13 Ways To Get Creative With Canned Cornbread

Cornbread has been a staple in our rotation for years, but the simple dish can get a bit boring. However, cornbread doesn't need to be boring; it's so easy to be creative with it. You can easily experiment with canned cornbread or cornbread boxes because they are equally, if not more versatile, than a cake mix. Do you know how you can add a few things to a cake mix to spice things up? Well, you can do the same exact thing with cornbread mix or canned cornbread.

The main difference is that with cornbread, you can go in so many different directions; you can go either savory or sweet, which is pretty incredible if you ask us. Still not convinced? Here are a few additional cornbread recipes to get creative. From fresh and juicy berries to countless herbs, there are no limits to your creativity.

You'll love changing up your cornbread mix or canned cornbread because you can bring different variations to the same friends or different friends and never get caught. No one will ever know it was a canned or box mix. Your secret is safe between us. From different cooking methods to fun add-ins, there are countless ways to spice your cornbread. You can use one or multiple of these hacks while making your next cornbread mix or canned cornbread. Read on for our favorite additions to your canned cornbread.

Try adding corn to cornbread

Corn belongs in cornbread, and you cannot change our minds. This is obvious, but it is a super easy way to improve the quality of your canned or boxed cornbread. You can use frozen, freeze-dried, creamed, or fresh corn. All types of corn are welcome in cornbread, and if you really want to be super corny, try adding multiple types of corn to your next experiment.

Why should you add corn to cornbread? There are so many reasons you will fall in love with corn in your cornbread, but here are a few to pay attention to. To keep it short and sweet, one of the reasons why adding corn to cornbread is great is that it adds a fun and unique texture to your cornbread, especially depending on the type you are adding. For the most texture twists, add creamed corn or free-dried corn and watch as everyone is completely mind-blown by their first bite (us included). Corn also adds a lovely sweetness. Corn syrup is a common sweetener, after all. Plus, it is called cornbread for a reason.

Sprinkle in some sweetener

If you prefer a little additional sweetness to your cornbread, that's easy to remedy. Personally, we love a little sweetener because it helps complement the flavor of cornbread. We're not talking just sugar; we are talking about any kind of sweetener that your heart desires. We love adding sugar or honey, but you do not need to stop there. You can also use maple syrup or even agave. It's one of the easiest ways to elevate any cornbread. Only add a tablespoon or 2 to your next mix, and just like that, you'll make the best cornbread of all time. Just a friendly reminder that a little sweetener goes a long way, so be careful when you add it to the mix.

Besides adding sweetness, an additional sweetener can also help improve the moisture and texture of your cornbread. If you want the quickest way to make it taste like it's homemade, try a sweetener. Now, this next suggestion might cause some concerns, but trust us. Some disagree with this hack, but you can always sprinkle a little on top for caramelization. You can also add a bit of sugar to the bottom of the pan you're cooking the cornbread in so that when you remove it from its mold, you'll have some nice caramelization on top (and not browning, which is different).

Add some heat into it

Spice up your cornbread mix literally. Cornbread with a little bit of heat can and will make it taste homemade or just better. When it comes to adding some heat, we don't have a specific preference because we love adding different chiles or peppers equally. This is also a great way to add whatever type of heat you have on hand (yes, we mean that chile pepper in the back of your fridge on its last legs). If you're feeling really wild, you can add multiple types of peppers and chiles; this is great for anyone who prefers their dishes spicier.

With all that being said, some heat suggestions we recommend are green chiles or jalapeños. Cornbread and jalapeños are basically a match made in heaven; don't knock it until you try it. We promise it is worth it.

When working with a bit of heat, we just want to remind you to mix thoroughly so that you do not have any issues with one area covered in chiles and another section having nothing in it. Distribution of heat is super key, especially if you are making cornbread muffins.

