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May 18, 2008 10:33 AM

Coffee break: less crumbly "corn muffins"

I know I once read a recipe for cornbread/corn muffins that aren't a mess to eat, but don't recall what the trick was. I've read contradictory claims about buttermilk making less crumbly cornbread, but I like it so I use it. Even if my coffee break corn muffin had been halved and buttered at home, then carefully wrapped and carried to work, it made for a messy desk. This is what I came up with: Use a recipe intended for an 8" square pan.
Line two 7.5x11" pans with parchment paper (more surface area for browning than two 8" pans) and divide batter between them. Adjust baking time according to how much browning you want - about 20-25 min. Lift parchment and transfer the contents to cooling racks. When at room temperature, carefully turn the cornbread upside down and peel off the parchment. With a spatula, butter one upside-down cornbread with softened butter. Turn the other right-side up and place it atop the buttered one, so that the undersides of both pieces are on the butter. Slice in half lengthwise, then crosswise into desired portions and wrap in plastic wrap. Store in the fridge in airtight container. Because there is crust on both the top and bottom, and on at least one side of each portion, there is minimal crumbling during consumption.

If anyone knows the recipe for non-messy cornbread, please post!

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  1. Is your cornbread Southern style, i.e., all cornmeal, no wheat flour? If so, I'm afraid there's no getting around a certain amount of crumbliness; it simply goes with the territory, especially if you're using stone-ground cornmeal (which I hope you are!). A recipe that uses cornmeal and flour will be less crumbly - in fact the "cakier" it is (not to say it has to be sweet), the less crumbly it will be.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

      I like Trader Joe's cornbread mix. I am after a Northern level of sweetness but lots of corn. I cut back a tbsp each on the buttermilk and oil, replacing it with real Grade B maple syrup, thereby creating seismic tremors south of the Mason-Dixon line! But I did once read something that sounded like it was not crumbly but still packed a corn punch. Just wish I had written it down...

      1. re: greygarious

        "thereby creating seismic tremors south of the Mason-Dixon line"

        Funniest line I've read in a long time, especially since I'm from Boston living south of the MD line. Have you tried Durgin Park's corn bread? Because it's not all corn meal, it's not at all crumbly. It's definitely a northern corn bread. You can add corn, whole or chopped, to the recipe. Along those lines is this Amusement Park cornbread.

        I use these recipes as a base and play w/ the sugar (reducing it), adding sour cream or using buttermilk instead of milk, changing proportions of cornmeal to flour, adding corn. It's pretty forgiving and always turns out, as long as it's not overcooked.

        1. re: chowser

          My problem is my preference for northern, yellow sweetness AND a lot of corn flavor and texture. I don't like it cakey. Never had Durgin Park's. I dislike Jiffy but love Trader Joe's mix, which includes corn kernels. I'm not looking for the extra richness of more dairy. Whatever it was that I stupidly didn't jot down sounded like it minimized crumbling while maintaining the minimal cake/maximum corn formula. Possibly my unorthodox baking method achieves a comparable result - looks like I'll never know!

          1. re: greygarious

            Have you tried Dorie Greenspan's corniest corn muffin recipe? That might work. It's heavier with corn texture and not cakey.


            If you do figure out what you did before, I'd be interested in it.

    2. one surefire way to moist corn muffins that i found is to use 1/2 yellow cake mix, 1/2 cornbread/Jiffy mix. it makes a sweeter Marie Callendar type cornbread/muffin, but moist like no other.

      the other two tricks i know are to either include sour cream, or (odd as this may sound) to include some dry pudding mix into the dry ingredients.

      1. I used to love Jiffy cornbread. Lately I've noticed that it's dry and crumbly. So I experimented and came up with the solution! One ingredient that ALWAYS gives a recipe that extra oomph! Cream Cheese! I added 2 ounces of cream cheese to my mix and oh what a difference! I Just softened it a little in the microwave and stirred it in. It was moist and delicious! I also added 1 Tablespoon of sugar to add a little extra sweetness. But that's optional.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kocomo

          Here's a copycat recipe for Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. This recipe (except for the egg & milk) is equal to one 8.5 oz box of Jiffy.


          2/3 cup all purpose flour
          1/2 cup yellow corn meal
          3 Tbsp granulated sugar
          1 Tbsp baking powder
          1/4 tsp salt
          2 Tbsp vegetable oil
          1 egg
          1/3 cup milk


          Combine flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix well with whisk. Whisk in vegetable oil and mix until dry mixture is smooth and lumps are gone.

          If you wish to make Corn Muffins:

          Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine above mixture with egg and milk. Mix well.
          Fill muffin tins 1/2 full. Bake 15-20 minutes.
          Makes 6 muffins.

        2. Adding some creamed corn to the mix, or cottage cheese makes the muffins or bread moist and no as crumbly.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Infomaniac

            yes, i use creamed corn and grated jack. i also use bacon fat for some of the melted butter. mmmmmmm.... bacon.

          2. i make cornbread madelines and they hold together better than muffins--they're closer in size to a mini-muffin. i use the maddy tin because i like the crunchy edge, but the manageability is a plus, too.