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This Southwest-inspired vegan jalapeño cornbread (without eggs or dairy) is slightly dense but fluffy, moist, and tastes sweet and savory, with a hint of spice. Perfect for serving during the holidays, with soups, chilis, stews, and even drizzled in maple syrup!
Fluffy, Moist, Easy Vegan Jalapeño Cornbread
While particularly popular during the Fall months, there’s never a wrong time to enjoy a big slice of this vegan jalapeño cornbread (without eggs or dairy). Especially when it requires an easy recipe, minimal prep, and you can enjoy it as part of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and for mopping up chili, soups, and stews!
This easy vegan cornbread is wonderfully soft, moist, and fluffy, without the need for any dairy or eggs! With the addition of finely diced jalapeños, this dairy-free cornbread deliciously combines savory and sweet with a hint of spice, too, and joins our popular skillet cornbread recipe and buttery vegan cornbread!
What is Cornbread?
With roots linked to Native America, this dish uses inexpensive cornmeal to prepare a quick bread that’s fluffy, slightly sweet, and moist! Unfortunately, the traditional recipes (of which there are many varieties) also often contain buttermilk and eggs, which are anything but vegan friendly!
Luckily, this Southern-inspired vegan jalapeño cornbread recipe has been tested (and re-tested) several times to achieve the best texture and flavor in a dairy-free cornbread without eggs. You can even adapt the recipe in several ways, including adding vegan cheese, extra veggies, or even making vegan cornbread muffins! Keep reading for all our favorite recommendations.
The Jalapeno Cornbread Ingredients
This vegan cornbread recipe requires just 12 ingredients (oil and salt included), most of which are pantry staples.
- Jalapeños: Adjust the amount to taste. We recommend between 1-2 jalapeños, finely diced (ribs and seeds removed). Pickled jalapeños (¾-1 cup) would also work and are milder in flavor.
- Sweetcorn: We use canned corn (though frozen and thawed would also work) to add extra texture to the vegan jalapeño cornbread. Omit it if preferred.
- Cornmeal: Use fine yellow cornmeal for the best texture. Medium would also work well.
- Leavening agents: This dairy-free cornbread relies on both baking powder and baking soda for lift and texture.
- All-purpose flour: Regular all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour will work. Spelt flour may also work, though we haven’t tried. Read below for a gluten-free option.
- Salt: To enhance the flavors in the cornbread.
- Sugar: We used regular granulated sugar. However, brown sugar (make sure it’s vegan), coconut sugar, etc., will also work. Adjust the amount to preference.
- Vegetable oil: This will add much-needed moisture to the vegan cornbread recipe. Any neutral cooking oil will work, or even vegan butter.
- Applesauce: Unsweetened applesauce simultaneously acts as an egg replacer, adds moisture and a very subtle, natural sweetness to this eggless cornbread.
- Plant-based milk: We recommend higher fat non-dairy milk options for a super moist vegan cornbread. However, any unsweetened vegan milk should work (soy milk, oat milk, cashew milk, etc.).
- Apple cider vinegar: The combination of ACV and vegan milk will make a simple vegan buttermilk substitution. The vinegar also helps the plant-based cornbread achieve the correct texture and lift. White vinegar or lemon juice should also work.
Optional add-ins & Recipe Variation
- Vegan cheese: If you already have some in your fridge, then a handful of vegan melty cheese (like a vegan cheddar-style cheese) would work well in this dairy-free cornbread recipe.
- Vegetables: Finely chopped bell pepper, shredded carrot, shredded and drained zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and kale would all work in this plant-based cornbread recipe.
- Herbs: You can experiment with various fresh herbs to add extra flavor to the jalapeño cornbread recipe. We recommend scallions/green onions, though chives, parsley, sage, thyme, and rosemary would all work. If you want to learn about extending the freshness of your herbs, check out this article!
- Gluten-free, vegan cornbread: Replace the all-purpose flour with gluten-free all-purpose flour. Note that the gluten-free, vegan cornbread may be more crumbly/have a different texture.
- Vegan cornbread muffins: Divide the mixture into a greased muffin tin and adjust the time accordingly (check on them at 18 minutes, using a toothpick/skewer to make sure they’re fully baked).
- Cast iron skillet jalapeno cornbread: Use the ingredients here with the method from this vegan skillet cornbread recipe.
How to Make Vegan Jalapeño Cornbread?
- First, preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
- Then, combine the apple cider vinegar and plant-based milk in a glass/small bowl, whisk well, and allow to sit for 10 minutes (for a simple vegan ‘buttermilk’).
- In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients (applesauce, oil, and sugar). Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, salt, and leavening agents).
- Then, add the vegan milk to the wet mixture and combine. Finally, pour the wet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and carefully mix until just combined.
It’s essential not to overmix the cornbread batter as it can overwork the gluten in the all-purpose flour and negatively affect the texture and rise.
