Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

4.89 from 34 votes
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This whole grain jalapeno cheddar cornbread recipe is a healthier version for you to enjoy! Each bite is packed with corn, cheese, and minced jalapeno.

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

Hola Jalapeno! It’s hard to resist a thick and warm piece of sunshine gold-colored cornbread, don’t you agree? What’s even better is that each bite contains spicy green jalapeno pepper, melty cheese, and sweet corn kernels. There’s no wrong time to enjoy a slice of this cornbread.

It’s practically a savory piece of cake, so you get dessert built right into dinner. To lighten the guilt level, I’ve added whole grain flour into the batter. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how moist and tender the cornbread tastes. You probably won’t even notice it’s a healthier version.

golden brown cornbread in a 8-inch baking pan

If I could, I would do a happy, blissful, smiley dance on top of this gorgeous cornbread. The little nooks and crannies on the surface are just waiting to be dipped in a flavorful pork chili, soup or just lightly drizzled with cloverleaf honey.

Cornmeal adds a little bit of gritty chewiness that makes this classic recipe different. I used white whole wheat flour to add whole grains. Since the cornmeal is particulate, you really can’t notice a difference in texture that you might find in other whole wheat baked goods.

three pieces of cornbread stacked on one another

I removed the butter typically found in recipes and added a high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Instead of sugar, I drizzled in honey, which has more flavor and is naturally sweeter. Tender, crumbly and bursting with fresh savory ingredients, we nailed it!

Those corn kernels and pieces of minced pepper add a nice change in texture. To my surprise, the jalapenos don’t add too much heat. It gives a nice warm spice, but no lingering burn. The secret little kick comes from the ground cayenne pepper. Feel free to add more ground pepper if you enjoy a little perspiration.

square pieces of jalapeno cheddar cornbread

Nine gigantic slices is a little too much for Jason I to eat by ourselves, so I froze the leftovers in a resealable bag. You can reheat them in the microwave, then toast or broil them for a few seconds if you want to revitalize that crunchy top.

What makes HOT peppers spicy?

Beautiful green jalapeno’s, ghost chili’s, to habanero peppers, they all have one common secret weapon. The kung fu kick to your taste buds is a compound called capsaicin. The heat level is measured in Scoville Units. For this recipe, I use fresh jalapenos which are about 2,500 to 8,000 Scovilles and red cayenne chili pepper approximately 30,000 to 50,000 Scovilles. So a little bit of cayenne pepper packs the heat compared to the jalapeno. Capsaicin is tasteless and odorless, with a concentrated amount found at the top portion of the pepper below the stem. You can remove the inner membranes and seeds to reduce the heat, or keep them for more burn!

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

This whole grain jalapeno cheddar cornbread recipe is a healthier version for you to enjoy! Each bite is packed with corn, cheese, and minced jalapeno.
4.89 from 34 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 9 large pieces
Course Bread
Cuisine Mexican


  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, ground
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground
  • ¼ cup jalapeño peppers, plus 1 tablespoon, seeded, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¾ cup corn kernels, fresh or canned
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup honey


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 8-inch square baking pan.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne, ¼ cup jalapeños, cheese, and corn.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, olive oil, and honey. Pour the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold gently until the batter is combined and no lumps remain.
  • Transfer batter into the prepared pan. Evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the chopped jalapeños on the top of the batter.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean, 20 to 23 minutes.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Cut into 9 large or 16 small pieces. Serve warm.


  • White whole wheat flour can be substituted with whole wheat pastry, whole wheat, all-purpose or gluten-free flour. Make sure to check the doneness of the cornbread a few minutes early as cooking required times may differ.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 9 large pieces
Calories 287kcal (14%)Carbohydrates 30g (10%)Protein 9g (18%)Fat 16g (25%)Saturated Fat 5g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat 2gMonounsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 37mg (12%)Sodium 549mg (23%)Potassium 123mg (4%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 8g (9%)Vitamin A 450IU (9%)Vitamin C 5.8mg (7%)Calcium 250mg (25%)Iron 0.9mg (5%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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21 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Polly says

    Yummy! I make a version of this with broccoli; next time I’ll add jalapeños for a little pop!
    Thanks Jessica… love your recipes!

  2. Heather (@pickyeatersguidetovancouver) says

    This cornbread recipe was so easy to follow and delicious! Will definitely be making again!

  3. Melodie says

    Just made the corn bread with cheese and jalapeño, was delicious and flavourful. Had it with the slow cooker pork chilli . Both were delicious together, my son enjoyed it very much. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for sharing your feedback, Melodie! The pork chili and spicy cornbread are my two favorites.

  4. Siobhan says

    I pinned this a while ago and just finally got around to making it to serve with a veggie chili — definitely going to make it again! I used soy milk because I don’t keep real milk on hand but added about 1.5 T of nonfat Greek yogurt to compensate — worked out perfectly. Otherwise I made it exactly as is and baked it about 23 mins plus a couple of mins on broil to brown it a bit.

    Thanks for a great recipe!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Whoo hoo! I love the chili and cornbread combo. Thank you for providing the substitution, I will have to try it myself!

  5. Barbara says

    Hi Jessica: I made these yesterday with the following changes: I used regular whole-wheat flour, 1% milk instead of whole milk, 4 ounces of extra sharp cheddar cheese, and two jalapenos from my garden. I used a muffin pan instead of 8×8 and cooked it for 20 minutes. It made a dozen muffins. These are awesome!! This has become my “go-to” recipe for cornbread. Thanks so much for the recipe.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Barbara! Thank you for sharing your healthy modifications to the cornbread recipe. I love that you made them into muffins, I’ll have to give it a try!

  6. Nancy says

    Hi Jessica. This recipe was a HUGE hit!!! I served the cornbread with a pot of turkey chili and the combination was great. The peppers packed a little punch making the cornbread extra delicious. I’ll be making this again and again. Thank you.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Nancy- Yay! I’m so glad that your family enjoyed the recipe. A bowl of turkey chili sounds perfect with the cornbread 🙂

  7. Jess says

    Nice, I love cornbread. I haven’t made it for quite a while, though. I’m going to have to make a gluten-free version of this.

    *Saves recipe PDF* 🙂

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Jess- It’s super easy to make this gluten free! I really like Cup4Cup gluten free flour and it’s substitutes really well in cornbread batter.