Sweet Potato Cornbread ♥ Naturally Wheat-Free & Gluten-Free

Sweet Potato Cornbread ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, naturally wheat-free & gluten-free without unusual ingredients.
Oh people, what a gorgeous cornbread recipe this is! Sweet Potato Cornbread is made with a whole field full of sweet potatoes – kidding! but lots! But there's no flour so it's naturally wheat-free and gluten-free. Seasonal. Vegetarian. Golden color and delicious! Total winner, here!

Y'know, trips to the mailbox just aren't what they used to be, are they? In fact, they're hardly necessary. A bill or two, a statement or two. The odd old-fashioned if much-appreciated thank you note and postcard. But after that? It's just junk mail that hits the recycling bin with barely a glance.

But when Southern Living magazine hits the mailbox? Be still, my beating heart! Every month I want to settle in right away, thank you very much. Pour a cup of coffee, now please. (If this sounds like a paid advertisement or a sponsored post, banish the idea! I'm a happy paid subscriber. Southern Living knows this blogger from nobody.)

Mine may be a northern soul but page after page of Southern Living charms me, the gardening, the artisan wares, the home fashions, the clothes, the travel, the entertaining ideas and yes, the recipes! There was a time, the 1980s and even 1990s I think, when Southern Living recipes all started with processed foods: I was reminded of that heritage when culling cookbooks awhile back, paging through that-era annual Southern Living editions and plopped them onto the book-sale pile. No more! Today's Southern Living recipes are mostly approachable, made-from-scratch, family-friendly recipes with a southern twist.

I clipped Southern Living's recipe for Sweet Potato Cornbread back in 2012, it won't take two years to make it again! At first I was tempted to just add sweet potato to either my long-time favorite Skillet Cornbread or to this made-it-soooo-many-times Simple Cast Iron Southern Corn Bread. But the ratio of ingredients was so different – five eggs, really? an entire cup of sour cream? – that I stuck with Southern Living's ingredient list and am glad of it.

This cornbread recipe calls for a full two cups of sweet potatoes, that's an entire pound! That's in contrast to other recipes that add a tablespoon or two, just for vegetable-virtue. This Sweet Potato Cornbread is all about the sweet potato! Its presence is obvious at first glance, thanks to the lovely golden color. But it's also present in the moist crumb. Lawdy-lawdy, you can even taste the sweet potato!

I did employ two of my favorite tricks for excellent cornbread, choosing coarse stone-ground cornmeal (a whole food, with the germ intact) and pre-heating the cast iron skillet for a chewy crust. You're gonna love this cornbread, I think!

graphic button small size size 10 "... loved it! It is absolutely delicious." ~ bookworks
graphic button small size size 10 "SO GOOD!! ... very moist ... just the right balance of salty and sweet." ~ Holly


Hands-on time: 25 minutes if sweet potatoes are already cooked, 35 minutes if not
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes 12 "squares"

Bacon grease, olive oil or butter, for the skillet

5 large eggs, whisked
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4oz/113g) salted butter, melted
2 cups (16oz/454g) cooked and lightly smashed sweet potatoes

1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (300g) stone-ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons (yes, tablespoons not teaspoons) baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt

HEAT OVEN & SKILLET Heat the oven to 425F/220C. About 10 minutes before the batter is ready, place a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven to heat up. Just before adding the batter, rub the hot skillet with bacon grease, olive oil or butter, then add the batter.

MIX In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the sour cream and sugar, then the butter and sweet potatoes, it's fine, even preferable, to leave a few small chunks of identifiable sweet potato. Measure the cornmeal, baking powder and salt into the bowl, right in the center in a big pile. With a fork, gently turn the baking powder and salt into the cornmeal, without mixing it into the wet ingredients below. Then whisk the cornmeal-baking powder-salt into the wet mixture, whisking just until combined.

BAKE Turn batter into the hot and greased skillet. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

SERVE Cut into squares or slices to serve warm if you like (wondrous!) or let cool, cover and serve later in the day (moist and flavorful!).

MAKE AHEAD Leftovers do keep, just store the cornbread in the refrigerator. To warm it up, "skillet" toast the pieces in a little olive oil in a hot non-stick skillet, the bottoms first, then the sides. So good!

