Vegan Gluten-Free Magic Skillet Cornbread (Oil-free)

Vegan Gluten-Free Magic Skillet Cornbread (Oil-free)

Thanksgiving is underway. I've written 4 recipes so far that I will be sharing soon. I'm already pooped, haha! So many exciting things are happening, that will be revealed later, but for now, let's get to some yummy skillet cornbread, ok? In other words, the best cornbread I've ever had.

Are you wondering why I named it Magic Skillet Cornbread? Well, that is because this cornbread has a buttery taste without any butter or oil. I used my favorite nut to impart a buttery flavor. Cornbread tends to be really dry, so using my regular go-to almond flour just wasn't going to cut it. It's also magical because it is vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free and all just 8 ingredients.

So, I decided to create pecan "flour". Pecans are very oily naturally and impart richness and moisture much more than any other nut. By combing pecan flour and cornmeal, it gave the texture I was after. Worked brilliantly.

It is moist, buttery and full of flavor. Honestly, it is kind of addicting. It is tender, yet still firm. It holds together and doesn't fall apart in your hands. My hubby who doesn't like cornbread even thought this was yummy. My daughter of course loved it.

Now, it seems everybody is in a different category.....the sweet cornbread lovers and the savory cornbread lovers. Well, I have great news, this cornbread will match either. I used just a tad maple syrup to give it flavor without it actually tasting sweet, but also the perfect backdrop to drizzle some maple syrup or whatever you like on top. It is delicious on it's own, but I confess that I'm a bit of a weirdo, I like a little barbecue sauce on mine on occasion. My husband looked at me sideways when I put barbecue sauce on mine. Hey, I never said I was normal. BUT, looooook at it......

I know, strange, but I've mentioned before that I LOVE barbecue sauce and think that it would taste good on pretty much anything, including cornbread. You should try it.

Vegan Gluten-Free Magic Skillet Cornbread (Oil-free)

Cooking it in a skillet not only makes a beautiful presentation, but it gives better edges and a crispiness that I love. It is important to use a well-seasoned skillet, or just simply spray it well with nonstick spray to ensure the cornbread doesn't stick. If your skillet is well-seasoned, you won't need spray. If you are unsure, spray it to be safe! You don't want cornbread stuck to the pan the day of Thanskgiving, now do you?

This cornbread is miles better than any I've ever had. I've tried so many and they were so dry, I couldn't even finish one bite without guzzling half a gallon of water. Pecans to the rescue.

If you like yours sweet, drizzle some light maple syrup on it.

You could add jalapenos, corn kernels, etc. if you wanted, too. OR, make them as muffins, super fast and easy!

I'd love to hear what you think of this Vegan Magic Skillet Cornbread! Please leave me feedback below in the comments after you make them!

Yields 8-10 slices

Magic Skillet Cornbread

This incredibly easy 8 ingredient cornbread really is magically moist and delicious and all while being completely oil/butter free and vegan and gluten-free. Nobody will ever know it is made without oil or gluten. In fact, it tastes like there is butter in it! It is very subtly sweet as to make it the perfect backdrop to eat it by itself or add any type of topping, sweet or savory.

20 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

35 minTotal Time

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5 based on 4 review(s)


  • 1 1/4 cups canned i]lite[/i] coconut milk, shaken well first (297 mL, I use [Thai Kitchen )
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon apple cide vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups medium grind coarse cornmeal, NOT finely ground or it'll be dry (234 g, I use this one by Bob's Red Mill Coarse Cornmeal )
  • 3/4 cup raw pecan halves (84 g)
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (30 g)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch (30 g)
  • 1 tablespoon double acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Note:
  • It's always best to use a kitchen scale for accurate results, especially with gluten-free baking. They are sold at any home good stores these days and are just a few dollars. Otherwise, to accurately measure to get the results as I've written, you will scoop your measuring cup into the flours and lightly pat down and then level off with your finger. This is how the companies measure their products as well to reach their weight measurements on the bag.
  • Note: To make these as muffins, follow the directions exactly, except divide the batter into 10 muffin liners. I highly suggest the Reynolds foil "Staybrite" because they never stick. Bake for just 15 minutes. Store at room temperature in a sealed bag or container to keep them moist.


