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.

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