With a slightly crumbly, tender crumb and just-sweet taste, this is a truly dreamy vegan cornbread. Baking it up in a preheated cast iron skillet makes for a crunchy bottom crust and out of this world flavour. Woody herbs and homemade vegan buttermilk boost the taste even more here, and there's no need for eggs as the buttermilk and baking powder do all the lifting work.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Flour: use up to 50% whole wheat flour if you'd like a slightly more wholesome cornbread.
- Cornmeal: stone ground is best. Don't use polenta cornmeal, which is very coarsely ground.
- Herbs: woody herbs refers to those with a hard stem, typically perennials. In this recipe we like rosemary and thyme.
- Vegan Butter: you can use margarine if preferred, but a good vegan butter makes a big difference in terms of flavour.
- Add-ins: mix in some chili flakes, cracked black pepper, or 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast for extra flavour.
- Make it gluten-free: use a good blend like Bob's Red Mill, 1:1.
Step 1: make the buttermilk and set aside.
Step 2: mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Step 3: add the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
Step 4: preheat the cast iron skillet and add some vegan butter to the pan.
Step 5: spoon the cornbread batter into the skillet.
Step 6: bake until golden and cool before serving.
- Rest the batter: the batter rests for 15 minutes so that the cornmeal hydrates. This makes an evenly moist vegan cornbread with no dry pockets of dough - don't skip it.
- Use a creamy dairy-free milk: we like soy or oat milk because they best mimic buttermilk. Don't use canned coconut milk.
- Use a seasoned pan: be sure the cast iron skillet is properly seasoned so that it's naturally non-stick. If you're not sure, add parchment paper.
You can bake this in a 10-inch pan (20 minutes) or an 8-inch (for 20-23 minutes). You can also bake it in an 8- or 9-inch square pan for about 20 minutes. Photos show an 8-inch pan, which makes for a nice and thick bread, whereas the 10-inch makes for a thinner bread.
Adding the butter and batter to a hot skillet helps create a nice golden crust and adds a boost of flavour.
Use a stone ground cornmeal for cornbread, not semolina (fine cornmeal), or corn flour. We like Bob's Red Mill. Stone ground cornmeal has more corn flavour, texture, and is adds more moisture than a standard fine cornmeal (which is better to use on a pizza stone, for example).
How to Store Vegan Cornbread
Storage: keep for a few days at room temperature in a sealed container, but it's best fresh.
Freezing: place into an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Is cornbread better in cast iron skillet?
Cornbread is traditionally made in a cast iron pan and it has some real benefits. Baking in cast iron makes for a really nice crisp outer crust, especially when preheated like it is for this recipe.
Should I put parchment paper under my cornbread?
If your skillet is properly seasoned (in other words, it hasn't been washed with soap) then you shouldn't need it. If you're not certain, though, add a round of paper under it as extra insurance.
What can I use if I don't have a cast iron skillet for cornbread?
Feel free to use a regular square baking tin. Grease it very well with butter and don't preheat before adding the cornbread batter and baking.
If you make this Vegan Cornbread recipe or any other vegan recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
- 8-inch (20cm) cast iron skillet
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- Wooden spoon
- 1 cup creamy non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup lightly packed stone-ground cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose white flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons rosemary or thyme, finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons melted vegan butter plus 2 tablespoons for the pan
- Begin by adding the vinegar to the non-dairy milk. Set aside for 10 minutes. This is your vegan buttermilk.
- Place an 8-inch (20cm) cast iron skillet into the oven. Preheat to 400°F (200°C).
- Add the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and chopped herbs to a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine.
- Add the vegan buttermilk and ¼ cup of melted butter to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine. The batter will have the consistency of banana bread.
- Cover and set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes for the cornmeal to hydrate.
- After resting, take the preheated skillet out of the oven. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl it to cover the base of the pan.
- Add the batter, smoothing the top with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until golden and the centre springs back lightly when touched.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Vegan cornbread will keep for a few days in an airtight container, but it's best fresh.