Swap out your fats

Fat adds a lot of depth to a dish, so trying a different type of fat can seriously impact the flavor of your cornbread. Fat can also easily change the texture of your favorite cornbread mix, so be cautious when adding or changing your fats. But if you are really looking to completely change things up, incorporate sour cream, buttermilk, or even Greek yogurt. They can be swapped out or used to replace your typical boxed ingredients. Plus, by adding some of these types of dairy or fats, you'll get some tanginess, which will have everyone giving you a ton of compliments.

If you are going to switch out the fat, just make sure you are not adding too much or too little. This is a great hack if you want to trick everyone into thinking that you actually made cornbread from scratch. It is an amazing example of a super simple way to completely change and elevate the taste of boxed or canned cornbread.

Get cheesy with your cornbread

Cheese on cornbread might not be groundbreaking to you, but it is something we are deeply passionate about. All kinds of cheese are welcome in our cornbread. However, we personally love a sharp cheddar, Colby jack, pepper jack, Parmesan, or anything with a stronger flavor profile. Cheese is such a versatile addition to cornbread because you can sprinkle it on top as a finishing touch, throw it in a batter, and more. 

An effortless cheesy hack for cornbread is to cut up a cheese stick, stuff it in the middle, and bake it off. Just like that, you have a cheesy center, but who doesn't want that? You can also use a cheese cube if that is your preference. Another experiment to try is to fill your baking dish halfway with cornbread and, add a layer of cheese, then fill it up again. We all want cheesy goodness in our next bite, and that's how we get there. We'll say it again: Cheese belongs in or on cornbread.

Make it protein-packed by adding some meat

Adding protein is another smart choice if you are looking to spice up cornbread. Protein-packed anything is a big plus in our book. Although you can add any kind of meat to cornbread mix or canned cornbread, we have a soft spot for breakfast meats. It just so happens that they pair extremely well with cornbread.

We love adding bacon to cornbread, crumbling it on top, or adding it to the batter. Breakfast sausage would also be a phenomenal addition to your cornbread. Crumbling sausage, ground meat, chorizo, or bacon in the batter or on top is a great way to level up your cornbread.

Another meat-inspired hack you can try is easily adding a hot dog (a mini one) in the center. Then, you have your own corn dog muffins or cornbread. Precooked BBQ meat or leftover BBQ meat added inside of cornbread would also be a super interesting dish, especially when it comes to textures. This is especially great if you need something a bit different to bring to your next potluck or summer barbecue.

Add some butter

Adding butter to anything is the right choice — trust us on that. Butter will give your cornbread a bit more flavor and moisture. Plus, the mouthfeel of butter is simply a chef's kiss. You can thank us later for how much the addition of butter can and will change your cornbread for the better. Well, you were probably going to add butter to the finished product, but why not add it to the mix once it's cooked? A double butter-rich cornbread sounds like our ideal situation and probably yours, too.

Hear us out; just imagine how divine brown butter would taste in your boxed cornbread. The nuttiness from the browned butter with cornbread would make such a good match, and no one would suspect that you used a shortcut to make your soon-to-be viral cornbread. Even if brown butter is not your friend, normal butter will always be there for you.

Get fruity and mix in some fruit

Hear us out on this one: Fruit in cornbread can turn it into a dessert or a killer side dish. We know it sounds a bit wild, but we promise it will be so darn tasty that you'll adore it. To add fruitness to your cornbread, you don't necessarily need to add whole fruit; you can add some citrus zest for a touch of fruitiness to make it taste homemade.

That's not to say you cannot add fruit — you totally could. You can easily throw in fresh blueberries, figs, peaches, or something else (try whatever is in season). If you do want to add fruit, you can keep the cornbread as a side dish, but why not try cornbread as a dessert and embrace the fruitiness? Pair it with some fresh whipped cream or whipped topping, and you've got a killer dessert that's totally going to impress all of your guests (like cast iron fig cornbread). Plus, you won't even break a sweat while trying this hack. It's minimum effort for the maximum impact; how could we not be obsessed with this?

Add some herbs

Although cornbread has its own flavor profile, sometimes you just want to change things up. Add some of your favorite spices or herbs to level up the flavor in your next cornbread concoction. The thing with spices is that there are so many, which means there are hundreds and millions of different ways you can doctor cornbread.