  1. First, add your coconut milk to a medium bowl and warm to lukewarm. Add the cornmeal and apple cider vinegar and stir until well mixed. Set aside to soak for 10 minutes. This step is crucial, so don't skip it. It helps to soften the grittiness of the cornmeal and make the cornbread more moist and flavorful.
  2. Meanwhile, you will need to add your pecans to a food processor and grind into a ground coarse meal. This will only take a few seconds, because if you go too long, it will very quickly turn to paste. Just go until it is ground and crumbly and no big pieces left. Add to a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Next, preheat an oven to 400 degrees and place a well-seasoned 10 inch iron skillet on the center oven rack to heat up. If you are unsure if your pan is well-seasoned, then make sure to spray it well with nonstick spray to ensure your cornbread doesn't stick.
  4. To the large bowl of pecan flour, add the oat flour, tapioca starch, baking powder and salt. Whisk until well incorporated.
  5. To the wet cornmeal mixture, after the 10 minute soak, stir in the syrup. Pour that over the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Scoop into 10 liners if making the muffins, or proceed with the skillet directions.
  6. Remove the hot skillet from the oven and pour the batter in it. Place back in the oven to bake for 15-17 minutes. Just 15 minutes for the muffins. It should be a light golden color, firm top and the edges have pulled away from the pan slightly. Do not overbake or it can turn dry. Note: If you don't want to bother with a skillet, then you can still make this in a regular 8x8 inch square pan, the cooking time should be similar. Make sure to spray the pan well with nonstick. The edges won't get as crispy as the skillet, but it will still be good.
  7. Let sit for 20 minutes before slicing, as it will firm up a lot while sitting. Slice and serve. It will still be wonderfully warm. Eat alone or top with a sweet syrup or whatever you like. I like it by itself (it's that good!) and also with a little barbecue sauce. Store at room temperature in a sealed bag or container to keep them moist.


