Savory Cornbread with Cheddar & Thyme

5 stars based on 18 votes

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When it comes to cornbread, there are two devout camps: the Southerners and the Northerners, and both are passionate about their cornbread. Southerners, of course, are a bit more opinionated on the matter…cornbread is their specialty and they take it very seriously. I’ve lived most my life in the DC area – right smack in the middle – so I could really go either way.

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There’s nothing quite like a crispy, thin wedge of authentic Southern cornbread from a cast iron skillet, but this savory 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 wonderfully moist, not too crumbly, and has great – albeit subtle – flavor from the addition of corn, Cheddar cheese and fresh thyme.

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I know I’m inviting all kinds of controversy…truth is, there are many shades of gray when it comes to regional cornbread recipes. But suffice it to say, this one is delicious and satisfying, and you’ll love how easy it is to throw together.

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And since you might just be making chili this weekend, this is the perfect thing to serve with it, no matter which camp you’re in.

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Savory Cornbread with Cheddar & Thyme

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


  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels (no need to thaw; just be sure they are not stuck together)
  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 9-inch 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. Leftovers can be wrapped in foil and reheated in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
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Reviews & Comments

  • Has anyone substituted dry thyme for fresh? I realize for a substitution I should use half, but I’m wondering if this would still turn out great, as so many reviews have indicated. Thanks!

    - Laura on April 19, 2018 Reply
    • HI Laura, I love the fresh thyme here but think you could get away with dried. I’ll let other readers weigh in too if they have experience using dried thyme.

      - Jenn on April 19, 2018 Reply
  • Hi! I don’t have a 9” square pan but I do have a metal 8×12 and a glass 9×13 or a 10” and 8” cast iron! Which should I use and how does that alter the baking time?

    - Ellen B on April 10, 2018 Reply
    • Hi Ellen, I’d recommend the 8 x 12 and I think the baking time should be about the same; just keep an eye on it. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on April 11, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is the best cornbread recipe I have ever tried! Moist and flavorful! The sharp cheese was a little too strong for us, so I substituted a Mexican blend shredded cheese and omitted the thyme. We enjoyed it very much!

    - Margaret on March 6, 2018 Reply
  • Would canned corn work in this recipe or would it be better to use frozen? I can easily pick up a bag of frozen but have plenty of canned corn on hand. What do you recommend? Thank you!

    - Jeanette on November 30, 2017 Reply
    • Either is fine, Jeanette. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on November 30, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Really nice cornbread recipe. Cakey but still moist and LOVE the addition of cheese and thyme. Makes a delicious alternative to regular cornbread – works great with Parmesan cheese too.

    - Celia Jiral on June 24, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I can’t find cornmeal in Australia. Would polenta work in your savoury and thyme cornbread recipe, and if so should I make any adjustments? Cheers from Bonnie

    - Bonnie on May 19, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Bonnie, I do think polenta would work, no adjustments necessary. Please let me know how it turns out!

      - Jenn on May 20, 2017 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Hi Jenn, Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! I finally got around to making your Savory Cornbread with Cheddar and Thyme tonight to go with your Best Ground Beef Chili (yummy!), and you were right. Substituting polenta for cornmeal in the cornbread (and as a thickener in the chili) worked perfectly. For others in Australia who can’t find cornmeal, I purchased polenta at Woolworths supermarket. The brand is Macro. It’s simply called ‘Australian Polenta’. It comes in a 450 gram clear bag and is a beautiful yellow colour. And the cornbread was delicious!

        - Bonnie on June 12, 2017 Reply
        • So glad everything turned out well– thanks for reporting back!

          - Jenn on June 12, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. my family loves it considering they think corn breads are tasteless.

    - Jen on February 19, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars


    Made these for our daughter who is gluten intolerant. Would chopping the corn affect cooking times? Everyone loved them!

    Thanks so much.

    - Marie Taylor on September 1, 2016 Reply
    • Glad you like them Marie! No, I don’t think chopping the corn will affect the cook time at all.

