Recipe: Cheese and chilli cornbread

I put together a quick Saturday brunch for four this morning, and this cornbread made a delicious centrepiece. I’m not sure how authentic this is (slightly adapted from this recipe), but it was certainly quick, very easy, and went down a storm alongside a plate of crudites and roasted red pepper hummus.

Brunch spread

I’ve used quick-cook polenta grains here, but if you would prefer to substitute proper coarse cornmeal, I’m sure that would work well (and be closer to the real thing, no doubt). The ground corn lends a slight bite, and a very moreish crumb somewhere between cake and bread. And that crunchy, cheesy crust… I have to confess that I have been surreptitiously snacking on cornbread leftovers all afternoon.


I served the cornbread with sliced avocado scattered with coriander leaves and sea salt, and smothered with Nigella’s awesome chilli jam. I imagine this would also be amazing with bacon, or used to mop up stew or chilli. A brilliant savoury alternative to cake at a lazy brunch!

Cheese and chilli cornbread

  • Servings: 8-12 slices
  • Print


  • 175g quick-cook polenta grains
  • 125g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g butter, melted
  • 1 red chilli, cored, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 250g grated mature cheddar


  • Preheat the oven to 220C / 200C (fan) / gas mark 7.
  • Grease a round 8 inch cake tin (ideally springform) with a little butter or oil.
  • Place the polenta, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl, and combine.
  • Add the milk, eggs and melted butter, and mix together thoroughly.
  • Stir in the chopped chilli and grated cheese until evenly distributed.
  • Pour the batter into the greased tin and lightly even out the top with a spoon.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, then serve as soon as you like.

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