gluten-free cornbread muffins

Many think of cornbread as a classic Southern food, but the first to make cornbread were Native Americans living in the what is now the Southwestern United States and Central America, who relied heavily on corn as a food source. The European settlers seemed to catch on; corn became a staple food in the New World before wheat made its way across the pond, and on the frontier cornbread grew widely recognized as a versatile bread that kept well and didn't need to rise.

Traditionally, in the northern United States recipes use sweeteners and produce a lighter cornbread more or less exchangeable with corn muffins, while southern cornbreads often use lard and are usually served as a savory item, such as a complement to chili or bean soups.

I use coarse cornmeal and whole corn kernels for texture. The maple syrup adds a very slight sweetness and flavor, but it's still on the border between sweet and savory. I like to make the cornbread in mini-muffin tins for a bite-sized snack, but they could also be made in normal muffin tins.

Prep time: about 5-10 minutes
Bake time: about 15-20 minutes
Makes about 2 dozen mini-muffins or about 1 dozen standard muffins

1+3/4 cups non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
4 teaspoons lemon juice (adding the zest is optional)

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup corn flour
1/2 cup coarse or medium-grind cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil (which makes it more savory) or coconut oil (which is more buttery)
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup fresh or frozen (and thawed) corn kernels

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease the muffin tins or line with paper cups. Whisk together the milk with flaxseed and lemon juice, then set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cornmeal, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and oil to the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until nearly all the lumps are gone. Stir in the corn. Pour batter into the muffin tins until about 1/2 cm (or 1/4") away from the top.

Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 15-16 minutes in the mini-muffin tins or about 20-22 minutes in regular muffin tins, or until starting to brown around the edges and the sides are just barely starting to pull away from the pan. Let cool in the tins for several minutes and eat warm or at room temperature.


  1. another beautiful picture and I love the contextual info!

  2. Gauri Radha गौरी राधाMay 6, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    Looks fantastic!! I love vegan cornbread :-)