Looking for the best oil-free cornbread, one that's tender, moist, and the perfect balance of salty and sweet? You've found it! With just 5 minutes of prep time, it's also ridiculously easy to make. Choose your favorite flour to pair with the cornmeal, whether it's a whole-grain variety, all-purpose, or a gluten-free blend. This vegan no-oil cornbread turns out delicious every time!
This recipe is vegan and contains no oil, coconut, or refined sugar; can also be nut-free, soy-free, and gluten-free.
A good old fashioned buttery southern-style vegan cornbread was one of the first recipes I shared here on the blog. Considering how much I enjoy cornbread and cooking without oil, I honestly don't know why it took me two years to share this oil-free version. Better late than never!
Update: I now have TWO oil-free cornbread recipes. Don't miss these Cranberry Cornbread Muffins!
I grew up in Alabama, and we love our savory, gritty, stoneground cornbread. And though my love for it hasn't faded, I have opened my mind a bit to the fact that slightly sweeter cornbread is also pretty awesome! Let me explain...
Why This Recipe Works
When I started testing this recipe, I quickly realized that when you remove all of the fat from cornbread, a really high cornmeal-to-flour ratio just doesn't cut it (READ: bitter and one-dimensional).
So I tested the recipe a few more times to really dial in the moisture, sweetness, and saltiness to get it juuuuuust right. And now I can't stop eating it! This cornbread is:
So quick and easy
Full of southern-inspired, stone-ground texture
With no added fat and just 73 calories per piece!
You'll need just 9 ingredients plus salt to whip up a batch.
- medium-grind cornmeal - sometimes called whole-grain or stone-ground
- your choice of flour, such as unbleached all-purpose, whole wheat, oat, or a 1:1 gluten-free blend
- nutritional yeast - optional, but highly recommended for added depth of flavor
- baking powder
- baking soda
- fine sea salt
- maple syrup
- unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice - it's a good idea to taste it first to make extra sure it's not flavored
- apple cider vinegar
- unsweetened, plain applesauce
Substitutions and Options
Flour - most recently I've tested this recipe with oat flour, a combination of all-purpose and white whole-wheat, and King Arthur's 1:1 gluten-free blend. All of them turned out great and held together perfectly. But...
The oat flour produced an obviously whole-grain texture and was my least favorite of the bunch, which is surprising since I'm such a huge fan of baking with oat flour. But it makes perfect sense that coarse cornmeal needs something a little finer to balance out the texture and bring softness. So considering those things, feel free to use your favorite flour based on flavor and texture or just whatever you have on hand.
Fat replacement - I tested both pureed pumpkin and applesauce as a replacement for oil or butter, and the applesauce was definitely our favorite. In a pinch, if you're out of applesauce but have pureed pumpkin or sweet potato on hand, absolutely go for it! Honestly, the cornbread was still good, just not quite as smooth or moist as when made with applesauce.
Milk - I've tested soy and almond milk, and I have a feeling oat milk would also be great. Use what you have.
Optional Nutritional Yeast - If you dislike nooch or have an allergy, don't be discouraged to see it in the list. It's not commonly in cornbread, and you can definitely omit it without any problems. I like to include it for a little more depth of flavor and savoriness.
Perfect pairings for oil-free cornbread:
I've already tested this oil-free version in my Vegan Cornbread Dressing, and it was absolutely delicious! So be sure to give that a try for Thanksgiving this year.
Vegan Oil-Free Cornbread
- 1 ⅓ cups medium grind cornmeal
- ⅔ cup flour of choice such as GF 1:1 blend, white whole wheat, all-purpose, or oat flour
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt - If you know you like very salty cornbread, use 1 ½ teaspoons.
- 1 ¼ cups plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk - I prefer almond or soy for cornbread.
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- ⅓ cup apple sauce
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C), and line an 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment (or use a silicone pan).
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, nutritional yeast, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl whisk together the milk, vinegar, maple syrup, and apple sauce.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry, and stir to combine. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 27 to 29 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow cornbread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack for another 15 to 20 minutes before slicing into 16 squares.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.