is out of the oven, immediately pour the honey butter glaze on top, ensuring it covers the entire surface. Allow the glaze to seep into the cornbread, enhancing its moisture and sweetness. To help the glaze seep into the edges, use an offset spatula to carefully separate the cornbread from the pan.
Let the honey jalapeno cornbread cool slightly and serve warm. Now close your eyes and take a big bite out of that moist bread. Is that not the most delicious cornbread you ever had? This definitely ranks high on my list, second to Sarma's black sea cornbread. Every component from the corn puree to the crumbled cotija to the yogurt all work together to create an insanely moist, sweet, spicy, salty bread. It checks all the boxes!
What if corn isn't in season?
You can use canned or frozen corn instead. If using canned corn, drain the liquid and puree. If using frozen corn, thaw and drain the frozen corn.
Can I make the cornbread ahead of time?
The bread is best on the day it's baked because the honey glaze is more prominent. However, you can make the cornbread in advance. Once cooled, store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Reheat individual slices in the microwave or oven before serving.
How spicy is this cornbread?
The spiciness level of the jalapeno can vary, depending on personal preference and the heat of the jalapeno itself. Removing the seeds and stems helps reduce the heat. If you prefer a milder version, you can use only one jalapeno or omit it altogether.
Can I freeze the cornbread?
Yes, this bread freezes well. Cool the cornbread completely, wrap it in plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 2 months. To serve, reheat the bread in the oven at 350 degrees F until warm.
For more easy bread recipe inspiration check out this caramelized shallot cheesy bread!