Despite its name as cornbread, AKA “bread made of corn,” cornbread is a bit misleading when it comes to gluten-free dining on a gluten-free diet or for people with celiac disease.
Cornbread usually falls much more into the ‘bread’ category than the ‘corn category, if you start looking at recipe by recipe. In cafes, restaurants and in dining, cornbread is usually not a gluten-free food, despite the fact that corn is a gluten-free grain!
The reason is because bread is best (and cheapest) when made with wheat flour. Therefore, while corn gives regular old cornbread its sweeter flavor (as does sugar!), the base of cornbread in American cuisine is “typically” wheat flour.
Does this mean cornbread always has gluten? No, of course not!
Cornbread can be made completely and 100% gluten-free if it is labeled as such, and made from all gluten-free ingredients. A way to do this would be to have a gluten-free cornbread recipe that has a gluten-free all-purpose flour, or is made from a base of a mix of flours like corn, rice, tapioca, cassava or other gluten-free flours.
I think gluten-free cornbread is delicious! I have had it when made by friends and family who certifiably know what they are doing when it comes to gluten-free cooking.
If you would like to eat gluten-free cornbread, you can make it on your own, either from scratch, or from a gluten-free cornbread mix that you can find at a local store or online.
You also may find that in some dedicated gluten-free bakeries or restaurants, that their cornbread is gluten-free and not made with any gluten-containing ingredients.
With cornbread, it pays to ask all the right questions before digging your teeth into this sweet and wholesome traditional treat.