dairy free
egg free
soy free


  1. This looks great! I love the idea of maple syrup poured over it too.
      Thanks Cindy! I actually prefer it plain over using syrup, because I don't like it too sweet, but I wanted to give the photo shots for both options. It is certainly good with the syrup, but it's just delish on it's own!
    • I used almonds (because I had them) and it came out great. I found the 1 1/4 cups coconut milk to not be sufficient. I improvised and it came out really good but I wonder if it is meant to be 1 1/4 cans coconut milk which would be closer to the amount of liquid I added. (I did not use "lite" but regular c. milk). Really enjoyed the recipe and am planning on making it again. Thanks.
        Hi Mike! So glad you enjoyed it!! Wonderful! No, the 1 1/4 cups is correct, but since you used the regular full-fat coconut milk, that would be why yours was too thick. Full-fat coconut milk is much thicker and not as runny, therefore it will make the batter thicker. Additionally, using almonds will soak up more of the liquid. Pecans are very oily, so they will have a different effect when mixed in with the liquids. Regardless of all that, I'm so glad it still turned out great! Thank you for the feedback!
  2. Looks great Brandi! I vote for jalapeños in it! Because everything is better with some sort of Mexican twist, lol!
      Haha! Yes, I love mexican food! Oddly, though I can't hand too strong of jalapenos though.....I love them best on nachos, YUM!
  3. Looks great but I can't have corn. Any good substitute? Thanks, Gail
      Hi Gail! Unfortunately, cornmeal is the main ingredient, so without it, it wouldn't be the same recipe and subbing 1 1/2 cups of something else would yield a completely different taste and texture. I just wouldn't know what else to sub it with since this is a classic cornbread type of recipe. If you still want to make a bread type of recipe, you could try subbing the cornmeal with buckwheat or brown rice flour, but honestly I haven't tried it and am not a fan of those flavors in large amounts. Sorry! Are you just looking for a bread type of recipe?
  4. Brandi, I know you are precise on ingredients and often recommend not to substitute BUT can I use potato starch or arrowroot starch instead of the tapioca starch? I don't think I'll be able to get to the store anytime soon to buy the tapioca starch and I want to make this tomorrow! And a cast iron pan is on my wish list from Santa! Thanks!
      Hi Diana! I would use arrowroot, not potato starch. If should still do the job to make it hold together, it just may make it drier. Hopefully the pecans will be moist enough to combat it. Also, maybe check it a minute earlier because of how arrowroot tends to dry things. Let me know how it turns out!! Next time try the tapioca because it really helps keep things moist and helps with browning :) Thanks Diana!
  5. Wow! Those close up pictures make me think I can actually taste your cornbread. It looks phenomenal. I love your healthy recipe too because nowadays it seems like most cornbreads are more like "corn cake!" I would have never thought about adding BBQ sauce on there. I love BBQ sauce! I love the maple syrup idea too!
      Awww thanks so much Melanie! Glad you like the photos! Best part is that it tastes even better than it looks, haha!
      Oh, and I hear you on the "corn cake"! I don't get the overly sweetened cornbread..makes no sense to me. By making it fairly nuetral, then you can use any topping you want that way! This one is very subtly sweet, making it perfect!
  6. Brandi, Thanks so much for responding!! What I'm looking for is a bread with oat flour (with no yeast). Any ideas? Maybe I'll try your recipe with oat flour. Will keep you posted :) Gail
      You can try it with the oat, but I honestly think it would dry it out and make it really dense because cornmeal is very loose. An even swap of 1 1/2 cups would be way too much oat flour. What I would do is try it this way...increase the pecan flour to 1 1/4 cups. Increase the oat flour to 1/2 cup and replace the cornmeal with 1/2 cup brown rice rice or sorghum flour. The batter should be kind of thick, but smooth and still pourable. I don't know what exactly this will do to the texture/flavor, but that is what I would try first. The pecans should definitely help give it a smooth, rich flavor and make the brown rice or sorghum not stand out too much. Please let me know how it turns out! :)
  7. Gorgeous color, Brandi! Looks so rich. I LOVE cornbread, but don't make it too often because my husband isn't a fan. But I think I'm going to have to try this and see what he thinks!
      Thank you Annie! I love the different color the pecans gave it too :) Your hubby sounds just like mine, he is not a big fan either, but happened to enjoy this cornbread. So, maybe there is hope for yours too? Haha! Please let me know if you try it :)
  8. ooooh, sounds so rich and delicious with the ground pecans in there. I discovered cornbread a few years ago in New York and fell in love (It's something else which isn't common over here). Perfect with chili or black bean soup!
      Oh, yes! I know you love your pecans just like I do Emma! You gotta try this one! I think this is probably the only cornbread ever to use pecans in it, but it also makes it the best I've ever had. Score!
  9. Yep. You're still amazing. Awesome recipe, awesome pics! Umm I typed your site in wrong and it said it didn't exist anymore and I about had a heart attack...then I realized I spelled is wrong hah. Phew!!
      Haha! Yes, I'm still here! And thank you for the compliments!! You are the sweetest :)
  10. Oh my goodness! I cannot wait to try this recipe! How inventive to use pecan flour - I love it!! I can only imagine how buttery and delicious this tastes :) Pinned!
  11. Brandi, I got so excited to see this post on cornbread! I've been testing a few gf cornbread recipes for Thanksgiving and just made one I like with cranberries and millet flour. I need to test out yours this weekend as it sounds really, really good!
      Thank you Linda! It really is the best I've ever had! I hope you try it!
