Gluten-Free Vanilla Cornbread Recipe

Gluten free vanilla cornbread recipe
A wedge of vanilla cornbread. Gluten-free yum.

Playing Dress Up.

This is not your average weeknight cornbread. You know, the one you toss together from a gluten-free mix to serve with a bowl of white chicken chili as you catch up with Mad Men season four. Nope. This tender cake-like cornbread is a pinch more elegant. A gently sweet treat you might serve at high tea with a gaggle of girlfriends (or low tea, depending upon the company you keep). Picture fresh cut flowers on the table, stemmed glasses filled with dewy fresh berries, a pot of Earl Grey tea or organic chamomile buds steeping beneath a cozy.

This is the sort of cornbread that begs to be served with style. That longs to be gussied up. The kind of cornbread you eat with a fork.

A cornbread that secretly dreams of being cake.

Vanilla cornbread
Vanilla cornbread. Is it cake?

Karina's Gluten-Free Vanilla Cornbread Recipe

Recipe posted May 2010 by Karina Allrich.

This isn't the typical green chile studded cornbread we usually make around here. It has more brown sugar than my original recipe (gasp!) and a dose of deeply dark bourbon vanilla extract. It sports a touch more cinnamon and a hint of nutmeg. Which makes this  cornbread perfect for tea time or brunch. Serve it when you need a little civilized indulgence in your life.


Whisk together:

1 cup certified gluten-free cornmeal
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 rounded teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Add in and stir:

2 organic free-range eggs or 1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 1/4 cup warm water till frothy
1/2 cup two tablespoons light olive oil
1 cup very warm water (I microwave it for 30 seconds)
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract


Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Grease and prepare a 9-inch cake pan or line it with parchment paper.

Beat by hand until a smooth batter is formed, about one minute. Add up to 2 extra tablespoons of warm water, if needed, to thin. The batter should be like thick cake  or muffin batter- but not too stiff.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for 25 to 35 minutes (depending upon your altitude), until firm to the touch in the center. Here at sea level it baked in 30 minutes. (A wooden pick inserted into the center should emerge dry.)

Place the pan on a wire rack and allow the cornbread to rest 15 minutes before cutting. This helps keep the slices from crumbling apart. Use a very sharp knife to slice it into pieces.

Serve warm and offer heated maple syrup for dipping. Or add fresh berries to the side with a dollop of tangy yogurt.

Yields 8 to 10 slices.

Recipe Source:

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Recipe Notes:

The photos show this recipe baked with no eggs- totally vegan. I used 1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 1/4 cup warm water.
I have also made this cornbread with a half cup less brown sugar, I confess. It's less sweet (duh) and more akin to a hearty, regular cornbread with a hint of vanilla. So if you prefer your treats with less sugar, try it with less, and let me know what you think.
The deep golden color of the cornbread comes from the organic light brown sugar.

I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Cornmeal because the cornmeal is milled in a dedicated gluten-free facility (an aspect becoming more and more important to me). The texture is less refined, more stone-ground (you can see the flecks of the cornmeal in the photograph). I love the whole grain texture. --And, as always, I bought the cornmeal on my own, it was not given to me as a sample to publicize
Vanilla laced cornbread.

Enjoy sugary treats in moderation. Gluten-Free Goddess advises consuming no more than 2 tablespoons of sugar a day, Babycakes.

xox Karina


Tara said...

Looks amazing! Would the recipe call for one or two organic happy free range eggs?

Carey said...

Do you know how many eggs might be used instead of the egg replacer?
Thanks so much.

eatsbutter said...

If I wanted to use real eggs, what's the amount to sub for the egg replacement? Are there any other changes needed? Thanks!

Valerie at City|Life|Eats said...

