Crowd-pleasing hot cornbread for your next barbecue

This hot dish, stuffed with cheddar, hot peppers and ground beef, is a potluck staple.

Food forum

If there is one thing I am always ecstatic to see at a potluck or barbecue, it is cornbread.

Cornbread is easy to make (even when you don’t use the Jiffy box), yet its preparation is one of the most divisive in the country. Should it be sweet or savory, or more specifically: Should it contain any sugar at all? What type of cornmeal is best? Are mix-ins and fillings allowed? And so on. The best way, in my opinion, is to make it how you enjoy it (I know, I took the easy way out).

This particular hot cornbread, submitted by Joe Muller on behalf of his father-in-law Phil, is practically a meal in itself, with a beef and cheddar filling. Phil, who has since passed away, used to bring it to any potluck he attended. It was an incredibly popular (read: required) staple for family gatherings.

“Phil passed away last August, but I was able to secure from him the recipe last spring and have baked it several times since and it’s still a big hit,” Joe wrote. “It’s got everything you need for a group of folks to enjoy; beef, sweet breading, peppers and of course cheese!”

Phil’s Hot Cornbread


1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup milk

2 eggs

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 16-ounce can creamed corn


1 pound ground beef (90/10)

1 large white onion, finely chopped

1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 small can hot peppers, diced (see notes)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil an 11-by-7-inch glass baking pan.

Brown ground beef. Drain, then add onions and peppers and cook until onions are translucent and water has mostly evaporated (see notes).

While beef is browning, mix batter ingredients together, then pour half the batter into the glass baking pan. Pour ground beef mixture on top of batter. Layer ¾ pound of cheese over ground beef mixture.

Spread the rest of the batter over the beef and cheese, then sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for about 45 minutes until golden brown.


Spicy peppers can be to taste. Use mild, medium or hot, as desired.

Too much liquid from onion, peppers and beef will cause batter to be soggy. Be sure to cook off most of the liquid before pouring over batter.

Talk to us

More in Food & Drink

The 9th-annual Everett Food Truck Festival is happening this Saturday, Aug. 13. (Jake Campbell /  Everett Food Truck Festival)
Your ultimate guide to this weekend’s Everett Food Truck Festival

Head to downtown Everett this weekend for great food, beer, live music, local artists and more.

A beer is poured at UpperLeft Beerfest on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
This weekend, take a sip out of Upper Left Beerfest in Everett

Upper Left Beerfest is back in Everett this weekend, with more than 20 craft breweries and cideries.

Upper Left Beerfest: The full pour list

Find every type of beer, cider and more served at this year’s Upper Left Beer Fest in Everett.

Food forum
Chocolate peanut butter Incredibles

These chocolate peanut butter bars are, as the name suggests, incredible.

Spicy Salmon and Spicy Sambal Ahi on Sushi rice with Mac salad served with salad at Ono Poke in Edmonds, Washington location on June 22, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
These Snohomish County bites and sips will keep you cool this summer

There’s no need to stew when you’ve got concha ice cream sandwiches and cold rice noodle bowls.

A sour tasting flight from Wild Barrel Brewing, of San Marcos, Calif. (Aaron Swaney)
Beer lovers can get funky at 5 Rights Brewing’s Sour Fest

Learn all about (and drink plenty of) sour ales this week during the Marysville craft brewer’s Funkville Sour Festival

Food forum
Add some zip to your deviled eggs

Make this non-recipe your own with fresh herbs, relish and other favorite add-ins.

Food forum
Got an eggplant? Cook my Aunt Mary’s caponata

My family comes back to this decades-old recipe time and time again.

Freshly dug clams are blended into a creamy chowder of potatoes, onions, shallots, meat and spices. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
This clam chowder springs from a knowledge of the land

The comforting soup can be made with clams you dig yourself on a rocky beach. Or just open a couple of cans.

Bar Dojo's colorful vegan nachos boast marinated organic tofu poke, Asian slaw, cilantro and vegenaise sriracha lime aioli on top of crispy wonton shells. (Photo courtesy of Bar Dojo)
The best vegan grub in Snohomish County, according to readers

If you love french fries, burgers, nachos and ice cream, you, too, can enjoy vegan food.

Nick Hegge, brewer and owner of Wild Oak Project, runs a brewery out of his garage in Everett, Washington on July 25, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Meet the Everett brewer cranking out craft beer from his home

Nick Hegge and his Wild Oak Project brews barrel-aged beers in a 500-square-foot garage.

Coastal Shrimp Bake
The South meets the Pacific Northwest in this rustic dish

With flavor that builds as you bake it, coastal shrimp bake brings Southern flair to a memorable mid-summer meal.