Looking for an easy, moist cornbread recipe with serious kick? Look no further than this deliciously sweet and spicy Apricot Chile Cornbread. This Southern classic gets it sweet sharpness from dried apricots, ancho chile powder, red pepper, and a hint of cardamon. Perfect for summer barbecues, picnics, potlucks, or any occasion where quality cornbread is appreciated.
Cornbread is a way of life in the South. It has the power to evoke memory, ignite conflict, and bring everyone to the table. I wanted to create a uniquely delicious cornbread that was easy, moist, and boldly flavored – all while staying true to the Southern spirit of this treasured dish. And so, this equal parts sweet and spicy recipe was born.
What Is Ancho Chile Powder?
Ancho chile powder is the dried and ground flesh of the poblano chile, often used in Mexican cuisine. It definitely packs some smoky heat, but also has beautiful fruit-forward notes. It’s a perfect pairing with bright, tangy apricot. The result is a lusciously spiced bite you’re sure to love.
Ancho chile powder is easy to find in your local grocery store, but you can substitute chipotle powder or chili powder if you don’t have any on hand. Be aware that these substitutions have a smokier, slightly hotter flavor, so proceed with caution.
Apricots are one my favorite summertime treats, so I was VERY excited to develop a cornbread recipe that celebrates the wonderfully tart stone fruit. Apricots have a pleasant, tangy flavor, but are bold enough to stand up to heat of the ancho chile. Make sure you use dried apricots only when making this cornbread. Fresh slices, while delicious, lack the flavor concentration of their dried counterparts and will turn to mush in the batter.
Ready to try your hand at this tender, fruit-infused Apricot Chile Cornbread? Make it and let me know if you fall in love like I did. Even traditionalists will enjoy this buttery, pepper-laced bake. Head over to Instagram to see what’s happening in my kitchen, and as always, happy baking to you!
Apricot Chile Cornbread
- cast iron skillet
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp ancho chile powder
- 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup dried apricots finely chopped
- Preheat your oven to 450° and place a 10" cast iron skillet inside. Divide butter out into 2 tbsp. and 8 tbsp before melting. In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, chile powder, red pepper, and cardamom.
- Whisk dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Next, add eggs, milk, and 8 tbsp. butter, mixing just until incorporated. Gently fold in chopped dried apricots.
- Carefully remove skillet from oven and swirl the 2 remaining tbsp. of butter to coat. Pour batter into skillet and return to oven. Bake for 15-20, or until test prick emerges with just a few moist crumbs. Melt an additonal 2-3 tbsp. of butter for an extra-decadent result.
- A cast iron skillet is the optimal way to cook cornbread, but if you don’t have one just yet, use a 9 or 10 inch cake pan. You won’t preheat the pan in this instance.
- You can use buttermilk in place of whole milk, although I found the tang from the apricots sufficient enough to forego it. I’d avoid using plant-based milks for this recipe.
- If you are using salted butter, simply omit the salt from the recipe.
- Cornbread freezes wonderfully. If you’d like to save that freshly baked flavor for later, simply cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil and place inside of a freezer bag. Your sweet+spicy cornbread will be good for 2-3 months!