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Savory Cornbread with Cheddar & Thyme

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This Northern-style cornbread is cakier than its Southern cousin. It’s the perfect side to any Southwestern or BBQ dish.

Pieces of savory cornbread with cheddar and thyme in a basket.

When it comes to cornbread, there are two devout camps: the Southerners and the Northerners, and both are passionate about their cornbread. I’ve lived most of my life in the DC area – right smack in the middle – so I could really go either way. There’s nothing quite like a crispy, thin wedge of authentic Southern cornbread from a cast iron skillet, but this Northern-style cornbread is just as special. It has a high flour-to-cornmeal ratio, which makes it cakier than its Southern cousin, and it’s made in a cake pan as opposed to a skillet. It’s moist, not too crumbly, and has wonderful – albeit subtle – flavor from the addition of corn, Cheddar cheese, and fresh thyme. I think you’ll enjoy it, no matter which camp you’re in.

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Savory Cornbread with Cheddar & Thyme

This Northern-style cornbread is cakier than its Southern cousin. It’s the perfect side to any Southwestern or BBQ dish.

Servings: 16 2-inch squares
Total Time: 45 Minutes


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 2½ tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • ¾ cup frozen corn kernels (no need to thaw; just be sure they are not stuck together)
  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 9-inch square glass or metal baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar and thyme until well combined. Stir in the corn and cheese.
  3. In a small bowl, break up the eggs with a wire whisk, then add the milk and whisk to combine. Add the wet mixture and melted butter to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon or spatula. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until puffed and lightly golden. Cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack, then cut into pieces and serve warm. Cornbread tastes best when served right out of the oven but leftovers can be wrapped in foil and reheated in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cornbread can be frozen in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, just wrap in foil and warm it in a 350°F oven until hot.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (16 servings)
  • Calories: 199
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 22 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 167 mg
  • Cholesterol: 49 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Hey Jenn- Thank you for your great recipes. They are exceptional. So I just wanted to clarify some things on the cornbread debate. True southern cornbread is not sweet. It is on the salty side. It is used for cornbread dressing, corncakes or just on its own slathered in butter served with or without honey. The sweet version(yankee cornbread) hails from the north. Both are good.

    • — Tanya Kukral on February 8, 2024
    • Reply
  • Can the batter be made several hours ahead if you are taking it to a party and then baked just before serving? Love all your recipes!

    • — Sally Everett on February 8, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Sally, Unfortunately, it won’t work to make the batter several hours ahead as the cornbread won’t rise well when you go to bake it. If you’d like, you can mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another and then combine them and proceed with the recipe when you’re ready to bake it.

      • — Jenn on February 8, 2024
      • Reply
  • Best cornbread I have EVER had! Amazing! Thank you!

    • — KayM on January 13, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hope you can help Jenn. This is a general question, but this recipe is a good example:
    The recipe calls for 1 cup grated cheddar cheese. So does this mean 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese BY VOLUME or 1 cup of cheddar cheese grated BY WEIGHT? I have often searched for the correct interpretation of this, but there seem to be many differing opinions. Obviously 1 cup cheddar cheese (by weight) grated will yield considerably more than 1 cup cheddar cheese grated by volume.

    • — John on November 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi John, It is 1 cup cheese by volume. If you prefer to use weight measurements, there’s a little button in the top right corner of most of my recipes that allows you to convert from cup to metric measurements.

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2023
      • Reply
      • Gotcha. Thanks Jenn.

        • — John on November 23, 2023
        • Reply
  • Holy cow, best cornbread I’ve ever had! This was also my first time making cornbread and it came out way better than I expected (I am not the best at baking I must admit) I made it in my cast iron pan in the oven, and wow the crust was just perfect! Thank you for sharing your recipes, they always come out great <3

    • — Francis on September 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • Instead of milk, would it be okay to use buttermilk instead?

    • — Ann on August 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Ann, I’d stick with regular milk for the best results. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • Very good! Such a nice texture. The addition of the sweetener enhances the other flavors.

