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These savory Vegan Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins are ready in less than 30 minutes. They're the perfect balance of sweet and spicy and have a tender crumb – even without eggs or milk! Prepare this easy vegan quick bread in just 1 bowl and serve it alongside your favorite Chili Stew, Vegetarian Chili, Vegan Collard Greens, or Lentil Meatloaf.

Cornbread muffin on white plate being drizzled with agave nectar.

Why You'll Love This Recipe

  • Low in sugar. If you like cornbread recipes that taste like cake, this version is not for you! This cornbread is lightly sweetened and mostly savory.
  • Made with pantry staples! I usually have the ingredients for this cornbread in my pantry at all times so I can whip it up to pair with dinner in just minutes.
  • 1 bowl recipe. No need to mix the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls before combining. This cornbread batter comes together in under 10 minutes in just 1 bowl.
  • Oil-free and gluten free options. Alter this recipe to fit the dietary needs or your family or guests!
  • Instructions for both muffins and squares included! If you're out of muffin liners or want the ease of pouring all of the batter into a baking dish at once, opt for the cornbread squares option.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Cornbread muffins with labeled and individually measured ingredients on white background.
  • cornmeal – There are many types of cornmeal available but when making cornbread, I recommend using a finely ground cornmeal. Using yellow or white cornmeal is fine, but a coarsely ground cornmeal is going to make your cornbread too crumbly and have trouble sticking together. Reserve course ground cornmeals for meals like this Vegetarian Green Chili Stew.
  • all purpose flour – All purpose flour is going to make the softest, fluffiest cornbread.
  • agave syrup – I love using agave syrup in cornbread because it compliments and sweetens the flavor of the cornbread so nicely and is similar in color to the classic honey. If desired, substitute maple syrup or even date syrup (this will taste equally as good, but result in a darker colored cornbread).
  • avocado oil – If you are out of avocado oil, another neutral oil can be substituted. I don't recommend using olive oil (too strong tasting) or melted coconut oil (it will harden and prevent the oil from mixing into the batter properly). Alternatively, unsweetened applesauce is an oil-free option.
  • nutritional yeast – give these cornbread muffins a cheddar-like flavor without the need for processed vegan cheese or dairy. There is no substitute.
  • jalapeños – You can use fresh jalapeños, diced jalapeños from a can or drained from brine. Fresh jalapeños are not going to add much flavor, just heat. Varieties from a can or drained from brine are going to make these cornbread muffins spicy, as well as savory and salty. Canned and jarred varieties will also be much more consistent in spice level, whereas fresh jalapeños can range from very mild to extremely hot.

Step by Step Instructions

I've provided instructions for making both cornbread muffins, and cornbread squares in this recipe. The cornbread batter is prepared the exact same for both methods, but note the different oven temperatures and bake times depending on which method you choose.

Preparing the batter

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, nutritional yeast, baking powder, baking soda and salt, if using.
  2. Next, add in the plant-based milk, agave nectar, avocado oil, water, and ground flaxseed.
  3. Gently fold the ingredients together with a spatula until just incorporated.
  4. Lastly, fold in the diced jalapeno and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the ground flaxseed to absorb the liquid.
Numbered process showing how to make cornbread batter in mixing bowl.

Making Cornbread Muffins

  1. Divide the cornbread batter between the 12 muffin cups, filling the muffin cups almost to the top (about 4 tablespoons batter in each muffin cup). If desired, press a thinly sliced jalapeño into the top of each muffin.
  2. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown around the edges.
Cornbread muffins before and after baking.

Making Cornbread in an 8×8 pan

  1. Transfer cornbread batter to your greased baking pan and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. 
  2.  Allow cornbread to cool 5-10 minutes in pan before slicing into 9 squares and serving.
Cornbread before and after baking.

FAQs

Can you freeze vegan cornbread?

Yes! You can freeze both cornbread squares and muffins. To freeze, allow them to cool completely, then wrap each individual muffin or square in saran wrap, leaving no sides exposed. Store together in a large, properly labeled, freezer safe bag. Thaw in the refrigerator until soft again and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees until warmed through. Be careful not to overheat, as this will dry out your cornbread.

Is vegan cornbread healthy?

Healthy is very subjective, but this cornbread is low in sugar, cholesterol free, and can be made both gluten free, refined sugar free and oil free so with that in mind, this vegan cornbread is healthier than most.

