These bite-sized cornbread muffins are loaded with cheese, corn and sweet Italian sausage but feel free to make them your own with your favorite additions.
One of my friends decided to throw together a last-minute party right after Christmas. She mentioned her plans for a casual, buffet-style gathering with steak, potatoes, cheese and charcuterie on the menu and I was excited to come up with something to contribute to the table.
My decision to make these cornbread bites for was purely selfish–I had been craving cornbread all winter and this was the perfect chance to finally have a taste. They also conveniently satisfied two important items: they’re gluten free (my friend has Celiac disease) and they feed a crowd.
But after shopping for the ingredients and telling her what I would bring, I realized that these bites would be more of a cross between cornbread stuffing and corndog muffins. Neither seemed liked the right thing to bring to a party that is not happening on Thanksgiving or for a child.
But after a few minutes of trying to come up with an alternative I decided to push ahead. It would be a casual gathering of easygoing people; I just crossed my fingers that they might overlook the rustic quality of the bite-sized muffins and instead enjoy them for how warm, cheesy and hearty they would be between sips of wine. Besides, is there anyone who doesn’t like cornbread?
These little bites are decidedly more down-home comfort than haute cuisine and no one seemed to mind. Loaded with sweet corn kernels, cheese, green chilies and crumbled Italian sausage they fit right in with the hanger steak, tortilla española, ham and cheese sliders, roasted veggies and other dishes at the buffet table.
These are great on their own but a simple honey mustard dipping sauce I threw together at the last minute helped too. I don’t mind a hint of sweetness on my cornbread but this version is more northern-style–it’s not very sweet. If you lean toward the sweeter southern variety the recipe can be easily adjusted to include more sugar.
Feel free to use the add-ins you prefer. I went all-in with the corn, chilies, cheese and sausage but pick and choose according to your taste. And I happen to like the texture of coarse ground corn meal here but a finer or medium grind would work, too.
In just three months this blog will celebrate its ten year anniversary. I want to thank you for continuing to visit this space and for your feedback on the recipes I share here. It’s been a year (really, a decade) of learning and growing. I hope you continue to find something that pleases you here in the next decade as I explore ideas to make it better and more fun for all of us. Happy New Year!
These bite-sized cornbread muffins are loaded with cheese, corn and sweet Italian sausage but feel free to make it your own with your favorite additions.
- 1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (I used gluten free flour)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (use more for a sweet cornbread)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Add-Ins (Optional or Choose what you like)
- 4 links Italian sausage
- 1 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar and pepper jack)
- 1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted
- 4 ounces diced green chilies
Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce (Optional)
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Spray two mini muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside. You can also just use one muffin tin but you'll have to bake in two batches.
If you're using the sausage, slide the meat our of the casings and cook in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Use a spatula to break up the meat to get crumbled pieces. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir in the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt.
In a medium bowl add the buttermilk, milk and eggs. Whisk lightly to incorporate the eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the large bowl of dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add the butter and corn, chilies and cheddar if you're using them and stir until combined. (Don't add the sausage.)
Pour one tablespoon of batter into each well of the muffin tin. Sprinkle a pinch of the cooked crumbled sausage into each well and press lightly so the meat sinks a little into the batter.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the mini muffins have risen and are slightly golden on top. Rotate the pan halfway through the bake time.
The base recipe was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for Golden Northern Cornbread with reduced sugar and add-ins included.