    • — Paula on March 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • Using thyme instead of jalapenos is a fabulous twist on cornbread for our family, which usually prefers spicy food. But everyone loved this recipe! Plan to make again for Thanksgiving.

    • — Kit on November 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Super easy and delicious! It was a perfect side for turkey chili.

    • — Anna on October 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • Just made this cornbread for dinner tonight with the in-laws…had to taste one right out of the oven with butter. Yum! Once again, Jenn, you don’t disappoint!

    • — Heather on October 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’m not a great baker, but I made this tonight, turned out great!!! It was easy, tasty, and didn’t stick to the pan!! Totally impressed. Thank you, will look for more of your recipes.

    • — Mandy on June 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi! I have two 8.5×4.5 aluminum loaf pans. Will they work?! Thanks!

    • Hi Robin, I haven’t tried it, but if you divided the batter between the two loaf pans, I think it should work (the loaves may be a little short). Bake time could be a bit different so keep a close eye on them. Please LMK how they turn out!

  • This recipe turned out perfect! I didn’t have fresh thyme so used some dry. Next time I’m adding some chopped Jalapenos (:

  • Made this for Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving. Turned out great both times! I omitted the corn and only used 1.5 tbs sugar. It was a fun twist on the regular stuff. Thanks!

  • I made this tonight and it was amazing with lentil soup. Next time I would add a bit more cheese to give it a stronger taste.

  • Just made this tonight. The flavor was really nice, but it was pretty dry. I think I will try adding some sour cream to the batter next time.

  • Hi Jen:)
    Can I make this earlier in the day and serve at room temp?

    • Sure. Hope you enjoy!

  • I thought the word savory meant no sugar

  • Can you leave the sugar out of the recipe? I don’t like sweet corn bread.

    • Hi Betha, I think you could get away with omitting it or just cutting it in half. Please LMK how it turns out!

  • Very good. The thyme is a nice change. Next time I might try some additional aged cheddar because to bring out more of its flavour. Thank you!

  • I made this cornbread today and it is delicious.I also added chopped pickled jalapeños to it.What I like about it is a small wedge really fills you up.This will be a regular staple this month in my house.

    • — Karen Fleischman
    • Reply
  • This our new favorite go-to cornbread recipe! We love how (dare we say) moist it is, and the texture is cakier than most other recipes. BONUS: The leftovers hold up very well for several days, as compared to a more crumbly, drier cornbread. Excellent recipe, we loved it served with the turkey chili you featured recently. A keeper for sure!

  • Hi, Jenn,
    We absolutely love this recipe. It freezes beautifully and I am so glad that you shared it with us. I usually serve it alongside homemade soups, and so I always freeze the leftovers and have an emergency meal in the freezer! I was wondering about this: I have used white whole wheat flour in lots of baking recipes, and wondered if you thought it would work in this recipe? We are trying to use mostly whole grains these days, but if you don’t think it will work, I will certainly keep on baking this recipe. Thank you!

    • So glad you like the cornbread, Sue! I do think white whole wheat flour would work well here. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • I definitely will let you know. I made this for dinner yesterday, so it may be a few weeks before I bake it again, but I will use the white whole wheat flour and let you know how it goes. Thank you!

      • Hi, Jenn! I finally made this recipe with the white whole wheat flour and also used coarse grind stone ground cornmeal. We loved how it turned out and I will definitely keep on using the white whole wheat flour. Thank you again for your phenomenal recipes and replies to questions. Take care!

        • So glad it worked out — thanks for the follow up! 🙂

  • Loved this recipe. It was simple to make with loads of flavour. The only change I made was to substitute corn for peas (my hubby hates peas). Thanks again!!