Can I make this vegan cornbread with applesauce instead of oil?

Yes! Feel free to swap the avocado oil for unsweetened apple sauce. Note that this does make the cornbread a bit more dense, but it's just as good when soaking up your favorite soups, chilis and stews.

Cornbread muffins on a baking rack.

Expert Tips

  • Mix gently! Over mixing the cornbread batter is going to whip air into the batter and over-activate the gluten. Doing so makes for tough cornbread! You'll know you've mixed too much if the batter gets gluey and is tough and stringy. You want light and fluffy!
  • If using fresh jalapeños, taste them before adding to the batter! Some jalapeños can be as mild as a green bell pepper, and some can be so hot you won't be able to taste anything else! If using very hot jalapeños, I recommend adding in just 1-2 tablespoons or to taste.
  • Handle your jalapeños with gloves. The capsaicin from the peppers can transfer to your skin when touching it and cause a lasting burning sensation. To be safe, wear kitchen safe gloves!

What to Serve Vegan Cornbread With

Bite taken out of muffin on white plate.

More Vegan Quick Bread Recipes to Try

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Vegan Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins

5 from 9 votes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
These savory Vegan Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins are ready in less than 30 minutes. They're the perfect balance of sweet and spicy and have a tender crumb – even without eggs or milk! Prepare this easy vegan quick bread in just 1 bowl and serve it alongside your favorite chili, soup, or stew!

Ingredients
 

Cornbread

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt **see notes
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 1/2 cup light agave nectar can substitute with maple syrup or date syrup
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil can substitute with unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup jalapeño diced **see notes

Instructions

Muffin Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, Fahrenheit and line your muffin tin with 12 muffin liners or grease the muffin tin with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  •  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, nutritional yeast, baking powder, baking soda and salt (if using) until combined.
  • Next, add in the plant-based milk, agave nectar, avocado oil, water, and ground flaxseed. Gently fold the ingredients together with a spatula until just incorporated.
  • Lastly, fold in the diced jalapeno and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the ground flaxseed to absorb the liquid.
  • Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups, filling the muffin cups almost to the top (about 4 tablespoons batter in each muffin cup). If desired, press a thinly sliced jalapeno into the top of each muffin.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown around the edges.

8×8 Baking Pan Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, Fahrenheit and grease an 8×8 baking pan with oil. If you prefer to avoid greasing pan, you can also line the baking pan with parchment paper. 
  •  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, nutritional yeast, baking powder, baking soda and salt (if using) until combined.
  • Next, add in the plant-based milk, agave nectar, avocado oil, water, and ground flaxseed. Gently fold the ingredients together with a spatula until just incorporated.
  • Lastly, fold in the diced jalapeno and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the ground flaxseed to absorb the liquid.
  • Transfer cornbread batter to your greased baking pan and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. 
  •  Allow to cool 5-10 minutes in pan before slicing into 9 squares and serving.

Storage

  • Store leftovers at room temperature in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

Notes

  • Making oil-free cornbread: I would recommend substituting unsweetened applesauce for the avocado oil. Note that this does make a denser cornbread consistency.
  • Gluten-free flour option: Use 1 to 1 all purpose baking flour. Coconut flour, oat flour, almond flour, etc. are not recommended.
  • Jalapeños note (please read!): You can use fresh jalapeños, diced jalapeños from a can or drained from brine. Fresh jalapeños are not going to add much flavor, just heat. Varieties from a can or drained from brine are going to make these muffins spicy, as well as savory and salty. Canned and jarred varieties will also be much more consistent in spice level, whereas fresh jalapeños can range from very mild to extremely hot. If using fresh jalapeños, I recommend tasting them BEFORE adding to the batter to ensure they aren't too spicy!
  • A note about salt: If you are using canned or jarred jalapeños, please skip the salt. These jalapeños are already salty enough on the own and additional salt is not needed. If using fresh, I do recommend adding 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
  • Nutrition estimate is for 1 muffin.

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 151mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g

Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

Did You Love This Recipe?

Rate the recipe here and make sure to leave a comment below!

5 from 9 votes

This recipe was originally published on November 10, 2020 and has been republished on February 9, 2022 to include an improved recipe, step by step instructions, a muffin option, tips for success and new photos.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This cornbread was so easy to make! Perfectly moist, a little sweet, and the best addition to soups, stews, and chili! Definitely will be making this again!

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