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

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  • 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, 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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  • I loved this cornbread last night with soup I made. I didn’t have fresh thyme, so I used dried and it was delicious. No doubt the cheese is what makes this recipe a winner–my husband loved the corn kernels.

    • — Debbie Fischer
    • Reply
  • Is the corn an essential ingredient? Thanks!

    • No, Sarah, it’s fine to omit it. 🙂

  • Hi Jenn,

    Love your recipes! Asking for your cookbook for Christmas! I have a question about oven temps. I would love to make this cornbread and your easy slow-baked BBQ short ribs at the same time, so they both come out warm. The ribs are set at 300, the cornbread is 400. How do you adjust for both, or can you? This type of thing has always confused me! Thanks so much for any advice!

    • Hi Karen, Glad you like the recipes! There’s enough of a temperature discrepancy between the cornbread and the ribs, that I wouldn’t recommend baking them together – I’m sorry! But you can make the cornbread in advance and reheat it a bit right before serving the ribs. Hope that helps!

  • Could this recipe be put into muffin tins instead? Thank you! 🙂

  • I made this recipe last night to go with a pot of Chicken & Chorizo Chili (credit, the Kitchn). Was having guests over and needed something a little more special than a box of Jiffy :-). Anyway, it turned out great. Super texture and I loved the addition of thyme! Although it’s an 8×8 recipe, you get 16 pretty hefty slices from a batch. Also, I live at about 6,000 ft. I made no adjustments for altitude and it still turned out perfectly.

  • Hi! Can i use this recipe into baking corn muffin? If yes, how long should be the baking time and what temp?

    thank you

    • Sure, Rhea – same temp but check them around 18 to 20 min.

      • Thanks for your recipe. I made this into muffin and it taste soo good! I used a whole grain medium grind cornmeal to make it a little healthier for me. Even with the whole grains, this recipe is still soo moist and tasty. Next time, I’ll try to use whole wheat pastry flour.

  • 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!

    • 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.

  • 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?

    • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

    • Either is fine, Jeanette. Enjoy!

  • 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.

  • 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

    • Hi Bonnie, I do think polenta would work, no adjustments necessary. Please let me know how it turns out!

      • 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!

        • So glad everything turned out well– thanks for reporting back!

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

  • Jenn:

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

    Thanks so much.

    • Glad you like them Marie! No, I don’t think chopping the corn will affect the cook time at all.

  • 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.

    • I’m sorry you had that experience with the bread Cody! Did you bake it in a 9-inch baking dish?

    • I have the same problem. After 35 minutes still raw in the middle. I even made sure I add extra flour when I mixed it as it looked a bit sloppy. Still in the oven now after 50 minutes and raw….Let’s see how it turns out after a couple of hours.

  • 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!

    • 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!

      • 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 🙂

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • I made this last night.
    It’s delicious !!
    Never thought cornbread can be so good !!!
    Thank you 🙂

  • Great with chili 🙂

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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!

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.)

  • 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!

  • I made this yesterday for dinner and we all LOVED it. This will become a staple for my family. Thank you!

  • Hi Jennifer – is it possible to use a cupcake tin rather than a 9″ baking pan? Will it affect cooking time? Thanks!

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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! 🙂

  • 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!

  • These are terrific. The thyme is that little something we’ve been missing. Thank you!

  • 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.

  • […] 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.

  • What is cornmeal exactly? Is it rough like for making porridge r is it fine like flour?

  • 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.. :-/

  • 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!

  • 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 🙂

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • u use metric cup or US cup? because i am going to convert it in grams

  • Gosh I just love your pics! Yum! I ma going to try this Thursday! (chili day!)

    • — the domestic mama
    • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!!!

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