Brown Butter, Honey and Jalapeño Skillet Cornbread

Brown butter, honey, jalapeño and fresh corn cornbread -

I kind of hate myself for publishing another summer recipe that requires the oven. I hope you don’t hate me for it (but I understand if you do).

After 26 years in Oklahoma, I associate August with oppressive, unrelenting, oven-banning, 100-plus degree heat. And sweat. I don’t know if you can see the picture of me in the sidebar right now, but I have a whole lot of hair on my head. I feel like I’m wearing a wool turban at all times, which is to say that I’m not so cute when it’s 100 degrees outside. I’m mostly just cranky.

cornmeal muffin ingredients

The past two summers in Kansas City have been pleasant by comparison. This summer in particular has been gloriously mild. It’s seventy-eight degrees outside right now!

I don’t hate summer up here. I actually like it. No, I love it. I love the long days, the sunshine and the infectious energy in the air. This week, I got a hankering for some cornbread and turning on the oven didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Why not?

peppers and corn cornbread batter

Now, I know that Northerners and Southerners have conflicting opinions about how cornbread should taste. The cornbread I grew up eating in Oklahoma came from a blue box, so I don’t feel qualified to join the debate. As such, I came up with my own ideal cornbread.

Here it is: brown butter and honey skillet cornbread studded with summer peppers and fresh corn from the cob. It boasts crispy edges and a balanced sweet-and-savory flavor. I have a whole skillet’s worth to myself. Ha!

brown butter and peppers

Feel free to play with this recipe to turn it into your ideal cornbread. The cheese in this cornbread is just an accent flavor, so if you want legitimately cheesy cornbread, double the cheese. For sweeter flavor, increase the sweetener to 2/3 cup. Next time I make this cornbread, I’ll go the extra mile and roast my corn and peppers in the oven beforehand (tossed with a little olive oil and salt) for some caramelized flavor. For basic cornbread with extraordinary texture and flavor, just skip the fresh corn and peppers.

Whatever you do, don’t reduce the amount of butter. I firmly believe that cornbread, like brownies, should contain high quality ingredients, exceptional flavor and plenty of butter. Great cornbread or bust!

pepper and cheese cornbreadBrown butter, honey, fresh corn, pepper and cheese cornbread - cookieandkate.comcornbread slice

Brown Butter, Honey and Jalapeño Skillet Cornbread
5.0 from 7 reviews
Recipe type: Quick bread
Cuisine: Southern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 to 12
Brown butter and honey cornbread baked in a cast iron skillet for crispy edges. This cornbread features fresh summer corn, bell pepper and jalapeño.
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups medium grind cornmeal, preferably stone ground
  • 1½ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour or flour of choice
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Few twists' freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup shredded Jack or cheddar cheese, divided (for cheesy cornbread, use 1 cup cheese)
  • 1½ cups buttermilk (or 1 cup plain yogurt mixed with ½ cup water)
  • ½ cup honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large corn on the cob, shucked (to yield about ¾ to 1 cup corn kernels)
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 medium jalapeños, ribs removed and finely chopped
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the middle of the oven. Place the stick of butter in a 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet or 9-inch square baking dish and place in the oven to melt for the next 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and black pepper. Stir in about half of the cheese. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, honey and eggs until smooth. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until moistened through.
  3. When the butter is melted and golden brown but not burnt, carefully remove the sizzling skillet from the oven and swirl to coat with butter. Add the corn kernels and chopped peppers to the skillet, stir and let them sizzle for about 30 seconds. Pour the entire contents of the pan into the batter and stir just until incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into the hot skillet or baking pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Return the skillet to the oven and bake until the bread is brown around the edges, springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs, 25 to 35 minutes. Invert the bread onto a wire rack to cool. Slice into squares or wedges. Serve with more butter, preferably salted, on the side.
Recipe adapted from my cranberry maple skillet cornbread, which was adapted from Aida Mollenkamp's Keys to the Kitchen: The Essential Reference for Becoming a More Accomplished, Adventurous Cook.
Make it gluten free: I suspect that using a gluten-free flour blend in place of the whole wheat flour would make some great cornbread. Please let me know if you try it.
Serving suggestions: I think this cornbread would be a pretty epic accompaniment to my butternut chili, sweet potato chili, spicy black bean soup or tortilla soup.
Storage suggestions: This cornbread should keep well in a sealed container for a couple of days. For longer-term storage, store slices in a freezer-safe bag in the freezer. It should keep well in the freezer for a couple of months.
Change it up: Sub maple syrup for the honey. Play around with the mix-ins. Add more cheese. You can't go wrong here.
Recommended equipment: 12-inch cast iron skillet.



