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Cornbread is the perfect side for chili, it’s a great option for breakfast, and cornbread stuffing is a classic pairing with a roast chicken and turkey feast. While there are plenty of recipes for cornbread in cookbooks and online, sometimes the best option is to find a cornbread mix you like and keep a few boxes stocked in your pantry. Not only are premade baking mixes convenient, but they’re consistent so you’ll be sure to get the same result every time.
Even if you have a from scratch cornbread recipe you love, keeping a box or two of cornbread mix on hand can come in handy if you're running low on ingredients or on days you’ve spent all your energy on the main dish and need a fast and easy cornbread on the side.
Most cornbread mixes include instructions for high-altitude baking and, if you’re feeling creative, there are plenty of recipes on online for using cornbread mixes in different ways. Whether you like your cornbread savory or sweet, Northern or Southern, or with a spicy kick, there’s a corn bread mix that will have just the right flavor and texture notes to meet your preferences. Here are the best cornbread mixes.
Best Overall: Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
While it’s called a corn muffin mix, this classic box mix has a lot of fans who rate it #1 for cornbread. It’s not too sweet, not too savory, and it’s simple to make using just milk and egg. Recipes abound for using this mix for corn pudding, for making it sweeter, or other adjustments that personalize the cornbread.
A single box makes enough cornbread to be baked in a standard 8-inch square or an 8-inch round cake pan, or even in your favorite cast iron skillet, so it’s a nice amount for a small family. If you’re feeding a crowd, a double recipe is just as easy.
This is a pack of four boxes, so you’ll have plenty to have on hand in the pantry, and the small boxes don’t take a lot of space. The price is also small, making this favorite also very affordable. A vegan version of this mix is also available, but most users prefer the flavor and texture of the original mix.
Best for Stuffing: Betty Crocker Authentic Cornbread & Muffin Mix
A brand that’s been around for generations, Betty Crocker has mixes for just about every baked good you’d want to make, including this cornbread mix that’s not too sweet and not too salty. It’s great as-is, and also a perfect addition to other recipes where you’d want to add your own flavors.
This pack includes nine 6.5 ounce packages, so you can make a small pan of cornbread or six muffins with one mix, or bake a few batches for parties or for stuffing a turkey. One user noted that the small batch is the perfect size for cooking in a toaster oven.
This requires milk, butter, and egg, so the ingredients aren’t hard to find. Because it bakes a thinner cornbread in an 8-inch square pan, the baking time is slightly shorter than other mixes that bake a thicker cornbread.
Best Southern Style: Krusteaz Southern Cornbread and Muffin Mix
Founded by a women’s bridge club in 1932 when the women came up with an easy pie crust concept, Krusteaz products always rate highly among users who love the baking mixes. This Southern-style cornbread mix is no exception. Described as “sweet and savory,” it’s a little bit dense and slightly gritty rather than fluffy. While it’s slightly sweet, it’s not overly sweet.
This recipe requires milk or buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs, which are pantry staples in many homes, so you won’t need to run out for ingredients. You can use an 8- or 9-inch square pan, a round cake pan, a skillet, or a muffin pan, so you’ve got plenty of options for baking the cornbread. The company website offers recipes to customize the cornbread to make it even more interesting.
If Southern cornbread isn’t your cup of (sweet iced) tea, they also make a Northern version as well as honey cornbread.
Best Gluten Free: gfJules Gluten Free Cornbread Mix
You know a gluten-free baking mix is good when it wins awards. This cornbread mix from gfJules was voted the best gluten free cornbread mix by the Gluten Free Buyer's Guide. Reviewers say this mix consistently produces a cornbread with a crisp exterior and fluffy, moist crumb. The brand promises your diners, whether gluten-free or not, will want seconds of this tasty side dish.
The mix contains organic cornmeal, non-GMO ingredients, and is certified gluten-free. You'll need butter, sour cream or yogurt, milk, and an egg to bake this mix. For a vegan version, use vegan dairy substitutes and an egg replacer or a flax-egg. Try adding a can of green chilis for a spicy kick or 1/4 cup of extra sugar for a sweeter version. One package will bake an 8x8 pan or 12 muffins.
Best Bulk Package: Marie Callender's Original Cornbread Mix
Perfect packaging for folks who don’t always need the same size cornbread or the same number of muffins, this bulk bag has a chart for making a variety of serving sizes, or just use 2 parts of the cornbread mix to one part of water for your own custom size.
Since this requires only water, it’s one of the simplest cornbread mixes you’ll find, but the company website has more recipes that can make the mix even more fun. Some users note that they substitute eggs, milk, buttermilk, melted butter, or other liquids for the water, to make their own versions, so this mix is very flexible when it comes to variations.
