This cornbread is full of flavor, finely diced peppers,and the perfect amount of heat. It is not your sheet pan, grocery store deli, sliced peppers from a tin can kind of jalapeno cornbread. This fluffy cornbread gives you jalapeno and cheddar flavor, inside a beautiful crunchy crust.
First, you need a well seasoned cast iron skillet to make great cornbread. This recipe fills a 12″ cast iron skillet. If you do not own a cast iron skillet, go buy or borrow one, season it and then proceed. If you are making this right now, go ahead and put your cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat to 425.
Some of you have a basic cornbread recipe that you love, you can use it as your base and then add the additional ingredients listed. My favorite cornbread recipe is made with a purchased cornmeal mix. There is no shame in using a prepared mix if it gives you perfect results.
White Lily Buttermilk Cornmeal Mix is what my Grandaddy used, and his cornbread was my favorite. I’m not sure if my Grandmother taught him how to make cornbread before she passed, or if he just followed the recipe on the bag. But she did leave Grandaddy with well seasoned cast iron and he learned how to turn out beautiful pans of cornbread. I’ve made it a hundred different ways, but none of them are better than Grandaddy’s, so I’ll stick with using the White Lily mix.
Basic cornbread batter
2 cups White Lily Self Rising Buttermilk Cornbread Mix
2 tablespoon sugar
1&3/4 cup whole buttermilk
1 large beaten egg
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable Oil
1/2 cup mixed finely chopped peppers including pickled jalapeño (mix explained in directions)
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 green onions, finely sliced
- Preheat oven and cast iron skillet to 425. The skillet must be hot when you pour the batter in, or you will not end up with a beautiful crust. If you have a convection oven, do NOT use the convection option for this bread.
- You will need to finely dice 1/2 cup of peppers. The type of peppers can be adjusted according to your tastes and heat preferences. I mix 1 small fresh jalapeno, 1 small pickled jalapeno and a small bell pepper (any color). Mixing fresh and pickled peppers creates a perfect balance. Adding the pickled jalapeno adds just a bit of acid without overpowering the bread. You could leave out the bell pepper and increase your fresh jalapeno, if you want to raise the heat. Poblano peppers could be added in place of bell pepper. Use whatever mix of peppers makes you happy.
- Grate 2/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese. I always try to add extra cheese to everything, except this cornbread. This is one of very few things that can have too much cheese. I know from my failed attempts, not to put more than 2/3 – 3/4 cup. I am calling for 2/3 of a cup, because if you are like me, you will pile it as high as you can and try to still call it 2/3 cup. If you grate too much, it’s ok to eat all of the excess, just don’t put it all in the mixing bowl.
- Slice 2 green onions very thinly (don’t include the white ends).
- Once your oven is hot and your ingredients are prepped, pour the 3 Tbs oil in the hot skillet.
- Make the basic cornbread batter by mixing 2 cups cornmeal mix, 2 Tbs sugar, 1&3/4 cup whole buttermilk and 1 large beaten egg. Stir until barely combined, then add in the peppers, cheese and onions. Mix by hand until combined.
- Using heavy oven mitts, take the skillet out of the oven, and very carefully sit it on the stove top. The oil in the pan should be almost smoking. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. It will sizzle and there should be just enough oil to bubble up over the edges of the batter.
- Put the skillet back in the oven and cook for 18-20 minutes.
- When it is done, again using heavy oven mitts, remove the pan from the oven and quickly flip he pan upside down over a large plate. Try to not miss the plate! If your cast iron was well seasoned and hot enough, a perfect round corn bread should fall free. If the bread sticks, loosen the sides a bit with a knife and try again. If the bread doesn’t release in one piece, or cracks, piece it together and enjoy it anyway. A well seasoned cast iron skillet will allow the cornbread to release perfectly and it will look beautiful with cheesy goodness baked right in.
Jalapeno cornbread is perfect with Lima beans, Southern peas, braised greens, or soup.