Just a reminder that you can use fresh herbs or dried herbs; either way, you're going to have something super delish. For fresh herbs, we suggest exploring some sage, or maybe you're more of a rosemary person. The options are limitless. You can also use spice blends or herb blends instead of just one particular spice. Some blends that would taste incredible are Cajun seasoning and Old Bay. Try adding some Italian herbs for a different take. Either way, it's going to have you and your family or guests begging for more.

Cook it on a cast iron skillet

If you're looking for a different way to spice up your cornbread but aren't a fan of add-ins, a different cooking style might just be your new favorite life hack. There are so many other cooking methods, but we are huge fans of cast iron skillets.

Cast Iron skillets are a go-to tool for us, and guess what? You really can use them for anything and everything. Cast Iron skillets are so versatile, so of course, you can make cornbread in them. Here's our go-to cast-iron cornbread recipe. Using a cast iron skillet is going to give your cornbread a perfectly crispy edge while also keeping the cornbread incredibly moist. It's honestly such a win-win situation for you and everyone who gets the pleasure of eating your cornbread.

Plus, if you present cornbread in a cast iron skillet at your next dinner party, it's going to look cool and fancy (and homemade, we won't tell them it's from a can or box). It's going to look like you put so much effort into it when you didn't, and we love that for you. Plus, no one is going to see it in your skillet and think it came from a box. Think smarter, not harder.

Grill it

The solution to just about everything during the warmer weather months is to grill, so why couldn't you grill cornbread? Grilling cornbread will give it a slightly different texture and flavor profile. Just imagine how life-changing the crispiness on the outside and fluffy inside will be. Grilling cornbread after it's been cooked in the oven is going to give you the most incredible texture.

You can also cook the cornbread in a cast iron skillet on the grill, which allows you to use multiple hacks at home (we love using all the hacks possible in one batch). This would be super fun, especially if you used some flavorful wood chips in your grill.

If you really want to switch, after you grill it, serve it with some grilled fruit and ice cream, and you will have a super interesting dessert. You can also just serve it as a grilled side dish without adding fruit or toppings, or you can add some savory toppings like butter or nuts to jazz this up. Either way, just know this might just outshine your main dish at your next outing, so we're sorry but not sorry.

Top it off with a glaze or flavored butter

Although cornbread is not designed to be a dessert, a glaze can still be beneficial for cornbread (and honestly, all breads). You will love painting it on top, which can add another dimension of flavor to your dish. Plus, if you accidentally overcook your cornbread, this can save the texture and add much-needed moisture. It's also super easy to whip up a glaze, combining butter and other dreamy ingredients such as maple syrup, honey, or even cinnamon, and you're ready to use it. Besides adding flavor to your cornbread, it can add a bit of warmth, which makes it stand out amongst the crowd.

Picture this: you paint the tops of your corn muffins with a cinnamon honey glaze and bite into them while they are still warm. You just watch as your tastebuds and everyone else's travel to paradise. However, if you do this, just know everyone is going to be asking for your recipe. The best way to add a glaze to your next cornbread recipe is to apply it while the cornbread is still warm so that it can absorb the flavor well, and it should be served immediately.

Nuts make a great addition

We love adding nuts to cornbread because they add flavor and a nice texture. Nuts can add both a savory and sweet element, which is why they make for such a fun and exciting addition to cornbread. We're all about interesting textures here, and this is ideal for every texture lover. Nuts also add another layer of flavor to each dish, so they can make cornbread go from a simple dish to something a lot more complex.

Roasting or toasting nuts will add warmth and depth to canned or boxed cornbread; you can also add raw nuts if you prefer. However, If you're feeling a little extra, you can also caramelize some nuts and add them to your batter. Personally, we are huge fans of adding some pecans, but you can try whatever nut floats your boat (pinenuts could also be super tasty). Just make sure no one is allergic to the nuts before serving them this.