Cast iron skillet green chile cornbread is fluffy and rich.
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Skillet Green Chile Cornbread

The aroma of sweet cornmeal and earthy rich chiles will tempt you once the Skillet Green Chile Cornbread batter hits the sizzling cast iron. Slather it up with butter and dive into the combination of crispy bronzed crust and tender, moist crumb. We won’t judge if you just take a fork to the pan.

Bite into this crumbly and fluffy green chile cornbread.

Green chile cornbread is the ultimate sidekick to any meal. It is equally at home next to a bowl of gochujang chili con carne as it is on a fully loaded barbecue platter with juicy pulled pork and slices of smoked brisket.

Its golden brown crispy bits make it sturdy enough for dipping, dunking, and piling high with barbecue while its fluffy interior makes it a stand-out star on its own.

Don’t forget to also check out our recipe for Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits, another irresistible side!

Slather butter on your skillet cornbread and enjoy!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy Process: Baking can sometimes be intimidating, especially baking on the grill. This cast iron skillet cornbread is easy enough for any level of baker. Utilizing a simple method of indirect cooking, this can easily be prepared on any type of grill. No grill? No problem because you can also bake this in the oven. 
  • Customizable: You can easily adapt this moist cornbread recipe to what green chiles are available to you, and also your preferred heat level. Have fun trying out different flavor combinations!
  • Texture: Cornbread is as much about the texture as it is the flavor. The combination of a preheated skillet and cooking at a high temperature ensures that the cornbread has that browned, crisp exterior. Baking soda and baking powder give it rise while the acid in the buttermilk keeps it tender while also adding moisture. Just say no to dry cornbread and whip up this easy skillet cornbread recipe!
Skillet cornbread is so simple to bake, in the oven or the grill.

Important Tips for Skillet Cornbread

  • Taste your chiles before adding them to your cornbread. You don’t want to completely overwhelm your guests with every bite! Want a little more heat? Add some more.
  • Make sure your skillet is properly heated before adding the batter. This will not only give you that golden crust but also allow the cornbread to easily release from the skillet. You’ll know it’s hot enough when that batter starts to sizzle as you pour it in.
  • When baking your cornbread on the grill make sure that the skillet remains over indirect heat. Cooking directly over the charcoal could result in a burnt crust. Rotating the pan halfway through baking will also ensure that it cooks evenly.
  • The texture of your cornmeal matters. Make sure that it’s a coarse ground yellow cornmeal. Finely ground will create a very dense, and thin cornbread which you won’t enjoy. Bob’s Red Mill has a Medium Grind Cornmeal which tastes delicious and works really well for this recipe. Plus, it happens to make this a gluten-free cornbread recipe.

How to make Green Chile Cornbread

  1. Roast your chile peppers. This step can be done well in advance or right when the coals are lit. Place the chiles over direct heat. Rotate them every couple of minutes until all sides are charred and the skin is blistered.

    Transfer them to an airtight container or zip-top bag and allow them to steam and cool. Once they’ve cooled remove the skin, seeds, and stem and dice them.
Roasted hatch chiles diced for the green chile cheese sauce.

PRO TIP: Use more charcoal than you think you’ll need. It’s easier to lower the heat with too much charcoal than it is to try to increase the heat with not enough. The last thing you’ll want to do is have to add charcoal in the middle of baking your cornbread!

  1. Prepare your grill for indirect cooking. Allow your grill to preheat to 450°F. If you’re making this on a kettle-style grill bank your charcoal to either side of the grill leaving the middle as the cooler zone. Using your charcoal baskets helps with this setup. If baking this on a gas grill once your grill has heated to 450°F turn off the middle burner. 
  2. Preheat your skillet. Place a 10” cast iron skillet over direct heat. Allow it to heat up for ten minutes. You can also heat it on the stovetop if desired. 
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients. Add the cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to a bowl and whisk to combine.
Simple ingredients go into this green chile cornbread.
  1. Whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the buttermilk, eggs, and melted lard to a small bowl and whisk together to combine.
  2. Make your batter. Pour the wet ingredients and diced green chiles into the dry ingredients and gently fold them together using a spatula. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

