Savoury Cheesy Red Onion Pepper Cornbread


If you love cheese scones, then you’ll love this savoury Cheesy Red Onion Pepper Cornbread. Like Scones and Irish Soda Bread, Cornbread is a fast bread that’s quick and easy to make without yeast or sugar.

cornbread sliced as cross-section with colourful roasted veg on top

So it’s handy to have up your woolly sleeve when you’re snowed in, or just for a nourishing, homemade snack or supper at little notice. What’s more, it makes a festive side to a Thanksgiving dinner.

You may remember seeing photos of the snow hitting Paris recently. As Antoine luckily avoided it being abroad on business and the girls and I were magically snowed in with no school, us mice turned to more British-style lunches with hot, nourishing bowls of soup (such as pumpkin & leek, sweetcorn & pepperrocket soups) and something rather special to go with it.

I quickly discovered that a walk to our local boulangerie was pretty precarious; with the streets un-gritted and discovering my boots were needing new soles with proper grips, it was preferable to stay in slippers.

Round cheese scones

Extra Cheesy Recipes

So, rather than slip about like some mad woman in the search of a good French baguette, I turned to my roots and made a few batches of my favourite recipe for cheese scones – even cheating (why does the snow make me lazy?)! I made just one big ball, flattened it slightly and gently criss-crossed it with a knife before putting it in the oven.  It didn’t look perfect but the result was fabulous!

cheesy red onion pepper cornbread

Savoury Cornbread – No Added Sugar

After trying a delicious Cheesy Jalapeno Soda Bread from Camilla at FabFood4All (I love how she uses beer instead of buttermilk), and with cornmeal about to reach its sell-by-date in the pantry, I was inspired to turn to a more savoury version of cornbread, adding cheese, onions and red peppers.

For traditional American cornbread lovers, please don’t be offended that I have omitted any sugar or honey from the recipe.  I believe that cornbread isn’t supposed to be sweet with added sugar or honey (unless making for a dessert); it’s sweet enough naturally with the corn and onions. After experimenting and playing around with various versions, the girls have given the thumbs up to this final savoury version.

This savoury cornbread is quick, it’s easy, it’s healthy, delicious – and colourful too. Moreover, as I don’t have a traditional skillet to cook it in, I just used a non-stick cake pan and it slipped out so easily.

cheesy red onion pepper cornbread

Perfect Festive Side to a Thanksgiving Dinner

The additions of salt (or fleur de sel) and fresh rosemary or thyme (I saved from the garden) when serving add that extra delicious touch. For the cheese, you could use a good, mature cheddar or French Comté – but here I grated in matured Mimoulette cheese, which has much less fat and just as sharp on the taste.

If you love things a little spicy, then sprinkle on some extra smoked paprika to the vegetables before baking. It’s a welcome, festive side to a Thanksgiving dinner, too.

Cheesy Cornbread recipe

Cheesy Red Onion Pepper Cornbread

cornbread sliced as cross-section with colourful roasted veg on top
5 from 10 votes

Cheesy Red Onion Pepper Cornbread

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course : Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine : American, British
Servings : 6 people
Calories : 262kcal


Cheesy Red Onion Pepper Cornbread, a healthy quick bread recipe without yeast or sugar and topped with roasted vegetables


  • 150 g (5.5oz) cornmeal
  • 100 g (3.5oz) plain flour all-purpose
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt fleur de sel
  • 1 tbsp rosemary or thyme finely chopped
  • 100 g (3.5oz) comté, mimoulette or cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 egg organic
  • 340 ml (12oz) buttermilk* (or milk with 2 tbsp lemon juice) SEE NOTES


  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper roughly chopped
  • 1 cob fresh corn kernels (or small tin sweetcorn)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika optional
  • 1 tsp salt (fleur de sel) for sprinkling before serving
  • few turns of the peppermill to taste


  • Prepare the topping: fry the red onion and pepper in one tablespoon of the olive oil for about 10 minutes over a medium heat until translucent (not browned). Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6.
  • Prepare the batter: in a large mixing bowl sift in the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, grated cheese and rosemary.  Using a large spoon, mix in the egg and buttermilk until smooth.
  • Oil a 24cm cake tin with the other tablespoon of olive oil and pour in the batter.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Remove from the oven, top with the onion and pepper mix, sweetcorn and (if using) the smoked paprika and return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Leave to cool slightly in the tin then remove and enjoy while still warm.


* If you don't have buttermilk, use full fat normal milk, add 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice and leave to rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes then use as buttermilk.
Nutritional Information: Per 170g serving (serves 6): 262 Calories, 11g protein, 8g lipids, 37g glucides.
Delicious served with sweetcorn and red pepper soup.

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Comments (18)

5 stars
It’s amazing what we have in our cupboards when we are snowed in. What super ideas you have Jill so thank you for sharing. I love cheese scones so this will be on my list to try out.

Thanks, Thomasina – hope you try this and the scones. So much better when it’s homemade – and you know what’s in it!

5 stars
Sounds so yummy. I can’t wait to try. I think my family will really enjoy this. Thank you

It’s a real pleasure, Cheryl. Enjoy the recipe!

5 stars
Having lived in the USA for the past 11 years I just can’t wrap my head around corn bread. With it being so sweet my husband and I both agree that it should be called corn cake. It’s a rather odd one !
Now your savoury recipe looks like a delicious option. I might even venture into the realm of cornbread with this one.
Thank you !!!

I’m exactly the same but I haven’t lived in the USA. Thankfully we think alike and agree – it should be corn cake! Hope you try this recipe, Tracy. I was a bit hesitant to post this, thinking people would go crazy without the sweetness.

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