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We are a chili kind of family. The kids are always peering into pans when I cook and they get excited when they see chili bubbling on the stove. A few friends and I decided to pull together several one dish dinners and after thinking about all sorts of elaborate meals I settled for a chili cornbread casserole. It’s cold outside, we have been in the mood for chili, and it sounds amazing, so that’s what you’re getting from me.

Chili Cornbread Casserole

The beauty of chili is that it is adaptable. Love kidney beans in it? Add a can. Hate kidney beans? Skip it. Love spice? Add a jalapeno, seeds, veins, and all. Easy on the spice? Cut out the veins and seeds and use just the green part of the jalapeno or skip it altogether. Use ground beef, pork or chicken. Use purple (red), yellow, or white onions. Add garlic, and BAM! you have an amazing day warming and filling dinner. You can even make homemade cornbread topping, cornbread from a box, or gluten-free cornbread. The sky is almost the limit as long as it’s chili and cornbread. Otherwise it wouldn’t be chili cornbread casserole.

Chili Cornbread Casserole

Here is the cornbread recipe I used from my good friend, Hallee the Homemaker. I wanted to go gluten-free with this recipe but ran out of rice flour or I would have used my gluten-free blueberry corn muffin recipe minus the blueberries. You won’t need the whole recipe to top it so you can make a pan of muffins or bread on the side if you want. Now if I only had a cast iron dutch oven I would be about the happiest girl in the world because THAT would make it even more amazing.

Chili Cornbread Casserole


Chili Cornbread Casserole

  • Author: Heather McCurdy


  • 1 pound ground meat
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced with seeds and veins for spicy, without for mild
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dark chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 28-32 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15/16 ounce can kidney beans, drained (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Cornbread batter (recipes in link)


  1. Heat oil in oven safe and stove top safe pan if you want a true 1 dish dinner.
  2. Add onion, garlic, jalapeno, apple, and ground beef. Cook until apples and onions are soft and beef is browned.
  3. Add spices and cocoa powder.
  4. Stir until well coated.
  5. Add tomatoes and kidney beans.
  6. Cook until thick.
  7. Top with cornbread batter, about 1/2 inch thick.
  8. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.
  9. Add some butter to the top of cornbread crust and bake for 5 more minutes or until top is slightly browned.

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