Cornmeal cornbread, a loaf that tastes like polenta

Cornmeal cornbread is a fantastic complement to a hearty meal. Traditionally served for Thanksgiving, I find it incredibly suited year round. Entirely gluten free, it is an excellent option for gluten intolerant guests. I baked my first loaf last year precisely because it is gluten free! I had ran out of gluten-free flour and needed to cater to people with gluten intolerance. There was almond meal at home, but any type of nuts was banned from the workplace so that was not an option. My last card was cornmeal. So I figured that a nice loaf of cornbread was better than nothing.

Before baking my own loaf I had had a generous share of cornmeal at the Thanksgiving party at the workplace. As a person born and raised in northern Italy, to me corn has only one form: polenta. I love polenta. So when I tasted cornbread I was pleasantly surprised to find the taste of polenta combined with the texture of a cake. A baked good that tasted like polenta.

I didn’t think I’d have the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, since I don’t have a bunch of American and Canadian colleagues anymore. But my boyfriend does. We got invited to a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner at one of his colleagues’ place. So I had my share of delicious turkey once again! I was not asked to bring anything, so I didn’t bake a new loaf of cornmeal cornbread for that occasion. I made it for another time.

Cornmeal cornbread recipe. A loaf that tastes like polenta. Gluten free!

Cornmeal cornbread recipe

  • 250 g cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 400 ml milk
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 40 g butter

Melt the butter and set aside. In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, salt and baking powder. In another bowl whisk the eggs, then mix in milk, honey and melted butter. Pour cornmeal mixture into the other bowl and stir to combine. Leave for a few minutes in order for it to thicken. Pour cornbread batter into a loaf pan lined with baking paper and bake in the preheated oven at 220°C for 30 minutes.

Cornmeal cornbread recipe. A loaf that tastes like polenta. Gluten free!Cornmeal cornbread recipe. A loaf that tastes like polenta. Gluten free!

This recipe is a slight adaptation (suited to my type of cornmeal and “translated” into the metric system) from the one found on Plan to Eat. I was a little suspicious at first, but when I took out a perfectly baked loaf I had to acknowledge that it actually worked out fine.

The best feature about this cornmeal is its full taste. The perfect balance of salt and honey keep it very neutral, so it’s a perfect accompaniment to all kinds of dishes. I remember having it at the Thanksgiving dinner along with the turkey, but I ate a slice of this one with strawberry jam and it tasted just as delicious. So go ahead and bake yourself a nice loaf of polenta cornbread anytime.

Cornmeal cornbread recipe. A loaf that tastes like polenta. Gluten free!Cornmeal cornbread recipe. A loaf that tastes like polenta. Gluten free!

Just one side note. This bread is not made with polenta per se. I used a finer cornmeal than the one I use for polenta, more like actual corn flour. Haven’t tried making it with actual polenta, but I am guessing it might not absorbe the milk equally well, potentially resulting in a gritty loaf. So the finer the cornmeal, the better, I think.


Cornmeal cornbread recipe. A loaf that tastes like polenta. Gluten free!

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  1. Eric November 12, 2019 at 14:10

    I wonder what cornmeal is best… Coarse or fine ?

    1. Eva November 14, 2019 at 20:54

      I used fine. I generally make polenta from coarse, while for this bread I used a cornmeal that had the texture of flour rather than that of semolina.

  2. Rosie April 11, 2020 at 01:18

    What is conversion of all ingredients

    1. Eva April 14, 2020 at 14:44

      Hey Rosie! I recommend that you find a converter on google so you can get the quantities suited to the kind of measurement you need.

  3. Anita May 17, 2020 at 05:05

    Hey, I just made this and it’s absolutely delicious! Just wondering if you’ve tried any variations of this with yeast rather than baking powder? I’m gluten free and thrilled to find something I can make with no flour substitutes, but find I can often ‘taste’ the baking powder flavour in non-yeast mixes so am keen to explore

    1. Eva May 18, 2020 at 19:40

      Hi Anita! Thank you very much for taking the time to leave me a comment. It’s always great to hear from someone who has enjoyed a recipe I have here! I have unfortunately not tried making this with yeast, so I have no expertise to share. I’m really sorry about that.

  4. Ellen May 20, 2020 at 23:03

    Hi! Do you think this recipe could be cooked in any dish other than a loaf pan? Do you think that would change the oven temperature and cooking time?

    1. Eva May 21, 2020 at 09:41

      Hi Ellen! I think you can use a different pan, like a round cake pan without problems. I myself often bake muffin recipes in a small round pan and it usually works. I wouldn’t change the oven temperature as that is optimal for this batter, but the time definitely needs to be adjusted. Like, when I make my muffin recipe in a single pan, baking time goes from 20 to 45 minutes, since it’s much more. Same if you were to bake this batter into a muffin tin, then baking time would need to be shortened. So keep an eye as it bakes to adjust baking time, but keep the same oven temperature. Good luck!

  5. Richelle Monfort March 10, 2023 at 09:05

    Hi Eva,

    Will this recipe work with Polenta, instead of cornmeal?


    1. Eva October 23, 2023 at 09:21

      Hi Richelle, If you have the instant Polenta flour (the one that makes polenta in a few minutes), then I’m afraid it will not be the same thing because the composition of instant Polenta flour is different than regular cornmeal.


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