  12. Brandi, what if I substitute almond flour? Not the fine brand like Honeyville but something like Bob's Red Mill? Do you think that's a good substitute for the cornmeal? thanks, Gail
      Gail-no that won't work. Almond flour will give too much moisture and it will be very wet. Your best best is doing a combo that I mentioned above to your 2nd comment. Hope you got that one! Using 1 1/2 cups of one whole other flour in place of the cornmeal will just be too strong, that's why I suggested breaking it up. You can try all oat flour, but it will make it a completely different texture. Or You could try increasing the pecan flour to 1 cup and do 1 1/4 cups oat flour and keep the rest of the ingredients the same. It'll make it more chewy, but at least oats don't leave a nasty aftertaste. Let me know!
  13. Hi Brandi, this looks delicious! You may already be working on this, but I would love a sample vegan/gluten free Thanksgiving menu. I don't usually cook for my extended family because they don't get our eating style, but this year I am. Wondering what everyone thinks. Thank you! Love your blog!
      Hi Marsha! Absolutely! I'm posting Thanksgiving recipes up until Thanksgiving and will then do a roundup post with them all listed :) Thank you so much for your comment! I appreciate the support!
  14. Is that the stunning cornbread you are raving about earlier? I’m actually more than pooped, I love that you made it with raw pecans, they have a lovely texture! I love loads of maple syrup all over my cornbread…and tons of spicy jalapenos, too!
  15. [...] Magic Skillet Cornbread     This cornbread is so buttery thanks to pecans doing some magic. It is perfectly flavored so it can be topped with either sweet or savory sauce. [...]
  16. My mom made this for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit! So buttery and delicious. Willow ate all the leftovers the next day! Great recipe, Brandi <3
      Thank you so much Mandy! I'm so glad to hear it was such a hit!!
  17. I've been on a cornbread kick lately, but I haven't tried it with coconut milk. This looks delicious and I'm excited to try it out!
      Thank you Laura, I hope you enjoy it!
  18. Hi Brandi, I've noticed you use lite coconut milk often. Is the reason to lower fat or is there a taste difference? I always use full fat. Think I need some lite!
      Hi Kristen! It really depends on the recipe. For the majority of my baking, I use the lite because it has more fat than other plant milks and gives a richer taste, whereas the full-fat would be too rich in the baking (in most recipes). This recipe in particular has a lot of pecans, so they provide plenty of fat to the recipe and lots of "buttery" flavor. You could probably get away with using soy milk in this recipe because it is fairly thick. As far as full-fat coconut milk, I always use that is most of my ice cream recipes, lite wouldn't work at all and would make the ice cream too icy. So, for baking, I use "lite" and ice cream I use "full-fat". :)
        Oh, so basically, no it's not simply because it's lower fat, it is just based on the recipe's needs. I use plenty of fat in ice cream and whipped cream. This recipe has a good amount of fat already from the nuts.
  19. [...] Magic Skillet Cornbread You loved the fact that it was buttery, without any butter at all, thanks to magical pecans. [...]
  20. [...] loaf recipe has called for. The day before, my mom and I had been talking about her making my Magic Skillet Cornbread to bring to our Christmas gathering and a lightbulb went off to try adding coarse [...]
  21. Holy cow Brandi! I'm not gluten-free, but I've been searching (for 3 years) for a really delicious, oil-free vegan cornbread. I've made several different recipes that were okay but none that were great, until now. This cornbread is fantastic! Thank you!
      Yay! I am so happy to hear that this cornbread recipe has become the one! Thank you so much for the feedback, I truly appreciate it!
  22. [...] Get the Recipe: [...]
  23. Jen
    Thank you for the recipe! Just wondering if there's suppose to more liquid somewhere? Tried to make this today but did not get a "pour-able" consistency with the coconut milk+cornmeal combo or the finals mixture.
      Hi Jen! No, not more liquid, the recipe is correct. It sounds like you have too finely ground of a cornmeal, which means it will soak up more liquid. It should be a medium grind coarse cornmeal like this one. This one will yield the right results. Did you sub any of the other ingredients?
  24. Hi Brandi Looks delish. Wondered if I could sub double acting baking powder cor regular? Best wishes for 2016!
      Sure, I think that would work fine :) Let me know how it turns out, I just made them into muffins last night myself!
  25. Can I sub wheat flour for oat, tapioca and pecan?
      Hi Ginger! No, unfortunately that won't work the same and will affect the texture a lot and make it really dry. The pecan flour is what makes the recipe buttery/moist, since there is no oil. I've only tested it with the above ingredients as well, so I can't vouch for subs.
  26. Made this cornbread for New Year's 2016. Fantastic recipe! Super easy, and I love how the pecans added a hint of sweetness. Thanks, Brandi! Wish I could leave a pic...looked and tasted amazing.
      Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback! I'm so happy to hear it was such a hit, thank you!
  27. Aloha Brandi, I stumbled upon your site some how and just wanted 2 tell u that i will b pulling up a chair & getting comfy... Only putting this xherex bcz not sure there is a general section 2 do so. Just wanted 2 say: U HAD ME AT BBQ SAUCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Birds of a feather.........let me tell u! I will b excited 2 see more BBQ related recipes from u & 2 try that BBQ NoMeatLoaf with this cornbread! Also love that u indicated "Please leave me feedback below in the comments after you make them!" It is my biggest annoyance 2 scroll thru eons of "that looks great" comments before I get actual comments from actual folks who tried them. So thanks so much 2 those who posted their final thoughts here after making the recipes. Great hope from the reviews on this one!
