Cheesy Chili Cornbread Casserole Thumbnail

Cheesy Chili Cornbread Casserole

  • Author: Kate
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: main course
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American


A hearty casserole with a chili cheese layer, topped with even more cheese, and then a fluffy (and cheesy!) cornbread crust. 



For the chili layer:

  • 1 tbsp. neutral oil (like vegetable oil or canola oil)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef (see note 1)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes and chiles 
  • 1 c. frozen corn
  • 2 c. shredded cheese (any type; cheddar, pepper jack, and colby are good options)
  • 12 slices cheese (any type)

For the cornbread layer:

  • 1 c. cornmeal
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 c. buttermilk (see note 2)
  • 1/3 c. neutral oil (vegetable, canola, etc.)
  • 1 c. shredded cheese (any type)

Optional topping ideas:

  • diced onion
  • pickled or fresh jalapenos
  • sour cream
  • hot sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium heat. While the oil is heating up, dice the onion. Add the onion to the hot pot and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about three minutes. 
  3. Add the ground beef, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, cumin and chili powder. Use a wooden spoon to break the beef into small pieces and cook until no longer pink, stirring occasionally, about five to six minutes.
  4. Once the beef is no longer brown, add in the drained black beans, frozen corn, and can of diced tomatoes and chiles (undrained). Stir to combine and let simmer while prepping the cornbread.
  5. Add the cornmeal, flour, 1 tsp. salt, baking powder and baking soda to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk and oil, whisk until no lumps remain. Stir in the 1 cup shredded cheese. Set aside.
  6. Stir the 2 cups shredded cheese into the chili and then spoon into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan or casserole dish. Distribute the 12 slices of cheese over the top so the entire surface is covered. Spoon the cornbread batter over the top and spread out as evenly as possible.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is firm and nicely browned, and a toothpick inserted into the cornbread layer comes out clean. Serve immediately with toppings of your choice (optional). If you don’t want to serve the casserole right away, see note 3 for reheating instructions.


  1. To avoid making your chili too greasy, I advise using lean beef (I used 90% lean, 10% fat ground beef). You can also use a higher fat ground beef and spoon off the excess grease after you brown the meat if need be.
  2. If you don’t have buttermilk, pour 4 tsp. of white vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup, and fill to the 1 1/4 cup mark. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly.
  3. After the casserole is baked, you can store it in the fridge to serve later. Once it comes out of the oven, let it cool down on the counter for 10 – 15 minutes, then cover and place in the fridge for up to 2 days. Heat up in a 350 degree oven, covered, for 25 – 30 minutes, or until heated through.

Keywords: chili casserole, cheesy chili casserole, cornbread casserole, cheesy chili cornbread casserole