Vegan gluten-free cornbread is moist, fluffy and mildly sweet. This is the only gluten free vegan cornbread recipe you'll ever need! Serve this oil free cornbread with chili, black bean soup or alongside a hearty salad.
We've already had some chilly fall days here in Minnesota. So far I've resisted turning on the heat, but I did seriously consider it a few days last week. For those of you that don't know me well, I could easily be dubbed Queen of the Freeze Babies. When everyone else is in t-shirts, you can usually find me in a windproof fleece. I used to be self-conscious of this, but now I just revel in any warmth I can snuggle my way into and make no excuses.
So, that being said, chili season starts early in our house. And with chili season, comes cornbread season! Dang I love cornbread. And dang I hated cornbread when I first started eating vegan and gluten free. I could not find a cornbread recipe that satisfied and was healthy to boot. My first renditions were gummy, way too sweet and not even a little bit fluffy. After multiple attempts and lots of tweaks, I have finally landed on a vegan gluten free cornbread recipe that is light, fluffy, healthy and delicious.
What Ingredients are in Gluten Free Vegan Cornbread?
- Flax Eggs - Flax eggs replace regular eggs in this vegan cornbread. You can also use chia eggs or ¼ cup aquafaba.
- Almond milk - A tablespoon of vinegar is stirred into milk to create a vegan buttermilk for this recipe. You can use any non-dairy milk here if you don't have almond milk or have a nut allergy.
- Cornmeal - Don't use coarse ground cornmeal, the fine grind is what your are looking for.
- All-purpose gluten free flour - I use Namaste brand, but any all-purpose gluten free flour will work.
- Coconut Sugar - Any granulated sugar will work in this recipe. You can omit this if you want a less sweet cornbread.
- Maple Syrup - Any liquid sweetener such as agave or date syrup will work in this recipe.
- Applesauce - This replaces oil in the recipe. If you don't have applesauce you can use the same amount of mashed banana or pumpkin puree.
- Baking Powder and Soda - This recipe calls for a lot of leavening. Gluten free baked goods benefit greatly from more baking powder than you would use in recipes with wheat flour. So yes, one whole tablespoon is correct!
How to make Vegan Gluten Free Cornbread from Scratch
Gluten free cornbread comes together quickly with almost no mess. Start by preheating your oven to 350F and lining a 9 x 13" baking dish with parchment paper. To get the parchment paper to stick to the bottom, lightly spray with oil, then press the parchment into the dish.
Next, make your flax eggs. Whisk two tablespoons of ground flax with 6 tablespoons water and set aside to thicken. For more information on flax or chia eggs you can find a tutorial and watch a video on it here.
Make buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of vinegar to the milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Next, whisk all of your dry ingredients together. In the same bowl add the applesauce, maple syrup, flax eggs and buttermilk mixture. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Pour the cornbread batter into the prepared pan and then allow to rest for 30 minutes before baking.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the cornbread springs back when pressed lightly in the center. Gluten free breads usually need to cook longer than recipes made with wheat flour to avoid the gummy texture common in gluten free baked goods. So, when this cornbread appears to be baked through, I give it another 3-5 minutes in the oven.
This cornbread is best after its been cooled for at least 20 minutes. Allow cornbread to cool on a wire rack and then cut and enjoy! I really like this with a little maple syrup poured on top.
Why Does the Batter Need to Rest for 30 Minutes?
I recently found America’s Test Kitchen How Can it be Gluten Free baking book and fell in love. Most of the recipes in there contain tons of eggs and dairy so I couldn’t make many of the recipes in there as written, but the science in there has changed the way I bake. My biggest takeaway was to let batters rest for 30 minutes after mixing to allow the flours to absorb the moisture in the recipe.
I have been working on perfecting this cornbread recipe for awhile now, but it often came out gummy or under cooked. Guess what perfected it? That little 30 minute rest before baking. Don’t skip this if you want your bread to cook properly and have a nice crumb. Game changer.
I love this cornbread all by itself, or with a hearty bowl of chili or bean soup. What will you serve this cornbread with?
Vegan Gluten-Free Cornbread
- 2 tablespoons ground flax
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1 ¼ cups almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose gluten free flour
- 1 ½ cups (210 grams) cornmeal
- ¼ cup coconut sugar (or any granulated sugar)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup applesauce
- ⅓ cup maple syrup (or any liquid sweetener)
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 9 x 13″ baking dish with parchment paper. To get the parchment paper to stick to the bottom, lightly spray with oil, then press the parchment into the dish.
- Make the flax eggs. Whisk two tablespoons of ground flax with 6 tablespoons water and set aside to thicken. Make buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of vinegar to the milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Add flour, cornmeal, coconut sugar, baking powder, soda and salt to a large bowl and whisk to combine. In the same bowl add the applesauce, maple syrup, flax eggs and buttermilk mixture. Whisk to thoroughly combine and no floury bits remain.
- Pour the cornbread batter into the prepared pan and then allow to rest for 30 minutes before baking.*
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the cornbread springs back when pressed lightly in the center. Gluten free baked goods usually need to cook longer than recipes made with wheat flour to avoid the gummy texture common in gluten free baked goods. So, when this cornbread appears to be baked through, I give it another 3-5 minutes in the oven.
- Allow cornbread to cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes, and then cut and enjoy! I really like this with a little maple syrup poured on top. This cornbread will keep in a covered container for 1-2 days on the counter and up to 4 days in the fridge.
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This recipe was great! Perfect amount of sweetness (I used honey instead of maple syrup) and they didn't get all crumbly and fall apart like every other gluten free vegan cornbread recipe I've tried. Even though I followed the recipe - a 9x13 pan, like the recipe states, was too big for the amount of dough I had. I used a 8x11 and they looked perfect. Mine only took 30 minutes to cook though, even in the smaller pan. The only downside was they had a slight "flour-y" taste. It may have been the flour i used - King Arthur. I still would make these again! They were light and fluffy and looked just like the photo.
Hi Rosie! Thanks for the great feedback. Different gluten free flours can bake differently, so thank you for referring to the brand of flour you used. I use Namaste for reference. I am so glad you like this and were able to make it work in a smaller pan with less baking time.
Wow, that discovery of the thirty minute resting period sounds "key" to me! Thank you! I've tried what I thought were sure-fire winners in the GF Vegan cornbread category, but they do indeed have that heaviness or gummy texture.
My other problem has been that I don't like sweet cornbread very much. In my traditional recipe (I got it from a friend in MS) I used only two tablespoons of sugar. I've tried subbing out maple syrup with other sweeteners, but still a bit sweet for me. Plus, changing wet/dry ratios in a baked good is never a good idea.
I'd love to try your recipe this weekend, especially with the 30 minute wait time. Gracias!
Hi LJ, Yes, the 30 minute rest has been a game changer in gluten free baking for me. If this seems too sweet for you, you could reduce the coconut sugar to 2 tablespoons without messing with the texture. I'd love to hear how this turned out for you. Best of luck!