Best Dessert: Chi Chi's Sweet Corn Cake Mix
If you’ve been to a Chi-Chi’s restaurant, you know what these corn cakes are. If not familiar with the restaurant, you’re in for a treat. The recipe suggests baking this in a loaf pan and using an ice cream scoop to serve, but some users bake them in muffin tins or cake pans for a more traditional cornbread shape.
This is a sweet cornbread that’s a perfect pairing with spicy foods, or it can be used as a dessert. Rather than using coarsely ground cornmeal that’s traditional in American cornbread, this includes masa, for a more Mexican flavor. The recipe requires melted butter, water, and a can of cream-style corn, so it’s not quite as simple as some recipes, but still easy to make from pantry ingredients.
This is a pack of 12 pouches, so you’ll have plenty for parties or just to keep on hand for Taco Tuesdays.
Best Spicy: Zatarain's Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread Mix
This New Orleans brand sells regional offerings like red beans and rice, jambalaya, and dirty rice, so it’s no surprise that they’ve also got a NOLA-style cornbread to go with your gumbo, but it’s just as good with your chili or fried chicken.
This mix includes cheddar cheese and jalapeno, so it offers a spicy kick along with the savory cheese flavor. It requires butter, milk, and eggs, so it’s simple to make, either as cornbread or 12 corn muffins. The company website offers a few additional recipes, including cornbread-topped chili pie.
Best Sweet: Stonewall Kitchen Cornbread Mix
Stonewall Kitchen is known for a huge catalog of pantry staples, including jams, salsa, and baking mixes. The brand's cornbread mix is of the Northeast variety, with just the right amount of sweetness to complement the savory corn flavor. This cornbread bakes up with a moist, crumbly texture that's perfect for topping with a scoop of your favorite chili.
This mix is prepared with vegetable oil, an egg, and a cup of milk and, if you're in the mood for a fun baking project, the box also includes instructions for baking cornbread doughnuts. You'll get 12 servings out of one box of mix.
Best Whole Grain: Kodiak Cakes Homestead Style Protein Packed Cornbread Mix
Kodiak Cakes is known for their protein-packed whole grain baking mixes. The cornbread mix is made from 100% whole grain wheat flour and 100% whole grain cornmeal. Using whole grain flours gives a heartier texture to the end product and naturally ups the protein content of this mix, but this mix also gets a boost from the addition of wheat, whey, and milk protein concentrates.
You'll need eggs, melted butter, and milk to prepare this mix, which serves 12. Once baked, each serving of cornbread contains approximately 10 grams of protein as prepared. The package also features directions for baking corn muffins and an extra-moist version that has 11 grams of protein prepared.
What to Look for When Buying Cornbread Mix
So many occasions call for cornbread. Whether it’s a simple chili dinner at home, a backyard cookout, or an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of cornbread to go around. Several cornbread mixes are easily suited for 4-6 servings, while others are measured out for the whole neighborhood. Check the recommended pan size, and do a quick mental calculation of how many portions each person will reasonably go for. Most cornbread mixes are easily doubled or tripled if you find you’d like to make a larger batch.
While the main ingredient in cornbread would seem to be corn, cornbread is not an inherently gluten-free bread product. Most mixes include flour, so be sure to look for a mix specifically labeled “gluten-free” if that’s something you want. Also, while most cornbread mixes have blessedly few ingredients, don’t assume they’re vegetarian or even vegan. Some mixes contain dehydrated animal fats (like lard) or are processed with dairy products (like dehydrated buttermilk or cheese). Take heart, there’s a soul-satisfying cornbread mix out there for every diet and taste preference.
Additional Ingredients and Mix-Ins
Like most boxed mixes, you’ll need to provide a few extra ingredients to bring it all together. Typically, those ingredients are eggs, milk, butter or oil, and occasionally water. A few mixes require a little extra, like canned corn.
After you find the mix that you like best, you can begin to play with the ingredients and mix-ins to further customize your cornbread. Consider substituting full-fat yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk for the milk. Add cheese, freshly sliced jalapenos, or diced bell peppers to the mix. Finish your cornbread straight out of the oven with a honey-butter glaze. The possibilities are nearly endless.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This roundup was written by Donna Currie, who knows a thing or two about home baking. She's the author of the cookbook Make Ahead Bread and in addition to reviewing products and kitchen gadgets for The Spruce Eats, she's also written pieces on the best waffle and gluten-free bread mixes of the year.
This roundup was updated by Sharon Lehman, a home cook who happens to be a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Her Thanksgiving table isn't complete without cornbread dressing, which she prepares using boxed cornbread mix to save time each holiday season. She specialized in product reviews for The Spruce Eats and wrote a piece on the best pancake mixes.