  • I made it without cheddar cuz i had none and I added more salt instead. I also used only 2 teaspoons of honey instead of the amount of sugar specified cuz its all I had. And I substituted polenta for cornmeal. My family loved it but i dont like it, I find it a bit bland and the polenta too crunchy. Should I have soaked the polenta in the mixture before putting it in the oven? I should have added sugar or bought a cheese. I live in a place where cheddar type cheeses dont exist. Do you think fresh farmers cheese could work?

    • Hi Lena, I wouldn’t recommend farmer’s cheese here, but if you can access jack or Colby, or Gruyere, any of them will work.

    • Flavour was really nice, the thyme amped it up, however I found it quite dry.

      • — Janet on July 25, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn: The metric tag doesn’t seem to work for this recipe—how much cheese by weight?

    • Sorry about that! I just added the conversions. Hope you enjoy the cornbread if you make it!

    • Can I make this in muffin tins as opposed to cake pan? I don’t want to lose the cake quality. I hate the dryness of most cornbread recipes.

      • Sure, Ann, that’s fine. Hope you enjoy!

  • Very good! I made this recipe exactly as stated except I used salted butter because that is all I had, and I made them into muffins to give some away and keep some! Baked at 400 for about 19min in my oven. The recipe is perfect amount for 12 Regular size muffins. Beautiful, puffy, golden. Delicious warm, slathered with butter with chowder, or cold next day with jam. I will definitely make again. If I am not pressed for time, I may try roasting the corn before adding next time for a deeper corn flavour but its delish as is too! And very easy to make 🙂

  • Can I omit the thyme? I want to serve these with my tortilla soup and I dont think thyme will really pair well with my soup.

  • I wanted a great cornbread to go with my bean soup, and once again, Jenn, you have the best recipe on the planet. I live in Norway and cornmeal is not easy to find, particularly the course cornmeal cornbread calls for. So I improvised and crushed 4 corn-rice cakes and puréed the can of sweet corn, added the cheese and fresh thyme and it was a wonderfully moist cornbread with all the cornmeal flavor I was hungry for. I will never make cornbread the old traditional, dry kind again! You are amazing and I thank you. Tusen takk! #@onceuponachef

    • You’re so welcome! 🙂

  • Jenn, I made the cornbread, as muffins. Muffins were done in 22 minutes. Delicious! The only change I made was to add a quarter teaspoon of ground pepper, just cos we like things a little spicy. This is definitely going to be a go to recipe. Thank you! Chira

    • Wonderful cornbread! Moist, great texture. Nice balance of flavours. First savoury recipe I have made. I will make it again. I think you could change up the herb depending on what you have, for example chives.

  • Do you have any dessert recipe/preferably a simple chocolate cake etc that is eggless?

    • Hi Nidhi, I don’t think I have any cake recipes that don’t require eggs, but a number of readers that avoid eggs have mentioned that they use flax eggs when baking. I would assume many baking recipes would also work with some kind of egg substitute. Hope that helps!

  • Hi Jenn, I’m trying to avoid going to the store these days… if I made it without cheddar, would it still be ok? I know cheddar is in the name… or maybe I could put in a bit of feta? Thank you!

    • Hi Olga, you could get away with omitting it, but I’d add a little more salt to the batter. Please LMK how it turns out!

  • Good recipe but not feeling the corn kernels in the bite …. not really tasting the cheddar and too much thyme for me…

  • Could you sub buttermilk for the milk? I have some to use up. Thanks!

    • I wouldn’t recommend it, Adina — sorry!

    • Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Let sit for 1/2 a minute, stir then use. It is a great substitute for buttermilk! I use this method any time I do not have buttermilk on hand and it works every time!

  • how long should it bake in mini muffin pans?

    • They’ll take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, so to be safe, I’d start checking them at 10. Hope you enjoy!

  • Can I line the pan with parchment paper so it’s easier to lift it out?

    • Hi Beth, I haven’t used parchment for this, but I think it should work. Hope you enjoy!

  • Wanted to like this but it just didn’t hit the mark for me. Flavors of thyme (fresh) and cheddar cheese just didn’t come thru. Sure, texture of the bread of good but lacked flavor for me.

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