CAST-IRON SKILLET I love the chewy crust that a cast-iron skillet gives to cornbread, especially when it's preheated while you're mixing the cornbread batter. But other pans will work too although I wouldn't preheat them. Southern Living suggests a 9x9 square pan. An 8x8 pan may work too but would make for one very full pan although the batter doesn't "puff up" much though, it comes out about the same height as it goes into the pan.
FOR A CRISPY BOTTOM & SIDES Heating the cast-iron skillet before adding the batter isn't "required" but does make for a great chewy crust in cornbread. There was a time when I just threw the greased pan into the oven while it preheated but I soon came to realize that too often, this was too much heat for the fat. So now I heat the pan for a shorter time, just 10 or 15 minutes, then grease it right before adding the batter.
SOUR CREAM I use full-fat sour cream because it's most-often on hand but would also use low-fat sour cream or low-fat Greek yogurt as substitutes. I don't recommend non-fat sour cream though do like some non-fat Greek yogurts, especially Fage and Chobani, I think these would work fine.
MELTING BUTTER If you like, cut the butter in cubes and separate in a microwave safe dish. To prevent splattering, microwave 10 or 15 seconds at a time until fully melted.
COOKING THE SWEET POTATOES It takes about 1-1/2 pounds (680g) of sweet potatoes to yield 2 cups of mashed cooked sweet potato. Any of the cooking methods listed with the sweet potato recipes would work but I usually cook peeled sweet potato chunks in water (salted or unsalted, your choice, I've done both) on the stove until soft. I haven't tried this yet but wonder about grating the sweet potatoes and sautéing gently in the butter until soft. Would it work? Maybe! Must try!
EXCEPT As of 2018, I don't recommend the microwave for Sweet Potato Cornbread, as in the wonderful Delicious Microwave Sweet Potato, at least until I'm able to try this again. The one time I did, the sweet potatoes were just too dry and tasteless. Was it the sweet potatoes themselves? Maybe but maybe not. Or was it the dry microwave cooking technique? Honestly, I'm not sure. I just know that that particular batch of Sweet Potato Cornbread was not that good and usually it's just wonderful.
SWEET POTATO COLOR Once, I cooked the sweet potatoes a day ahead of time. Busy in the kitchen with other things, I left the cooked/drained sweet potatoes on the counter for maybe 30 minutes. I was completely surprised when the outer edges turned brown. Ick! Good news, the off color didn't hurt the taste but the cornbread's color turned out less golden when the sweet potatoes are mashed right away.
STONE-GROUND CORNMEAL "BUMPS" The four-year old twin grandsons were less impressed by the "bumps" of the coarser stone-ground cornmeal. For kids at the table, next time I'll split the batters in two, baked in the same skillet, half with stone-ground cornmeal and half the grocery-store style yellow cornmeal. But then again? A recent batch made with the "medium grind" cornmeal from Bob's Red Mill also seemed "bumpy" to this grown-up. Could I have ground it in the food processor first? Soaked it to soften before mixing? Or just switched to yellow cornmeal? These questions need answers! UPDATE The most recent batch, I used 2:1 Bob's Red Mill "medium" grind cornmeal:yellow cornmeal. It was wonderful ...
WEDGES vs SQUARES For years, I've cut cornbread cooked in a round cast-iron skillet into wedges, it just seemed like the "right" thing to do. This time, though, because the cornbread was quite rich, I cut the cornbread into squares right in the skillet. This made for 10 generous squares plus a few small corner pieces perfect for snacking. Love it!
MAKE-AHEAD To make ahead by a few hours, mix the wet ingredients and separately mix the dry ingredients. Don't combine them though and do refrigerate the wet ingredients. Just before baking, heat the oven and the skillet, combine the wet and dry ingredients. Then bake away!

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I made this cornbread last night and loved it! It is absolutely delicious. I wasn't able to follow the ingredients exactly. I thought I had more sweet potatoes than I did. After cooking and mashing them, I only had about 1 1/4 cups. Luckily I remembered I had a can of pumpkin and used some of that to make up the 2 cups. It seemed to work out fine. I served it warm with some vegetable soup for supper. It is a great recipe!

  2. SO GOOD!! It was very moist and had just the right balance of salty and sweet. I used whole milk yogurt instead of sour cream and honey instead of sugar. Love that it's gluten free and has very little sugar. Thank you for the recipe!


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