Healthy Vegan Gluten-Free Cornbread

Top view of vegan cornbread squares on plate next to a glass jar of mango chutney

What else goes better with a nice hearty bean chili or fresh mango chutney than a warm piece of vegan gluten-free cornbread?

Ok, maybe three pieces of cornbread.

Truth be told, if we don’t have much time, we simply cook up some rice to go along with our chili. But whenever we can spare a few minutes (and that’s really all it takes), we quickly mix together 6 basic ingredients to create our super simple and healthy vegan cornbread recipe.

Maybe nothing adds a little coziness to the day like the smell of something freshly baked coming out of the oven.

Traditional cornbread recipes feature ingredients such as butter (animal-based or plant-based), eggs and more than just a hint of added sugar. If you’re just in it for the taste, then that’s fine – but we don’t see a reason why we couldn’t make this a lot healthier and still delicious.

So, while we were in research and creation mode for a recipe that was as whole food plant-based as possible while still being easy and tasty, we had to come up with quite a few swaps.

For our version, we ditched the white flour, the vegan butter, and said goodbye to all of that white sugar. Of course, eggs don’t have a place in a healthy vegan recipe either (hence why this cornbread is also proudly dairy-free).

There’s also no oil. So, what did we actually put in there?

To be honest, if you’re used to traditional, richer versions of cornbread, our recipe might feel a little unfamiliar in the beginning. But hear us out on why we chose these exact ingredients and why we encourage you to try our vegan gluten-free cornbread recipe!

Top view of cornmeal, oat flour, soy milk, applesauce and baking powder next to rosy cloth

Why This Cornbread Recipe Is Eggless

One of the easiest answers here is because this is a vegan, or fully plant-based, blog. We chose to live a vegan lifestyle for both ethical and health reasons over 8 years ago and have enjoyed every second of it!

But we understand that not everyone sees the world from this perspective, so here are some reasons why you should consider going egg-free as well.

Read All 11 Reasons to Go Egg-Free

Instead of wanting to be a real bummer here, we just want to encourage you to try and get real about animal products (in this case, eggs specifically) and look behind the marketing. We personally felt very empowered by this knowledge and could make consumer decisions that were a lot more informed and aligned with our values.

Woman in apron preparing batter for vegan cornbread by pouring plant-based milk into large mixing bowl

Fat-Free Cornbread Made with Applesauce – No Oil?

Another common ingredient in most vegan cornbreads (gluten-free or not) is vegan butter or oil. We get it, more calories per bite make our brains very happy! But ditching these concentrated fat sources along with eggs is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your arteries (and waistline – not implying anything here).

Personally, we got used to cooking and baking oil-free very quickly and now prefer the lighter texture oil-free baking gives us without leaving a greasy residue in our mouths. After finding out about the health implications of oil (even olive oil or coconut oil), we decided to not use it at home anymore.

Full Article: Is Oil Good For You?

The people we cook for never recognize that our dishes are oil-free, by the way. Just as you cannot taste that animal products are missing in well-seasoned meals, the same is true for oil. Our vegan cornbread is made with applesauce, making it fat-free yet still scrumptious and moist. Try it for yourself!

Top view of gluten-free corn bread on parchment paper next to glass jar of mango chutney, rosy cloth and knife

Why You’ll Love Our Gluten-Free Vegan Cornbread

  • Allergy-friendly and crowd-pleasing
  • Egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and fat-free – but not at all taste-free!
  • Moist, crumbly and fluffy
  • Healthy and filling snack
  • Slightly sweet and low in sugar
  • Whole food plant-based and healthy
  • Easy to make in just 10 minutes
  • Perfect for Fall and the holidays

Just 6 basic ingredients and still, the cornbread isn’t plain or flavorless. It is still moist on the inside while having some cracks on top.

We decided to add just some slight sweetness to it, so it can be devoured as either a sweet or savory meal! Works with chili just as well as with some mango chutney or maple syrup.

Easy Sugar-Free Mango Chutney
Woman with white apron cutting freshly baked cornbread into six equal squares

How to Make Vegan Cornbread

Got a medium and small bowl, baking pan and 10 minutes? That’s pretty much all you need apart from the ingredients. We’re all about convenience in our recipes, but that doesn’t have to mean compromising on healthy food!

If you’re used to baking, you know the rule of mixing the wet and dry ingredients separately before combining everything. This goes for our vegan gluten-free cornbread as well. After just a bit of measuring out and stirring, you already have your healthy vegan cornbread batter!

Gluten-Free Cornbread Ingredients

  • apple cider vinegar
  • soy milk
  • applesauce
  • cornmeal
  • oat flour
  • baking powder

Pretty much all of these, apart from perhaps the cornmeal, will be found in a very basic plant-based pantry. If you’re looking for ideas on which vegan staple foods to get so you can create a huge variety of recipes, find our 25 favorite picks below.

