Jalapeño Cornbread

In the South, we like it hot! I’m not talking about the weather here, but our food: cornbread, BBQ sauce, soups—just about everything. We need a little spice! That even extends to our cornbread. If you like it with a kick, this buttermilk jalapeño cornbread is for you.  

Jalapeno cornbread slice from cast iron skillet
This cheesy buttermilk jalapeño cornbread is moist and flavorful with a hot-pepper kick.

We can grow jalapeños and other peppers down here like it’s nobody’s business. At my house we love to eat them stuffed, as in these jalapeño poppers and stuffed bell peppers. If we grow more than we can eat, we can them in preserves like my favorite red pepper jelly. Sometimes, we just eat hot peppers by themselves as a side!

Southern Style Cornbread: Savory or Sweet?

Cornbread is actually a subject of heated—no pun intended—controversy in the South. Some like their cornbread savory (with or without a jalapeño kick), and some like it sweet. Opinions differ on whether cornbread should ever have sugar in it. I like both the slightly sweet and purely savory versions, myself.

Cornbread in skillet and with butter on top
Cooking Sweet Cornbread in an Iron Skillet gives a nice color and crust to the cornbread.

I’ve posted my sweet cornbread recipe here. It’s made with what my Granny called “sweet milk.” With a minimum of sugar, I tried to mimic the Jiffy Brand cornmeal that my grandmother used for her Thanksgiving Dressing. (She occasionally used Martha White, but always the yellow cornmeal.)

There are occasions in the South to use sweet cornbread, and some of them are when making Thanksgiving dressing or oyster dressing. Sweet cornbread is also great simply crumbled up in homemade chili.

Southerners that don’t prefer their cornbread sweet are usually die-hard, no-sugar-in-savory-food-ever kind of people. The recipe below is for them.

Cheesy Buttermilk Jalapeño Cornbread – a Savory Mixture of Flavors

That brings me to another way we enjoy our jalapeño peppers: baked into a savory, spicy buttermilk cornbread.

Jalapeños give cornbread that umph that it needs, making it perfect for me to eat as my meal. I’ll get a big piece, half it through the middle, slather it will butter, and eat it like a slice of pizza! 

My jalapeño cornbread recipe follows below. But first, here are some general tips for the perfect savory cornbread.

ears of corn on wooden surface

Stacy Lyn’s Cornbread FAQ

Cornbread is a great make-ahead dish! Here are some general tips for preparing and freezing recipes like this jalapeño cornbread.

What kind of cornmeal is best for cornbread?

Any cornmeal will do, but I like Martha White cornmeal. You’ll just want to make sure whatever cornmeal you use is fresh.

How do you make cornbread flavorful and moist?

In this jalapeño cornbread recipe, it’s all about the tangy buttermilk and cheddar cheese. Both ingredients add moisture as well as flavor. 

A savory-spicy cornbread like this one definitely doesn’t need any sugar. It’s a little tart from the buttermilk and salty and moist from the cheddar cheese, pairing beautifully with the spiciness of the jalapeños.

How do you freeze cornbread?

Often, I make a double batch of cornbread and freeze one entire skillet or muffin tin full. After the cornbread comes out of the oven and cools a bit, I just wrap it with plastic wrap several times, then in tin foil. Then I label it to make sure we eat it within three months.

When you are ready to use frozen cornbread, first thaw it out on the counter. When it’s unthawed, unwrap it and place it on a cookie sheet. Then place the cornbread in a 200-degree oven until it is warmed through.

Can you make cornbread muffins instead of using a cast-iron skillet?

Making muffins is an excellent way to prepare this jalapeño cornbread. Use the same recipe and pour the batter into muffin tins. Follow the same instructions as the skillet cornbread, but remove it after 10-12 minutes, or when your cornbread muffins begin to brown. 

Whenever I am going to freeze cornbread, I prefer making them into muffins, putting them in a ziptop bag, and pulling out only the amount I need for each meal. 

What do you serve with cornbread?

Almost every dinner in the South will work well with cornbread. However, there are some meals I just won’t serve without my cornbread. My stepdad will not even eat certain foods without it! 

Cornbread pairs beautifully with collard and turnip greens, beans, soups, and any kind of chili. Try it with these dishes:

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If you haven’t tried my Southern Fried Cornbread recipe, I hope you’ll check it out!

Stacy Lyn’s Jalapeño Cornbread Recipe

Jalapeño Cornbread

This cornbread is great with just about anything, but especially soups, chili, and the like. The corn kernels give the cornbread extra texture that complements any dish. Note: If you are having a large crowd, you can double the recipe. You may have to leave it in the oven a little longer than the recipe calls for. To check for doneness, stick a toothpick into the center of the cornbread. If it comes out clean and the top is golden brown, it is ready.
Course Bread
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 12
Calories 124 kcal


  • ¼ cup bacon drippings or the same amount of a vegetable oil
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • ½ cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 jalapeno chile, minced and seeded
  • 1- cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Heat drippings in 9” skillet until sizzling hot.
  • Meanwhile, combine sour cream, buttermilk, eggs, corn, and chile in large bowl. Stir in cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Pour dripping from skillet into cornbread mixture and mix well. The drippings should sizzle when it hits the batter. Pour batter into skillet.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.


Calories: 124kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 5gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 283mgPotassium: 89mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 210IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 124mgIron: 1mg
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