Apple Cheese Skillet Cornbread

Last Updated: March 22, 2024

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4.84 from 6 votes
Made with granny smith apples and cheddar cheese, this apple cheese skillet cornbread recipe is a twist on the traditional Southern version. While the flavors are perfect for fall, it tastes so good that you'll want to make it at any time of the year.
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apple cheese skillet cornbread
Why I love this apple cheddar cornbread recipe

Cornbread is a staple of holiday meals in Southern kitchens everywhere.

So when I came across a version made with granny smith apples and cheddar cheese in an old Southern Living Christmas book I had to make it.

The apples add a bit of tartness that offsets the creaminess of the cheese, and it is delicious!

Even better, this cornbread recipe has no sugar in it (which is always a bonus in my books).

Unless of course, you like sweet cornbread, then you can add some 🙂 (See the substitutions below).

My version of the recipe (simplified a bit from the original) has now become a staple of my holiday dinner menu.

And there’s some good reasons why:

  1. It’s fast and easy to make from scratch.
  2. Cornbread is pretty hard to mess up.
  3. It tastes really good.

Ingredients

ingredients for apple cheese skillet cornbread

Here’s the shopping list for our apple cheese skillet cornbread:

  • Fruit: 1 granny smith apple
  • Dairy: 4 ounces of cheddar cheese, 12 ounces (or 1½ cups) of milk, 6 Tablespoons butter (which is a little less than 1 stick). Avoid buying pre-grated cheese since it has an additive that prevents the cheese from sticking together as it should.
  • Eggs: 1 large egg
  • Baking supplies: 1½ cups cornmeal, ½ cup flour, 1 Tablespoon baking powder, 1 Tablespoon shortening
  • Seasoning: salt

To make this recipe gluten free, substitute gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour. (I use King Arthur’s measure for measure gluten-free flour*.) Cornmeal is naturally gluten-free but make sure that the type you bought isn’t processed in plants that also make wheat products. Look for the Certified Gluten Free label to be absolutely sure.

Substitutions

  • If you prefer a sweet cornbread recipe, add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of sugar to the cornmeal / flour mixture before adding the liquids.
  • You can use 1 Tablespoon butter instead of the shortening if you prefer.

Special equipment

To make the best skillet cornbread, a cast iron pan* is essential. (In this case, an 8- or 9-inch one.)

It creates that golden brown, crispy outside edge.

And because cast iron gets and stays hot, it makes sure the cornbread cooks evenly.

How to make apple cheese skillet cornbread

1 | Prep work

Pre-heat the oven to 425℉.

Peel and core the apple. Then chop it into cubes that are about ¼-inch across.

Grate the cheese. You should end up with about 1 cup of grated cheese.

2 | Combine the dry ingredients

cornmeal and flour combined in a bowl with other dry ingredients

First, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl that is large enough to hold all of the batter.

Set aside.

3 | Mix the wet ingredients

In a separate bowl, beat an egg with a whisk (or fork) until it is light and fluffy.

Add in the milk and whisk again.

4 | Make the batter

cornbread wet ingredients mixed with dry ingredients in a bowl

Pour the egg and milk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and stir just enough to combine.

The number one thing to remember when making the cornbread batter is not to mix too much. (No electric mixers for this recipe!) Otherwise, it turns out tough.

Melt the butter.

You can either do this in a small saucepan over low heat on the stove (about 5 minutes). Or in a small microwaveable bowl in the microwave (about 1 minute, depending on how strong your microwave is).

Add it to the cornmeal mixture.

5 | Add the apples & cheese

apple in a bowl about to be added to cornbread batter

Then add the diced apples and grated cheese.

apple cheese cornbread batter in a bowl

Stir just until combined.

6 | Cook the cornbread

shortening in a cast iron skillet

Put the shortening in a cast iron pan.

Heat in the oven for about 5 minutes.

This will melt the shortening and also get the frying pan hot which helps to make the edges of the cornbread crispy.

Then add the batter to the frying pan. Don’t forget to wear oven mitts. The handle will be really hot.

close up of the browned edges of apple cheese cornbread in a cast iron pan

Bake for 25 minutes.

