Truly sugar free cornbread recipe with no sugar substitute. Easy bake bread with buttermilk, cornmeal and eggs. Light and tasty!
This is a healthy twist on the traditional cornbread, which is normally made with a fairy high amount of sugar.
I wanted to create a version which would be truly sugar free with no added sugar, no natural sugar replacements (like honey or agave syrup) and certainly not any man-made sugar substitutes like diabetic sugar.
In my books, all of these natural sugars are still sugars and our bodies have similar reaction to them as with a traditional reined cane or beet sugar.
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Why make this recipe?
- Truly sugar free recipe – no sugar substitute
- Easy to bake bread or a side dish to have with your main meal
- Cornmeal is naturally gluten-free, which makes this bread much lighter than regular breads and easier to digest too.
The reason why this sugar free cornbread is delicous to eat
The lack of sugar in this bread will make it taste different from the traditional cornbread, but if you are serving it with your main meal, you’ll hardly notice it
The buttermilk and butter are both surprisingly sweet. Again there is no added sugar in these, but they do taste naturally sweet. Try them to see what I mean, before you add them in
The cornmeal is again much sweeter in taste than regular flour, which is why when combined with the buttermilk, the bread will make the taste great.
Finally, when you cut out the sugar, you can start training your taste buds to taste all the other flavours in the bread and you’ll discover that these become much stronger as your taste buds recover from the sugar overwhelm.
What exactly is cornbread?
Traditional cornbread is a fairly sweet type of bread, often baked in a skillet using a mix of cornmeal and plain (all purpose) flour.
It’s used a side dish and served with soups, main meals like chilli con carne. The idea is that the sweet style of this bread takes away the heat of the spices from the food.
Any specialist equipment needed?
Cornbread can be baked in pretty much any tray with higher sides, like a large brownie tin, skillet, cake tin. You can also use a muffin tin and divide this recipe into muffin-sized bread.
We will be baking this cornbread recipe, so make sure that if you are using a skillet it’s cast iron and suitable for oven use ( for example, it shouldn’t have a plastic handle).
Cornmeal is a coarsely ground corn to create rough type of flour. It can be used instead of regular flour to add a wholemeal texture to most breads. It’s naturally gluten-free.
I’ve used plain (all-purpose flour) for this recipe. Other plain or low in gluten flours can be used as well, but it will change the taste of this recipe. You can use anything from spelt, buckwheat, wholemeal plain or specialist lupin flour.
Whist normally, you can use anything from water to milk or even yogurt to replace the buttermilk, in this sugar free cornbread recipe, I wouldn’t recommend it. The buttermilk adds natural sweetness and buttery flavour to the cornbread, which would otherwise be quite bland (since we are not using any sugar).
If you want to adapt this recipe without dairy, have a look at my vegan cornbread recipe, that gives you few different options.
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The method – Instructions
Preheat your oven to 190C (375F), Gas Mark 5.
Prepare your tin (round or square) by lining it with a baking parchment
Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a medium sized bowl.
Add the cornmeal and mix in to the flour.
Melt the butter and let it to cool down a bit.
In another bowl or a measuring jug, mix the buttermilk, melted butter and egg and sligthly whisk it together.
Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and mix together, but don’t over mix it.
Pour the batter into your prepared tin and place in the oven (middle shelf)
Bake initially for 10 minutes on 190C (375C) and then reduce the oven temperature down to 180C (350C) or Gas mark 4. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until the cornbread is lightly golden/brown on the top. Check with a wooden skewer to see if the cornbread is ready (if it comes out clean/dry it’s done)
Leave to cool down in the tin for about 10 minutes (resting on a cooling rack) and then take out completely and place on the cooling rack. If you can peel of the baking parchment, do this now to prevent the cornbread sweating.
Serve as a side dish/bread with your main meal.
