I had two jobs in high school. My first job ever was at the local Dairy Queen, serving up swirly Q cones and Blizzards to all of the hungry beachgoers in the summertime. But Dairy Queen wasn’t open all year round. I had to find something else for the winter months, so I snagged a job at the local taco joint. We served all the classics—tacos, burritos, enchiladas, taquitos, and even homemade hot sauce. But what made this shop stand out was the other Tex-Mex fare on the menu, which included the most delectable BBQ pulled pork piled on top of a large slice of jalapeño cornbread.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that BBQ pulled pork dish lately, so I decided to create my own version of it at home. To start, let’s make the base: jalapeño cheddar cornbread.
Now I’m not 100% sure if the cornbread at that taco joint was made with cheddar cheese. I worked at the front counter and only got small glimpses of food being made in the back kitchen.
But when I started researching jalapeño cornbread, I noticed a lot of different versions added in cheddar cheese. Given that I’m a huge fan of jalapeño poppers and all things spicy and cheesy, I liked the idea of the combo, so I decided to add it to my recipe as well.
I know a lot of different cornbreads are made in skillets or in the form of muffins, but when I originally put together this recipe, I was in need of serving cornbread to a large crowd. My friends and I met up for an outdoor potluck dinner a few weeks prior, and because one person was making a large chicken chili (this recipe, actually), I decided a cornbread would make the most sense. Hence why this cornbread makes 16 servings and bakes in a 9×13″ casserole dish. If you don’t have one yet, snag one here.
What to serve with jalapeño cheddar cornbread
I feel like the possibilities are endless when it comes to what you can serve with a slice of jalapeño cheddar cornbread, but if you’re stuck for ideas, here are a few of my favorites:
- Pile on this Instant Pot Spicy Pulled Pork on top of a slice. Don’t have an Instant Pot? This Easy ‘Pop’ Roast will also suffice!
- Serve with a bowl of Sweet Potato Turkey Chili.
- Keep it classically southern with some Crispy Breaded Chicken or some Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
- Toast up a slice with some butter and serve with these Fluffy Scrambled Eggs for an easy brunch. Or even served with slices of this Bacon Veggie Frittata.
- Jambalaya and cornbread also sound like a pretty good combo.
- Prep some cornbread and take it when you go camping—goes great with these Kielbasa Foil Packs!
So yeah, lots of different meals you can enjoy with this jalapeño cheddar cornbread.
Or honestly? My favorite way to enjoy cornbread is simply “grilling” a slice on a pan—slicing it in half and placing it face down in a lot of melted butter. Wait for it to get crispy and serve with a cup of coffee or tea. Or bourbon. Or wine.
Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter plus butter for coating
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups milk preferrably 1% or 2%
- 2 cups cornmeal yellow or white
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp baking powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 jalapeño peppers seeded and sliced thin
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Run a cold stick of butter against a 9×13" casserole dish to coat it. Set aside.
- Melt the 1/2 cup (equivalent to 1 stick) of butter in the microwave.
- Add the melted butter to a large bowl or stand mixer with the eggs and milk. Whisk until combined—about 1 minute.
- Meanwhile, add the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together to combine.
- Sprinkle in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Beat together for another minute, or until the ingredients have all mixed together.
- Fold in the sliced jalapeño peppers and the cheddar cheese using a spatula, until they are mixed together.
- Scrape the cornbread batter into the coated 9×13", then even out the batter using the rubber spatula.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm with butter and/or maple syrup.
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