Sweet Chili Cheese Cornbread

I have three very blue-eyed, blond-haired little boys.  People often make comments when they see me with all three of them out and about, that go something like this: “Oh look at those blue eyes!  And all that blond hair!  Just like their Mommy…”  to which I politely smile and say, yes, just like their Mommy.  The truth is their Mommy really has no idea what her actual hair color is because she hasn’t seen it in years, but yeah, let’s just go with blond.  We can pretend, right?  Now that we’re pretending my hair is really blond, let’s pretend that all of those Goldilocks stereotypes are true, just so I can tell you about a recent blond moment I had.  Because it will make you feel smart.  Stick with me.

I giggled like a school girl the day a big box containing this arrived on my doorstep:

Proof that I’m officially a grown up.  Kitchen appliances make me giggle like a school girl.  I have wanted a wheat grinder forever and I finally got one.  It’s a Wonder Mill and I love it.  There was a time in my life when I wondered when anyone would want to grind their own wheat, or grind their own anything for that matter, and more proof that I’m a grown-up: I see value in it now!  I love that I can grind my own ingredients and make all kinds of flours, including those from wheat, beans, rice, and more.  It’s a great way to add some really healthy grains into your diet and nothing beats how fresh and pure it is.

Now.  When I told you all on Facebook how excited I was that I got my Wonder Mill a lot of people made comments about grinding popcorn and how awesome the bread is.  Popcorn bread??  I’d never heard of such a thing!  But it sounded intriguing.  Apparently I hadn’t been in the I-grind-my-own-grains club long enough to be aware that it was normal.  Not gonna lie; I felt a little left out.  And I really wanted some popcorn bread.

It wasn’t until I was browsing recipes on the Wonder Mill site that I saw reference to popcorn.  And it still took me an amazingly long time to realize that when you grind popcorn kernels, you get… CORN MEAL.  Oh my gosh, okay, wow, hello, welcome to earth Sara.  That totally makes sense now that I think about it, but somehow I never realized that’s what it was.  I’m awesome.  I want all of you who sheepishly leave comments and write emails that begin with  “I feel so dumb asking this because it’s a stupid question….” to remember this story, and then ask your stupid question.  Because it’s probably not stupid!

Another thing I didn’t realize is that grinding it is super duper easy.  I always assumed a wheat grinder was enormous and heavy and loud, and took up a lot of space, and took forever to put up and take down.  And maybe some are, but this one isn’t all that big and it’s so easy to use.  Can you tell I love it??  I just poured a little popcorn in the top:

And seconds later, this comes out the other end- beautiful, perfect, fresh, corn meal.  Oh my gosh I’m awesome.  I just made my own cornmeal.  You have no idea how things like this excite me.

So naturally I had to make some cornbread with it.  I set out this particular day to make some whole wheat bread and was totally blindsided by this cornbread recipe.  I happen to be really picky when it comes to cornbread.  I like it sweet, and moist.  I despise the dry crumbly stuff, ew.  This one might be my new favorite; so perfect for upcoming summer bbqs!  Let’s get cookin’.

Start by creaming together some butter and white sugar.  Did I mention I like my cornbread sweet?  And buttery doesn’t hurt either.

If you’re wondering, there is absolutely no reason why your butter needs to be cut into small cubes like mine.  Unless your microwave literally exploded and you had to purchase another one and wait for your husband to install it for you because you don’t want to do it yourself.  If that were the case, then you might find yourself wondering how on earth people lived before microwaves, and specifically how annoying it would be to have to actually wait for butter to soften on its own.  You might try cutting it up into small pieces to speed up the process.  If you’re wondering.

Then in goes a can of sweet, creamy corn and also a can of mild green chiles.  Green chiles aren’t spicy, they just add tons of yummy flavor.

Then we’ll add that fresh cornmeal I just made (by myself!  I’m practically superwoman!)  and also the flour, baking powder and salt.

Lastly, in goes a little shredded cheese.  Both Cheddar and Jack.  Just a little tip- when I’m buying cheddar cheese for a recipe, like bread, or soup, or a creamy sauce, etc.  I always buy medium or sharp, or even extra sharp.  Even if you don’t like that sharp of a flavor when eating it plain, it’s usually much better in a recipe because the flavor is actually strong enough to show through.  Mild cheddar tends to just add the creamy melty factor, but not a ton of flavor.