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What can you serve sugar free cornbread with
- Chili con carne (Southern Style) >>
- Turkey Chili >>
- Leek & Potato Soup >>
- Vegetable Soup >>
- Baked Potato Soup >>
Variation on this recipe
You can add a heaped handful (roughly 1/2 – 3/4 cup) of any of the following ingredients combinations
Cheese & Onion – sautéed onion finely chopped with grated cheddar cheese
Red Pepper & Chorizo – sauteed red pepper finely chopped with chopped chorizo
Bacon – add fried chopped up bacon bits to the mixture
Cheese – add a roughly grated cheese
Herbs – chopped up fresh mixed herbs, such as parsley, basil, chives etc
Scalling up this recipe
You can easily double up this recipe and bake large tray of cornbread or split it between smaller tins. Make sure that you adjust the time depending on how deep your trays are (not so much on how many cornbreads you have in the oven).
Can this recipe be made in advance?
Cornbread keeps well, but it’s still best eaten within 2-3 days from baking it.
How to store cornbread
I usually use loose plastic bag and then keep the bread in a bread metal tin.
How to freeze and defrost cornbread
If you know that you won’t finish eating the cornbread within 3 days, I’d recommend to freeze it.
Let the cornbread cool completely first and then wrap in plastic bag suitable for freezer. Keep flat in the freezer and use within 3-6 months.
For best freshness always freeze the cornbread on the same day you baked it, although you can freeze it any time.
To defrost your cornbread, leave it still wrapped (or loosely wrapped) in the original freezer bag and defrost overnight in the room temperature in your kitchen.
If you forget to take the bread out in time, you can also use defrost setting on your microwave. If you don’t have a defrost setting, use lower setting (50% lower or anything that will say low or medium temperature or setting). Leave in for 30 seconds at a time and turn the bread if needed to make sure that it defrosts evenly.
The bread will defrost in microwave from the middle, which means that the middle can be very hot and the sides still slightly cold or frozen (if you leave the microwave on full power). To counteract that, I usually take out the sugar free cornbread before it’s completely defrosted and leave it in a room temperature to finish defrosting naturally.
How to warm up your sugar free cornbread
If you prefer to serve your cornbread warm, there are easy ways to heat the cornbread when it’s a few days old or if it was previously frozen.
You can heat up the cornbread in microwave, where 10-20 seconds should be enough to make the bread lightly warm.
If you have your oven already on (for example if you are finishing baking your main dish), you can add the cornbread in on a tray and warm it up for about 5 minutes on about 180 C or 350 F. If the temperature is lower, that’s fine, it might take a little longer for the bread to warm up.
If the temperature is much higher that it’s not possible to lower it because your main dish needs that higher temperature to finish cooking or baking, I’d wait until you finish cooking.
I would then lower the temperature and add the cornbread in for 5-10 minutes (you can even switch the oven off and the residual heat will warm up the cornbread quite nicely).
You can also warm up cornbread on top of any saucepan if you are for example cooking a soup or stew. You can add a plate on the top of the saucepan and leave the bread on top (covering it with another large plate if you have the right size).
Again this is easier to do, when your main dish (in the saucepan) is already cooked or nearly done, so that you don’t need to keep removing the plate with the cornbread every time you want to steer the soup or stew.
Sugar Free Cornbread
- 150 grams cornmeal coarse maize meal
- 150 grams plain flour all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 225 ml buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 50 grams unsalted butter
- Preheat your oven to 190C (375F), Gas Mark 5.
- Prepare your tin (round or square) by lining it with a baking parchment
- Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a medium sized bowl.
- Add the cornmeal and mix in to the flour.
- Melt the butter and let it to cool down a bit.
- In another bowl or a measuring jug, mix the buttermilk, melted butter and egg and sligthly whisk it together.
- Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and mix together, but don't over mix it.
- Pour the batter into your prepared tin and place in the oven (middle shelf)
- Bake innitially for 10 minutes on 190C (375C) and then reduce the oven temperature down to 180C (350C) or Gas mark 4. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until the cornbread is lightly golden/brown on the top. Check with a wooden skewer to see if the cornbread is ready (if it comes out clean/dry it's done)
- Leave to cool down in the tin for about 10 minutes (resting on a cooling rack) and then take out completely and place on the cooling rack. If you can peel of the baking parchment, do this now to prevent the cornbread sweating.
- Serve as a side dish/bread with your main meal.
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