      - Jenn on September 1, 2016 Reply
  • 1 stars

    I made this last night and while the taste was nice it was completely raw in the middle. I put it back in to oven at 400 for an additional 20 minutes and it was still wet all the way through the centre.

    - cody on August 17, 2016 Reply
    • I’m sorry you had that experience with the bread Cody! Did you bake it in a 9-inch baking dish?

      - Jenn on August 17, 2016 Reply
  • Sorry I’m confused by your measurements can you please confirm some please. Is it one and a half cups of flour, quarter teaspoon of salt and two and a half tablespoons of sugar? Please clarify because I would love to try this recipe!

    - Montana on June 28, 2016 Reply
    • HI Montana, sorry if you found the measurements to be confusing! It calls for one and a half cups of flour, one and a quarter teaspoon of salt and two and a half tablespoons of sugar. Please let me know if you have any additional questions and hope you enjoy the cornbread!

      - Jenn on June 28, 2016 Reply
      • Thanks so much for the quick response! I’m actually going to make a fried chicken cake & I’m going to use corn bread as the cake!!! Haha really appreciate it, thank you 🙂

        - Montana on June 29, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Great cornbread recipe! I stuck to it pretty close using whole wheat flour ( Gold Medal brand) for all purpose flour and a cast iron skillet smeared with Crisco. I make cornbread but never with tyme and cheese or corn kernels. Simple, quick and delicious! Nice variation from the plain cornbread I usually make. I also made Jenn’s beef chili today to go along with it. Great combo!

    - Duffy on June 19, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is the best cornbread I’ve ever had. I made this tonight with the Chicken Chili recipe on this site and it was a delicious combination.

    - Laura Kargov on January 26, 2016 Reply
  • I made this last night.
    It’s delicious !!
    Never thought cornbread can be so good !!!
    Thank you 🙂

    - Ildi on January 13, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Great with chili 🙂

    - Julie on January 9, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have never had cornbread with so much flavour! All the flavours pair nicely together for a wonderful, moist cornbread. This recipe is delicious and easy to make. Thank you for sharing Jenn!

    - Jennifer on November 20, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is excellent! I used a small amount of the melted butter to grease the glass baking dish instead of the nonstick cooking spray. I also used fresh corn. One ear of corn was enough for three quarters of a cup. A perfect blend of flavors! A nice crusty on the outside and moist and flavorful on the inside.

    - Carol on August 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My garden is happy with a very healthy robust thyme plant this year! Fresh corn
    and farm eggs added to this cornbread
    recipe was just the thing! Yellow
    mellow is this treat. Serve warm and
    bring on the chili!!!

    - Emma Cappelluzzo on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    The depth of flavors was amazing! I served this to house guests for dinner along with your Chicken Chili with White Beans and everyone requested leftovers for lunch the next day! Thank you!

    - Carissa on May 12, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is my ‘go-to’ recipe for cornbread. I love it paired with delicious beef or chicken stew!

    - Nicole on March 26, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My family loved this ! They really liked the savory combination of corn and cheese and the subtle flavour of thyme.

    I thought the bread could have been cooked a bit longer which can be easily done the next time.

    - Deepa on December 7, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely delicious and easy cornbread. The corn, the cheddar cheese and, interestingly, the thyme all set it apart from other cornbreads I’ve tried. Love it and it will probably become my go-to cornbread recipe from now on!

    - Christine on November 21, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is the third cornbread recipe I’ve tried lately and I think I’ve found a winner! I really love the texture of the bread- not as crumbly as other recipes that have equal amounts of flour and cornmeal. I also love the addition of thyme. I know that this will now be my ‘go to’ recipe for a more savoury cornbread. Thanks!
    (I should mention, I did add one grated zucchini as I had some that needed to be used.)

    - LindsayN on July 19, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this recipe recently along with a big pot of improvised no-recipe veggie chili. It was easy, tender, and flavorful. I subbed some chopped scallions and jalepenos for the thyme to give it a kick. This might be my new go-to cornbread recipe!

    - Abby on July 2, 2014 Reply
  • I made this yesterday for dinner and we all LOVED it. This will become a staple for my family. Thank you!

