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Savory Cornbread with Leeks and Jalapeños

A savory version of the traditional cornbread recipe, this Savory Cornbread with Leeks and Jalapeños is bursting with flavor and is one of my favorite cornbread recipes. Give it a try today!

You'll love the savory flavor from the caramelized leeks and the little bit of heat from the jalapeño peppers.

stack of savory cornbread pieces on a plate

Savory cornbread with jalapeños 

Unpopular opinion time: I don't love overly sweet cornbread. I prefer my cornbread savory and less sugary.


Haha let me convince you why you should try this Savory Cornbread with Leeks and Jalapeños. It has little bits of caramelized leeks and spicy jalapeño bites for an awesome savory flavor.

It's amazing slathered with some good butter and a bit of sweet and spicy pepper jelly. It's amazing with chili. It's great as a snack on its own.

scooping out a slice of savory cornbread from a baking pan

More cornmeal recipes: Air Fryer Polenta Fries

Savory cornbread

This savory cornbread still has a little bit of sugar (hey, I didn't say I like flavorless things! I just said I don't like sugary cornbread). But in addition to a little sugar it has a whole lot of savory flavor from the leeks and jalapeño peppers.

I sauté the leeks and peppers together to bring out the rich caramelized flavor from the leeks and to mellow out the spice.

I was able to find mixed red and green jalapeños and I love the color of that, but you can just use green jalapeños, or use cherry peppers if you prefer a little color.

how to make savory cornbread - collage of step by step photos

Then I added the sauteed leek and jalapeño mixture to the cornbread batter and baked it as usual... super easy!

before and after baking savory cornbread with leeks

Here's a little cornbread baking tip: If your cornbread is cooked but is not yet golden brown on top, just brush it with a little bit of butter and put it back in the oven for a few minutes.

The butter will immediately melt over the hot cornbread, and will make the top of the cornbread turn golden brown and crispy.

So good!!

More recipes using fresh jalapeños: Fried Jalapeños and Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Burgers

A tip for cooking with leeks

Leeks are GREAT flavor boosters for many savory recipes (see my Sweet Potato Leek Soup, my Leek and Sweet Potato Latkes, my Leek and Asparagus Soup, and my Cauliflower Risotto with Caramelized Leeks). 

The only problem with leeks is that they can trap a lot of dirt in between all those layers and they need to be cleaned really thoroughly. You do NOT want to bite down on your food and find yourself biting down on dirt. UGH!

I recommend rinsing leeks really well and trying to do your best to get any dirt out. Then dice the leeks and rinse them again in a large bowl of water, then under running water in a colander. This is the best way to make sure all the dirt is removed and rinsed off.

I always use a salad spinner to wash and rinse the diced leeks, then spin them dry. This helps the leek caramelize nicely and bring out their wonderful flavor. If the leeks have too much water they will steam in the pan instead of caramelizing when you go to sauté them. 

This is the salad spinner I have, and I absolutely love it for so much more than just salads, as you can see! Click the image below to go to Amazon and learn more about this salad spinner:

sliced leek in a salad spinner

More recipes using fresh jalapeños: Roasted Jalapeños

More savory additions to cornbread

If you want to really switch things up and add more savory flavors to this cornbread, here are a few ideas for savory cornbread additions to try:

  • Crumbled bacon
  • Diced ham or pepperoni
  • Fresh corn kernels
  • Fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, or sage
  • Cheese - a sharp cheddar, smoked Gouda, or Gruyere would be fantastic here!

stack of savory cornbread pieces on a plate

However you decide to make this savory cornbread, I hope you love it! It's fantastic for dinner (try it with my BBQ Instant Pot Pulled Chicken or with soup) or as a mid-afternoon snack.

If you end up making it, please take a picture and tag me on Instagram or Facebook. You can find me at @babaganoshblog on both. I love seeing your creations!

Serve this corn bread with:

Looking for more savory recipes?

