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 since it doesn’t rely on yeast to rise over time.

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.

red onion pepper cornbread

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.

Cheesy red onion pepper cornbread

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

Feeling Cheesy

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.  After experimenting and playing around with various versions, the girls have given the thumbs up to this final savoury version. This cornbread definitely doesn’t need any sugar or honey as the natural sweetness comes from the cornmeal, sweetcorn and onions.

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


5 from 9 votes
Cheesy red onion pepper cornbread
Cheesy Red Onion Pepper Cornbread
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
If you love Cheese Scones, then you'll love this Cheesy Red Onion Pepper Cornbread. Like Scones and Irish Soda Bread, Cornbread is a fast bread that's quick and easy to make since it doesn't rely on yeast to rise over time.  So it's handy to have up your woolly sleeve when you're snowed in, or just generally feeling like a nourishing, homemade snack or supper at little notice.
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, British
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 262 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
  • 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
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Leave to cool slightly in the tin then remove and enjoy while still warm.

Recipe Notes

* 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.


Jill Colonna



18 replies
  1. Thomasina
    Thomasina says:

    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.

    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

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

  2. Tracy
    Tracy says:

    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 !!!

    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      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.

  3. Christina | Christina's Cucina
    Christina | Christina's Cucina says:

    5 stars
    This looks fabulous, Jill, and so much better than going out on the slippery pavements and risking a fall! Sometimes it’s nice being “stuck inside” as it gives you the excuse to not go out for anything! 🙂 I still haven’t tried your cheese scones and have a gruyere cheddar mix that I spied at TJs and I LOVE it! Might be a good one to use for any of your cheesy bakes! Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      Thanks so much, Christina. Well I hope you make them – a gruyere and cheddar mix? Now that sounds interesting. Sounds like a real French-British concoction that’s perfectly suited here!

  4. Betty
    Betty says:

    Jill, This looks just great and will try it soon! Even though a lot of recipes (including my very favorite) for cornbread here in the U.S. includes sugar, I agree with you completely about omitting it when adding savory ingredients. My husband likes the addition of cheese and jalapenos (the spicier, the better, for him!) and so I make the savory version then! I still love my sweeter version when plain!

    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      Well I’m so glad I haven’t offended leaving out the sugar when adding the vegetables, Betty. Reassuring, thanks. And yes, I imagine as plain the sugar will be just perfect. Hope you try this!

  5. Linda
    Linda says:

    Looks scrummy BUT can I swap cornmeal for ordinary flour? I love everything of plant origin except cornmeal, so no Doritos for me. But I do want to make this!!

    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      Of course you can swap it for normal flour. But then I’d call it Cheesy Red Onion Pepper Quick Bread! 🙂

        • Jill Colonna
          Jill Colonna says:

          I certainly sounds an interesting replacement (épautre in French), as it will give it a nutty taste, something completely different. If it’s just the taste of corn you don’t like then just regular flour – or why not chestnut flour (but I’d swap the quantities so that normal flour outweighs the regular flour, since it’s rather overpowering). I don’t know really, as it’s cornbread with a sweetish angle since it’s ground dried corn. What about polenta?



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