  1. says

    Nothing beats a good cornbread recipe. And if there are leftovers, I love it for breakfast! Definitely worth turning on the oven for :)

  2. says

    I definitely understand the concept of unrelenting summer heat. During the summer months in Australia, I try to use the oven as little as possible (as every time I turn the oven on in my apartment, I feel like I’m in a sauna). BUT… in saying that, this cornbread looks wonderful enough to endure the heat. I love a bit of jalapeno heat in my cornbread and those crispy edges… ah! Yum!! Definitely making this as soon as I get home. P.S I have missed so much goodness here Kate!!! Sporadic internet access (and no kitchen – sad face. I am craving salads!) have made blogging super hard!! xxx

  3. says

    Based on the ingredients, I think I’d adore your version, Kate! I have to admit that I didn’t have my first taste of cornbread until I was in my early 20s – clearly I am not from the South! But I totally don’t mind oven recipes right now because it’s unseasonably cool here (as in it hasn’t been much warmer than about 70 degrees this week) and I strongly dislike being cold. Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. says

    That looks amazing! I agree, cornbread with lots of buttery goodness is the best. I love the use of honey AND browned butter in here, sounds like the ultimate quick bread treat. :)

  5. Corbett says

    I’m from Tulsa and live in Kansas City now too! Found your site recently and am excited to try this yummy cornbread!

  6. says

    Can’t wait to make this. It looks like a meal ; ) My Mother, who is from the south, made cornbread in the oven in her cast iron skillet or stove-top in same skillet – pouring and flipping pancake style. The stove-top was definitely the preferred method if she wasn’t heating the oven for anything else, or if it was hot. I love both styles, but especially love that the pancake cornbread had lots of crusty edge goodness.

  7. says

    In a world of seemingly constant engagements/weddings/baby showers (I guess that’s your twenties for ya), it’s always nice to be reminded that single lady status does have its perks. Whole skillet of cornbread to myself? YES, PLEASE.

  8. Tess says

    Yummm, the flavours in this corn bread sound so amazing! Beyond the tempting jalapeño/browned butter/honey combo, the fresh corn sounds like such a delicious addition, even more so roasted first. You are great, thanks for this recipe!

  9. says

    I am completely unqualified to judge cornbread as an Aussie, but when it involves brown butter, honey, corn and jalapenos it must be good!
    I can’t wait to make this with some fresh summer corn and serve it up with some chilli, or maybe just on it’s own with some extra butter for a summer-deck lunch.
    Also, even though I live in one of the warmer places in the world (we are all about 100+ days here in summer) I have no problem sweating in the name of a glorious baked good :) Thanks for the recipe Kate!

  10. Kim says

    We are cornbread LOVERS here on Long Island… can’t wait to try this one, and yes, worth turning the oven on for!!!! Thanks!

  11. says

    I love coming here and looking at your pretty photos of tasty food! This is great cornbread. All those veggies must add amazing texture and flavor! I wouldn’t have thought of it myself and I love it!

  12. says

    First of all, it’s been far too long since cornbread has appeared in this kitchen, which is something that obviously needs to change… especially if it’s cooked in cast iron! Bravo.

    And now to a more technical question: How did you tweak your EasyRecipe plugin to feature the same font and style as the rest of your blog posts? I am working to implement a blog as part of my website, and couldn’t get the plugin to generate a recipe “card” that fit well aesthetically. Ended up deleting it; however, if there’s a back-end tweak or something you can recommend to achieve the clean, simple look you’ve managed to achieve, it might get a second chance. Any suggestions you have are greatly appreciated. Thanks, Kate, and cheers!

    • says

      Hey Heather, Easy Recipe has a live formatting option that makes it pretty easy to adjust the display of the recipes. I think I had to edit some CSS in the Easy Recipes settings to make it look just the way I wanted it to, though.

  13. Sue Smith says

    Your cornbread looks and sounds delicious! I live in Florida so have eaten it all my life. The only thing I will leave out is jalapeños. I will use jack cheese for a kick flavor. Thanks for the recipe. Cast iron is really the only way to cook GOOD cornbread!

  14. says

    I made this last night! I only put jalapenos in half (put them on the bottom with the corn then poured the batter over them). It turned out great, everyone loved it!

  15. says

    Hi Kate!

    I’ve only ever made sweet cornbread – never tried adding in savory ingredients to the cornbread I make so far..

    But, I’ll be sure to keep your recipe in mind for when the savory mood strikes!!

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