Pop it in a 9×13 pan and bake it up.  I just noticed when I typed out this recipe here that it has you preheat your oven to 350 and then reduce the heat to 300 when you put the pan in.  I so didn’t do that.  Now I know why mine baked way faster than it says it does.  Sooo if you forget to reduce the heat and cook it at 350 the entire time, it totally works.  But it will cook much faster so keep an eye on it.

Really though, this stuff is so super moist, and perfectly sweet and savory.  I loved the both the texture and the flavor.  It’s also super buttery, which isn’t a bad thing.  I think you could probably even get away with a little less butter- I might try it with 1 1/2 sticks instead of 2 next time just to test that out.  I’ll be making this one for bbq’s all summer long!


*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.


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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I have had my Wonder Mill for 2 1/2 years now (and yes, I giggled like a school girl when I got mine as well) but I never knew you could grind popcorn! The thought never even crossed my mind. So, guess what I’m making today. My husband will be one happy man! Thanks, Sara

  2. I have a Whisper Mill, the predecessor to the Wonder Mill. I LOVE it. I finally wore out the motor a year or so ago, and went and bought a Nutrimill. Hated it. Returned it after a day, and then made some calls and found out I could get the guts replaced for about 80 bucks. It was a relief to get it back into my hot little hands again and works like a champ. My parents have the same mill and use it almost daily, putting beans and all manner of other stuff through it. I’ve never thought of milling my own cornmeal, but I’ll definitely give it a try now!

  3. Wow, I’ve had a WonderMill for about 4 years and had no idea I could make cornmeal from popcorn! Thanks for the tip. I love my mill & grinding my own wheat excites me too 🙂 It’s so fun to use!

  4. What a fab idea! Wandered onto your site following a link on the balloon wreath and am glad I did. what a great place you have and coming from someone else who has NO idea what color hair I have (pretty sure it’s plaid) – I’ve added you to my RSS feeds and will be a regular stalker…uh visitor! 😀

  5. This looks yummy. Just thought that i’d mention that I’ve also made popcorn bread as in popped corn. You air pop it and put it in the blender and make a yummy foccacia bread with what looks like little styrofoam balls. Has nothing to do with the wonder mill but it is popcorn bread.

  6. Your recipes are absolutely the best on the net. I dont know what Id do without your site, its fabulous!!

  7. I love this recipe but my kids are so picky they have to have plain cornbread. It is so amazingly sweeter to use ground popcorn or even to dry out extra sweet corn from you garden and grind it.

    Also all wheat is NOT the same since you’re getting started with grinding. I’m really enjoying hard white wheat instead of the hard red. With the hard red I have to add gluten flour but not with the white wheat.

  8. YUM! So if there are chilies and cheese in the cornbread can you still eat it with honey? Cause I’m not gonna lie, honey is the reason I love cornbread!

    1. Ha! I suppose you *could* still put honey on it, but it’s seriously so sweet you don’t even need it!

  9. I really had NO idea that that’s how you get cornmeal. How do you store the popcorn kernals for long-term use? I looove sweet cornbread with chilis in it. Thanks for sharing your recipe AND your story. 😉

  10. I always assumed that cornmeal was ground from regular dried cron, which is a different thing from popcorn. Is the texture of the cornmeal the same as store bought?

    Does the Wonder Mill do cracked grains too, or just flour? I have a mill which claims to do both, and sadly, I don’t love it.

    1. This one I’m showing is just for flour (it will do coarse flour, regular flour, and fine pastry flour), but the Wondermill Jr. is for cracked grains and I have that one too!

    1. The recipe actually didn’t specify so I used 15 oz. Since it didn’t specify, it might work with 8 oz as well but I’m not sure!

  11. i have had my wheat grinder for a few months now… make bread all the time. i have been wanting to make some fresh ground cornbread but wasnt sure of a good recipie as i also like it sweet and moist! So THANK YOU we are totally gonna make some of this yumminess today! its like you read my mind on what i was craving!