- Gently fold in the corn and jalapeño. You can optionally leave some jalapeño slices to one side to top the cornbread before baking.
- Pour the batter into a 9×7-inch baking dish and bake for around 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (a few crumbs is fine, but no wet batter) and the top is springy when touched.
Allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and enjoying this vegan jalapeño cornbread with the dish of your choice!
How to Store?
To cut down on prep time on the day, mix the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls and store them covered in the fridge for up to a day. Remove them from the fridge 30 minutes before mixing and baking the eggless cornbread.
Once cooked, allow the vegan cornbread to cool and store leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week. Alternatively, store it in the freezer for up to three months. I recommend wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and then placing it within a Ziplock/Stasher bag (as individual slices or the entire thing).
Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then enjoy chilled/at room temperature, or reheat gently in the microwave (in 20-second increments until it’s at your desired warmth) or using a toaster oven.
What to Eat with Cornbread?
Thanks to the combination of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors in this vegan jalapeño cornbread recipe, it’s highly versatile and can be served with:
- Vegan butter: A pat of vegan butter over the warm vegan cornbread slice is simple and delicious!
- Maple syrup: I recommend first adding a pat of vegan butter over the warm dairy-free cornbread slice, then drizzling with a bit of maple syrup (or vegan honey).
- Chili: One of our top ways to enjoy jalapeño cornbread is with a big bowl of hearty chili. Like this one-pot pumpkin chili, quinoa sweet potato chili, crockpot 4-bean chili, and black bean chili (among others!)
- Stews: Second up, saucy stews make for delicious dipping/mopping opportunities, like this hearty red lentil veggie stew or root vegetable lentil stew.
- Soup: We prefer to serve this vegan jalapeño cornbread with heartier soups like pasta bean and tomato soup, hearty kale and bean soup, veggie-packed potato and leek soup, barley and bean soup, Southwestern soup, and more!
- Casseroles: Use to mop up saucy casseroles OR to top the casserole (and broil).
- Vegan BBQ: Enjoy this easy vegan cornbread as part of a BBQ gathering with all your favorite sides and dishes. We love serving it with vegan fried chick’n, BBQ cauliflower wings, or BBQ tempeh and collard greens.
- Thanksgiving: This vegan jalapeño cornbread can be served as part of any holiday table (New Year included).
You can also turn the leftovers into cornbread stuffing or chop and bake the slightly stale cornbread into jalapeno cornbread croutons!
Do you serve cornbread hot or cold?
Either (or even at room temperature). We make up our minds based on what it’s served with.
What cornmeal is best to use?
Fine cornmeal will yield the softest (smoothest) result with a fine crumb. Medium cornmeal has slightly more texture but is still fairly fine-crumbed. Comparatively, coarse cornmeal creates a texture, more mealy result. Blue cornmeal could also work.
Can I substitute the applesauce?
We’ve also tried this recipe with pumpkin puree with great results.
Can I omit the sugar entirely?
The sugar helps achieve the correct texture AND flavor, so the texture would be negatively affected. However, feel free to experiment with decreasing/increasing or omitting.
Top Recipe Tips and Notes
- To adjust the heat: You can adjust the amount of jalapeno used or even use other chilies (milder/hotter) as preferred.
- Adjust the amount of sweetness: Everyone has their own desired level of sweetness for cornbread, so feel free to adjust it, to taste.
- Be careful handling jalapeño: Use gloves if preferred and make sure not to touch around your mouth or eyes while handling them (or until your hands have been thoroughly washed a couple of times – the irritants linger on the skin).
- Don’t skip the cooling period: Egg-free and dairy-free cornbread can be fragile when first removed from the oven. Allow it to cool for 20-30 minutes before slicing for the best results.
- Give the batter time to hydrate: We recommend leaving it 10 minutes to allow the cornmeal to hydrate for the best texture.
More Easy Vegan Southern Recipes
- Southwest stuffed bell peppers
- Southwestern lettuce wraps
- Southwest soup
- Black bean burger
- Sweet potato biscuits
- Stuffed sweet peppers
Photos by Alfonso Revilla
Vegan Jalapeño Cornbread
- 1 ½ Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup of plain plant-based milk
- ¼ cup of apple sauce
- 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 1 cup of all propose flour
- 1 cup of cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 can of sweet corn, drained
- 1-2 jalapeño(s) diced (depending on spice preference)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Pour apple cider vinegar into the plant-based milk and let sit for 10 minutes, or until it’s curdled.
- In a small bowl, mix together apple sauce, oil, and sugar.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Add apple sauce mixture to the plant-based milk and gently mix together. Then add to dry ingredients and combine. Don’t over mix. Mix in corn and jalapeño.
- Pour into a 9x7 baking dish, garnish with some more diced jalapeño, and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out smoothly with no batter sticking to it.
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