An easy vegan cornbread, baked in a cast iron skillet. This egg-free cornbread is slightly sweet, tender, and can be made gluten-free.
Photography by Sophie MacKenzie.
With a slightly crumbly, tender crumb and just-sweet taste, this is a truly dreamy vegan cornbread. Baking it up in a preheated cast iron skillet makes for a crunchy bottom crust and out of this world flavour.
Woody herbs and homemade vegan buttermilk boost the taste even more here, and there’s no need for eggs as the buttermilk and baking powder do all the lifting work. Stone-ground cornmeal is best for this recipe (see below).
Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the printable recipe card with full ingredient measurements and complete instructions.
- Cast iron skillet
- Mixing bowls
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Wire rack
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- Cornmeal: stone ground is best. Don’t use polenta cornmeal, which is very coarsely ground.
- Non-dairy Milk: use a creamy milk without a strong flavour. Don’t use coconut milk.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: to make the buttermilk. Sub plain white vinegar if needed.
- Flour: all-purpose white flour. Some whole wheat can be used.
- Baking Powder and Sea Salt
- Sugar: plain white sugar.
- Herbs: woody herbs refers to those with a hard stem, typically perennials. In this recipe we like rosemary and thyme.
- Vegan Butter: you can use margarine if preferred, but a good vegan butter makes a big difference in terms of flavour.
Keep scrolling to see clear and detailed process shots, as well as tips and notes to help you make Vegan Skillet Cornbread perfectly the first time!
1. Rest the batter. The batter rests for 15 minutes so that the cornmeal hydrates. This makes an evenly moist vegan cornbread with no dry pockets of dough – don’t skip it.
2. Use a creamy dairy-free milk. We like soy or oat milk because they best mimic buttermilk.
3. Use a seasoned pan. Be sure the cast iron skillet is properly seasoned so that it’s naturally non-stick. If you’re not sure, add parchment paper.
- You can bake this in a 10-inch pan (20 minutes) or an 8-inch (for 20-23 minutes). You can also bake it in an 8- or 9-inch square pan for about 20 minutes. Photos show an 8-inch pan, which makes for a nice and thick bread, whereas the 10-inch makes for a thinner bread.
- Adding the butter and batter to a hot skillet helps create a nice golden crust and adds a boost of flavour.
- Butter flavoured vegan butter or margarine adds great flavour. We like Miyoko’s in North America and Naturli in Europe.
- Use a stone ground cornmeal for cornbread, not semolina (fine cornmeal), or corn flour. We like Bob’s Red Mill. Stone ground cornmeal has more corn flavour, texture, and is adds more moisture than a standard fine cornmeal (which is better to use on a pizza stone, for example).
How to Store and Freeze Vegan Cornbread
- To Store: vegan cornbread will keep for a few days at room temperature in an airtight container, but it’s best fresh.
- To Freeze: place into an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Substitutions and Variations
- Use a good gluten-free flour blend to make this cornbread GF. We like the Bob’s Red Mill version. You can also use up to 50% whole wheat flour if you want to increase the nutritional value.
- If the cornbread doesn’t need to be vegan, you can of course sub dairy butter and milk.
- Rosemary and thyme work well with the cornmeal, but you could use other herbs if preferred or leave them out altogether.
- Try adding chili flakes, cracked black pepper, or 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast for extra flavour.
Cornbread is traditionally made in a cast iron pan and it has some real benefits. Baking in cast iron makes for a really nice crisp outer crust, especially when preheated like it is for this recipe.
If your skillet is properly seasoned (in other words, it hasn’t been washed with soap) then you shouldn’t need it. If you’re not certain, though, add a round of paper under it as extra insurance. Here’s a guide on how to care for cast iron.
Feel free to use a regular square baking tin. Grease it very well with butter and don’t preheat before adding the cornbread batter and baking.
More Vegan Recipes
Vegan Skillet Cornbread
- 8-inch (20cm) cast iron skillet
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- Wooden spoon
- 1 cup creamy non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup lightly packed, stone-ground cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose white flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons rosemary, or thyme, finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons melted vegan butter, plus 2 tablespoons for the pan
- Begin by adding the vinegar to the non-dairy milk. Set aside for 10 minutes. This is your vegan buttermilk.
- Place an 8-inch (20cm) cast iron skillet into the oven. Preheat to 400°F (200°C).
- Add the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and chopped herbs to a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine.
- Add the vegan buttermilk and ¼ cup of melted butter to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine. The batter will have the consistency of banana bread.
- Cover and set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes for the cornmeal to hydrate.
- After resting, take the preheated skillet out of the oven. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl it to cover the base of the pan.
- Add the batter, smoothing the top with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until golden and the centre springs back lightly when touched.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Vegan cornbread will keep for a few days in an airtight container, but it's best fresh.
SubstitutionsUse a good gluten-free flour blend to make this cornbread gluten free. We like the Bob’s Red Mill version. You can also use whole wheat flour if you want to increase the nutritional value. If the cornbread doesn’t need to be vegan, you can of course sub dairy butter and milk. Rosemary and thyme work well with the cornmeal, but you could use other herbs if preferred or leave them out altogether. Try adding chili flakes, cracked black pepper, or 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast for extra flavour.
This post was first published in August 2018. It has been updated with improvements to the recipe as of March 2022.