  12. That looks amazingly delicious!
    So…my sister has been “grinding grains” for a long time and I just assumed she had some pioneer-like hand crank machine. (probably powered by mules or something) Thanks for the subtle lesson and for saving me embarrassment down the road. Now I think I need one of those machines! FUN! (no mules required!)

  13. Thanks for the recipe. I just got a new wheatgrinder last weekend, too!! I bought a Nutrimill because I have a friend who sells them. I love it!!

  14. I have never yet been disappointed by any of your recipes and I am super excited to try this one. I have been on the lookout for a good cornbread recipe for ages! Thanks!!

  15. I like sweet and moist cornbread, too (or, as it is apparently known, “Northern/Yankee Cornbread” as opposed to “Southern/Real cornbread when you live in the southern states). Those pics look so good; I really need to stay away from your blog until after I’ve eaten something… I’m so craving cheesy cornbread now. 🙂

  16. well speaking of dumb questions (cuz I was a childhood blond, who keeps it that way through lots of costly chemicals!!)…
    I love the whole grinding your own … idea, but where does one fine their own “unground wheat stalks”?? Am I missing something too?

    1. It’s not actually stalks, it’s just the grains. I bought a big bag at Costco. You can also get it at well stocked grocery stores, usually the ones that sell grains in bulk bins.

  17. I love me some good cornbread! And I like mine sweet, too. My office manager (who grew up in the South) used to tease me that mine wasn’t actually cornbread – rather it was cornCAKE!! Anyway, the only thing I don’t usually like is actual pieces of corn in my cornbread, so I may have to omit that. I’ve never tried it with cheese, either, so that should be interesting. 🙂

    1. Oh ya, corn cake- that’s right up my ally, haha. Try pureeing the corn for the same flavor but no chunks 🙂

  18. You’re a hoot! That’s all I gotta say! Love reading your posts, they always make me laugh. And yes, I would feel excited (and pathetic at being such a ‘grown-up’) if I made my own cornmeal as well!

  19. Mmm, looks yummy. I love corn bread. Honestly one of my favorites is the Krusteaz honey corn bread and I’m always looking for one to make from scratch with a similar taste.
    Anyway, I was wondering, did you use 4 or 40 oz of green chiles? I figured it’s probably 4, but the way it’s typed, it looks like 40.

    1. I’m fairly certain 40 ounce cans of chills don’e exist! lol I’ll fix the weird typing 🙂

  20. YUM!! I had a roommate that made the best cornbread with freshly ground popcorn. We made her make it at least once a week because it was soooo good. Now I am craving it! Guess I better start looking for a wheat grinder…..

  21. I’m just getting ready to list my wheat grinder for sale. LOL Don’t get me wrong, I love it. But, since I got a Blendtec I don’t need it since the Blendtec grinds my grains really well and really fast in addition to being an awesome blender. I’m all about having less appliances on my counter. 🙂 I’m now down to just 3, my toaster, 6 qt professional kitchenaid, and my Blendtec. Yay for simplifying!
    I love that I don’t have to keep corn meal on hand anymore. Just throw some popcorn in the blender and a few seconds later out comes fabulous corn meal! 🙂 I’ll have to give your recipe a whirl as it sounds delish!

    1. E-mail me the details about your grinder please!!! I am looking for one but can’t really afford full price. Thank You

  22. I too have a broken microwave.. its been 3 weeks and I am still waiting on the Whirlpool Warranty service department to come out and replace it. I also have made many small butter cubes and used real teapots. (you know.. the ones people used before we realized water was microwavable!)

    1. Oh my gosh, you feel my pain, right??! Who would have thought life was so complicated without a microwave, haha

  23. What a great recipe for cornbread (which I love, love, love). And no, I didn’t know that cornmeal came from popcorn. Whod-a thunk it!

  24. I love love love your site. I decided recently that I wanted to have a great go-to cornbread recipe so perfect timing! I have some regular corn, not creamed, do you think using it will dry out the bread too much?

    1. You get a huge amount of moisture from the creamed corn, so I wouldn’t leave it out!