Cornbread with Caramelized Apples and Onions


The latest issue of Bon Appétit arrived with a timely soup on the cover. Broth-based, somewhat prudent, and very January. Delicious, I bet, but I’m just not ready to switch gears yet. I’m still catching up on all the cozy recipes intended for the holidays. Gratins. Roasts. Comfort-food style stews.

No resolutions here.


There were more beautiful spreads than we could get onto our  table between Thanksgiving and Christmas. New Year’s came and went. Rather than put away these recipes until next year, I want to work my way through the stacks of magazines now.  So this weekend we started cooking.

Cornbread with Caramelized Apples and Onions was proposed for the Thanksgiving table, but I’m throwing it in the rotation for our weekend breakfast. It’s easy enough to put together but more involved than your everyday breakfast.


I love the combination of apples and onions and the slightly caramelized version here brings out the inherent sweetness in the cornmeal. I used half coarsely ground cornmeal and half finely ground cornmeal for texture, but you can feel free to switch it up. We used a yellow onion but I’m sure a red onion would be fine, too. I might throw in another apple next time so there are more pieces mixed into the crumb.


This skillet cornbread is definitely at home as a side at the dinner table, but I really liked it next to some bacon and fried eggs. Perfect Saturday morning food.

If you are hitting the restart button on your eating habits this month, there are plenty of places to find recipes for your kale and juice-loving heart. I like those too, but you probably won’t find those in our kitchen these days. Or maybe your resolutions are bent by this point in January and you can join me at the table with this cornbread. It’s a good move. I promise. This cornbread is a little something to keep that celebratory mood going into the new year.


cornbread with caramelized apples and onions

I used half coarsely ground cornmeal and half finely ground cornmeal, but you can feel free to switch it up. I like some coarsely ground for texture. I love the combination of apples and onions and the slightly caramelized version here brings out the inherent sweetness in cornbread. Serve with crisp bacon or a fried egg.

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or 14 tablespoons butter)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
black pepper
2 medium apples (Gala or Pink Lady work well here), thinly sliced
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
1 1/2 cups cornmeal (half finely ground, half coarsely ground)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Heat oven to 400°F. Melt butter over medium heat in a large cast-iron skillet. Pour all but 2 tablespoons melted butter into a small bowl.

Place the skillet back on the burner and add onions. Cook and stir occasionally until onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Add apples, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, until apples are softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to a medium bowl.

Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in eggs, buttermilk, and reserved melted butter until smooth and no lumps remain. Fold in half the onion mixture and pour batter into the skillet. Top with the rest of the onion mixture and the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme.

Bake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Serves 8.

Recipe from Bon Appétit magazine.



8 thoughts on “Cornbread with Caramelized Apples and Onions

  1. Ileana: I tried out my new chili recipe this morning and thought corn bread would be nice on the side. I pulled out this recipe in the Times last week and also saw it in Bon Appetit too. The idea of onions and apples together with cornbread is a great idea. I made the recipe as printed and also did find the texture a bit grainy. I think next time I will use 1-1/2 cups of flour and 1 cup of cornmeal instead; also 1/2 cup of melted butter in the batter worked just fine. I also folded in 1 cup of fresh corn. And since since this recipe uses buttermilk, I added 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to help the rise. Lorraine

    • Fresh corn! What a great addition. I think I’ll try that next time.

      Thank you for dropping by, Lorraine. I’m glad you tried the cornbread. I bet it’d be great with chili. You might want to try using only finely ground cornmeal next time if you prefer a smoother texture.

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