This looks absolutely lovely. I can't do corn (shakes fist at corn intolerance) but that does not stop me from loving to read the post and forwarding it on to others who can eat corn :)

After several months of eliminating and re-adding gluten and other foods, inconclusive labs, doctors saying that it was unlikely I was gluten-intolerant since my digestion had improved so much despite the gluten reintroductions and that it was just a dairy and corn intolerance etc, I finally decreed the kitchen a gluten-free zone, bought new kitchen wares, and my husband offered to eat gluten just outside the home - it's been two weeks of being 100% gluten-free (as opposed to the elimination diet gluten-free and re-adding nightmare) and I am doing significantly better in the headache/random joint pain/distraction departments.

So I wanted to say thank you - because disposing of all this kitchenware was hard on a sentimental level, but your story (I kept remembering the wooden cutting board) was one of the many that kept me going through this process. I only wish I had deglutinized the kitchen sooner.

Karina Allrich said...

Hi Tara, Carey, Eatsbutter- I think two free-range organic eggs, beaten, would work quite well in this recipe (eliminate the Egg Replacer). I haven't done it myself, obviously; but Steve does sometimes make my cornbread recipe with 2 eggs- and it works for him.

Valerie- Thank you for your story and your kind words. I know it's tough- especially starting out. Just know that I've been there, and I lived to tell the tale ;-). Good luck- and feel better!


Karina said...

This cornbread looks amazing. Love the pic as well.


I Am Gluten Free said...

Karina - this looks great. It's jumpin' right off the page and begging for a plop of whipped cream. I'm thinking of the recipe at Diane's The W.H.O.L.E. Gang's blog - for coconut milk based whipped cream. This would be a perfect marriage (her whipped cream can be found here: I can't wait to go to the wedding! Thanks for being the matchmaker:).


Sweet Faery said...

Absolutely beautiful. I love its colour and texture. I'll try this one soon! Thanks :)

Desi said...


This looks sooo delicious and I'm not even usually that crazy about cornbread! Thank you so much for this post and every post. I just wanted to let you know how much I look forward to reading your blog - not only as a fellow foodie, but as a human being. I love your way with words and I always come away from your site with a smile on my face. Keep doing what you're doing - Can't tell you how much I appreciate it. :)


Stacey said...

I'm with Desi...not a major cornbread person, but this stopped me in my tracks. May even try it tonight since it's damp and rainy here in upstate New York.

Karina - I'm new to being gluten-free. Not celiac but gluten-intolerant and have dropped 147 pounds after kicking the G-Word out of my life! I'm intrigued by Valerie's post about disposing of certain 'kitchen wares.' This is the first I've heard of doing this as part of going G-Free. Can you direct me to past blog entries that address this?

Thanks Karina! Your recipes are sunshine on a rainy day :)

Rach said...

I need this badly. Hoping to get some baking done for the first time in months this weekend.

junespider said...

Wow! This looks fabulous! Unfortunately my son can't do gluten, corn OR dairy. I'm just GF, so perhaps I will still give it a try some day. Still, it was delicious to just drool over the gorgeous pictures.

And, I did want you to know that we tried your quinoa chocolate chip cookies. We LOVED them, and it is definitely our new favorite recipe. For the past four years I have been trying to find a really good GF chocolate chip cookie recipe. And thanks to you we have found it. Thank you, thank you!!

Karin said...

I made this cornbread today. Absolutely delicious! Except I used dark brown sugar, two eggs, brown rice flour instead of sorghum and coconut flour instead of tapioca starch. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. It really does taste like a dessert! I love it.

Deanna said...

The less sugar version of this is going on my "must try" list. I love your photography, btw. So beautiful.

Trudy said...

Just made this up (used 2 eggs rather than egg replacer) and served it with soup for supper. Yum Yum.
Thank you so much for this site and the recipes.
Thank you particularly for the substitutes page--its been an enormous help.

Amy said...

I have a question regarding your recipes in general. When you say brown sugar, do you mean packed brown sugar? Or should it be packed only if it says so?

Kalyn said...

Love your imagery of a cornbread that secretly longs to be cake! Sounds like it would be delicious.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen) said...

This looks amazing and so wonderfully stuck together. Crumbs are forever my gluten-free battle!

Dia said...