Top Vegan Staple Foods
Close up shot with shallow focus of woman holding two pieces of vegan cornbread and spreading a spoonful of mango chutney on top

Whole Wheat & Other Cornbread Variations

If you don’t have any oat flour on hand and don’t require your vegan cornbread to be gluten-free, you can simply use the same amount of whole wheat flour instead. We tried it a couple of times and like it just as much!

You can swap the maple syrup for any other vegan sweetener like brown sugar or cane sugar, agave or stevia (to make it sugar-free). If you decide to go for sugar instead of syrup, you will need to add a tiny bit more liquid, like plant-based milk or water, to the batter.

Should you be used to richer versions of cornbread, you can add more sweetener and let your tastebuds adjust to less sugar over time. Leaving out eggs, butter and oil is much more important to your health!

We sometimes like to create vegan cornbread muffins using our gluten-free and fat-free recipe! Simply divide the batter among 12 non-stick or parchment-layered muffin forms.

This way, they will be a little handier and become a quick to-go lunch option. You could even bring some leftover chili from last night and eat it cold or reheat it in the microwave at work! They make a great team.

Easy Vegan Chili Recipe
Close up of woman holding plate with stacked vegan gluten-free cornbread topped with mango chutney

For a more protein-rich version, you can add some white beans into the mixture while adjusting the flour and soy milk to obtain the right level of wetness.

If you want to get a bit more creative, you can make these jalapeno cornbread muffins from Dianne, create this vegan cream cheese-filled version from Megan, or add some blueberries as Kristina from spabettie did.

More Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes

Do you love vegan baking as much as we do? Try some of these easy vegan bread recipes we’ve collected or check out the following gluten-free plant-based goodness from our blog!

But now, start preheating your oven and find our full recipe for vegan gluten-free cornbread below!

Have you tried our recipe and did you modify anything? Do you prefer it sweet or savory? Let us know on Instagram by tagging usPin for later and feel free to rate the cornbread below.

Close up shot with shallow focus of woman holding two pieces of vegan cornbread and spreading a spoonful of mango chutney on top

Vegan Gluten-Free Cornbread Recipe

Yield: 6 pieces
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This healthy and vegan gluten-free cornbread only requires 6 basic ingredients and is so easy to make! Perfect for sweet or savory snacking, as a Thanksgiving side or to be enjoyed as a fluffy and moist lunch to go. It's dairy-free, egg-free, made with applesauce and super nutritious. Try it with mango chutney or bean chili!

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup soy milk (240 ml)
  • ¼ cup applesauce (60 g)
  • 1 cup cornmeal (120 g)
  • ¾ cup oat flour (90 g)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup of choice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put the apple cider vinegar, soy milk and applesauce in a small bowl and mix with a spoon. If you use maple syrup, add it to the mixture as well. Let sit for a couple of minutes.
  2. Take out an 8 or 9-inch baking pan and line it with some parchment paper if it’s not made of silicone, then preheat your oven to 400 °F (200° C).
  3. Place all dry ingredients (cornmeal, oat flour, baking powder and salt) in a medium bowl and mix with a spoon before adding the wet ingredients. Stir until you have a nice homogenous batter.
  4. Pour mixture into your prepared pan and put it into the oven for 20 minutes. Check with a toothpick to see if it needs longer than that.
  5. Once done, remove the baking pan and let cool for a few minutes using a wire rack. Then cut into squares and serve warm!

Notes

  • You can make your own oat flour by processing rolled oats in a blender.
  • Whole wheat flour instead of oat flour works as well.
  • Feel free to skip the maple syrup or replace it with another vegan sweetener of your choice.
  • Soy milk can be replaced with any other plant-based milk.
  • Instead of applesauce, you can also use a flax egg for binding.
  • The cornbread can also be made into muffins!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 piece
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 662mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 5g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Alena enjoying a bowl of fresh plant-based food and coffe in a restaurant
Alena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.
dark grey spotted bowl with a variety of vegetables next to small bottle of green smoothie isolated on light background

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28 thoughts on “Healthy Vegan Gluten-Free Cornbread”

    • Hi Sofia,
      we don’t want to push the importance of calories and rather have people eat healthy foods until they are satisfied as we find it inaccurate and unsustainable to be counting calories.
      Sorry to not have this info on hand! Feel free to plug it into your favorite tool like cronometer.com
      Best wishes!

      Reply
  1. This recipe looks great! Can you use white whole wheat flour in this recipe? It’s the floor I have and hope to try it out. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Lili,
      thanks for the comment! Though I haven’t tried to do so, pretty sure you can use that type of flour instead. Let us know how it turned out!
      Warmly,
      Alena

      Reply
    • Yes, you could use other plant-based milks here. We just prefer soy milk cause it’s nice and rich compared to most almond or rice milks. I’d recommend something around 35-40 kcal per 100 ml for a similar result!

