Healthy Honey Cornbread will have you saying “I can’t believe it’s not butter!” Using all-natural and healthy ingredients like olive oil, Greek yogurt and local honey, this recipe yields super moist – but super fluffy – classic cornbread taste and texture with far less guilt. So have a piece…or three. Gluten-free variation available.
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bread! It’s a side! It’s a cake! It’s a snack! It’s cornbread!
Cornmeal is a magical culinary unicorn. Obviously, it’s the key ingredient in one of my favorite breads, but it also has birthed all-time favorites like grits, polenta, hushpuppies, griddle cakes, pie crusts, corn dogs and a long, luscious list of cornmeal-battered fried seafood. Just when I think I can’t like a food more, they find a way to incorporate cornmeal and I fall in love all over again.
If you grew up in the North like me, maybe the first time you had cornbread was with chili. Maybe if you’re Italian (also like me), you had polenta. I know I didn’t consume a lot of it growing up; but then I started migrating south and the door to a whole new world of food opened.
It’s not like we don’t have country cooking in the Northeast; but not in the same way it is in the South or Midwest. And if it’s anything, cornmeal is “country.” Grocery stores here sell giant slabs of cornbread; every restaurant with even a twinge of southern or country style gives you a sack full of cornbread with your meal; and you can get anything and everything “cornmeal-crusted” or “cornmeal fried.” This is not a list of complaints, my friends; this is quite possibly the best promotional tourism campaign no one has ever run.
It’s ridiculous how versatile cornbread (and by default, cornmeal) is. Breakfast, lunch or dinner. Smother it in butter; smother it in syrup; smother it in gravy; smother it in chili; smother it in even more honey. It all works. It’s the jack of all trades of bread. This recipe starts off healthy as-is, and has the honey baked right in for down-to-earth sweetness that still pairs beautifully with your favorite savory dishes, but could also double for dessert if you run out of ice cream. Like I said – magical unicorn.
What makes this cornbread recipe “healthy”?
- No refined sugar – this healthy cornbread is sweetened only with honey. Use local if you can find it – the flavor is worth the price tag.
- Heart healthy olive oil in place of butter.
- Probiotic-rich Greek yogurt instead of milk or buttermilk.
- Go a step further and replace the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour or gluten free flour with xanthan gum (we like Bob’s Red Mill)
How to make a healthier cornbread
Honey and Greek yogurt give this healthy cornbread recipe that classic sweet and tart flavor. Be sure to check the recipe card for detailed instructions and step-by-step photos.
- Whisk the dry ingredients – cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Whisk the wet ingredients – Greek yogurt, eggs, olive oil, and honey.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold with a rubber spatula until just barely combined. Some lumps are okay!
- Pour the batter into a 2-quart baking dish that’s been lightly sprayed with olive oil cooking spray.
- Bake until the edges are golden brown and the center springs back when gently pressed.
- Cool in the dish for 10 minutes, then slice into squares and serve. We like to drizzle with honey, or spread with butter.
Tips for making this recipe perfectly
- Baking soda – use aluminum free baking soda if you have a sensitive palette, and always make sure it’s fresh (no more than 6 months old).
- Be sure to use cornmeal, not polenta, corn flour, or masa.
- Yellow vs. white cornmeal. This recipe works with either. Yellow will yield vibrant color and a richer flavor. Whiter is, well…whiter, with a slightly more subtle flavor. Don’t stress about this though – the flavor difference isn’t worth the fret.
- Olive Oil, not Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Not semantics, there is a difference! Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a very strong, distinctive flavor (if that’s your thing, by all means use it – but I find it a bit too strong for this recipe). Reach for “olive oil” here or even “light olive oil” for the best balance of flavors.
Is this cornbread gluten free?
It’s not, but can easily be made gluten-free! Simply use an equal amount of all-purpose gluten free baking flour with xanthan gum.
How to store cornbread
- Store at room temperature, covered with a tea towel, for 24 hours.
- Store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
More classic, comfort sides – with a healthy twist!
Did you make this healthy cornbread recipe? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
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- Casserole Dish
- 1.5 c cornmeal
- 1/2 c all purpose flour, see notes
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea or kosher salt
- 1.5 c plain greek yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 c olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing
- 1/3 c honey
- Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly mist a 2-quart casserole dish with olive oil cooking spray.
- Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt, eggs, olive oil, and honey until smooth.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then fold with a rubber spatula until just barely combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared casserole dish and smooth the top using the spatula.
- Bake until the edges are golden brown, and the center springs back when gently pressed, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan 10 minutes. Slice into 12 pieces and serve with butter or honey.
- Substitute all-purpose gluten free flour (with xanthan gum) or white whole wheat flour with great results.
- At room temperature, covered with a tea towel, for 24 hours.
- In the fridge, in a tightly sealed container, for up to 4 days. Microwave 10-15 seconds to remove the chill.