How Do You Make Cornbread Healthier?
To me, a born and raised Tennesseean, cornbread is made using a batter rich with oil and/or melted butter and cooked in a screaming hot cast iron skillet (with more melted butter) resulting in a crunchy crust on the outside.
See my recipe for a classic cast iron cornbread.
But for folks who need or want to limit the heavier ingredients and want to incorporate cornbread into their everyday menu, I've created this recipe that'll fit that bill!
By swapping in a rich and nutty whole wheat flour for all-purpose, a lower fat milk option, and using applesauce in place of the oil or butter, you can create this delicious cornbread that I promise will fulfill your craving.
Here's The Secret To This Recipe
And that secret is: rest! Resting is very important at two different points when baking this healthy cornbread.
First, rest the batter for at least 10 minutes - 20 is even better - before you bake it. When using whole wheat flour, resting the batter is very important to give the liquids time to fully hydrate the grains. You'll be quite pleased with how much more tender your whole wheat baked goods turn out when you do this step.
Next, rest the bread before you eat it. It may be tempting to dig right into this steaming cornbread right when it comes out of the oven, but hear me out. Many bakers believe that the flavors in breads don't fully develop until the bread has fully cooled - and some believe that the process takes hours or even into the next day.
While this healthy cornbread is delicious soon after being baked, I found that the next day it became soooo amazing, as in I wanted to continue slicing into it over and over again.
Let's Take A Look At The Ingredients
- Cornmeal - I use a self-rising cornmeal mix to add lightness to the bread. You can use white or yellow.
- Whole Wheat Flour - Using this results in a nuttier, heartier tasting bread with a more coarse texture that pairs well with cornmeal, not to mention being a more nutritious choice.
- Applesauce - I love baking with applesauce in place of oil or butter in recipes. I use unsweetened, but the natural sweetness from the apples themselves are perfect in cornbread.
- Eggs - One large egg plus an extra egg white is just enough to act as a binder for the bread.
- Brown Sugar - Just a smidge to add some softening and sweetness.
- Milk - I tested this recipe with unsweetened almond milk, but nonfat milk will work great as well.
- Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Salt - Leavening agents and flavor enhancers. The soda balances the acidity in the applesauce as well.
What Pan Should I Use?
I recommend a 9-inch square light metal pan for making this healthy cornbread. This one works great. It's a basic, inexpensive choice. You can also use a 10x2" round cake pan since that size holds an equivalent amount of batter.
How Should I Serve This?
As mentioned above, if you can absolutely stand it, I recommend letting this bread have a good rest before eating it to let the texture and flavors fully developed - the next day is when it really shines.
Serve slices of the bread warm or at room temperature with a small smear of butter and a drizzle of honey. Use it like you would any other cornbread, such as with pinto beans, chili or soups, pork or ham dishes, or heck... any entree you want, either. It's good for breakfast, too!
Any way you choose, I know you'll love this healthy cornbread! Enjoy!Print
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