    Do not let the batter rest for very long. This recipe is designed for you to cook as soon as the grill is hot and ready. The baking powder and soda will activate and start to thicken the batter if you try to make this too far in advance.
Mix the cornbread batter just enough until the ingredients are mixed together.
  1. Let it sizzle! Carefully remove the hot skillet from the grill and add the remaining tablespoon of lard. Swirl it around so it melts and fully coats all sides of the cast iron skillet. Pour in the batter and listen to that sizzle!
  2. Let the cornbread bake indirectly. Place the skillet on the cool zone of the grill and close the lid. Allow it to bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through so it cooks evenly. 
  3. Toothpick test. Use a toothpick to test the doneness of the cornbread. Stick it into the middle of the cornbread. When it comes out clean it’s done.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Spice things up and swap out the roasted green chiles for jalapenos. Because these will add more of an assertive kick, reduce the amount added. You can also top your cornbread batter with fresh slices of jalapenos.
  • Cheese makes everything better. Add freshly grated sharp cheddar, pepper jack, or your favorite cheese. When adding cheese to cornbread, toss it with the dry ingredients so the shreds can be coated and separated.
  • Let’s face it, there’s not much that bacon doesn’t take to the next level. Fold in crispy pieces of cooked bacon. Smoked bacon crumbles would be delicious in this.
  • No fresh roasted chiles? Reach for a can of green chiles. If you can find them Hatch are the best and come in both mild and hot. Make sure to drain them before folding them into the batter. 
  • Enhance the corn flavor and add even more texture by folding in corn kernels to the batter. You can use defrosted frozen corn, drained canned corn, or fresh corn. Try this skillet cornbread recipe on the grill with charred corn!
  • If you don’t have buttermilk you can use whole milk in this recipe. You can also make your own buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of acid such as lemon juice or distilled white vinegar to a cup of whole milk.
  • When the cornbread is still hot, melt butter over the top and drizzle on some honey. Hot honey would be delicious.
  • Switch up the flavor profile by trying out different roasted green chiles. Hatch chiles will give you a rich buttery flavor. Roasted poblanos are mild and have an earthy, more vegetal flavor. Anaheim chiles are a little fruitier with a mild sweetness. 
  • Give your green chile cornbread even more flavor by adding that caress of smoke. Sprinkle wood chips over your charcoal. Use a mild flavor such as maple, applewood, pecan, or oak.
The green chile cornbread smells amazing with the wood-fired flavors.

Substituting Lard in Cornbread

This is a Southern cornbread classic, using lard as the flavorful fat. It keeps the cornbread extremely moist and also prevents it from sticking to the skillet.

Lard typically has a neutral flavor, so your cornbread won’t taste porky. Manteca, purchased at many Mexican markets, is an unfiltered lard rendered at a higher heat leaving behind tiny granules of pork. Using this will add a savory flavor to the cornbread.

This green chile cornbread recipe can be made vegetarian by replacing the lard with shortening. It won’t have quite the same depth of flavor but will be delicious.

Melted butter is one of the best things you can put on skillet cornbread.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you prevent cornbread from sticking to the cast iron skillet?

Make sure that you start with a well-seasoned skillet that is preheated. Heat expands the pores and abrasions in a cast iron skillet and as the skillet cools they contract, trapping the food particles and causing them to stick.

What is the best pan for baking cornbread?

A cast iron skillet is ideal for baking cornbread on the grill and in the oven. It can handle the high temperature while conducting heat evenly, creating that crispy, golden crust. If used properly its nonstick surface is ideally suited for baking.

What size skillet should I use for cornbread?

For this recipe, a 10” skillet is recommended. This will give you the height and rise to the cornbread that ensures it stays both moist and fluffy. Anything larger and you’ll have a flatter cornbread that is more dense and less moist.

Can I bake skillet cornbread in the oven?

Yes! This same recipe can be baked in the oven. Preheat your oven to 450°F. Place the heated skillet on the middle rack in the middle of the oven and allow it to bake for about 15 minutes. Baking time will vary by oven.

Is cornbread gluten-free?

Not always, but THIS skillet cornbread recipe is naturally gluten-free because there is no flour in this recipe and only cornmeal.

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Cast iron skillet green chile cornbread is fluffy and rich.

Skillet Green Chile Cornbread

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The aroma of sweet cornmeal and earthy rich chiles will tempt you once the Skillet Green Chile Cornbread batter hits the sizzling cast iron. Slather it up with butter and dive into the combination of crispy bronzed crust and tender, moist crumb. We won’t judge if you just take a fork to the pan.

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: About 6-8 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups coarse cornmeal
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups full-fat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon melted lard (manteca, bacon grease or shortening)
  • ½ cup diced roasted green chiles (Hatch, Anaheim, poblanos)

Instructions

Notes

  • Taste your chiles before adding them to your cornbread. You don’t want to completely overwhelm your guests with every bite! 
  • Make sure your skillet is properly heated before adding the batter. This will not only give you that golden crust but also allow the cornbread to easily release from the skillet.
  • When baking your cornbread on the grill make sure that the skillet remains over indirect heat. Cooking directly over the charcoal could result in a burnt crust. Rotating the pan halfway through baking will also ensure that it cooks evenly.
  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Side Dish, Cornbread
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