    - DeadChef on January 23, 2014 Reply
  • Hi Jennifer – is it possible to use a cupcake tin rather than a 9″ baking pan? Will it affect cooking time? Thanks!

    - Jackie on November 18, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Jackie, Yes that would be fine and it should cook faster. Start checking at about 15 min. Hope you enjoy and please come back and let me know how they come out.

      - Jenn on November 18, 2013 Reply
  • Wonderful with your beef stew recipe! My kids like it served with honey. I’ve made this several times, it’s perfect when you’re looking for a bread that is more substantial.

    - Julie on November 14, 2013 Reply
  • Made this in my mom’s 65 year old cast iron skillet, served with bbq pork tenderloin and mashed sweet potatoes. Perfectly crisp on the outside, moist on the inside.

    - Julie on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • I also made this to go with chili, and added jalepenos….the bacon sounds like a great idea, too! Loved the cornbread, and I am a true Southerner! 🙂

    - Janice on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • I loved this cornbread–very moist. The 2nd time I made it, I left out the thyme and added some finely chopped green chile and chopped bacon. Good for breakfast. . . can’t say whether it might have been good for lunch, as there were no leftovers!

    - Colleen on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • These are terrific. The thyme is that little something we’ve been missing. Thank you!

    - Amanda on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I made this recently and loved it. Unfortunately I couldn’t eat the whole pan by myself, although I gave it a good try. I actually used an 8 in pan, and increased the baking time a bit, and it still turned out great.

    - Andrew on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • […] serving this with my savory Cheddar & Thyme Cornbread or Cornbread Muffins. […]

  • Hi Elizabeth, Cornmeal is a kind of flour or meal that is made from ground sweet corn. It can be ground course or fine, and is not as soft as flour.

    - Jennifer on December 3, 2011 Reply
  • What is cornmeal exactly? Is it rough like for making porridge r is it fine like flour?

    - Elizabeth on December 1, 2011 Reply
  • I just made this and it turned out super yummy! Served it with some chili that I made last night. I didn’t have fresh thyme or white cheddar cheese, so I used 1 tsp of dried thyme and sharp cheddar cheese. I also just ate 4 pieces.. :-/

    - Brandi on December 12, 2010 Reply
  • I made this for Father’s Day dinner, and have to say it was WONDERFUL. The corn in it, the fresh thyme, everything made it a savory and delicious cornbread. YUM!

    - Julie on June 21, 2010 Reply
  • Hello..i would like to try this out but i have a few questions before..
    do u use US cup or metric cup?
    also i do not have specified pan size, would it be ok if i bake it in a medium size loaf pan?
    plz reply asap because i wanna try this 🙂

    - Naailah on February 16, 2010 Reply
  • my grandpa would have a conniption fit if i served this to him, but i personally don’t mind a fluffy, sweeter, CHEESY cornbread from time to time. beautiful work!

    - grace on February 14, 2010 Reply
  • This cornbread looks insanely delicious. You’re right, this would make a great accompiant to chili.

    I just found your blog and realy enjoy it.

    - jay on February 14, 2010 Reply
  • u use metric cup or US cup? because i am going to convert it in grams

    - Naailah on February 11, 2010 Reply
  • Gosh I just love your pics! Yum! I ma going to try this Thursday! (chili day!)

    - the domestic mama on February 9, 2010 Reply
  • I was making Chicken and White Bean Chili when I ran into your post so I made the cornbread too! Simply PERFECT as a muffin too! I blogged about it here:

    Thank you!!! Trevor.

    - SisBoomTweet on February 9, 2010 Reply
  • I live in Virginia. My mom and her family are all from North Carolina. Yet somehow we all LOVE northern cornbread! We like it sweet, soft, and cakey!! 😀 This looks so delicious!

    - howtoeatacupcake on February 8, 2010 Reply
  • I made this tonight with some black bean soup and they were a great pair. This cornbread is incredibly delicious, so moist and flavorful. I love the whole corn which adds yummy texture. Bravo!!!

    - bethy on February 6, 2010 Reply
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