Honey Sweetened Corn Muffins (gluten-free option)

By Ann Fulton

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My husband adores cornbread, so I have made it scores of different ways over the years. Since his birthday is today, and because we like to start birthdays in our family with birthday muffins, bagels, donuts or baked oatmeal — basically, anything I can stick candles in to start the day off in a festive way! — I figured it was finally time to type up what is my favorite basic corn muffin recipe.

When I want to make cornbread as muffins, this recipe is one that I like for several reasons. First, the addition of flour gives the cornbread a “cakier” texture.  (I have a delicious, Southern-style recipe using all cornmeal, but the texture does not lend as well to muffins.) Second, this recipe works quite well with my gluten-free flour blend which, as a bonus, incorporate whole grains.  I keep the recipe clean by using honey instead of white sugar and coconut oil for the fat.  That said, you could use sugar — simply mix it in with the dry ingredients — and melted butter would be a fine option, too.  You may certainly use all-purpose flour instead of the gluten-free blend if that is not a concern for you.  With either flour choice, the measurements are the same.

Lastly, although I usually make this recipe with plain Greek yogurt, I have prepared many times with buttermilk.  In this case, I adjust the measurements to 2/3 cup milk and 2/3 cup buttermilk. While non-fat milk works fine, and is what I often use, 2% or whole milk are delicious options. I mention this substitution as it could be helpful if you have everything but the yogurt on hand. Remember, you can always make your own buttermilk by using 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar and enough milk to make one cup. Then allow to sit for five minutes, and use the amount called for in the recipe.

For my gluten-free flour blend, which I use often in baking, click here.

Honey Sweetened Corn Muffins (gluten-free option)
Though this type of cornbread has a more cake-like texture than its Southern counterpart, it is still not the same thing as your typical bakery corn muffin which will be much more akin to a quick bread or cake. I love this muffin paired with a soup or salad--and sometimes for breakfast--with a smear of strawberry jam. My husband likes to melt a little butter into the warm muffin--although the last time we ate these he said they don't even need it...and he skipped it! Bringing the cold ingredients to room temperature before mixing will prevent the melted butter or coconut oil from re-hardening once added. Removing the muffins from the oven as soon as they are cooked through is the key to keeping them moist.
  • 1 1/4 cup stone ground cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour mix
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (one 6-ounce cup) 2% or nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk (I usually use nonfat; 2% or whole will work well, too)
  • 1/4 cup honey (see note)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. (You can use liners, but I find the muffins can stick to the papers.)
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour or gluten-free blend, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the yogurt, milk, honey, and melted coconut oil or butter and whisk to combine well.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until just incorporated. The batter should be light and fluffy, so try not to stir too much and deflate the batter.
  6. I like to use my ice cream scoop to fill the 12 muffin cups easily and without mess. Then bake 10-12 minutes or until the muffins are just cooked through. As all ovens vary, check a few minutes early; they will cook quickly at the high oven temperature and over-baking will create a dry baked good.
  7. Serve warm with butter and/or your favorite jam, as desired. Once cooled, wrap and store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Gently reheat in the microwave. If you let them go a day or two and they seem dry, wrap in a damp paper towel and gently reheat in the microwave. This is my trick to freshen dried-out cornbread beautifully.
  • While I add 1/4 cup honey to make these muffins slightly sweet, you could use anywhere between 1 and 4 tablespoons, depending on your preference.
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Happy Birthday, Honey!!!

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  1. Shirley A.

    Hi Ann,

    Thank you for your very helpful site!

    I need to adapt the recipe to work for a long biking trip. I’ll have no refrigeration and water will be my only fluid. The ingredients I can use include dehydrated butter buds (flavor only – not fat), powdered milk (no fat), and powdered eggs (no fat,) and sweetener in a powdered form (probably dark brown sugar,) liquid canola oil, and solid coconut oil.

    (I cook them in a pot-inside-a-pot, that is lined with parchment paper, so it is okay that I don’t have a good oil for greasing the pan.)

    I’d be grateful for any suggestions you might have for getting a nice fluffy muffin using your recipe with these ingredients.


    1. Ann Post author

      I would love to have these on a long biking trip, Shirley! Your question is a good one, and I can’t say for sure how well they will turn out with these changes. But if I were to try with those ingredients, I’d mix up the equivalents of all of the obvious ingredients in a sturdy bag or container, and I would use 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup coconut oil. I’ve never used dehydrated butter buds but perhaps you could add some of those for flavor. Since water is the only thing you’ll have to add, I’d be tempted to mix everything and cut in the coconut oil until you have a mixture similar to coarse crumbs. None of those ingredients would have to be refrigerated, so you could prep in advance and then simply add water until you have a batter-like consistency and bake away. I hope this helps and that the muffins provide great fuel!

  2. Barb Langan

    This is an exceptional gluten free cornbread recipe ! Thank you.
    I used a mix of mostly fine cornmeal and about 1/8 cup of medium course corn meal. For the flour I used Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour.
    I also used grape seed oil and plain almond milk.
    The muffins rose nicely and the texture was light, not heavy at all. No one would know these were a gluten free creation.
    Very tasty.

