These gluten-free corn muffins taste just like you remember! This easy cornbread muffin recipe is dairy-free and refined-sugar-free as well. Try them for yourself, and see how they make the perfect side dish for a backyard BBQ, Thanksgiving feast, or regular Sunday Supper.
Allow me to tell you something you already know: This year, Thanksgiving may look a bit different.
Finding the right balance between traditions, lasting memories, and safety is no easy feat. In a stream of endless questions I asked since March, the only clear answer I found is that there are no clear answers — you simply have to do the best with the information provided.
This holiday season, I’m not sure how many family members will gather around my Thanksgiving table. However, in an effort to establish a bit of normalcy and nostalgia, I’ll serve the same classic Thanksgiving sides and mains on that table. (Psst! If your gathering is smaller this year, I have a small-batch Thanksgiving menu perfect for 3-4 people.)
Cornbread has always been, will always be, one of my favorite Thanksgiving sides. Below, I recreate classic cornbread muffins into a gluten-free, refined-sugar free version, to make the perfect compliment to your holiday feast.
How To Make Gluten-Free Corn Muffins
To make gluten-free corn muffins, start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with coconut oil or cooking spray, and set aside (alternatively, you can line the tin with paper liners).
In a large bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients, including your gluten-free flour, one cup cornmeal, corn flour, baking soda, and a fourth teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, combine your wet ingredients, including three-fourths cup milk (I recommend full fat canned coconut milk, but scroll down to the FAQ section below for some alternative options), unsalted butter (or ghee, or coconut oil for dairy free), honey, and lemon juice.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use a hand mixer to mix until well combined. Pour the batter into a dozen muffin cup liners, then place the baking pan into the oven.
Bake for roughly 12 minutes, or until your cornbread muffins rise and become slightly crispy on top. Your cornbread muffins should be golden brown, and pass the toothpick test. Remove from the oven, and allow your muffins to completely cool before removing them from the tin.
If you try to transfer your muffins to a wire rack too early, your muffins may fall apart. Letting them set up in the pan after baking makes them sturdier and able to withstand the transfer to the baking pan, and to your mouth!
Recipe FAQs: Tips for Gluten-Free Corn Muffin Recipe Success
If this is your first time making gluten-free cornbread, you may have a few questions. Below, I include substitution suggestions and answers to frequent reader questions.
- Can you substitute the gluten-free flour for almond, tapioca, or rice flour? Ideally, no. In gluten-free baking, each type of flour plays a different role when it comes to the structure, form, and moisture distribution of the final result. Gluten-free all purpose flour blends contain structural agents that take the place of gluten (usually, it’s xanthan gum), which help the muffins keep their “sky high” height. If you absolutely must avoid GF flour blend, you can replace the gluten free all purpose flour called for in the recipe with 1/2 cup blanched almond flour plus 1/2 cup arrowroot flour (starch).
- Can you substitute the coconut milk? Yes. Whole milk is the best substitute, if you tolerate dairy, but you can also use other non-dairy milks like almond milk or oat milk, although the lower fat content will make the muffins slightly less rich. Do not use buttermilk or sour cream as a substitution.
- Can you substitute baking powder for baking soda? No. Contrary to what some (bad) advice may say, a tablespoon baking powder can not be used in place of an equal amount of baking soda, or vise versa. They produce different chemical reactions because baking powder is a basic ingredient (basic on the pH scale, that is, meaning it reacts with acid in the batter to produce a leavening reaction), whereas baking powder is baking soda already mixed with an acid – typically cream of tartar – which produces the same leavening reaction in the batter, but in different proportions. Long story short: DO NOT SUBSTITUTE!
- Do you recommend a certain brand of gluten-free flour? Yes — both Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Flour have excellent gluten-free flour blends.
- Can you substitute fresh corn kernels for cornmeal? No. I recommend sticking with stone-ground cornmeal over fresh corn kernels, as it could throw off the consistency of the muffin batter. I also don’t recommend adding fresh corn kernels to the batter, in addition to the cornmeal, since it will add a lot of extra water to the muffins. Nobody likes a soggy bottom, as we all know.
- Can this recipe be made dairy-free? Yes. Simply use coconut oil or ghee instead of melted butter. I do not recommend using a fat that is liquid at room temperature, such as vegetable oil, avocado oil, or olive oil.
- Can this recipe be made vegan? Technically, you could substitute two flax eggs for the whole eggs, but I haven’t tried it, so I can’t vouch for the results.
- Are these cornbread muffins sweet? I think the sweetness is perfectly balanced in this recipe. However, if you’re someone who enjoys very sweet cornbread, you can add any granulated sweetener, such as coconut sugar, maple sugar or white or brown sugar (cane sugar).
- Can these cornbread muffins be transformed into mini muffins? Of course. If you have a mini muffin tin laying around, feel free to use it. However, the baking time will be shorter, so be sure to check your muffins at roughly 10 minutes.
- How can I jazz this corn muffin recipe up a little? You can top your muffins with sliced jalapenos, shredded cheddar cheese, or serve with a side of honey butter.
If You Enjoy this Cornbread Muffin Recipe, You May Also Like:
This cornbread recipe works well for breakfast, as a BBQ side dish, or as the prelude to your Thanksgiving feast. If you or your family devoured these muffins, here are several other ACB recipes you might enjoy:
- Gluten-free skillet cornbread: This gluten-free cornbread is made in a cast iron skillet, requiring very little clean-up in your kitchen. Naturally sweetened, gluten-free, and with a dairy-free option, it’s the perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving table.
- Gluten-free cornbread with cranberries: If you prefer a sweeter cornbread, this is the best cornbread recipe for you. Made with coconut sugar, maple syrup, and fresh cranberries, this recipe comes with a burst of sweetness, color, and flavor.
- Paleo and low-carb biscuits: If you follow the paleo diet, you may be searching for a corn-free cornbread. These grain-free biscuits are as close to cornbread as you can get without using cornmeal. (Plus, if you look at the nutrition facts, you’ll see it contains far fewer carbohydrates.)
Enjoy These Gluten-Free Corn Muffins at the Holidays
In 2020, we may be gathering around computer screens rather than gathering around the table. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a wonderful holiday with family and friends.
I encourage each of you to make your favorite recipes throughout the holiday season. These gluten-free corn muffins are the perfect compliment to your Thanksgiving table — no gluten, dairy, or cornbread mix in sight.
- 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour blend (see note for substitution information)
- 1 cup coarse-ground cornmeal
- 1/2 cup corn flour (masa)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk, well-mixed
- 1/2 cup butter, ghee, or coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly grease or line a 12-cup muffin pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour blend, cornmeal, corn flour, baking soda, and salt until well-combined. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the coconut milk, butter (or ghee, or coconut oil), honey, and lemon juice until well combined.
- Pour the wet (eggs, etc.) mixture into the dry (flours) mixture and stir just until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated.
- Divide the batter between the 12 compartments of the prepared baking pan.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until muffins are risen and cracked on top.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan before handling. If you remove them from the pan too soon, they may crumble.
- You can replace the gluten free all purpose flour called for in this recipe with 1/2 cup almond flour + 1/2 cup arrowroot flour (starch). YOU MUST USE BOTH. The muffins will be slightly shorter than they appear in the photos, since GF all purpose flour blend contains ingredients that help them hold their rise, but they will still taste great.
- Store leftover muffins in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Warm slightly before serving.
- Or, store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 262Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 202mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 4g