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Skillet Southern Style Cornbread

This vegan cornbread is fairly straightforward without any odd ingredients, but it does have a step that makes it unique and adds the missing flavor for those who grew up using bacon grease in their cornbread. Hint. It's not bacon because this is a vegan recipe.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword cornbread, vegan, veganfood, veganized
Prep Time - 15 mins
Cook Time - 25 mins
Total Time - 40 mins
Servings - 8 servings

Equipment

  • 9-10" cast iron skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups oat milk (or other non-dairy)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons golden ground flax (see notes for substitutes)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
  • 1 1/4 cups coarse corn meal
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour (or whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • In a measuring cup whisk together the oat milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside. You are making "buttermilk" with this step.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the water and ground flax. Let this sit while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Soaking the flax allows it to gel which will work to stabilize your batter much like an egg.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda. Pour in the oat milk and vinegar mix. Fold a couple of times. Add in the soaked flax. Fold a couple of times. Let sit while you go on to the next step.
  • Heat your cast iron skillet over medium high heat until a small pad of butter will quickly melt. This usually takes about 5 minutes of heating. Add in the butter and tilt the pan to move the butter around so that it melts and coats the bottom and sides. Add in the liquid smoke and salt. Stir using a spatula or spoon. Once the butter has completely melted let the pan sit over medium high heat for 1 minute. Remove immediately after 1 minute and pour the melted butter into the batter and use a spatula to scrape out the rest leaving behind just a thin layer of melted butter.
  • Fold the melted butter into the batter until it is fully incorporated. About 10-12 folds. Pour the batter into the still hot skillet and make sure it is spread out evenly. Place skillet on middle rack of oven. TURN DOWN the heat to 375°F. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Use a toothpick or cake tester to check doneness at the 22 minute mark. Should be cooked all the way through and have a golden top.
  • Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Let cool completely if storing leftovers. Wrap cornbread in foil or in a Ziploc and store on the counter or freeze. Refrigerating bread will dry it out too much.

Notes

Golden flax blends in to the cornbread better than the standard brown flaxseed. It can be challenging to find the golden variety so you can sub in brown but that will add flecks to your cornbread. 
Substitute options for the ground flax
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup soft silken style tofu, mixed until smooth
  • 2 eggs worth of egg substitute
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch mixed with 4 tablespoons water (not the best sub but does work in a pinch)
You shouldn't skip the sugar in this recipe. The sugar helps balance out the bitter flavor of corn meal while also locking in moisture. If it's too sweet for you, which I don't think it is, you can lower the sugar to 2 tablespoons. If you substitute a liquid sugar like agave, maple syrup, or my vegan honey, use only 3 tablespoons vs the 1/4 cup.
I have never used a sugar substitute like Stevia so I have no idea what that would do to this recipe. It's cornbread and a slice with the recipe's sugar amount gives you about 2 teaspoons of sugar which is basically a sip of soda. There's more sugar in the air at Starbucks than you'll get in a slice of this.