    1. Ann Post author

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and mention your adjustments, Barb. I’m thrilled these were a hit…I could eat one right now!

  3. Donna

    Hi I just found this recipe and they were divine. Do you happen to have the nutritional value and or calories per muffin?

    Thanks a bunch.

    1. Ann

      I’m so happy that you like these, Donna. Thanks for letting me know. I have not calculated the nutritional value for these, although many people like myfitnesspal.com or caloriecount.about.com for an easy reference.

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  5. Sally

    These gluten free corn muffins were the best ever! I used 4 tbsp maple syrup instead of honey and raw milk yogurt and milk. They came out perfectly, and drew me to look more closely at your website. Thank you Ann.

    1. Ann

      That’s wonderful feedback, Sally. Thank you for letting me know, and I hope you find some other recipes you enjoy as well!

  6. Danielle

    Hello and thank you for this perfect recipe. I use the GF ATK recommended blend, except I use sorghum instead of the brown rice flour portion. I used regular plain yogurt instead of Greek because it’s what I had on hand. I always prefer to use honey when I can, and coconut oil is our go-to for baking, so I loved that you had all of my favorites in one recipe! I whipped this together from start to finish in 22 minutes – 10 minutes was the perfect bake time in my convection oven. I will be making this recipe over and over again. I’m so excited to have a gluten free recipe that doesn’t terrify me into thinking that if I don’t get it measured perfectly it will fail.

    1. Ann

      Thanks for your terrific comment, Danielle. I am thrilled that you loved this recipe and hope you find many more to try!

  7. Holly

    I just made these muffins using Namaste brand gluten-free flour, 2% Greek yogurt, coconut oil, two tablespoons of honey, and diced roasted peaches. I brushed the inside of the muffin tin with coconut oil as well, and it made for a lovely golden toastiness. Delicious warmed with a dab of butter and a drizzle of honey. I love your recipe – light but moist, with a hint of sweetness. So good!

  8. Sharla

    Oh, these were FABULOUS!
    Made them with the GF flour blend, and replaced the yogurt with 2 capfuls of lemon juice in 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and replaced the milk with the same almond milk. They rose up very nicely, were slightly sweet and a little salty. They were stellar with the chili we ate for dinner. YUM! Our family of four had the dozen polished by breakfast time. More please!

  9. Andee F.

    I just made this recipe using dairy free buttermilk (almond milk with lemon juice) and regular almond milk. It was excellent! Thank you so much for posting this! 😀

    1. Ann

      Thanks for the comment, Andee. I have made these with coconut milk and lime juice, and it’s great to have the positive feedback about almond milk as well. So glad you enjoyed!

  10. Heady

    My mom made corneal muffins my whole life. Warm out of the oven, slice in half, butter both halves& drizzle with real maple syrup! My favorite childhood dessert!

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  14. Mary Lou Keller

    You just answered my second question. They should be refrigerated. What I love about these is that they are just sweet enough. And I can see adding. Some green chilis to them sometime for Mexican corn muffins…or shredded cheddar. Mmmmm

  15. Mary Lou Keller

    Hi Ann, these are a huge hit! Didn’t add corn, but they were perfect without it. My husband had 3 of them. Ate with slow cooker 15 bean soup. Found that recipe on Yummy Life blog. It was a perfect dinner. This is my new favorite corn muffin recipe!

    1. Ann

      Yay, Mary Lou! I am so glad and appreciate the feedback! I bet that soup was great, too. The Yummy Life has wonderful ideas and recipes: ) By the way, I had two leftover corn muffins that I put in the fridge and forgot about. Heated with the damp paper towel trick with dinner tonight and the 5-day old muffins freshened up perfectly….just in case that happens to you!

  16. Mary Lou Keller

    Hi Ann! these look wonderful and I am going to make tomorrow night to go with a 15 bean soup recipe I found. Question for you, what do you think of adding small can creamed corn to this recipe? Would that make it too soupy?

    Still trying to get my “cooking mojo” back..

    1. Ann

      I think that would be a wonderful addition, Mary Lou, and would probably make them extra moist. These are my most basic corn muffin recipe, so a great canvas on which to paint. Please let me know what you think…it sounds like a perfect meal!

  17. Rila Hackett

    Ann… this looks like a great recipe and I plan on trying it this weekend. Thank you! And Happy Birthday to Jack (a couple days late)! Both Colin and I share Feb. 16 as our birthdays so we’re glad to join Jack as part of the mid-February birthday gang. 🙂

    Thanks, too, for your tip on making a buttermilk equivalent. One question: Would pure maple syrup work okay if you don’t have honey? Thanks, Ann!

    1. Ann

      Happy belated birthday to you and Colin! I have not made this recipe with maple syrup but I think it would work well…and might just try the next time. The recipe is not overly sweet, but I do like my cornbread with a hint of sweetness. A true Southerner would probably leave it out: )