Vegan & Gluten-Free Hot Water Cornbread

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This easy recipe for vegan and gluten-free hot water cornbread is so awesome. I made it last week and....It. Just. Rocks.

My whole family loves home cooking and often include items in our menu that go great with cornbread (like Texas Chili con Carne, Quick Beef Stew or 3-Ingredient Leftover Turkey Stew). Unfortunately, most cornbread recipes call for milk and eggs, which are out due to all sorts of family-allergies. But my mom used to make something she called “Hot Water Cornbread”. It’s perfect for all our allergy-sensitivities. And we gave it a new name…Vegan & Gluten-Free Hot Water Cornbread.

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I used my mom’s recipe, though it had a different purpose. See, we were pretty poor growing up, and there were times we just didn’t have any milk or eggs. But cornmeal was cheap, and that’s really all you need to make Hot Water Cornbread. Yep, that’s all you need–just cornmeal and hot water. Well, I’ve added to that recipe, but you CAN make the cornbread with only those two ingredients. LOL!

And simple is the name of the game with food allergies. Do you have family food allergies? We do. Oh, boy, we do. My daughter and son are both allergic to dairy, and I don’t just mean that they are lactose intolerant–there’s a difference. I’m lactose intolerant, but can still have small amounts of dairy without having adverse affects. I can also have cooked foods with dairy. My kids can’t. Both of them have terrible reactions, including stomach upset and upper respiratory reactions (runny nose, sneezing, etc.). We also have members of our family that are allergic to eggs and/or nuts. So, sometimes, our menu is pretty limited. But, with this Hot Water Cornbread…there’s no worries. Everybody can eat it. LOL!

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Here are the Ingredients You Will Need to Make Vegan & Gluten-Free Hot Water Cornbread

It’s a short list, but you’ll want to know! Although this isn’t the recipe, if you’d like to jump directly there, just scroll down to the bottom of this post.

Let’s Make a Batch of Vegan Cornbread

The steps you need to follow are simple. You don’t even need to heat up your oven! Nope–no baking is involved. You’ll finish this dairy-free cornbread recipe right on the stovetop.

  1. Heat the water to boiling.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the gluten free cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine.
  3. Gradually add the hot water to the dry ingredients, and stir. All of the cornmeal should be damp when your done.
  4. I sometimes like to add some finely chopped onion to my hot water cornbread at this point. The onion adds a lot of flavor.
  5. Set the mixture aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. If there is water standing on the cornmeal, pour it off.
  7. Spoon the batter into a pan over medium heat with about 1/4-inch of vegetable oil (coconut oil is the perfect substitute) in it.
  8. Cook on one side until golden brown, then flip and let the other side brown.
  9. Place on paper towel covered plate to drain.
  10. Serve and enjoy! (a bit of vegan butter will taste very good on these cornbread cakes)

Is Cornbread Supposed to be Dry or Moist?

Baked cornbread is supposed to be crusty on the top and bottom, and moist in the middle. This hot water cornbread will be just that, too. Make sure to put a thick blob of the cornbread batter in the hot skillet. It will be crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.

Is Southern Cornbread Sweet?

Absolutely not! Southern cornbread is not make with sugar. That is, unless your grandmother made it with sugar. It’s all up to the person who is making the cornbread. My mother made cornbread with sugar, but I stopped putting sugar in my cornbread when my husband was diagnosed with diabetes. Now, I don’t even like it with sugar.  However, I have to be honest, and mention the sweet cornbread called corn cakes. Thy are made with sugar, all-purpose flour,  cornmeal, baking powder (or soda), about a teaspoon salt (more or less), whole milk, and eggs, Sometimes, honey will be added.

These are made with batter that is more like pancake batter, and they’re cooked like pancakes, too. And they are sometimes eaten with maple syrup. I have eaten these sweet corn pancakes as a dessert.

The whole milk can be substituted with skim milk, almond milk, soy milk, or any other milk substitute of your choice. Of course, you can also substitute gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour.

There are Lots of Ways to Enjoy Hot Water Cornbread

Here are just a few ways to enjoy hot water cornbread:

  • Break up a few cooked cornbread cake into separate dishes and put milk over it. My mom used to love the cornbread soaked in buttermilk!
  • When eaten with chili, I like to add grated cheese, and I sometimes add sour cream.
  • I have a friend that will whisk together a cup of mayonnaise with pepper, and then she dips her cornbread in that.
  • Those sweet cornbread pancakes might be good with a tablespoon of yogurt.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Hot Water Cornbread

gluten-free cornbread recipe feature

Hot Water Cornbread

It's perfect for all our allergy-sensitivities. And we gave it a new name...Vegan & Gluten-Free Hot Water Cornbread.


  • 2 cups Cornmeal, yellow
  • 2 cups Water, boiling
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Canola Oil


  1. About 30 minutes before mealtime, heat 2 cups of water to boiling.
  2. Measure out 2 cups cornmeal, add 2 teaspoons Baking Powder and 1/2 teaspoon Salt. Mix together.
  3. Add 1 cup boiling (or still very hot) water and stir.
  4. Continue adding hot water in small amounts and stirring, until all the cornmeal mixture is damp. You may not use all the water, but that is ok.
  5. Set aside for about 15 to 20 minutes and let the cornmeal absorb the water.
  6. Put about 1/4 inch of Canola Oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  7. Pour off and discard any un-absorbed water from the cornmeal mixture.
  8. Pour a little bit of the hot oil into the cornmeal mixture and stir--careful to not touch the hot oil.
  9. Spoon about 1/3 to 1/2-cup blobs of cornmeal mixture into hot oil.
  10. When the edges begin to turn golden, carefully turn over the patties (I use two spatulas, to keep from splashing the hot oil.)
  11. Cook for a couple of minutes, then check to see if the second side has browned. The time will vary, depending on how hot your oil is.
  12. Remove to paper towel-covered plate to drain, then serve and enjoy.

Did you make this recipe?

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I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has! Leave me a note in the comments, if you wanna share your love for the cornbread. Be sure to like our Facebook page, too, so you get our recipes in your newsfeed. Take a minute to pin this Hot Water Cornbread Recipe, so you can get back to it pronto!

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