      So happy to have you Ceacea! Thank you for leaving such a nice comment and I hope you enjoy all the recipes! :)
  28. We been oil free and vegan for three years. I tried many cornbread recipes and have never liked any of them. I loved this one. I had to use less pecans for health reasons but it still worked. Thank you so much. I'm very excited to find your site. I will be trying many more of your recipes. : )
      Hi Pam! Oh, that is so wonderful to hear! So happy that it was my recipe that you finally liked out of your cornbread recipes you've tried. Thank you so much for leaving feedback! I really love reading them :)
  29. The first bite of this was heaven! Best gluten free "cake" I have ever tried! I didn't have pecans so I used almonds instead, and I think next time I'll add some chopped nuts and dried fruit to it too 😇👌🏻
      Aww, so very happy to hear that Karoline! Thank you so much for the review!!
  30. Hi Brandi, I don't have a cast iron pan, would a glass square pan work or glass pie pan? I really want to make this tomorrow! I have all the ingredients so am super excited to make this! Thanks, Brenda
      Yes, definitely! :) An 8x8 pan should work.
  31. Thanks Brandi! I’m a huge fan, but this is the first time I’ve left a comment. If anyone asks me for advice on cooking plant-based, I direct them to your blog. I’m curious if you had ever tried to freeze this cornbread recipe after it cools down? I’d love to prepare this recipe in advance for Thanksgiving next week.
      You are just the sweetest Anita, thank you so much for your kind words! I actually have never tried freezing this. We always eat it the same day. I'm not sure if it would dry out because of the starch. You could make it early in the day though certainly, but I hate to say I don't know how it would be frozen, so sorry!
  32. Dee
    Hi Brandi, Looks great! I'm new to cornmeal. Can you help me out by telling me why coarse vs fine? Shame on me, I shopped first (and bought fine ground), found your recipe second. What adjustments can I try? Thank you!
      Hi Dee! Coarse is much larger pieces of cornmeal and grittier, unlike the standard cornmeal that is a much finer consistency. If you were to use regular here, it would soak up too much of the liquid and make the cornbread dry. I honestly don't know how much less you would need of the fine cornmeal to work in this recipe since I only tested it with the medium grind, so sorry! I buy the medium grind by Bob's Red Mill. It is sold at most stores.
  33. Enjoyed by all! I love the idea with the pecans. I subbed applesauce for the maple syrup, just to see what would happen (the cornbread we usually make doesn't have sugar at all, but it has eggs and a little oil) and I think it worked. The bread was a tiny bit tangy; I don't know whether that comes from the lack of maple syrup or from the other ingredients, but we really liked the flavor! We used the only corn flour we can really get around here, which is possibly a tad finer than medium (but not super fine, I don't think) and the moisture level was still perfect.
      So glad it worked out! Yes, it would be tangy because you left out the maple syrup. There is apple cider vinegar in this and the maple syrup balances out the flavor. By omitting it, it makes it more acidic/tangy tasting. Glad you still enjoyed it though!
  34. This is the best cornbread I've ever had and living in Texas I've had a lot of cornbread. I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfectly - I did need to keep it in the oven a for 20 minutes but all ovens are different and I haven't checked the accuracy of mine with another thermometer lately. It sure does firm up a bit after sitting for a few minutes, is super easy to slice and doesn't fall apart. I think it's even better the second day (I stored it in the fridge overnight - was afraid to leave on counter since the house is a bit warmer this time of year and mold and all). "So, I decided to create pecan "flour". Pecans are very oily naturally and impart richness and moisture much more than any other nut. By combing pecan flour and cornmeal, it gave the texture I was after. Worked brilliantly." Yeah, it did! And you're no weirdo about the BBQ pairing - I love my cornbread with BBQ baked beans. :)
      Yay!! I'm so happy reading this Laura, I always love reading your reviews, they are the best! So thrilled this is the best one you've ever had, such a compliment! I love this cornbread so much too because it's not like every other cornbread out there. I do have another really amazing one in my cookbook too, but it's a bit sweeter and also has a unique ingredient and oil-free as well! Thank you for the awesome review and taking the time to rate it, it means a lot to me!
      • Well I'm happy to leave the reviews and hope they're helpful! Now I'm doubly excited for your book. Have already made the bonus recipes but still need to send you a pic of the ice cream sandwiches I made with the cookies and ice cream. Whenever I find a recipe on your site, I see links for 10 more to put on my list. Starting to get anxiety that I won't ever be able to make them all.
          Oh, so happy to hear you've made the bonus recipes, that's awesome!! haha, yes, gotta love all those extra temptations I throw on the posts, lol!
  35. Hello! LOVE LOVE LOVE your website. I was wondering if I can sub coconut milk and use almond milk instead? I try to stay away from coconut because of the fat. Thanks!!!!!!!
      Hi Lena! I have not tried it with anything other than coconut milk so you can always experiment. Not sure if the almond milk will make it more dry, but you can try it.
  36. FINALLY a delicious GF corn bread. I have looked for years and everyone has flopped. I have made this at least 5 times now and it's just as good every time. This last time I realized while I was making it I only had a few pecans so I added cashews to my blender too and it was just as good! And cooking it in my cast iron is just the icing on the cake :)
      Woohoo! SO glad you loved this cornbread, thank you Stephanie for the glowing review!

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