      Reply
  2. I just tried this recipe and it was delicious, even in the midst of my snafu. I went to mix everything and realized, with a good bit of irritation, that I had forgotten to confirm that I still had applesauce on hand (I didn’t). So in a quick save, I substituted off-the-cuff with a flaxseed egg. Though I was really looking forward to the recipe as posted, I did find out on my ‘hustle’ that the flaxseed egg was a good substitute indeed, in case anyone had wondered.

    In any event, the balance of texture and taste was great. I ate a piece with a bit of vegetable soup. Yummy! Thanks so much for the recipe!

    Reply
  3. Delicious! Had trouble not devouring the entire pan. My substitutions: Masa for cornmeal, 1 T organic brown sugar for maple syrup, 2 flax eggs for applesauce. Hemp milk for soy. Baked in parchment lined cast iron pan.

    Reply
    • You just had me doubt my own recipe, hehe! While typos are certainly possible, I just checked a couple of vegan and non-vegan recipes for cornbread and they all used 1 tbsp for about the same amount of cornmeal and flour. If you’re used to a sweeter cornbread, try some more maple syrup – this will also neutralize any possible bitterness from the baking powder. But like I said, many recipe bloggers agree on the one tbsp :)
      Thanks for the question!

      Reply
  4. You are definitely my go-to place for recipes, thank you so much! <3
    Corn bread is super typical in Brazil, and one of my favorite dishes. We eat it sweet, there, as a cake. I made some tweaks to this recipe, as I had some applesauce that needed to be used, and my blender broke this morning, so I did not have plant milk either.
    Here is my version:
    – 180g applesauce
    – 2tbsp apple syrup (quite typical here in NL, but can sub with any other syrup or sugar)
    – 120g cornmeal (polenta flour)
    – 20g oats
    – 1tbsp baking powder
    – 1tbsp apple cider vinegar
    – 1/4 water
    – 1 (300g) can of sweetcorn, drained
    – 1 pinch of salt (optional)

    I just added to a food processor all the liquids, then the flour and oats, then the corn leaving the corn still chunky. Then I added the baking powder and vinegar for last and pulsed for a coupe of seconds, just to combine.
    Preheated the oven at 200C, left it for 40min (yes, it took 2x the time for my oven).

    Reply
    • awww thanks so much for this wonderful comment! Your version sounds fantastic, I cannot wait to try it some day :)
      Very happy that you like our recipes so much!
      Keep well x

      Reply
    • sorry to read that it was too salty! Perhaps the plant-based milk you used already had a bunch of salt? Yes, you can surely cut back on added salt if you like! Hope the cornbread will turn out better next time :)

      Reply
  5. How about saving the vegan guilt trip for your other blog.
    I raise my own chickens and eggs.
    I am trying to go to a plant based diet and dealing with sanctimonious attitudes of vegans is the biggest put off to the whole process.

    Reply
    • Hi Daniel, great that you’re heading into a more plant-based direction. We feel like the ethics simply can’t be separated from our food choices. Is there any statement in particular that you disagree with? Best wishes, Lars

      Reply
    • Hi Daniel, I understand that maybe you think you’re doing the right thing by raising your own chickens and eggs, but it’s not natural for hens to lay eggs every day, and it’s extremely hard on their little bodies to do so. Hens in the wild only lay a clutch of eggs to reproduce, then they sit on those eggs until they are hatched. When hens in captivity lay eggs, humans come and take those eggs away from them on a daily basis, so then the poor hens have to lay more eggs! The ingredients in eggs are meant to be food for baby chicks to grow, not to clog humans arteries up. The same as cows milk is made for baby cows, not humans.

      Reply
  6. Would love to try this recipe out for Mother’s Day coming up … cornbread is my mother’s favorite 😊 Was wondering how many flax eggs would be needed in substitution for the applesauce ? Recipe looks simple, healthy, and delicious ! Definitely looking forward to making it soon ☺️

    Reply
    • thanks so much for asking! I’d use 1 tbsp of ground flax with 3 tbsp of water for this recipe to replace the applesauce. You probably also need to adjust the ratio of dry to liquid ingredients a bit to create a good cornbread batter – perhaps by adding a spritz more soy milk :)
      Let us know how it turns out!

      Reply
  7. I just took this out of the oven and my daughter and I had to sneak a bite, lol! It’s really quite lovely. I made a few alterations; I upped the vinegar to 1 T, used all-purpose flour, and 1 T sugar instead of maple syrup. I also used vanilla soy milk. I use a toaster oven to bake, so mine went in a 9×7 pan on 350 for 15 minutes. I have to say that we’re not huge fans of super sweet cornbreads, so this one is perfect! I plan on serving it with our vegan chili this evening. The only thing I might do differently next time is add in a can of chopped green chilis per my daughter’s request. :)

    Reply
  8. I am paleo but in occasion eat corn. I also bake with a trifecta of flours: almond, coconut and tapioca as the blend produces a very moist sweet breadv(zucchini or banana). Can you suggest if the blend can be proportionate to the 3/4 cup oat flour?

    Reply

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