This Native American Apple Cornbread recipe combines the classic charm of cornbread with the sweetness of tart fresh apples. Serve it as a side dish to complement savory meals, pair it with a cup of tea or coffee for a cozy snack, or even enjoy it as a standalone dessert.
Cornbread is synonymous in America and when you begin digging, you find that it was already made by Native peoples with the only apples native to America being Crab Apples alongside honey which are both included in this traditional recipe that can be made almost anywhere you can source cornmeal and apples.
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Why you'll love this
This Native American recipe requires minimal effort for a delicious outcome. With just 10 minutes of heating the cornbread over a double boiler, it doesn't require much effort to make this.
Unique Twist on Cornbread
This Apple Cornbread recipe offers a delightful twist to a traditional cornbread. The addition of fresh apples adds a natural sweetness and moistness, elevating its flavor.
Ingredients and substitutions for Apple Cornbread
- Apples: According to research, there is only one type of wild apples native to North America and they are Crab Apples. Wild apples are different from apples you’ll find in a grocery store because they’re often small and less sweet in taste so the best apples you should use here, if wild apples aren’t readily available, are Granny Smith or other tart apples.
- Ground cornmeal: Also known as polenta, this helps create a really nice chewy texture in our cornbread. You can substitute the polenta with semolina which will create a similar texture.
- Buttermilk: Most importantly, the buttermilk helps to activate our baking soda, however, it also adds acidity and necessary moisture to our cornbread. It is recommended to use proper buttermilk here as this has the appropriate cultures needed for the recipe. The weight of the buttermilk needed for this recipe is 512 grams.
- Egg: The egg bind and add structure to our cornbread resulting in that soft interior.
- Sugar and salt: The flavor boosters here add depth of flavor with sea or kosher salt and superfine or caster sugar working best to dissolve into the batter.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Apple Cornbread:
Stir and heat: Stir the cornmeal and butter, buttermilk and sugar together and heat until thickened.
Scrap the bowl: Scrape the edges of the bowl to ensure the warm mixture doesn’t stick.
Dissolve: Stir the baking soda together to help it dissolves.
Grate the apples: Peel and grate the apples.
Cornbread batter: Add the remaining ingredients into the cornbread mix and combine until smooth.
Batter up: Pour the batter into your prepared tin and smooth out the top.
Bake: Bake until lightly golden and a skewer comes out clean.
Slice: Slice into even squares.
Serve: Serve with a little honey and dig in!
Equipment needed to make this
Baking tin: A 18x18 cm or 7x7 inch square baking tin works well here, though a rectangle tin would also work well.
Saucepan: A small saucepan is best to heat the base of the cornbread.
Mixing bowl: A medium bowl will work a charm to prepare your cornbread mixture.
FAQ's for the best Wild Apple Cornbread
According to research, such as here, there are only one type of wild apples native in North America and they are Crab Apples. Wild apples are different from apples you’ll find in a grocery store because they’re often small and less sweet in taste so the best apples you should use here, if wild apples aren’t readily available, are Granny Smith or other tart apples.
Can I substitute homemade buttermilk for storebought?
Homemade buttermilk is usually more curdled thanks to the acidity from vinegar or lemon juice as opposed to smooth and tangy, and is not recommended as a substitute in baked goods.
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Wild Apple Cornbread
- 320 grams / 2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 500 milliliters / 2 cups buttermilk
- 50 grams / ¼ cup superfine/caster sugar
- 28 grams / 2 tablespoons butter melted
- ½ teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- 5 grams / 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 15 grams / 1 tablespoon cold water
- 110 grams / 2 large eggs room temperature and beaten
- 2 medium wild apples peeled & grated (150 grams / 1 cup grated apple flesh)
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F and line a baking tin with greaseproof paper.
- Place the cornmeal, buttermilk, sugar and melted butter into a large heatproof bowl and stir until combined and smooth.
- Place over a double boiler on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring to ensure it remains smooth as it cooks.
- Remove from the heat and scrap down the sides of the bowl to ensure the cornmeal mixture doesn’t stick.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, stir the baking soda and cold water together until the baking soda has dissolved.
- Peel the apples and grate onto a plate or into a bowl, discarding the cores.
- Place baking soda water mixture, eggs and apples into the cooled cornmeal mixture and stir together until smooth.
- Pour into the prepared baking tin and smooth out on top.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden and a skewer comes clean.
- Allow to cool to warm and slice into even squares.
- Serve with a little honey (wild honey, if possible) and enjoy.
- It's best to use storebought buttermilk here: Homemade buttermilk is usually more curdled thanks to the acidity from vinegar or lemon juice as opposed to smooth and tangy, and is not recommended as a substitute in baked goods.
- Best alternatives to wild apples: Wild apples are different from apples you’ll find in a grocery store because they’re often small and less sweet in taste so the best apples you should use here, if wild apples aren’t readily available are Granny Smith or other tart apples.
- Weight of buttermilk in grams: The weight of the buttermilk needed for this recipe is 512 grams.
- Best served: This is best served the day it’s made.
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