Chili Cornbread Skillet

As I headed into another week long stretch at work, I knew I needed to cook something super delicious and comforting so that I wouldn’t break down by day four and order a pizza. This hearty Chili Cornbread Skillet fit the bill perfectly.

I whipped up a quick vegetarian bean chili in my cast iron skillet (this 10-inch model), sprinkled in some cheddar cheese, topped it with homemade cornbread batter, then baked it to golden brown perfection. It’s exactly what I wanted. NOM. Lunchtime has been very happy the past few days! ;D

I used three standard 15-oz. cans of beans for the chili, but if you want to make beef chili, simply swap one pound of ground beef for two of the cans of beans (brown the beef with the onion and garlic in the beginning). I seasoned with an impromptu mix of southwest spices, but you could use an envelope of your favorite pre-mixed chili seasoning instead.

My cast iron skillet is safe for cooking both on the stove top and in the oven, but if you don’t have an oven safe skillet you can simply transfer the ingredients into a casserole dish before baking. Cook the chili in a regular skillet, pour it into the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×9 inch casserole dish, top it with the cornbread batter, and then bake as directed below.

Chili is good food. That is all.

Chili Cornbread Skillet

Chili Cornbread Skillet

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4.77 from 39 votes

Chili Cornbread Skillet

This hearty Chili Cornbread Skillet is an easy, one-dish meal that is sure to make the whole family happy. 
Total Cost: $8.21 recipe / $1.03 serving
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Servings: 8


For the Chili

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 small onion ($0.46)
  • 1 jalapeño (optional) ($0.17)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste ($0.27)
  • 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes ($1.39)
  • 3-15 oz cans beans (kidney, pinto, black) ($2.67)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder*** ($0.30)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano ($0.05)
  • 1 tsp salt ($0.05)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar ($0.90)

For the Cornbread

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal ($0.24)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour ($0.14)
  • 1/4 cup sugar ($0.04)
  • 4 tsp baking powder ($0.12)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1 cup milk ($0.62)
  • 1 large egg ($0.17)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil ($0.21)


  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Slice the jalapeño lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and then dice the pepper. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and jalapeño to a large, oven safe skillet. Sauté over medium heat for five minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Drain the beans in a colander and rinse them briefly with cool water. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and rinsed beans to the skillet. Stir to combine. If the mixture too thick to stir, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt to the skillet. Stir to combine and then allow the mixture to heat through. Taste the chili and adjust the seasonings if needed (for extra heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper).
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until very well combined. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, egg, and oil. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir just until everything is moistened.
  • Make sure the chili is spread evenly in the skillet and then sprinkle the cheddar cheese over top. Carefully pour the cornbread batter over the chili and cheese, and spread it around until everything is evenly covered.
  • Transfer the skillet to the fully preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the cornbread is golden brown on the surface. Divide the skillet into 8 portions (cut into wedges) and then serve.


***The chili powder listed in the ingredients is a mild blend of chile peppers and other spices. It is not cayenne pepper, which is very spicy. I use this product, which has no heat at all. If your chili powder is spicy, start with a small amount and add more as needed.
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Chili Cornbread Casserole

Step by Step Photos

Onion Garlic Jalapeno

Start by dicing the onion and mincing the garlic. Cut the jalapeño in half, scrape out the seeds, then dice the pepper. Add the onion, jalapeño, and garlic to a large oven-safe skillet with the olive oil. Sauté them over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent.

Tomatoes and Beans

Rinse and drain the beans. Add the beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste to the skillet and then stir everything together. If the mixture is too thick to really stir, add a little water to loosen things up a bit. You do want the chili on the thick side (see photos below).


You can use an envelope of chili seasoning, or add your own spices: chili powder, oregano, cumin, and salt. Please note: the chili powder that I use is not spicy, which is why I used 1 tablespoon. You can always add a pinch of cayenne pepper here if you want your chili hotter. Stir the spices in and then let the mixture heat through.

Dry ingredients

Start preheating the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Wet ingredients

In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, egg, and oil.

Cornbread Batter

Then just pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Try not to over stir here, just stir until everything has moistened – a few small lumps are okay.


If your skillet is not oven safe, go ahead and scoop the chili into a casserole dish at this point. Sprinkle the cheese over top.

Cover with Cornbread

Carefully pour the cornbread batter over the chili and spread it around a little to make sure everything is even. It helps to make sure the chili is in an even layer before adding the cornbread batter.

Baked Skillet

Transfer the skillet (or casserole dish) to the fully preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the top of the cornbread is lightly browned. Cut the skillet into 8 equal wedges and serve!

Chili Cornbread Casserole

Or you can just scoop some out…

Chili Cornbread Casserole