Your Chili Bar Deserves An Array Of Cornbread Flavors

As far as comfort food spreads go, the chili bar — complete with cheese, Fritos, herbs, onions, and sour cream — promises some of the best heart-warming decadence possible. Of all the chili adornments, cornbread reigns supreme in bringing a textural and flavorful counterpoint to the smoky aroma of the chili. But, that doesn't mean that you should settle for a plain Jane plate of cornbread. Instead, you need to view that golden slab as yet another canvas for tasty opportunities. And, instead of limiting yourself to just one inspired take on cornbread, you should opt for an entire array of flavors to elevate your chili bar.

Think of what a hatch chili cornbread would do to the spice levels of a bowl of chili, or what the sweet and savory flavors a Honey Sage Skillet Cornbread could bring to the table. Whether you decide to go a spicy, cheesy, or sweetened route with your cornbread, you should embrace some revolutionary additions to pump up the volume of your next chili bar. But, where should you start?   

Spice up your cornbread mix-ins

There are two ways to revamp your classic cornbread recipe: with mix-ins or with toppings. For cornbread mix-ins, you can go the savory route by tossing in a few slices of chopped bacon or ham, shredded cheddar cheese, or a fine dice of your pepper of choice, from jalapeño to Anaheim. Fresh herbs, like earthy sage and pungent rosemary, can be stirred in as well. For a slightly sweeter take, you can mix in a can of creamed corn or plain corn kernels. This adds an extra sweet bite and a custard-like texture to the cornbread. 

Toppings work much the same way, just with half the hassle of mixing them in. Cheese, onion slices, jalapeño coins, herbs, and even some chopped pecans can all be sprinkled on top of your cornbread. To double the fun, split a cornbread between two toppings, covering half with asiago cheese and the other with a mix of red onion slices and cilantro. If you really want to offer a wide range of flavors, go the corn muffin route, and top each muffin with a little something different. With these jazzed-up cornbread wedges or muffins introduced to the chili bar, you'll be surprised at how much they elevate the overall flavor. As they say, variety is the spice of life.