Cornbread-Topped Skillet Chili

chili in a skillet topped with cornbread with a serving spoon

Here’s the chili recipe I told you about the other day! It’s the meal we gobbled down, just us 2, in 2 days. Actually more like 36 hours if we’re being real. Cornbread is my main squeeze comfort food and chili is all I crave for dinner when it’s rainy and gray out. I know you get me!

So this cornbread chili recipe hit the spot in…




serving of cornbread topped skillet chili in a teal bowl with shredded cheese on top with a spoon

The whole idea is not my own, but I put my own spin on things with my favorite homemade cornbread and a from-scratch hearty, soul warming chili. Both fantastic on their own, but even better when they’re together… like Sunday mornings and cinnamon rolls. ♥

Here’s the easiest way to get things done in the shortest amount of time. Start the chili on the stove in a large oven-proof skillet then as it simmers, whip up the cornbread batter. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but most of them are pantry staples (like spices) and basics like peppers, tomato sauce, onions, and kidney beans.

The perfect size oven-proof skillet for this is a 12 incher. Here is the one I own and love. If you don’t have a skillet this size, don’t fret! Simply spread the cooked chili and then the cornbread batter into a casserole dish instead.

ground turkey, peppers, and onions sautéing in a skillet

The chili recipe is customizable to what you love and what you have on hand. I always use ground turkey when I make chili like this. I use 94% lean, but you can use any ground turkey– or even ground beef instead. If you want to try a vegetarian chili, add extra beans like another can or 2 of kidney beans or even black beans or chickpeas. You can also throw in cubed butternut squash.

If you like super spicy chili, add a little more jalapeño and chili powder. The chili recipe written below is perfect for those of us who enjoy food with a teeny little kick, not too much. Taste as you go and add more.

One ingredient that is a MUST: a little sweetness to bring out the flavors. I add a little brown sugar to the chili and it truly takes all the magical flavors to the next level. Pure maple syrup works just as well in its place if you’d like a bit of maple flavor (omg when paired with cornbread!! so good!!).

cornbread batter in a glass bowl

spreading cornbread batter onto chili in a skillet

I add corn to the cornbread on top. This is optional, but if you love corn and a little texture– I highly suggest it.

Once the chili is finished on the stove, simply spread the cornbread batter on top then bake until golden brown. If you want to prep things ahead of time, you can prepare the chili the day before and store in the fridge. Then, 30 minutes before dinner, place into your skillet, throw the cornbread batter on top, and bake.

chili in a skillet topped with cornbread with a serving spoon

serving of cornbread topped skillet chili in a teal bowl with shredded cheese on top with a spoon

It’s all completely approachable, cozy, and just perfect for weeknights or weekends when you want a satisfying meal to warm you up. Let me know if you try it!

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chili in a skillet topped with cornbread with a serving spoon

Cornbread-Topped Skillet Chili

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: serves 8
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Cornbread and chili cooked in the same pan. Talk about satisfying!


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey (or beef – I use 94% lean but anything works)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (or any color!)
  • 1/2 of a jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (for that key chili taste!)

Cornbread Topping

  • 1 cup (120g) cornmeal
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
  • optional: 1 cup corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)


  1. In a large oven-proof skillet (12 inches like this one) over medium heat, heat the oil for 1 minute. Add the ground turkey, onion, peppers, jalapeño, and garlic. Sauté until browned and cooked through, breaking up with a spoon as you go– about 10 minutes. Stir in the rest of the chili ingredients, then reduce to medium-low heat. Cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C).
  3. Also meanwhile, whisk all of the cornbread ingredients together in a large bowl. Remove the chili from heat and spread the cornbread batter on top.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cornbread is golden on top and cooked through. Serve warm.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: If you want to get started ahead of time, prepare the chili the day before, cover, and store in the fridge. Then, 30 minutes before dinner, place into your skillet, throw the cornbread batter on top, and bake as directed.
  2. Special Tools: 12-inch Skillet and Glass Mixing Bowls
  3. No Skillet? No Problem: If you do not have a large enough oven-proof skillet, simply prepare the chili on the stove in a pot then spread into an 11×7 (or similar size) casserole dish, then top with cornbread batter and bake.
  4. Inspired by Food Network.


  1. I made this last night and we really enjoyed it!  I did not have chillies, so I used chilie flakes and cayenne instead. Will make again. 

    1. That sounds like it would add the perfect amount of kick! Glad you liked it!

  2. This was so good and such a breeze to make! Do you think it would also freeze well? 36 weeks pregnant and prepping the freezer with post-baby meals…

    1. I’d say so! I’ve actually never attempted it before. I’d let it thaw overnight in the fridge before heating. Congratulations!

  3. This is the most incredible chili recipe Sally! Putting the cornbread on top is genius. I made this last week and could not get enough so I’m making it again today 🙂 New favourite dinner recipe ❤️

  4. one cup is not 120 g!  which is correct?