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

Savory Cornbread collage / pinterest graphic

stack of savory cornbread pieces on a plate
Print Recipe
4.79 from 14 votes

Savory Cornbread with Jalapeños and Leeks

A savory version of the traditional cornbread recipe, this Savory Cornbread with Leeks and Jalapeños is bursting with flavor and is one of my favorite cornbread recipes. Give it a try today!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Cooldown time10 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Bread, Dinner
Cuisine: American, Southern
Servings: 12 pieces
Author: Kate
Cost: $5


  • 1 large leek - (about 3 cups chopped leek)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil - (for cooking leeks)
  • 1 jalapeño - seeds removed and finely diced (use red jalapeños for a pop of color or cherry peppers)
  • 1 + ½ teaspoon salt - divided
  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour - or white whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup corn meal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs - beaten
  • ¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil - (for the cornbread batter)


  • Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9x9 or 9x13 inch baking dish with butter or vegetable oil. 
  • Prepare the leeks. Leeks are usually very dirty between all the layers so I like to chop them up first and then give them a good thorough rinse in a colander using my hands to get all the hidden dirt off.
    Chop leeks into thin slices.
    sliced leek in a salad spinner
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan and add the chopped leeks. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the finely diced cherry pepper and ½ teaspoon salt and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, or until the leeks softened and are just starting to brown. Set aside.  
    sauteed leeks in a pan
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl - flour, corn meal, baking powder, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well. 
    bowl of dry ingredients to make cornbread
  • Add the wet ingredients to the bowl - milk, beaten egg, olive oil - and mix until almost combined, but not fully. Add the the sauteed leeks mixture and mix well.
    cornbread batter in a bowl
  • Pour the batter into a greased baking dish and cook at 400 for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If the cornbread is done but not golden brown, brush the top with butter or olive oil and put it back in the oven for a couple of minutes.
    Remove from oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes, and cut into 12 pieces.
    baked cornbread in a baking dish


Calories: 188kcal (9%) | Carbohydrates: 19g (6%) | Protein: 4g (8%) | Fat: 9g (14%) | Saturated Fat: 2g (10%) | Cholesterol: 29mg (10%) | Sodium: 311mg (13%) | Potassium: 150mg (4%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 1g (1%) | Vitamin A: 85IU (2%) | Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) | Calcium: 58mg (6%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)

The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.

savory cornbread with leeks and cherry peppers on a plate savory cornbread with leeks and cherry peppers on a plate stack of savory cornbread on a plate
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Saturday 6th of May 2023

This is just what I'm looking for and the ratings are positive! Pls share why you transitioned from buttermilk to milk.


Tuesday 9th of May 2023

Thanks Sherry, enjoy! I wouldn't say I "transitioned" from buttermilk to milk — this cornbread recipe always had milk in it because many people don't always have buttermilk on hand or don't want to buy it for just 1 recipe.


Monday 18th of July 2022

Thankyou Kate for the cornbread recipe. Looks good. M


Monday 18th of July 2022

You're welcome! Enjoy!

Margaret Placek

Thursday 15th of April 2021

Really didn’t like it. Bland, dense, coarse. Not five stars for us...


Monday 19th of April 2021

Sorry to hear that! You definitely need a corn meal that is not coarse - fine or medium ground corn meal is best for *any* cornbread recipe to make sure you don't end up with coarse cornbread!


Wednesday 13th of January 2021

I’m making this recipe for the first time. Step four combines the dry ingredients including baking powder and baking soda. However, I see only baking powder in the ingredient list. How much baking soda is called for?


Sunday 17th of January 2021

Hi Kate, sorry about that! There is no baking soda in the recipe, I removed it from the instructions. I reworked the recipe to make it simpler (it used to have baking soda and buttermilk) but forgot to remove it from that one line.


Monday 15th of June 2020

I live in PNW an have sautéed wild mushrooms in freezer. I’m usually picky in how I use them but I have excess from a great fall, so need to use up... what a nice surprise; because the cornbread and leeks are mild in flavor, the very subtle flavor of the mushrooms came out. I used shrimp Russulas which have a very subtle shrimpy sweetness to them and that came through. Usually I only put wild mushrooms in scrambled eggs or cream sauces: anything that won’t mask the flavor

I might try with my dried chanterelles next. It will be great with regular mushrooms too :).

So glad your using the whole leek! We need to start a revolution on that - I see the throw it away line often, and Health aside, leeks aren’t cheap! Worth a little edit in the recipe :)

...And don’t get me started on cling film in bread making 😂

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