Recipe: Skillet Whole Grain Corn Bread

Bruce Bradley's whole grain cornbread is delicious and full of REAL ingredients

Do you like cornbread? Our family loves it! But what about those boxes and bags of cornbread mix? How “processed” are they? To better answer that question, I took a closer look at “America’s Favorite” cornbread mix, Jiffy:

Learn why cornbread mixes may not be the best option for your dinner table!

At first glance, not only is this ingredient list pretty long, but it also contains plenty of stuff that’s not really very good for you. Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Wheat Flour: Since the label doesn’t indicate “whole wheat flour” you can pretty much assume it contains highly processed white flour that’s been stripped of most of its fiber and nutritional content.
  2. Trans fats: Whenever you see “partially hydrogenated” as a descriptor for any oil on a label, put the package down since there’s most likely some level of trans fats in that product. Although the FDA currently only requires food manufacturers to label trans fats on the nutrition facts panel if there is 0.5 grams or more per serving, research shows trans fats at any level are bad news. Although the FDA is finally making moves to completely phase out trans fats from our food supply, the timeline to complete this transition is unclear. Therefore, trans fats will likely be around for at least another year or so.
  3. Ingredients sourced from genetically modified crops (GMOs): If you’re looking to avoid GMO ingredients then don’t buy any of your standard cornbread mixes since the corn and sugar are most likely from GMO crops. Other GMO-derived ingredients may include the animal shortening (since most animals are fed GMO grains) and citric acid.
  4. Potentially dangerous preservatives: BHA and BHT are used to keep foods from going rancid, but both are potentially dangerous. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers BHA to be “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” Of course, the FDA has failed to act on this and still permits BHA’s use in foods.
  5. Lots of phosphates: While the phosphates in our food are not dangerous per se, their rampant use in processed foods has resulted in consumers ingesting concerning amounts that ultimately may be taking its toll on our bodies.
  6. Lard certainly isn’t a “health” food in my book, but it probably doesn’t deserve the unduly bad rap it’s received over the past several decades. That said, the lard in this corn muffin mix is most likely sourced from animals raised on a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation). The very nature of this type of industrial animal farming typically includes use of antibiotics, growth hormones, GMO fed, unsustainable farming practices, and the inhumane treatment of animals.

So does this mean cornbread is off limits? No! It just means I try to avoid making it from a premixed box or bag. Yes, it takes a little more time, but I think it’s totally worth it!

Ironically, the origins of my homemade recipe come from a community cookbook that featured Flako cornbread mix. The recipe called for a box of Flako, oil, a can of creamed corn, some eggs, and sour cream. My entire family really liked this recipe because the pieces of corn from the creamed corn were a great, tasty addition to the cornbread. So when Flako cornbread was discontinued by Quaker Foods many years ago, I decided to substitute Jiffy cornbread mix. And then when I began working to eliminate processed foods from my diet several years ago, I came up with my own homemade version of cornbread.

The resulting recipe still keeps the extra, flavorful punch of whole kernel corn, replaces added processed sugars with just a little bit of honey, and also features real, whole grain ingredients like whole grain pastry flour and cornmeal to deliver more taste, texture, fiber, and flavor!

Sound delicious? Then get out your cast iron skillet, and whip up a batch of cornbread with me. I promise you—it will be a special treat your entire family will enjoy!

Corn Bread
Recipe type: Snacks/Sides
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 8-12 slices

  • 1¼ cups fine or medium yellow cornmeal
  • 1¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup corn (fresh or frozen)
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk (or milk)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place 10¼ inch cast iron skillet in it to get hot.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together.
  3. In a small saucepan warm corn, honey, butter, and buttermilk over low heat.
  4. Beat eggs.
  5. Lightly mix the eggs and warmed corn mixture into the dry ingredients.
  6. Fold in the sour cream, being careful to not over mix.
  7. Remove piping hot skillet from oven carefully. Add oil and swirl in pan and return to oven for one minute until oil is sizzling hot.
  8. Pour cornbread batter into the skillet. Batter should sizzle when it hits the pan.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean.

We recommend using organic ingredients when possible. We also prefer using eggs from pasture-raised chickens.

Raw, organic honey that has been melted is what we use for this recipe. You may also substitute organic maple syrup if you choose.

We always make fresh baking powder at home. It’s super easy and avoids the aluminum that’s in many store-bought varieties. To make your own just mix two parts cream of tartar with one part baking soda. Make just enough for the recipe or store any extra for up to four weeks in an airtight container at room temperature.

 Kitchen Tips and Resources:



Whether you’re having some friends over to watch a game or feeding your family, I absolutely love homemade chili! It beats the canned stuff for so many reasons—not the least of which is, it just TASTES BETTER! Also, since you control the ingredients a great chili recipe is a super way to sneak some vegetables by your kids. And with my chili recipe I honestly don’t miss the meat one bit! Although you can certainly add some in if you like, with its hearty flavor and taste, what’s there to miss? Oh, and with all the different ways you can garnish it, everyone in your family can tailor-make a bowl to their own taste. Giving kids ways to customize their food is a fun, surefire way to get them on board with healthier meals! Continue Reading >>


Recipe: REAL, Homemade Queso

Bruce Bradley's homemade REAL queso

Okay, don’t judge me, but probably one of my favorite party-time appetizers is queso and chips. But years ago when I started my real food journey, it’s one of the foods I gave up. As my post about processed cheeses demonstrates, there’s really nothing good about Velveeta.

Does that mean you have to give up queso for good? Absolutely NOT! First of all, I hope you know by now I’m not about judging what you eat—I just want you to really know what’s in your food! Knowledge is power! But wouldn’t it be nice if you could serve up some queso and not feel so badly about it?

Well hold on to your sombreros, folks! I’ve got a delicious recipe for homemade queso that’s made from real ingredients. Continue Reading >>


The Evolution of Cheese: The Winners & Losers

Bruce Bradley documents the scary evolution of cheese from REAL food to an industrialized mess“What is cheese?” Seems like a pretty easy question, right? Unfortunately it may be much more difficult to answer than you might think since over the years a lot of changes have happened to what’s called cheese.

Although the exact origins of cheese are unknown, the process is believed to date back more than 4,000 years ago. Like many discoveries cheesemaking is believed to be the result of an accident that occurred when an Arabian merchant stored milk in a pouch made from a sheep’s stomach. When the rennet (an enzyme produced in the stomach of ruminant animals) combined with the milk and the warmth from the sun, violà—cheese was created. Continue Reading >>


Recipe: Roasted Carrots and Broccoli

Bruce Bradley's Roasted Carrots and Broccoli are so delicious you won't have to beg with your kids to eat their veggies anymore!

Getting our families to eat more vegetables can be tough! Food companies certainly aren’t helping us out. Between making misleading health claims on junk food and mucking up frozen vegetables with lots of additives it can be difficult to find a delicious, quick option. But alas, please don’t give up! Continue Reading >>

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