    1. Hi Barbara! 1 cup of cornmeal is 120g, yes.

  5. Oh my goodness, Sally! I made this last night and I thought, “my husband is going to really like this” because he loves pretty much anything with corn in it. And he did really like it but I was surprised how much I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!! It was seriously so good. I can’t wait to get home and eat leftovers. 🙂

    1. What a compliment!! I’m happy the skillet cornbread chili was a hit.

  6. Making this now.  Smells amazing.  I had some leftover chipotle with adobo sauce which went in.  Also had 2 leftover cooked hot Italian sausages which I chopped up and cooked with ground beef.  The recipe as is is wonderful, but the additions of leftovers didn’t hurt it.  Corn bread idea on top is totally next level.  Thank you. 
    Note – I made this earlier in the day – looked too thick to add cornbread batter to,so added some broth to thin it out before batter went on.

  7. Is there a way to make this recipe dairy-free? (Without the milk in the cornbread)

  8. Lisset Gutierrez says:

    Looks like substituting the flour in the cornbread topping will make this gluten free. Unless I’m overlooking something….? Sounds and looks amazing, I can’t wait to make it. 

  9. Kristin White says:

    Hi Sally! Making this for the first time. It is cooking in the oven as I type this! My husband has already told me it smells delicious! I am concerned about one thing. I didn’t drain the diced tomatoes and I’m thinking I should have. When I spread the cornbread on top it was a little difficult because the chili was a bit soupy. Really hoping this still turns out! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂 

    1. It should thicken in the oven. How did it taste?

      1. Kristin White says:

        It was absolutely delicious!! The cornbread didn’t turn out pictured like yours but it was still tasty! So maybe next time I’ll try drained the tomatoes just to see how it turns out. Awesome recipe! Thank you!!!

  10. Sooo good! I ended up making this in a pot and then transferring the chili over to a 12 inch round pan for baking. Worked out well. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Megan Henry Grindley says:

    Can this recipe be modified for a crock pot?

    1. Hi Megan! I’m sure it can, but I haven’t tried it. Let me know if you do!

  12. Let me start out by saying that all of Sally’s recipes are flawless. I’d never made chilli before but this was a perfect. I did add to it, an extra can of beans, a little extra brown sugar, a very small amount of red pepper flakes, and some sriracha. Needless to say I’ve already been asked when I’m making it again. Thank you so much for making my family think I’m a natural!!

  13. Can I use boxed cornbread mix instead making it myself?

  14. Bethany Brummitt says:

    I was really excited to try this, and the flavor is great, but even after almost an hour in the oven the cornbread never completely firmed up and solidified. Is this normal? The chili had been cooled in the fridge first, would that make a difference?

    1. Hi Bethany! I assume the cold chili prevented the cornbread topping from cooking properly. Let me know if you try the recipe again.

  15. This is AahhhMazing!! Thanks!

  16. What a great recipe! I think the one thing I changed up was that I used one can of tomato sauce, and two cans of diced tomatoes; one of the cans of diced tomatoes I drained the liquid off. This recipe would be great with ground goat, too.

  17. Just want to say THANK YOU for such a yummy and easy recipe. This one has been added to my “Awesomeness” recipe book. 🙂

  18. This recipe is OUT OF THIS WORLD!! and I mean out of this world delicious!! I couldn’t stop eating!!
    Please do try this ASAP!!!

  19. Trish Vanaria says:

    May I bake the cornbread recipe separately if I’m not feeling like the combo? If so, what pan size/ oven temp / time (I can figure out lol).
    Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely! See this recipe for Honey Skillet Cornbread.

  20. Hey Sally,

    We’ve done this recipe a bunch of times, and its a favorite in our home. However, I could’ve sworn this used to be for 6 servings before. Did any of the ingredient quantities change?


    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Camila, We are so happy this has been a hit in your home! The recipe hasn’t been updated since 2016 – we say it yields 8 servings but if your servings are larger it could certainly be for 6.

      1. Thank you for the super fast response! I don’t know how we ended up thinking it was for 6. Regardless, we’ll continue to enjoy it! Thanks again

  21. Wendy Neugebauer says:

    This recipe is amazing and my family loves it! Before I bake it, I dot the cornbread mix with some chopped jalapenos and red peppers. It makes it look so pretty and gives the cornbread a slight bite.

  22. This was incredible!! Highly recommend! We made ours in a 11×7 instead of skillet and it worked great. Sally, your chili recipe is the best!

  23. Just wanted to comment and say I’ve successfully made this twice with gluten free flour (cup4cup once and a homemade blend once) and both times it came out great! It’s such a good chili and cornbread recipe. Thank you!

  24. Came out better than I thought it would. So delicious. the cornbread topping is the best. Next time I will dollup it over the chili like a cobbler for for aesthetics. Thanks for sharing.

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