Healthy Vegan Cornbread (Gluten-Free)

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by Alena Schowalter
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This healthy vegan cornbread is completely gluten-free and requires only 6 basic ingredients! Perfect for sweet or savory snacking, as a Thanksgiving side or to be enjoyed as a fluffy and moist lunch to go. It’s made with applesauce & sugar-free!

What goes better with a nice bean chili, soup or southern BBQ than a warm piece of vegan gluten-free cornbread?

Soft, tender and a little savory, our healthy cornbread recipe adds a lovely touch of flavor and texture to many meals and is amazing fresh out of the oven!

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While traditional cornbread is made with eggs, butter, oil, dairy milk, flour and sugar, our healthy vegan cornbread goes a totally different route!

Some of our swaps for this 6-ingredient recipe include oat flour, applesauce and soy milk to make your own vegan buttermilk.

Intrigued to try it? For more baked goods, check out our buckwheat bread and whole wheat rolls next.

Woman with white apron cutting freshly baked cornbread into six equal squares

Recipe overview

  • Moist, crumbly and fluffy
  • Egg-free, gluten-free & sugar-free
  • Healthy & accessible
  • Easy to make with only 6 ingredients
  • Perfect for the holidays
  • Crowd-pleasing and versatile

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!

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

Ingredients needed

  • Cornmeal — the basis for every cornbread recipe
  • Oat flour — our easy-to-make gluten-free flour
  • Applesauce — great replacement for eggs, oil & sugar!
  • Soy milk — adding some protein & creaminess
  • Apple cider vinegar — helps create vegan buttermilk

Find the exact amounts in the recipe card below. Only salt and baking powder are needed alongside these 5 basic ingredients!

In terms of kitchen equipment, get two bowls, an 8 or 9-inch baking pan, spoon and measuring equipment.

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

How to make vegan cornbread

  1. Make vegan buttermilk by whisking together apple cider vinegar, soy milk and applesauce in a small bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 °F (200° C) and line an 8 or 9-inch baking pan with some parchment paper.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Mix with a spoon, then add the vegan buttermilk and stir until you’re left with a homogenous batter.
  4. Pour into your baking pan and bake for 20 minutes, then check with a toothpick to see if it needs longer than that.
  5. Once done, remove it from the oven and let your vegan cornbread cool for a few minutes before slicing.
Woman with white apron cutting freshly baked cornbread into six equal squares

Storage & serving

This healthy vegan cornbread tastes best straight out of the oven. Any leftovers can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the fridge for 4-5 days.

If you want to freeze it, wrap the individual slices in parchment paper and place them in a freezer-friendly container. Store for 2-3 months and thaw at your convenience overnight in the fridge and warm them in the oven!

Serve your gluten-free vegan cornbread with chili, stews, lentil soup, baked beans, roasted veggies, salad, vegan butter or mango chutney.

It’s great as a Thanksgiving or BBQ side or with other Southern dishes!

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

Tips & replacements

  • Oat flour: use all-purpose, gluten-free or whole wheat flour instead.
  • Maple syrup: add a few tablespoons to make your vegan cornbread sweeter or use agave or sugar instead. If using sugar, add more soy milk.
  • Soy milk: works best when making your own vegan buttermilk! You can use oat or almond instead, though.

Add some neutral oil or vegan butter to the batter if you want to make your healthy cornbread richer!

Make cornbread muffins by dividing the batter among 12 non-stick or parchment-layered muffin forms. Perfect for a grab-and-go lunch!

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

More vegan sides

Try these delicious plant-based recipes next!

Have you tried our healthy vegan cornbread and like it? Let us know in the comments below, leave a rating and Pin it here!

Healthy Vegan Cornbread (Gluten-Free)

by Alena Schowalter
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
This healthy vegan cornbread is completely gluten-free and requires only 6 basic ingredients! Perfect for sweet or savory snacking, as a Thanksgiving side or to be enjoyed as a fluffy and moist lunch to go. It's made with applesauce & sugar-free!
Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups soy milk 480 ml
  • ½ cup applesauce 120 g
  • 2 cups cornmeal 240 g
  • 1.5 cups oat flour 180 g
  • 1.5 tbsp baking powder
  • ½-1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup of choice optional

Instructions

  • Mix apple cider vinegar, soy milk and applesauce in a small bowl with a spoon. If you use maple syrup, add it to the mixture as well. Let sit for a couple of minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 400 °F (200° C) and line an 8 or 9-inch baking pan with some parchment paper.
  • Place all dry ingredients (cornmeal, oat flour, baking powder and salt) in a medium bowl and mix with a spoon. Add the wet ingredients and stir until you have a nice homogenous batter.
  • Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Check with a toothpick to see if it needs longer than that.
  • Once done, remove the baking pan from the oven and let it 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.
  • 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!
Course: Sides
Cuisine: American
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Vegan Cornbread (Gluten-Free)
Amount per Serving
Calories
168
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
3
g
5
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Sodium
 
662
mg
29
%
Carbohydrates
 
32
g
11
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
7
g
8
%
Protein
 
5
g
10
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Hi, I'm Alena Schowalter — a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with my husband, I founded nutriciously in 2015 and have been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages toward a healthy plant-based diet. I enjoy discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature, and creating new recipes. Read more about us here.

47 Comments

    • 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. 5 stars
    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. 4 stars
    I liked the recipe but I found it had a bitter note to it. I wonder what it was? I’d probably make it again anyway.

    Reply
    • I use some that I find locally, there’s no real difference between them just go for the cheapest one if you like :)

      Reply
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
    • for around 15-20 minutes on 325F, make sure to check that a toothpick comes out clean and they don’t get burned :)

      Reply
    • not familiar with your specific kind of vegan milk but soy works especially well when recreating buttermilk (together with apple cider vinegar) — I assume most milk alternatives probably work (apart from canned coconut milk)

      Reply
  10. Hi! I love this recipe, looks easy and delicious (two of my favourite traits for a recipe ????). Just one question, maybe a bit silly, is cornmeal the same as polenta? If not, can I substitute one for the other in this recipe?

    Thanks! xx

    Reply
  11. 5 stars
    So so so good!! Made with the vegan chili and am so stuffed! Thank you so much! Will definitely make this again

    Reply
  12. 5 stars
    Thank you for this vegan recipe without oil. It`s so simple and the cornbread came out moist and nice. I like that that the sweetener is optional also. I look forward to making this again. :)

    Reply
    • After some re-testing, I would actually suggest doubling all of the ingredients when making this cornbread! You might also want to add 2 tbsp nutritional yeast for more flavor :)

      Reply
    • the texture will be a bit different and your choice between fine and coarse grind depends on your preferred texture. Both work when making cornbread!

      Reply

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