Savory Cornbread Muffins

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. (Stick with me here, okay? I really am comparing cornbread to, yes, well, shoes ...)

Real Food, Fresh & Flexible. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Excellent with Chili, Mexican & Cajun Food. Sturdy for Picnics & Travel.
Savory Cornmeal Muffins ♥, spiked with chili powder, a little jalapeno and red pepper, very decidedly savory. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Excellent with Chili, Mexican & Cajun Food.

Corn Bread Is the Black Shoes of Baking.

I'm tellin' you straight, now. 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?

RESOURCES Still more corn bread recipes, I might need a bigger closet!

Meet the "Shoe Lady" of Cornbread

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..

Savory Muffins: Not Just for Breakfast

Savory Cornmeal Muffins ♥, spiked with chili powder, a little jalapeno and red pepper, very decidedly savory.

I do mix up a quick batch of Savory Cornmeal Muffins for breakfast – they go especially well with Easy Green Chile Egg Casserole.

But mostly, these are a "backpocket" recipe when supper calls for a bread. Here, I've paired the muffins with a lunch salad. But with chiii? or Cajun food? So good.

And for picnics! These are sturdy little muffins, they travel well.


Savory Cornmeal Muffins ♥, spiked with chili powder, a little jalapeno and red pepper, very decidedly savory. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Excellent with Chili, Mexican & Cajun Food.

  • "They came out beautiful ..." ~ Eloisa

Just updated! First published way back in 2010.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 12 muffins
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick/114g) butter
  • 1 cup (250g) buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125 grams
  • 1 cup cornmeal, preferably fine- or medium-grind 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 fine
  • 12 cilantro leaves for muffin tops, optional but pretty!

Heat oven to 400F/200C. 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 the batter 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 with a little butter as in Fried Bread.

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!
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Muffin: 192 Calories; 8g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 39mg Cholesterol; 456mg Sodium; 25g Carb; 2g Fiber; 5g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 4 & PointsPlus 5 & SmartPoints 7 & Freestyle 7 & myWW green 7 & blue 7 & purple 7

Soup 'n' Cornbread for Supper?

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

White Chicken Chili Homemade Lentil Soup Hamburger Soup
~ Chillin': Favorite Chili, Chowder & Cornbread Recipes ~
~ more soup recipes ~

More Weeknight-Easy Supper Breads

~ Weeknight-Easy Rolls ~
~ No-Knead English Muffin Bread ~
~ Fried Bread ~
~ more corn bread recipes ~
~ more homemade bread recipes ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ buttermilk recipes ~
~ cornmeal recipes ~
~ corn recipes ~
~ bell pepper recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. 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. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Oh my stomach is growling and this sounds delicious!!!

  2. They sound delicious!I love your blog.

  3. Anonymous7/10/2014

    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

  4. 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