This does sound/look heavenly!! I'd prob cut the sugar down, too :) Been GF since last summer, & though my dau (grown) & her family are probably 'more' sensitive than I am - I'm so glad I'm GF as well! I've lost ~ 15#, mostly notice more gas/bloating when I get accidental gluten . . .
A friend made a savory corn bread a few weeks ago & gave me the recipe - it has a can of creamed corn, sour cream (could be coconut!) & jalapenos - yum!! Only cornmeal (like you, I 'trust' GF cornmeal more!)

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

My daughter was just told she has Celiacs disease. I have decided that I want to do this with her but am lost at where to begin.
Glad I found your site
Looking forward to sending it to my daugher.

MarlaM-mama said...

Has anyone tried using another meal? I have difficulty with corn, but have successfully used manioc meal in its place for some recipes, such as tortillas and pizza crust. [Manioc is the Latin American name for tapioca root.] Buckwheat grits can sometimes take the place of corn grits, too.
Anything sweet that goes well with tea is something I try to get into my diet!

Gratefully Gluten Free said...

The vanilla cornbread is an extra special treat and absolutely fabulous with raspberries on the side. I also made the sweet potato cornbread and think it would pair well with a autumn soup! I love that you used sorghum flour in the vanilla cornbread to give it some depth!

Amanda said...

I tried the corn bread recipe and it is tasty but I'm not sure if I did something wrong because in your picture it looks crumbly and delicious like regular flour kinds but mine came out sticky, a bit gummy and chewy. Is there something I'm doing wrong that I can fix because I LOVE cornbread :)

Sweet Pea 48 said...

Cornbread looks great! Will have to give it a try.
Thanks for the recipe.

Megan said...

I made these for Mother's day and my gf and non gf family gobbled it up. A few days later I made it again but left out the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg and instead added half a cup of frozen corn then baked them in lined muffin tins. They were just as tasty!

KateBnM said...

I tried this and subbed honey for the vanilla, since I was out. Tasted like spice cake- so yummy! Thank you!!

Karina Allrich said...

So glad you enjoyed it! xox k

Rachel said...

This was great. I doubled the vanilla because I can't get enough of it, and it was a delicious thread of a taste throughout. Even better after being wrapped up and stored in the fridge overnight - very moist.

mumto4boys10 said...

I made these into mini-muffins OMG! delicious!!!
I am thinking of making them into mini-loaves--can the loves and muffins be frozen for a few days? I want to give them to my kids teachers etc for Christmas.

Bonnie said...

I made this Vanilla Cornbread yesterday for the very first time and I must say, it was truly amazing. I've only been gluten free now for a little over a month but it has certainly been quite the experience in adjusting. After tasting this bread I really had my first, "I can do this, it really is going to be possible." Your recipes have provided me with a sense of direction... And I just wanted to thank you for that.

nushka said...

Hello Karina
I am 51 years old, l-o-v-e to cook and bake. 6 months ago I find out I am extremely sensitive to gluten and all kind of preservative. I am also sensitive to the gluten free bread that sold in whole food - ALL of them.
I emailed One of the chef in Israel (find him on the internet) and ask him to help me to convert the gluten free flour that sell in Israel to the flour in USA, that I can bake bread in Miami. (I knew only Israeli website gluten free).
This sweet chef forwarded my email to his collogue in Israel that her son has celiac. She emailed me back two website, one of them was yours, and since then I started live again. I baked all your bread, and few cakes. I am proud to invite my friend to thanksgiving meal. Thanks to you.

Catcraze said...

Hope you are better soon and out of the dreaded hospital. Thanks for the recipe. It looks like a keeper.

Gluten Free Anna said...

This looks so beautiful and mouthwatering rolled into one!!!

Can't wait to talk Mad Men season 5 with you...


Brad said...

