Savory Cornbread Muffins, a 'Black Shoe' Recipe

Because a girl needs more than one pair of black shoes cornbread recipe, here's my latest favorite, a cornmeal muffin recipe spiked with chili powder, a little jalapeño and red pepper and very decidedly savory.

Savory Cornmeal Muffins

Corn bread is the black shoes of baking. One recipe just isn’t enough, even when your favorite pair – I mean, recipe – has been with you for years and years and is soo comfortable, and still strikes just the right note for so many meals.

My favorite pair of black shoes – oops, I mean, my favorite cornbread recipe – is Skillet Cornbread, think stone-ground cornmeal nuttiness that slices into big wedges that stay moist, even on the second and third day. Then I discovered my go-to recipe for Sweet Cornbread, think extra-dreamy drizzled with butter and honey. Pumpkin Corn Bread, think 'practical' because it uses up leftover canned pumpkin.

But here I am again, expanding my cornbread black-shoe wardrobe one more time, this time for a decidedly savory cornbread muffin, this time spiked with chili powder and jalapeño, this time, lawdy-lawdy, injected with kernels of fresh corn too.

I first made Savory Cornbread Muffins as part of an all-savory brunch menu served for friends just before Christmas. The muffins were so good, I turned around and made a second batch that afternoon to go with supper’s chili!

So check your closet: if like mine, black shoes (do boots count?) still outnumber cornmeal recipes. Maybe all our cornbread wardrobes need a little updating?

The ‘shoe lady’ of cornbread goes by the unlikely name of Crescent Dragonwagon, author of The Cornbread Gospels, a collection of 200 cornbread recipes with familiar but old-fashioned names like johnnycakes, hoecakes and spoonbread. As if another reason were needed to fall in love with cornbread, consider that cornbread is so very American, crafted from the grain first a staple to Native Americans, later to this country's early settlers, and then again, for families in the southern states, especially, of the U.S..

ALANNA's TIPS If you're always scrambling for a bit of chili pepper, keep a jar of homemade Pickled Jalapeño Rings in the fridge. Now there's no running out!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Become a Kitchen Parade fan on Facebook!

Recipe for

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 12 muffins
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 133 grams
  • 1 cup cornmeal, preferably stone-ground, fluffed to aerate or 160 grams
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (yes, a whole tablespoon!) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded, deveined and finely diced (see TIPS)
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, seeded, deveined and finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 12 cilantro leaves for muffin tops, optional but pretty!

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter or spray a regular-size muffin tray.

In a medium bowl, melt the butter in the microwave in ten-second increments, let cool for a few minutes. Slowly whisk in the buttermilk (it might look a little curdled, don’t worry), then the egg.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and with a wooden spoon, barely combine. Stir in the remaining ingredients but just until combined, otherwise the muffins will end up tough and full of holes. Divide among the muffin cups. Arrange a cilantro leaf on top, gently pressing into the batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the muffin pan.

Best straight out of the oven or within a couple of hours of baking but surprisingly good a second and third day. Very good cut into slices and 'toasted' in a hot skillet like Fried Bread.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE (How many calories in Savory Cornmeal Muffins? How many Weight Watchers points in Savory Cornmeal Muffins?) Per Muffin: 144 Calories; 8g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 39mg Cholesterol; 454mg Sodium; 15g Carb; 1g Fiber; 5g Sugar; 3g Protein; Weight Watchers 3 points
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (Please note: Product Disclosure)

Soup 'n' Cornbread for Supper?

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Oh my stomach is growling and this sounds delicious!!!
They sound delicious!I love your blog.
Made them today with a "Mole de Olla" a mexican soup. We live up in the mountains, near Mexico City and was a little afraid of the amount of baking pwder. They came out beautiful without any ajustments to the recepie. Thank you ELOISA
Eloisa ~ So glad the muffins worked out, no adjustments! Thanks for taking the time to let me -- and other readers! -- know!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna