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Easy Gluten-Free Corn Muffins (Dairy-Free)

Easy gluten-free corn muffins which are toothy and slightly sweet. Perfect with a generous drizzle of honey, or to accompany a cozy bowl of chili con carne. Make a batch of muffins in just 30 minutes, and serve them as a side dish or appetizer at your Thanksgiving table, or an anytime snack. Dairy-free too.

A half-eaten muffin with other muffins on a wooden board.

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My Love for Cornbread

I tried cornbread for the first time at Tony Roma’s, a restaurant in Singapore my family and I used to go to for special occasions when I was a little girl.

I loved the fact that each meal would come with a cornbread muffin, and the toothy bite from the grainy cornmeal texture was something I came to enjoy.

In fact, one of the first recipes I made when I began cooking more almost a decade ago was cornbread – and since then I’ve experimented with quite a few recipes.

From gluten-free skillet cornbread, to jalapeño cornbread, to rosemary cornbread, and even cornbread madeleines.

And of course, we can’t forget these cornbread muffins, which are the reason for my love for cornbread.

cornbread in a cast iron skillet
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Top-down view of gluten-free corn muffins in muffin liners on a wooden board.

What is Cornbread?

If you aren’t familiar with cornbread, it’s basically any quick bread made with cornmeal (ground raw corn grains) and leavened with baking powder (instead of yeast).

It’s a Native American cuisine that is very popular in the USA, but it is considered a cornerstone in Southern cuisine and is usually eaten with barbecue or chili con carne.

Cornbread made in the South is made with little or no sugar, and smaller amounts of flour, while Northern cornbread tends to be sweeter and more cake-like. Cornbread is also often crumbled and made into cornbread stuffing for stuffed turkey during Thanksgiving.

Mostly, cornbread is made either in a cast iron skillet or casserole dish. Occasionally, cornbread is also made in muffin form, and is eaten as a snack or served as an accompanying side dish (and in my opinion, it’s the perfect addition to any meal!)

Cornbread muffins on a wooden board.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Simple Ingredients: All you need to make these gluten free cornbread muffins are a handful of ingredients (mostly pantry staples) that you might already have (and if you don’t, they’re easily available – nothing fancy here!).
  • Easy to Make: This is a foolproof recipe that even novice bakers can make. Simply mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients to get the batter, which you then transfer to a muffin pan and bake! An entire batch of these healthy cornbread muffins can be made in just 30 minutes, so if you’re hungry and want a quick snack, this is what you’re looking for.
  • Perfect Taste and Amazing Texture: These gluten-free cornbread muffins have just a touch of sweetness, and while the recipe has equal parts flour to cornmeal, the overall texture is still coarse and grainy that way cornbread should be.
  • Totally Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free: Made with gluten-free all-purpose flour and almond milk (instead of normal dairy milk), these cornbread muffins are totally gluten-free and dairy-free, but you wouldn’t even know it! This means that those who have Celiac disease, or have gluten or lactose intolerances can enjoy them without worries!

Ingredients You’ll Need:

Here’s a visual overview of the ingredients required for this gluten-free corn muffin recipe.

(For exact measurements, please scroll down to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.)

Labeled ingredients for gluten-free corn muffins recipe laid out on marble board.

Ingredient Notes/Substitutes:

  • Cornmeal: You can use my recipe for homemade cornmeal (ready in just minutes) or use storebought yellow cornmeal if you prefer!
  • Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour: I like to use a gluten-free flour blend that is made with lighter flours such as rice flour, potato starch starch and corn starch, and that already has xanthan gum (replacement for gluten) in the mix. I do not recommend using a flour blend made of heavier flours such as bean flours.
  • Xanthan Gum: Xanthan gum is the replacement for gluten in gluten-free flours, and helps to bind the ingredients together. If your gluten-free flour blend does not include xanthan gum, make sure you add it in for best results.
  • Baking Powder: In this case, these cornbread muffins use baking powder as the only leavening agent, so make sure you add it in to help the muffin batter rise. If you have Celiac disease or are gluten-intolerant, make sure you use certified gluten-free baking powder.
  • Sugar: I used normal granulated white sugar, but you may also use cane sugar or light brown sugar if you prefer. If you are diabetic or insulin-resistant, I highly recommend that you use Lakanto monkfruit sweetener (a 1:1 sugar substitute that is zero glycemic index and does not raise your blood sugar).
  • Eggs: Eggs help to bind the ingredients together, as well as give lift to the batter. I personally have not made this recipe without eggs, but if you are allergic to eggs, or would like to keep this recipe vegan, you can try using aquafaba or an egg-replacer instead.
  • Sunflower Oil: I like to use sunflower oil because I always have a bottle of it on hand, but you can use other types of vegetable oil instead (such as olive oil, avocado oil, or even melted coconut oil). Alternatively, if you are not lactose-intolerant you may also use melted butter if you prefer.
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk: I love using an unsweetened version of my 5-minute homemade almond milk, but you can also substitute it with any other non-dairy plant-based milk of your choice, (such as cashew milkrice milktigernut milksoy milk, or coconut milk). Alternatively, if you are not lactose-intolerant, feel free to use normal dairy milk if you prefer.

Make Your Own Homemade Cornmeal

If you’re up to it, you can even make your own cornmeal at home! All you need is dried yellow corn kernels, a high-speed blender, and a sieve!

Learn how to make cornmeal using my super easy tutorial!

Homemade yellow cornmeal in a glass jar.

How to Make Gluten-Free Corn Muffins (Step by Step)

1. Preheat and Line Muffin Tin

Preheat the oven to 375F and then line a muffin tin or muffin pan with paper liners.

You can also skip the muffin liners if you have a silicon muffin mold, or simply grease the muffin tin well so that the muffins do not stick to it.

2. Mix the Dry Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, mix the cornmeal, gluten-free all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt together to combine. 

Hand whisking dry ingredients in a glass mixing bowl.

3. Whisk the Wet Ingredients

In a smaller separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, and almond milk.

Whisking wet ingredients in a mixing bowl.

4. Prepare the Batter

Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk well until you get a thick and homogeneous pale yellow batter.

Top down view of hand whisking gluten-free cornbread muffin batter in a bowl.

5. Bake

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin liners (fill each liner about 3/4 full). Bake for 20 minutes until the tops have browned slightly and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Muffin liners in a muffin mold filled with batter ready to be baked.

6. Let Cool

Let the gluten-free corn muffins cool slightly before eating. 

Hand reaching for a gluten free corn muffin in a muffin tin.

Dish by Dish Tips/Tricks:

  • Muffin Liners: I like using muffin liners as the muffins look prettier and don’t stick to the pan. However, for a more rustic look, you can spray the muffin tin or mold with non-stick cooking spray so the muffins will be easier to remove once baked.
  • Optional Add-Ins (Savory): If you like your muffins studded with fresh corn, go ahead and mix in 1 cup of fresh corn with this recipe. Or if you prefer some heat, mix in 1/2 cup of chopped fresh jalapeños to make these really spicy (as well as sweat-inducing)!
  • Optional Add-Ins (Sweet): You can also fold some juicy blueberries into the muffin batter and bake up blueberry cornbread muffins!
Gluten-free cornbread muffins on a wooden board surrounded with crumbs.

Recipe FAQs:

Are Cornbread and Corn Muffins the Same?

Essentially cornbread batter can be poured into muffin tins and made into muffins, but usually corn muffins tend to be slightly lighter in texture than traditional cornbread.

How Do You Store Corn Muffins?

If not eating these gluten-free corn muffins immediately, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Can You Freeze these Gluten-Free Cornmeal Muffins?

Yes, you can definitely freeze these cornbread muffins! Simply place the muffins in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Before eating, let the muffins thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature or heat them up slightly in the oven before eating.

Why are The Corn Muffins So Crumbly?

Cornbread by nature is crumbly, because the cornmeal tends to have a grainy, coarse texture. To make the corn muffins less crumbly and more cake-like, simply increase the amount of gluten-free flour to cornmeal.

What’s the Difference Between Regular Cornbread and Gluten-Free Cornbread?

Regular cornbread often uses wheat flour (which contains gluten) and hence is not gluten-free and Celiacs cannot safely eat it. Gluten-free cornbread on the other hands, is made with gluten-free flour in addition to the cornmeal, which means that it is safe for Celiacs to enjoy.

Hand reaching for a muffin on a baking tray.

Eat these Corn Bread Muffins With:

Other Cornbread Recipes You’ll Love:

Hand reaching for a half-eaten cornbread muffin.

Other Gluten-Free Muffins to Bake:

Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas:

P.S. If you try this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating below, and/or a review in the comment section further down the page. I always appreciate your feedback. Be sure to check out my entire Recipe Index for all the recipes on the blog. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram! Sign up for my Email List to get fresh recipes in your inbox each week!

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Half-eaten corn muffins on wooden board.

Easy Gluten-Free Corn Muffins (Dairy-Free)


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Felicia Lim
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Easy gluten-free corn muffins which are toothy and slightly sweet. Perfect with a generous drizzle of honey, or to accompany a cozy bowl of chili con carne. Make a batch of muffins in just 30 minutes, and serve them as a side dish or appetizer at your Thanksgiving table, or an anytime snack. Dairy-free too.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Instructions

  1. Preheat and Line Muffin Tine: Preheat the oven to 375F and line a muffin tin/muffin mold with muffin liners.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, gluten-free all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt together to combine. 
  3. Whisk Wet Ingredients: In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, and almond milk.
  4. Prepare the Batter: Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk well until you get a thick and homogeneous pale yellow batter.
  5. Bake: Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin liners (fill each liner about 3/4 full). Bake for 20 minutes until the tops have browned slightly and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool: Let muffins cool slightly before eating. 

Notes

Cornmeal: You can use my recipe for homemade cornmeal (ready in just minutes) or use storebought yellow cornmeal if you prefer!

Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour: I like to use a gluten-free flour blend that is made with lighter flours such as rice flour, potato starch starch and corn starch, and that already has xanthan gum (replacement for gluten) in the mix. I do not recommend using a flour blend made of heavier flours such as bean flours.

Xanthan Gum: Xanthan gum is the replacement for gluten in gluten-free flours, and helps to bind the ingredients together. If your gluten-free flour blend does not include xanthan gum, make sure you add it in for best results.

Baking Powder: In this case, these cornbread muffins use baking powder as the leavening agent, so make sure you add it in. If you have Celiac disease or are gluten-intolerant, make sure you use certified gluten-free baking powder.

Sugar: I used normal granulated white sugar, but you may also use cane sugar or light brown sugar if you prefer. If you are diabetic or insulin-resistant, I highly recommend that you use Lakanto monkfruit sweetener (a 1:1 sugar substitute that is zero glycemic index and does not raise your blood sugar).

Eggs: Eggs help to bind the ingredients together, as well as give lift to the batter. I personally have not made this recipe without eggs, but if you are allergic to eggs, or would like to keep this recipe vegan, you can try using aquafaba or an egg-replacer instead.

Sunflower Oil: I like to use sunflower oil because I always have a bottle of it on hand, but you can use other types of vegetable oil instead, such as olive oil, avocado oil, or even melted coconut oil. Alternatively, if you are not lactose-intolerant you may also use melted butter if you prefer.

Almond Milk: I love using my 5-minute homemade almond milk, but you can also substitute it with any other non-dairy milk of your choice, (such as cashew milk, rice milk, tigernut milk, soy milk, or coconut milk). Alternatively, if you are not lactose-intolerant, feel free to use normal dairy milk if you prefer.

How to Store/Freeze the Muffins: If not eating these gluten-free corn muffins immediately, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To freeze, place the muffins in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Before eating, let the muffins thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature or heat them up slightly in the oven before eating.

This recipe was originally published in October 2020, but has since been republished to include clearer step-by-step instructions and recipe notes.

Adapted from: My Cooking Spot

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

20 Comments

  1. Hello Felicia,

    I am happy that these cornbread muffins are good for anytime – by this, I mean it doesn’t have to wait for any particulare festive for their consumption. The beauty of this recipe is that we can have a batch of cornbread muffins within half an hour to satisfy our sudden craving for them!

    Thank you and may you have a blessed week ahead!

    Love you always!
    Mum






    1. Hi mummy! YAY! Happy to hear that you enjoy these cornbread muffins!! The first time I tried cornbread muffins was in Tony Roma’s – do you remember the restaurant we used to go to in Suntec?

  2. Hello Felicia,

    It is so wonderful to revisit your cornbread muffin recipe which I have always loved.
    What is so wonderful about your recipe is that I can enjoy with great satisfaction a new batch of these muffin in just less than half an hour because the ingredients are commonly found in my pantry.

    Grateful for your reminder in modifying your wonderful recipe of long ago.

    Love and blessings,
    Mum






    1. Hi mummy, do you remember the cornbread muffins they would serve us when we went to Tony Roma’s at Suntec?? That was the very first time I ever tried cornbread. Loved it!

  3. Gorgeous! I like making mine in a cast iron skillet and mixing in some jalapenos or hot sauce to give it a little kick. I am curious about the silicon though as I hate how hard it is to wash my muffin tin and do love the shape/portability of tins (but don’t want the wasteful paper liner cups!). Hmm…

    Note – cornbread is a staple in the Southern part of the US, not the whole country. 🙂

    1. Hello! Thanks for the tip! Yep I suppose it must be a staple in the south cos that’s where it originated right?

      I’m curious about using an iron skillet – I know skillet-baked cornbread is the authentic way to make it, but it don’t own one. Plus this silicon mould is just so versatile and easy to remove the muffins from! And it’s nice to have the cornbread in bite-sized pieces! Enjoy ur Sunday! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. If you want authentic southern cornbread, you have to make it in a cast iron skillet that’s been heated in a hot oven befor pouring in the batter…try it, feel sure you’ll like it!! 🙂

    1. Hi Dianne! thanks so much for stopping by & commenting!

      yeah i’ve seen many recipes for authentic southern cornbread using iron skillets, but unfortunately I don’t own one (i live in Argentina and i haven’t seen many of those around – maybe there are i just have to look abit harder).

      thanks for your suggestion! when I eventually own a cast-iron skillet I will definitely make cornbread the way you suggested!

      Have a great thursday!

      felicia

  5. Yum-O! It’s 6:30am right now (been working on my research paper for about 2 hours now) and I’m sooo wishing that I can grab one of these and shove it in my mouth right now. I absolutely adore anything corn! Tex-Mex is extremely popular here and while everyone orders flour tortilla, I always ask for a side of corn tortilla. It’s not just bc it’s a healthier option…Even if it wasn’t, I would still order it. I haven’t made muffins in a very long time. I’ve got my eyes on the dulce de leche muffin ^_^. Do you like the silicon mould? Perhaps it’s time I should make a small investment hehe.

    1. Hello min! You sure sound really awake at 6am in the morning! Haha, I never really understood what a tex-mex is- isit like a normal taco? I love tacos! Anyway I like my silicon mould! The good thing is that it’s soft compared to metal moulds and it cools down really fast so its easier to remove the muffins once cooked – esp if u need to reuse the mould for the next batch and can’t afford to wait for the muffins to completely cool before removing them! I suggest u get one if u haven’t got a muffin mould!

      All the best for ur research paper dear! TGiF!!

      1. Tex-Mex is a mix of Mexican and Spanish dishes prepared Texas style! My brother-in-law is Mexican and he says it’s quite different from authentic Mexican food. Nonetheless, people LOVE it down here hehe. The typical menu includes enchiladas, nachos, fajitas, tacos, queso…in other words, lots and lots of cheese. You made a great point! I waste so much time waiting for the pan to cook so I can cook the next batch. Silicon mould, I’m coming for you! hope you have a blessed weekend!! xoxo

        1. Yes! i imagine the mexican food we known is completely not authentic at all! but I love it anyway! Enjoy your weekend too dear!! 🙂

  6. These look muy bueno! I have been wanting to make corn bread, but I think I may try these corn muffins. Thanks for the beautiful post!

    1. Hello! Thanks for reading and for following my blog! So glad to have u drop by and that this post inspired u! Hopefully u like the way these muffins turn out! Happy weekend!

    1. Yep mummy that’s true! 🙂 Plus its a different kind of muffin – not the usual type that people are used to!

  7. Aww thanks for the shout out Felicia! I’m glad my muffin madness has spread 😉 I LOVE these sweet corn muffins. Perfect for any occasion.

    Hope your enjoying your weekend! <3

    1. Haha yes thanks to u I ended up baking muffins again! Hope ure enjoying ur weekend! I’m at a countryside ranch for this weekend and its absolutely beautiful!

  8. Qué buena pinta!!! Tengo que probarlos.
    Aquí, en Brasil hay mucha tapioca y coco. Estamos comiendo unas ricas “cocadas”… Ya vamos a averiguar la receta…..

    1. Hola Maria! Que lo disfruten en Brasil! Estoy en una estancia cerca de Chivilvoy se llama La Rica y me encanta! Es super tranquilo y hay una paz total. Un dia ustedes tendran q venir! Besos! Nos vemos a su vuelta!

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