Question: since Masa Harina can be used to make awesome homemade corn tortillas, what happens if I use it to replace cornmeal in my go-to cornbread recipe?
I’ve been wondering about this one and I’m glad I finally got around to experimenting with it.
To summarize this post….just go for it!
How To Make Masa Harina Cornbread
In case you’re wondering about the difference between cornmeal and Masa Harina, let’s start with some dried field corn…
If you grind this up you’ve got cornmeal your hands, and this is typically used to make cornbread.
But for corn tortillas you would first need to nixtamalize the dried field corn .
Soaking the corn in an alkaline mixture does a number of wonderful things:
Unleashes some dormant nutrients
Dissolves the outer skin
Gives it a bump in flavor!
Grind it up and you’ve got masa dough on your hands:
Producers will de-hydrate this masa dough and sell it in powder form as Masa Harina.
Simply add water and you’ve got masa dough on your hands!
So let’s use some Masa Harina for a batch of cornbread and see how it tastes 🙂
I’m using this Masa Harina from Masienda:
But you can use any Masa Harina with this recipe. This post compares three Masa Harina brands and it’s worth a read if you’re new to it.
Start by preheating your baking dish in a 425F oven. I’m using the trusty 10″ cast iron skillet but any baking dish will suffice here.
Meanwhile, get 3 tablespoons of butter melting somewhere. I used a skillet on the stovetop.
Add the following dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and combine well:
1 cup flour
1.25 cups Masa Harina
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
In another bowl we’ll gather the wet ingredients:
2 whisked eggs
1.5 cups of milk
2 of the 3 tablespoons of melted butter (save the rest for the baking dish)
2 chipotles in adobo, minced
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from the can
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine well.
Feel free to add another splash of milk if it seems thick. Ideally it is loose enough to settle into an even layer in the baking dish.
Add the final tablespoon of melted butter to your pre-heated baking dish, swish it around, and then add the batter.
Don’t forget to use a hotpad when you grab the pre-heated pan — when it’s empty it can trick your brain into thinking it’s at room temp!
This will need around 25 minutes in a 425F oven, but I usually start taking peeks around 20 minutes.
When the edges are turning darker brown you are mostly there. This batch was in for 23 minutes.
Let it rest for a couple minutes on the stovetop and then take out a slice!
Of course, another knob of butter will turn it into something absolutely delicious when fresh out of the oven.
And the result?
Major yummers and I think the Masa Harina gives it a more intense corn flavor than when using cornmeal. This makes sense given that the corn in the Masa Harina has been nixtamalized.
I’ve made four batches over the past week and here are some discoveries to consider for your upcoming batch:
Using 2 chipotles will give it some heat that sneaks up on you! You can use a single chipotle for a milder batch. And while it’s kinda optional, I still like using some liquid adobo sauce from the can as I think it adds some direct heat and flavor to the batter.
A few years ago I made this Cornmeal Cornbread that uses buttermilk. I tried a Masa Harina buttermilk version but did not notice a huge difference compared to the whole milk version.
Baking soda typically needs acid to activate, that’s why you’ll frequently see it paired with buttermilk. Since I went with plain ol’ milk in this recipe I omitted the baking soda and increased the baking powder. For reference, here’s a good article on the difference between baking soda and baking powder.
Also, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Three tablespoons of sugar is probably at the bottom range for most peeps, so feel free to increase the sugar for your palate.
If you have Masa Harina in the pantry then please use this post as permission to make some cornbread with it! It’s remarkably easy and I think you get a bump in flavor compared to traditional cornmeal versions.
And if you’re new to Masa Harina then consider picking some up! These are the brands you’ll come across most often in the stores.
And here are some other posts on the site to fill in any gaps:
Okay, let me know if you have any questions about this Masa Harina Cornbread. It’s super easy to make and it’s a real treat to take a bite when it’s fresh out of the oven 🙂
Masa Harina Cornbread
- 1.25 cups Masa Harina
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1.5 cups milk (plus more if necessary)
- 2 chipotles in adobo
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
- Preheat a 10" cast iron skillet or similar sized baking dish in the oven at 425F.
- Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl: 1.25 cups Masa Harina, 1 cup flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder,1 teaspoon salt, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Combine well.
- Melt 3 tablespoons of butter somewhere: I used a small skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients: 2 whisked eggs, 1.5 cups milk (I used whole milk), only 2 of the 3 tablespoons of the melted butter, 2 minced chipotles in adobo, and 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce from the can. I usually de-stem and de-seed the chipotles.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine well using a spatula or spoon. If it seems thick feel free to add another splash of milk. Ideally it is loose enough to settle into an even layer on its own in the baking dish.
- Add the final tablespoon of melted butter to the pre-heated baking dish and swish it around to coat it (be sure to use a hotpad!).
- Add the batter to the baking dish, forming an even layer. Bake for around 25 minutes, but I usually start taking peeks at 20 minutes. When the sides are darker brown you are mostly there. You can stick a knife or fork in the cornbread for further confirmation -- if it pulls out clean then the insides are done.
- Let the cornbread rest in the baking dish on the stovetop for a couple minutes. Then serve it up with an optional slice of butter.
- I've been storing leftovers in a Ziploc in the fridge and it's still good after a few days. Here's my quick re-heating method for a big slice: Add a slice of butter to a skillet over medium heat. Dredge all sides of the cornbread in the butter and then cook each side until it is just starting to brown -- it will take a few minutes and this is usually enough to heat it through, plus you get some crispy edges 😉
Want to see our latest recipe? It’s these Enchiladas Verdes.