Fresh Corn Cornbread with Roasted Jalapeños

Last weekend we celebrated porkapalooza. I roasted a large shoulder low and slow and then we ate pulled pork sandwiches 3 days in a row, finishing it off with a peach pie. Cornbread is a must-have side for this dish and Cook's Illustrated happened to have a recipe in the July issue. I decided to give it a try.

Since it was my first cornbread adventure (and Cook's Illustrated is almost always a solid starting point), I decided to follow their recipe pretty closely. My first attempt was with sweet white corn, the second with yellow corn, and both times I threw in some roasted jalapeños for good measure.


The Cook's recipe makes respectable cornbread. Rob and I ate the bread fresh and out of the freezer (fresh is preferable), and neither of us felt compelled to chuck it on the floor. That being said, this dish falls into the "remix" category for me. I've already tweaked the "Ingredients" section and plan to make a couple additional changes in the coming weeks. I'll be sure to link back in future posts when I update the notes.


Here are some of my tweaks:

  • Corn: The sweet white corn made a tasty bread but wasn't "corny" enough. The yellow corn was corny but the finished product wasn't sweet enough. I've increased the sugar to 3 tablespoons and might push it up to 1/4 cup depending on the sweetness of the corn. Another option is to do a 50/50 corn mix to ensure that I get both the sweetness of the white and great color and flavor of the yellow.
  • Butter: I've seen a full stick of butter in several recipes so the CI version could probably handle an additional tablespoon or two. Butter is always a good idea and brown butter is an even better idea.
  • Honey: Honey might be a nice alternative for some of the sugar.
  • Flour: I'm going to sift the flour next time to see how that impacts the texture.

Jalapeños at Peacock Family Farms - Santa Monica Farmers Market

Ingredients (Adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

  • 1 1/3 cups (6 2/3 ounces) stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 kosher flake salt or 1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
  • 5 ears of corn, kernels cut off of the cobs (about 2 1/4 cups) Note: 3 white and 2 yellow is probably a nice mix. If all you can find is white that's probably fine. Yellow corn seems to have fallen out of favor and is harder to locate.
  • 6 tablespoons of butter, cut into 6 pieces + 1 tablespoon for buttering the dish
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs + 1 large yolk
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup roasted jalapeños Note: If you haven't roasted peppers before there are some good photos and instructions on this page. I always line the tray with foil, and when I move the peppers to the plastic bag I leave them wrapped in the foil so that the hot food doesn't come into contact with the plastic.

Instructions (Adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat to 400.
  • Cut the corn kernels from the cob. Note: An easy way to do this is to stand the corn up on one end in a bowl and then use a large knife to shave the cob. This prevents the kernels from flying all over your kitchen.
  • Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  • Puree corn in a blender or food processor until smooth. Cook the corn puree in a non-reactive saucepan until thick and reduced by half. Stir constantly.
  • Off the heat add 6 tablespoons of butter and whisk until combined.
  • Add buttermilk and then whisk.
  • Add the eggs + yolk, jalapenos, and then whisk.
  • Use a rubber spatula to fold your buttermilk corn mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Put a 9x9 dish (or cast-iron skillet if you have one) in the oven with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Once the butter is melted take the pan out, scrape the batter into the pan, and then smooth the top.
  • Bake for around 25 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean. Note: I read somewhere that the internal temperature of the center should be 185 degrees. I prefer hard numbers to toothpicks and plan to measure next time.
  • Rest the cornbread for 5 minutes, remove it from the pan, and then place on a wire rack to cool until warm. Note: Both times I made this recipe I somehow forgot to remove the cornbread from the pan. My finished product may have been a little dry because of it.


Loosely cover with parchment and foil and leave out at room temperature for up to 2 days. Gently refresh the bread in the microwave or oven.

Related Posts