Cornbread is something that many people love having at backyard barbecues during the summer months. It’s become a staple of Southern summers in the United States in many ways.
If you love making your own cornbread, then you probably have a recipe that you like to use. The most common way to make cornbread involves using cornmeal.
What can you do if you need to make cornbread to go along with dinner and you don’t have cornmeal that you can use? Is it going to be possible to substitute the cornmeal for something else to get good results?
Read on to learn how to make cornbread without cornmeal. There are actually a few ideas that you can turn to, depending on what ingredients you have at home.
Cornmeal is actually made using yellow corn. Yellow corn is ground up to make cornmeal, and that’s what gives it the proper consistency and taste.
Some cornmeal is going to have a slightly different consistency. You can buy cornmeal that is very coarse, but some will have a fine texture.
The consistency of the cornmeal has to do with the techniques used during grinding. Stone-ground cornmeal is going to be coarser while cornmeal ground with steel rollers will be fine.
Depending on what type of cornbread consistency you prefer, it might be necessary to seek out fine cornmeal or coarse cornmeal. Some people prefer one or the other strongly enough that they wouldn’t enjoy cornbread that is made with the wrong one.
Both coarse cornmeal and fine cornmeal are commonly used to make cornbread. You can decide which you like when making cornbread with cornmeal, but you’ll be learning about alternatives to using cornmeal in this article that are worth considering.
Use Corn Grits Instead
To get good results, you should consider using corn grits instead of cornmeal. This is going to ensure that your cornbread turns out really good if you decide to go this route.
One of the reasons why corn grits will work as a good substitute for cornmeal is that they’re both corn products. You won’t be able to use the same amount of corn grits that you would cornmeal, though.
This is because corn grits have a different consistency than cornmeal. Corn grits are just a bit coarser in comparison to cornmeal, and you’ll need to adjust your recipe accordingly.
Generally, you want to use slightly less of the corn grits in a cornbread recipe than you would cornmeal. You might need to play around with the recipe until you find the ideal balance.
The best part of using this substitute is that it tastes very similar to the cornbread that is made using cornmeal as a primary ingredient. You’ll be getting a flavor that is a close match and you’ll also be able to enjoy the right texture that you want in cornbread.
Before you start looking into other substitute ideas, it’s likely going to be wise to see if you have corn grits in your pantry. If you do, then this is probably going to be your best bet when you’re looking to replicate cornmeal.
Corn Flour or Polenta Could Work
Those who are looking for common ingredients that can be used in place of cornmeal might want to consider corn flour or polenta. Corn flour is likely going to be a decent idea because it’s also a corn product.
If you want to get something that will still taste like cornbread, then corn flour should work out well enough. You’ll be able to make cornbread that will be a bit different than usual when using corn flour instead of cornbread.
Polenta is actually a closer substitute for cornmeal than you might think as well. In fact, there are many recipes out there that use polenta and cornmeal interchangeably.
Either of these options will be worth looking into if you don’t have any cornmeal that you can use. Corn grits will probably be better overall when your goal is to make cornbread, but that doesn’t mean that corn flour or polenta will be bad.
The consistency of corn flour and polenta won’t perfectly replicate how the cornbread would turn out when made with cornmeal as normal. You can still make cornbread that is satisfying and convincing this way, though.
Blend Sweet Corn
Perhaps you’d like to use actual corn in your cornbread. This is possible if you have sweet in-season corn stocked in your kitchen.
To accomplish this, you’ll want to blend sweet in-season corn with milk, butter, eggs, and sour cream. You should be able to create something that will act as a great substitute for cornmeal.
This will involve a bit more prep work than just using corn grits or corn flour, but it might be worth it. You’ll certainly be able to enjoy the proper corn flavor that you’re craving if you go this route.
The dry ingredients that you’ll want to use with this method are baking soda, salt, baking powder, sugar, and flour. Whisk the dry ingredients and then add them to the corn mixture that you created.
You’ll then be able to bake your cornbread and see how you like the results. It’s very possible that this could turn out to be your new favorite type of cornbread recipe.
Corn-Based Ingredients Will Usually Be Best
Now that you know more about which ingredients can be used to replace cornmeal, it’ll just be up to you to decide which replacement you’d like to use. There are other ingredients out there that people use to replace cornmeal in other recipes, but they wouldn’t be quite so great when you’re trying to make cornbread.
When you’re making cornbread you’re trying to get the corn flavor that you need as well as the proper consistency. If you don’t have those things, then you’ll be making bread that won’t really seem like cornbread at all.
There are other ingredients that will help you to get the right consistency but don’t have the corn taste that you need. For example, you could try replacing cornmeal with ground oats or possibly even breadcrumbs.
These might help you to make bread that has the right consistency, but you’ll be totally lacking the corn taste. It just wouldn’t be cornbread unless you have both the taste and the consistency.
Stick to using corn products if you want to get the best results. Corn grits will work very well to help you make cornbread and it might be the first thing that you should turn to.
Corn flour is going to work well enough, and some people use polenta since it’s so commonly used as a cornmeal substitute. Using corn flour is better in this instance because it’s an actual corn-based product.
You could blend in-season sweet corn with other ingredients to make something that will be close to cornmeal as well. No matter what, you’ll want to use the corn-based ingredients to the best of your ability when making cornbread.
You Can Always Go Out to Buy More Cornmeal
There are some good substitute options available to you if you just don’t have cornmeal stocked in your kitchen right now. However, it’s not going to be that hard to go out and buy some cornmeal.
If you want your cornbread recipe to turn out exactly how you want it to, then you might wish to stick to using cornmeal. A substitute is never going to be an exact replication, and it’s better to work with the recommended ingredients if you’re following a specific recipe.
Cornmeal can be purchased from pretty much any grocery store. This means that you could always try to find the time to go out and get what you need before you have to make dinner.
If you can’t find the time to do this, then try using corn grits, corn flour, or some type of in-season sweet corn blend. It might be better to not try to make cornbread if you don’t happen to have any of those ingredients stocked in your pantry.
No one wants to have cornbread that doesn’t really taste right. Of course, how you enjoy your cornbread is up to your personal taste.
Buying Cornbread Is a Possibility as Well
Another idea is to simply buy some cornbread instead of making it yourself. If you don’t have the time to go out to buy cornmeal or other ingredients, then it might be faster to buy cornbread from a local business.
There might be a catering business or some type of restaurant that would sell you some cornbread for your barbecue or dinner. It might be disappointing not to be able to make homemade cornbread like you wanted to, but that doesn’t mean that cornbread from somewhere else won’t be good.
Sometimes time is a factor and you will make mistakes in life. You might not have realized that you were out of important ingredients that you’d need to be able to make cornbread.
The important thing will be to get the cornbread that you want so that everyone can enjoy it. You’ll be able to stock your pantry with the ingredients that you need to make the cornbread for next time as well.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.