Blue Cornbread with Green Chile and Cheese

I have seen cornbread recipes using blue corn meal, green chile, and/or cheese, but I haven’t ever seen one that incorporates all three. I decided to experiment. Please leave your modifications and adjustments in the comments field below.

Blue Corn Meal

Blue corn meal is a staple of New Mexican cuisine, a corn meal ground from whole blue corn, with a slightly sweet flavor. It was originally developed by the Hopi, the Pueblo Indians of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, and several Southeastern Tribes, including the Cherokee. The traditional Hopi blue corn varieties are extremely drought tolerant, deep rooted, and somewhat short plants, seldom exceeding 4 to 5 feet in height. The Rio Grande pueblo blue corn varieties are taller, reaching 5–7 feet, higher yielding, and not as drought tolerant as the Hopi varieties. Both varieties of blue corn prefer deep, sandy soils. If there is no blue corn meal available near you, Valencia Mill, based in Jarales, New Mexico, mills blue corn (retail or wholesale).

Sweet or Savory?

The following recipe is slightly sweet. The amount of sugar can be adjusted based on preference. If you prefer savory cornbread, decrease the amount of sugar to ¼ cup (or less). If you prefer Midwestern cornbread, and this isn’t quite sweet enough, increase the amount of sugar.

Whereas I used a sharp cheddar, cheese is a variable that can be adjusted based on individual palate. Spiciness can also be adjusted based on the type of chile used. Sandia adds the ideal kick for me, but milder chile works fine. If you are using frozen or canned chile, drain the chile well to minimize the amount of additional fluid added. To make it a bit healthier, substitute whole wheat flour. Freezes well.

Green chile and cheese blue cornbread


  • ½ cup butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 T baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup blue cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cheese, grated
  • 1 cup of green chile (or more), drained


Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

A preheated cast iron skillet is the best baking method. Alternately, grease a 9-inch square pan.

Step 2: Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended.

Step 3: Combine buttermilk with baking soda and baking powder. Stir into mixture in pan.

Step 4: Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Add chile and cheese. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Step 5: Bake in the preheated oven for 35 – 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. About 25 minutes when baking in a cast iron skillet.

Please leave your recipe modifications, or any questions that you may have, in the comments.

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  1. I know Hatch Chilies are from Hatch NM but can one buy seeds or plant starts in Spring so you can try growing your own Hatchlike Chilies ??

    • Absolutely. I get my chile seed from the Chile Pepper Institute. They are based in Las Cruces. You can get a variety of heat levels (based on preference). The key with chile is that it prefers alkaline soil, like the arid southwest. I have clay in my soil, but it is mostly sandy loam. I live in the Rio Grande flood zone, which is pretty much a swath of prime chile land from north to south along the Rio Grande. Hatch is in the flood zone, but further south. When I start seedlings, I use grow lights in a bathroom. They like it hot and humid for seeding. Once they are outside, they love direct, blazing sun. Don’t over water. Rich soil, like the midwest and southeast is often too acidic. You will still get peppers, but they won’t have the same heat. Often the pods get meatier due to the abundance of water. Chile is related to tomatoes…night shade family. NMSU extension office has LOTS of info on growing chile, varieties, pests, etc.

  2. Is there a website where I can buy some blue cornmeal?
    I don’t live in New Mexico but would love to make some.

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