Karina, you are such a gift!! This recipe is awesome, I made it tonight and it's half gone. I loved the GF Soda Bread/Speckled Toad or whatever it is called with raisins. That was great, too. Whole family loved both. I've tried many of your recipes and they are always great (favorite: Peanut Butter Banana Cake and Breakfast Brownies). I hope you win lots of awards, notoriety, prizes, get a show on the Cooking Channel, and have loads of people signed up on your website and more - you deserve it all - you're great!!! Your recipes are delicious!! Easy to follow and make!! Thanks!!!!!!

katshealthcorner said...

I am in LOVE! <3 Your recipes are SO good! Thank you so much!

Justin Nolte said...

Thanks Karina!
"I think two free-range organic eggs, beaten, would work quite well in this recipe
You reply also help me a lot when I try the cakes by myself.

Netty said...

Hi Karina, Thank goodness I came across your Blog while researching Coeliac 'stuff'. I'm anxiously waiting on results of coeliac serology and coeliac genotype blood tests. You are a wealth of information and I will be returning often as I try and get my head around what I need to do to become gluten free. How wonderful that you are sharing your experiences like this. Amazing.
Thank you,

Jen said...

How would you tweak this recipe if you were using a product like PAMELA's for your flour? We love Pamelas and tend to use it b/c of its cup for cup replacement for regular flour in nonGF recipes (only my son is GF the rest of us are not but we eat mostly GF). I would love to know how to tweak your recipes to use Pamela's. Thanks in advance!

Karina Allrich said...

Thank you, Everyone, for your kind comments and feedback.

As for subbing Pamela's gluten-free baking mix, I have had good luck using it as a one-to-one sub for both regular flour and GF flour blends (no need to add xanthan gum). I'd keep the leavening in the recipe, or reduce it in half (usually with gluten-free baking a little extra leavening doesn't hurt, but if you'd rather leave out the extra leavening, know that there is some in Pamela's mix). I only wish Pamela's baking mix didn't contain dairy- or I'd use it myself!

xox Karina

Mercedee said...

Karina, I adapted this recipe, my first of the goddess's, for one of my favorite upside-down pineapple cakes. It was sublime--moist, crumbling off the fork, but firm enough to pierce, savory and sweet, nutty and aromatic. And no one knew the difference!! My family and I are now embarking on an exciting journey through your recipes and wanted to let you know and thank you.

I am like all the others commenting, you and your recipes are a GIFT, not just because you are providing information and techniques to make our lives more liveable, but you're making them TASTE GOOD! I agree with Bonnie, you offer direction and hope and I think, "I can do this."

I realized how frequent my migraines came when I couldn't medicate or alleviate them during my second pregnancy. So I took a blood test and it clearly revealed that I am gluten-dairy-egg-intollerant, and my heart sank. I love food, traditional, slow ones. Our great-grandparents ate wheat, dairy, and eggs and the good recipes have these in them. But this increasingly doesn't look like how it will be for our great-grandchildren: My son suffers from eczema and the same intollerances (turns out he got them from me). It's so difficult to feel alive again in a kitchen full of so many NO's.

I've tried MANY gdef recipes that turn out like a bandaid on a gaping wound. But yours are like healing from the inside out! Because of your thorough research, playfulness, experimentation, and your decision to share it all through your blog, we get to fill our kitchens with YES's. I am so inspired and can't wait to return to more of my favorite recipes, buoyed by yours, to make our lives taste good once again--and, more importantly, FEEL good too.

Much love and gratitude your way, from ours.

Mandi Brown said...

Amazing! I used canola oil instead and added blackberries...made it twice so far, so good. Thanks again! x

Jeniene Bengtsson said...

I love this recipe, however, there seems to be a key ingredient missing from the recipe than what I remember. I think the brown sugar is missing from the list, how much brown sugar was suppose to go into this recipe?

Karina Allrich said...

Hi Jeniene- Yes- thank you for spotting that. In editing some older recipes forward, sometimes a line gets lost. I added it in. 1 cup of light brown sugar is what I currently use. xox

Karina Allrich said...

Thank you so much for your kind words, and for sharing your story. Much appreciated! Be well- xox - Karina

Karina Allrich said...

Love the idea of blackberries! xox

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