Gluten-Free Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread

One day last spring, I found myself with some milk that had turned slightly sour. Thanks to Jay’s mom, I knew that not all was lost; I could bake with it. So I opened up my brand new (signed!) copy of Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy and flipped to a recipe for Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread. I tweaked things around to make it gluten-free, and what I pulled from the oven was hands-down the best cornbread I’d ever tasted – super moist, slightly chewy, and flecked with nubs of stone ground cornmeal.

I’ve been playing around with this cornbread recently, turning it into a stuffing packed with wild mushrooms, chestnuts, leeks, and fennel which I’ll tell you all about tomorrow! I’ve simplified the recipe to be mixed all in one bowl, which means that you can have cornbread baked, slightly cooled, and into your mouth within an hour. Despite being gluten-free, the ingredient list is short and sweet. And buttermilk works beautifully in place of soured milk, of course.

Like most good things in life, this one starts with lots of butter, in this case melted in the oven-proof skillet in which you will bake the cornbread.

A combination of cornmeal, oat flour, and sweet rice flour give this bread a flawless texture without the use of any gums or starches. A bit of salt adds flavor, a touch of sugar balances the slight bitter notes of the cornmeal, and baking soda and powder work together to leaven the bread.

Eggs and buttermilk go right into the bowl

and get whisked until smooth.

In goes the melted butter,

And into the pan it goes. A brief bake, and there you have it: great gluten-free cornbread.

They don’t call it quick bread for nothing.

Serve wedges alongside soup or salad. Or top it with butter, honey, and a flutter of sea salt and call it breakfast.

And stay tuned for Cornbread Stuffing with Chestnuts, Leeks, and Chanterelles.

Corny:

Skillet Custard Cornbread with Berries and Honey
Sweet Corn Cheddar Spoonbread
Asparagus and Shiitake Mushroom Tart with Gluten-Free Polenta Crust

One year ago:

Pomegranate Margaritas

Two years ago:

Creamiest Pumpkin Pie

Three years ago:

Lemon Huckleberry Tea Cake

Four years ago:

Rum and Sweet Potato Cinnamon Buns

Gluten-Free Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread

Adapted generously from Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literary

This yields a moist, springy bread flecked with nubby bits of stone-ground cornmeal that holds together beautifully without the use of gums or starches. I credit the copious amounts of butter and buttermilk for its lovely texture. It is just the thing to serve (warm and slathered with butter and a flutter of sea salt) with a bowl of soup or chilli, or to turn into Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Chestnuts, Leeks, and Chanterelles. If you don’t have sweet white rice flour (mochiko), you may need to add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum to help the bread hold together. I like to bake this in my 10-inch round cast iron skillet, but it should also work in a 9-inch round pan or skillet, or an 8- or 9-inch square pan.

All ounce measurements are by weight.

Makes one 9-10″ round cornbread; 8-10 servings

6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (2.25 ounces/60 grams) gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup (3 ounces/85 grams) sweet white rice flour (mochiko)
1 cup (5 ounces/140 grams) yellow stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) well-shaken buttermilk

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375ºF (190ºC).

Place the butter in a 10″ oven-proof skillet and set the skillet in the oven to melt the butter, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oat flour, rice flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Whisk well to eradicate lumps. Add the eggs and buttermilk, and whisk until just combined.

Remove the pan from the oven, swirl to coat the sides with butter, then pour the melted butter into the batter, whisking quickly to combine.

Scrape the batter into the buttery, hot pan, and spread evenly. Bake the cornbread until golden on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.

Let the cornbread cool for at least 20 minutes; the bread is still cooking from residual heat. Cut into wedges and serve warm. Extras can be kept airtight at room temperature for up to a few days. Toast in a toaster oven before enjoying.

23 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread”

    1. Thanks, Monet! I'd forgotten how dessert-like cornbread can be until this afternoon – you wouldn't believe how fast Jay and I each scarfed a piece of that buttery, honey-y cornbread when I was done shooting it. :) I hope you like it!

  1. Thank you for this delicious recipe, but what if we don't have sweet rice flour or xanthan gum, does normal rice flour work or not? I live in Turkey and we don't have sweet rice flour here :)

    1. Hi oZGe! Thank you for reading, and for your question. I have several friends who live in Turkey. :)

      I haven't tried this recipe using regular rice flour and no xanthan gum, so I don't know whether that will work well or not. Sweet rice flour is naturally sticky, sort of like wheat flour, so it helps gluten-free baked goods hold together. My concern is that, without it, the cornbread will be overly crumbly and not hold together well. There may be enough egg in the recipe to give it a nice texture, though. If you give it a try, please let me know how it comes out!

    1. Hi Whitney, I haven't tried making this dairy-free, but I would wager that a combination of plain DF yogurt and a milk substitute could work to mimic the thickness, fat content, and tanginess of the buttermilk. You could probably use Earth Balance buttery spread in place of the butter, though you'll want to take down the salt. Please let me know how it goes!

  2. Crucial for your sublime stuffing recipe!!…I was wondering if "polenta" corn meal could possibly work in this recipe? I bought 500 grams at an Italian market in Lyon and am hoping I can sub it in?!

  3. this also works well with all cornmeal. i also leave out the sugar and sometimes sub melted bacon fat for the butter. also, they bake up nicely in madeleine tins.

  4. Do you think I could sub a gf flour mix for the oatmeal and rice flour, as I don't have any on hand at the moment? I have a big bag of Manins gf flour, which I've been really loving lately and I don't have any gluten intolerance. Thanks!

    1. Hi! I've never tried that gf blend so I can't guarantee that it will work, but I'd say chances are good that it will! Please let me know if you give it a try.

  5. Just got done baking this wonderful act of God. I found a half dozen peppers in the garden that were just begging to go in the mix, so I chopped them all up, seeds n all since I love it hot as can be, mixed in the peppers and voila! Lunch will be soup n this beautiful corn bread, almost a shame to cut it. Please keep the recipes coming and if possible please post a recipe of the jalapeno poppers such as the ones served up at the Sonic drive in restaurants. I love those things but they just cost so much for so little since here at my house we can put away 3 or 4 dozen of those things in no time (I live in a frat house with 8, sometimes 9 other guys and we love to eat

  6. Finding a recipe for moist cornbread is definitely challenging. Especially with gluten free ingredients. Maybe I will have to give yours a try.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *