Light And Healthy Cornbread

If you appreciate a delicious cornbread but want something that’s a little lower in calories we have found some light and healthy cornbread recipes for you.

With some low fat and low sugar options you will be able to enjoy these cornbreads with no concern about how many calories you are consuming.

Light And Healthy Cornbread

We will also look at where cornbread originated, give you some tips on how to make and store cornbread and offer some variations for you to try.

Have you ever wondered what cornbread goes best with? We find the best dishes to go with your low calorie cornbread.

Origins Of Cornbread

Cornbread has its roots in early American history and has many different variations.

Corn was widely used by Native Americans for making bread, cakes and porridge and this knowledge was absorbed by European settlers long before wheat was introduced.

As a result cornbread became a staple food, and it was traditionally baked in open hearths.

For this reason, it was referred to as ‘ash cake’. When cooking methods improved the bread was then cooked in cast iron skillets, something we still do today.

A key advantage of cornbread is that it doesn’t need to rise as other types of bread do, and it keeps really well (see also ” Delicious And Low-Calorie Banana Bread“). These are some of the reasons why it was so popular as a frontier food.

Variations took hold, and people started to add molasses or sugar to make sweetened cornbread.

Others preferred a savory taste and began adding things like pork crackling. Further south whole corn, jalapenos and sweet peppers were added to the cornbread.

Today cornbread can be cooked in a variety of ways.

It can be baked in a cast iron skillet, in muffin pans, or on a range as corn cakes, similar to how pancakes are made. It can be enjoyed with butter or syrup or accompaniment to dishes such as chili.

Ingredients Used In Light & Healthy Cornbread

To make a healthier and lower calorie cornbread there are a few ingredients that you can swap.

Instead of using all purpose flour, you can opt for a whole grain flour, something light like whole wheat pastry flour.

Rather than using butter, you can use olive oil. This contains less saturated fat and is a much more heart friendly ingredient. You can also decrease the amount of oil you use to make the recipe lighter.

In place of cane sugar or brown sugar, you can use a lower sucrose sugar such as sucanat or coconut sugar. Alternatively, you can use honey as a natural sweetener.

Adding buttermilk instead of whole milk will reduce the fat content of the cornbread.

It also has a good tangy flavor and as an acid, it activates the baking powder. This is especially important if you have replaced all purpose flour with a heavier whole wheat flour.

Healthy & Tasty Cornbread

There are many recipes for healthy cornbread and most of them taste just as good as traditional cornbread.

By swapping some ingredients for lighter and healthier options, it is possible to still enjoy the great taste of cornbread but without all the calories.

It is still possible to get a buttery flavor in your healthy cornbread too. One way is to cook it in a cast iron skillet (see also “Skillet Blackened Salmon Over Cajun Zoodles“). When you add the cornmeal batter to a hot skillet a reaction occurs. This is called the maillard reaction.

This is a chemical reaction that occurs between an amino acid and a reducing sugar to form a complex mixture of compounds.

The result is a browning of the food and a flavor that is remarkably similar to butter.

But without adding any butter to the ingredients. So you get the wonderful buttery flavor without the added fat and calories.

Without the addition of butter, some people may notice the absence of that salty, savory taste. So instead, finish your cornbread off with a sprinkle of sea salt.

You will also have salt in your dry ingredients but sprinkling it on after cooking brings the taste to the forefront.

How To Make Light & Healthy Cornbread

There are lots of ways to make light and healthy cornbread and plenty of ingredient substitutions to help you do that.

Light And Healthy Cornbread


Fat is an essential ingredient in any bread making. In regular cornbread, the fat is typically butter.

To make a healthier cornbread, substitute coconut oil for the butter or a combination of the two for a slightly buttery taste.


The majority of regular cornbread recipes call for all purpose flour which will be high in carbs.

You can replace it with white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. For a really moist healthy cornbread, use almond flour which is very fine and soft.


Refined sugar in your cornbread is going to add plenty of calories so for a lower calorie cornbread use honey.

This will give a more subtle sweetness to the cornbread and not be too overpowering. You can also use low calorie sweeteners in your recipe (see also “15 High Quality Low Calorie Vegetarian Recipes“).

Sour Cream Or Buttermilk

To add moisture to your cornbread without adding more fat, use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or buttermilk.

You can also use almond milk or oat milk (see also “A Guide To The Best Milk Alternatives“), but they may alter the flavor, adding a nuttiness to the taste.


Let’s take a look at some of the best recipes for light and healthy cornbread (see also “20 Delicious Healthy Mexican Recipes“).

Healthy Cornbread

Despite having low fat and low calories ingredients this healthy cornbread is just as tasty as traditional versions.

The challenge for any healthier food is not just to replace some of the unhealthy ingredients but to make the taste just as appealing.

This recipe uses a lighter whole wheat pastry flour as well as yellow cornmeal.

Instead of butter it uses olive oil and rather than sugar it has 2 tablespoons of honey. It also contains some whole corn kernels for an extra corn taste and texture.

This cornbread is cooked in a cast iron skillet in the oven which gives it that maillard reaction and the resulting buttery taste.

Once cooked It’s also brushed with honey and sprinkled with sea salt.

Low Fat Cornbread

This recipe has all the things you need in good tasty cornbread but with less fat.

Instead of butter the recipe uses a cup of plain non-fat yogurt and there is the option to use egg substitute rather than whole eggs.

Each 48 gram serving of this low fat cornbread is 85 calories and has 4 grams of sugar. Total carbohydrates in each serving is 16 grams.

Preparation time is just 5 minutes and cooking time is 20 minutes.

Low Calorie Cornbread

A really tasty but healthy cornbread, this recipe includes fat free sour cream, no added salt, cream-style corn and reduced fat cheddar cheese. It also calls for egg whites to add some lightness to the mixture.

All of this creates a buttery and sweet low calorie cornbread that goes perfectly with a nice chili or tasty soup.

You have the option of adding ¼ cup of whole corn to the bread mix for some additional flavor and texture.

Preparation time is 15 minutes and cooking takes just 25 minutes.

Vegan Cornbread

This vegan cornbread has unsweetened almond milk and canola oil instead of butter. This makes it really moist with a soft texture, perfect as an accompaniment to stews, soups or chili.

If you like sweet cornbread then you will love this recipe. It has ⅔ cup of granulated sugar, so it is most definitely not a savory cornbread. Preparation time is only 5 minutes and baking takes just 25 minutes.

Although the recipe states all purpose flour you can substitute white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour for a lighter cornbread.

Healthy Honey Cornbread

This healthy version of traditional cornbread is the perfect accompaniment to many dishes. It can also be enjoyed with butter, preserves or other sweet spreads.

Using honey as a sweetener, as well as Greek yogurt and olive oil for moisture, makes this a healthier version of cornbread.

It has a tart but sweet flavor and is moist and soft in texture. Preparation time is only 10 minutes and cooking time is 25 minutes.

However, you should allow the cornbread to rest for 10 minutes in the pan before placing it on a cooling rack.

This is because cornbread continues to firm up after it has been removed from the oven. In total the cooking time is 45 minutes.

Weight Watchers Light & Healthy Classic Cornbread

For the ultimate in light and healthy cornbread this Weight Watchers version is really low in sugar and fat.

The recipe uses low fat buttermilk to reduce the amount of fat and has just a couple of spoonfuls of sugar. There is also less salt in this recipe than a traditional cornbread.

Preparation time for this recipe is 10 minutes and the cornbread cooks in just 20 minutes.

To check that it is done, insert a toothpick into the center of the cornbread, if it comes out clean then the bread is done. If not leave it for another 5 minutes but no longer, or it will be in danger of drying out.

Low Carb Cornbread

This cornbread is low in carbohydrates because it actually has no corn in it at all. Instead, the bread is made with coconut flour and sugar substitutes.

However, the taste is superb and with no less than 6 tablespoons of butter and ⅓ cup of heavy cream that’s not surprising.

The butter, cream and 3 large eggs are combined and then the coconut flour, baking soda and sugar substitute are added with some salt.

Once combined the mixture is put into a cast iron skillet and baked for 15-20 minutes. This cornbread is quite sweet, if you prefer it less sweet reduce the amount of sugar.

Healthy Gluten Free Cornbread

With many people having an intolerance for gluten or even just choosing not to include gluten in their diet, this healthy gluten free cornbread is a great find.

While a lot of gluten free breads can be dry this cornbread is the opposite, it is moist and buttery.

The secret? Almond flour. It is really fine and so makes a very soft and moist bread. It is mixed with some cornmeal to give it some texture and corn taste.

If you wish you can make this cornbread dairy free as well by replacing the butter with coconut oil.

This is a healthy cornbread for many reasons. It is gluten free, has no refined sugar and is full of healthy fats and protein from the almond flour.

Using almond flour rather than all purpose flour also makes this cornbread low carb.

Recipe Tips

Some useful tips for making light and healthy cornbread include the following:

  • Do not over mix the cornbread batter. This can make the texture of the cooked cornbread dry and chewy rather than moist and soft.
  • Don’t over bake the cornbread either as this will dry it out. When it is ready it will be a golden color and firm to the touch.
  • When you take the cornbread out of the oven it will continue to firm up as it cools down. Leave it in the baking pan for 10 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack. Then let it cool down completely before slicing it.

Variations Of Light & Healthy Cornbread

For something different make some cornbread muffins.

You will follow the recipe as you would normally but instead of putting the mixture in a baking pan or cast iron skillet you put it into a greased muffin pan—Bake at 425° for 15 minutes.

To enjoy a spicy take on cornbread, add some chopped jalapenos, cayenne pepper or chili powder to the mixture.

A deep, savory variation of cornbread is achieved by adding some chopped rosemary or thyme leaves.

What Goes With Cornbread?

So what kind of food goes with cornbread? One of the most popular dishes to eat cornbread with is chili.

Chili is a great comfort food and wonderful for warming you up on a cold, wet day. The wonderful thing about this dish is that everyone has their own best recipe for it.

It is such a versatile dish that you can tweak it and add to it, and it will still taste great. Eat with a light and healthy cornbread, and you are on to a winner!

Slow cooker chicken stew is another wonderful dish that is perfect for eating with light and healthy cornbread. This is a hearty meal that is full of protein, vitamins and minerals from the chicken and vegetables.

Cornbread is great for soaking up all that tasty broth.

Cornbread is also fantastic with a homemade soup (see also “Simple Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup“) like ham and bean, made in your Instant Pot.

This healthy soup is full of protein, fiber, iron and folate and tastes even better with light and healthy cornbread on the side.

Use cornbread squares for burgers or pulled pork sliders. Or as a sweet treat with honey, preserves or jam.

Storing & Freezing Cornbread

It is best to enjoy cornbread on the same day as it is baked. If you do want to keep it, wrap it in aluminum foil and store in a cupboard for a couple of days. The aluminum foil stops the cornbread from drying out.

If you want to keep the cornbread for longer, let it cool completely. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. It will keep there for about a week.

To reheat the cornbread, remove it from the plastic wrap and put in a preheated oven at 350° for about 10 minutes.

It is possible to freeze cornbread by putting it in freezer safe bags. Remove as much of the air from the bag as possible and seal the bag. The cornbread will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer.

To reheat frozen cornbread, leave it in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for a few hours. Put it in the oven at 350° for 10 minutes to reheat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cornbread Healthier Than Bread?

White bread is high in calories and cornbread is approximately 60% lower (if you want to find some salt-free white bread recipes, read here). Per 100 grams cornbread has 196 calories, whereas white bread has 238 calories per 100 grams.

What Ingredients Keep Cornbread From Being Dry?

Typically cornbread is made with butter, eggs and buttermilk.

These wet ingredients help to make the cornbread moist. However, if you are making a vegan cornbread for example you won’t be adding any of those ingredients.

Instead vegan cornbread may contain non dairy milk such as almond milk and a light oil such as canola.

Is Cornbread Good For Your Health?

Cornbread contains several B vitamins, including niacin, thiamine, folate and riboflavin. It is also rich in phosphorus, with 19% of the daily value, and selenium, with 10% of the daily value.

It will also provide you with 6% of the daily value of iron.

How Many Carbs Are In Low Carb Cornbread?

For those who are following a low carb or keto diet there are cornbreads that have minimum carbohydrates.

Some do have actual cornmeal and these have about 6 grams of carbs per serving. Others have no cornmeal and offer 1-2 net carbs per serving.

Final Thoughts

Cornbread is one of those dishes that we should all be able to enjoy.

Whether we are trying to lose weight or avoiding gluten. Luckily there are plenty of cornbread recipes out there that provide for all sorts of tastes and situations.

We hope you have enjoyed this guide to light and healthy cornbread, and we wish you happy baking (see also “5 Easy No-Bake Treats That Take Less Than 15 Minutes To Make“)!

Lindsey Morgan
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