The edges should be golden brown and crispy.

If you prefer to use butter instead of shortening to coat the pan:
1. Heat the skillet in the oven for 5 minutes.
2. Then add 1 Tablespoon of butter to the hot frying pan and swirl it around so it coats the entire bottom of the pan
3. Pour in the batter and cook as directed

7 | Let it cool

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is apple-cheese-cornbread-3-3.jpg

Remove from the oven and let the skillet sit on a wire cooling rack for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting the cornbread.

This will let the center set and make it easier to remove from the pan.

Cut into 16 pie-shaped slices and serve either hot or cold.

Apple Cheese Skillet Cornbread

4.84 from 6 votes
Servings: 16 slices
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
Cooling 20 minutes
Total 55 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Granny Smith apple peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • cups cornmeal
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon shortening

Equipment

  • Apple peeler (optional)
  • Apple corer (optional)
  • Paring knife
  • cheese grater
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Small saucepan or microwave-able bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Whisk
  • 9" cast iron frying pan

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425℉.
  • In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt together.
  • In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg with a whisk.
  • Add in the egg and whisk until combined.
  • Pour the milk and egg mixture to the cornmeal mixture, stirring just until moistened.
  • Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat or in a bowl in the microwave.
  • Add the butter, grated cheddar cheese and diced apples into the cornmeal mixture, stirring just until combined.
  • Add the shortening to the cast iron skillet and melt it in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the batter into the hot skillet.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
  • Let the cornbread cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Avoid buying pre-grated cheddar cheese. It has an additive in it that prevents the cheese from sticking together in the bag. This also prevents it from combining properly with the cornbread.
  • Once the liquids and flour mixture have been combined, stir as little as possible to prevent the cornbread from getting too heavy.
  • Heating the cast iron skillet before adding the batter will make sure the edges of your cornbread are crunchy.
  • Letting the cornbread sit in the pan to cool will make it easier to remove.
Substitutions:
  • If you prefer sweet cornbread, add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of sugar with the cornmeal and flour mixture (before you add the liquids).
  • To make this recipe gluten free, substitute King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour for the all purpose flour, and make sure the cornmeal is certified gluten free.
  • If you prefer to use butter instead of shortening to coat the pan:
    • Heat the skillet in the oven for 5 minutes.
    • Add 1 Tablespoon of butter to the hot frying pan and swirl it around so it coats the entire bottom of the pan.
    • Pour in the batter and cook as directed.
Nutrition Facts
Apple Cheese Skillet Cornbread
Serving Size
 
1 slice
Amount per Serving
Calories
171
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
9
g
14
%
Saturated Fat
 
5
g
31
%
Trans Fat
 
0.3
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Cholesterol
 
33
mg
11
%
Sodium
 
246
mg
11
%
Potassium
 
113
mg
3
%
Carbohydrates
 
17
g
6
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
3
g
3
%
Protein
 
5
g
10
%
Vitamin A
 
263
IU
5
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
128
mg
13
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

authorWanda Simone
courseSide Dish
cuisineAmerican
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Have comments or questions about Apple Cheese Skillet Cornbread? Tell us in the section below.

This post was originally published on September 7, 2019 but was updated with new content on March 22, 2024.


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Recipe Rating




7 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Would have been nice to have info on how long it stays in pan after taking out of oven.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Sorry about that…I updated the recipe to include that information.

  2. I want to make this in a square baking pan instead of a cast iron skillet. Do you have time and temperature suggestions for doing so?

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Jane…sorry for the late response, I missed your question somehow. I haven’t tried this cornbread in a square baking pan, but I think you should be able to bake at 400F for 20 to 25 minutes.

  3. Rita Green says:

    I don’t use shortening because it’s a trans fat and really bad for you worse than bacon grease. What do you suggest I replace it with more butter

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Rita…yes, you can use butter instead of the shortening.

  4. Wanda Simone says:

    5 stars
    My go-to cornbread recipe for holiday meals. It’s delicious!