What makes a good casserole? In my opinion, casseroles should feel like the food equivalent of a warm, cozy blanket. And what is more warm and cozy than some melty cheese? This Cheesy Chili Cornbread Casserole has cheese in spades – in the chili layer, in the cornbread layer, and in between! Now that’s cheesy.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you make a purchase through the link, it won’t cost you more but I may earn a small commission. I only recommend products that I personally use and love!
Cheesy Chili Cornbread Casserole Ingredients
Usually I’m not a fan of recipes that have a ton of ingredients. And this one does have more ingredients than most of my recipes. But, a lot of them are easy to find and keep in your pantry (hello canned goods!). So I still think I can call this recipe easy!
Here are the ingredients you will need to make Cheesy Chili Cornbread Casserole:
For the chili layer:
- lean ground beef
- oil for frying
- chili powder, cumin and salt
- frozen corn
- can of tomatoes and chiles
- can of black beans
- shredded cheese (any type, use what you like!)
- sliced cheese (again, any type)
For the cornbread layer:
- baking powder
- baking soda
- vegetable oil
- shredded cheese (again!), any type
For the cheese, I used sharp cheddar, both shredded and sliced. But, you can go with your favorite type, as long as it’s a shreddable cheese that melts well (i.e. this would not be the time to use feta!). So, cheddar is good, also pepper or Monterey Jack, and colby would all work well.
You can also go wild with toppings if you want. Basically, anything that would taste good on top of chili would taste good on this casserole. Some ideas: sour cream, pickled jalapenos, chopped onions, hot sauce, etc. etc.!
How to Make Cheesy Chili Cornbread Casserole
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make this casserole:
Step One: Make Chili Layer
Ok, before you do anything, go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Now, heat up the 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pot over medium heat. While it’s heating, chop the onion. Add it to the pan and cook until softened, about three minutes.
Then add in the ground beef, salt, cumin and chili powder.
Stir and break the beef up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is no longer pink, about five or six minutes.
Once the beef is browned, add in the drained black beans, tomatoes and chiles, and frozen corn. Stir and let simmer on the stove while you prep the cornbread batter.
(By the way, isn’t this dutch oven beautiful? It’s the Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 7-1/4-Quart Round Dutch Oven in the color “Marseille.”)
Psst! Now Use Your Pockets of Time to Get Ahead!
I discussed the concept of “time pockets” in my post for 30 Minute Stovetop Chicken Enchiladas. Basically, this means that in order to speed a recipe along, I always make sure to use every little scrap of time where I’m not actively stirring, chopping, or turning something to work on the next steps of the recipe.
Here, since it’s ok to leave the onion and beef cooking for a few moments in between stirring, you can use that time to get ahead! You can open up the cans and start adding the dry ingredients for the cornbread layer into a bowl. If you bought block cheese and need to shred it yourself, now’s a good time for that. I highly recommend doing these steps on the counter right next to the stove. This way, you can easily see what’s going on with your onions and beef and give a quick stir when you need to.
And I do have a warning! If you are an easily distracted person or you are a newer cook, you may just want to supervise what’s cooking rather than trying to multi-task. Better safe than burnt onions, you know?
Step Two: Make Cornbread Batter
Ok, now that the chili layer is almost done, it’s time to move on to the cornbread layer. And maybe you are even half-way there if you used the time you had while the chili was cooking to measure out the dry ingredients.
Making the cornbread batter is easy. Just measure the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda and add it to a medium bowl. Whisk together. Then add the buttermilk and oil and whisk. Once that’s smooth, stir in the shredded cheese.
Step Three: Assembly
Now you’ve got your cornbread batter and the chili simmering on the stove. Turn the stove off and add the remaining two cups of cheese to the hot chili. Stir to incorporate the cheese.
Add the chili to a 9 x 13 inch baking pan or casserole dish.
Now add the sliced cheese so it covers the entirety of the chili. It will probably start to melt a bit, which is fine.
Add the cornbread batter right on top and spread it out to cover evenly.
Step Four: Bake the Cheesy Chili Cornbread Casserole
Place the casserole on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges of the casserole are bubbling and the top of the cornbread is brown and firm. A toothpick inserted into the middle of the cornbread layer should come out dry (it’s ok if a few crumbs are attached to the toothpick, you just don’t want to see wet batter!).
Serving the Cheesy Chili Cornbread Casserole
As soon as the casserole comes out of the oven you can serve it up! As you cut the first piece, some of the moisture from the chili layer may collect in the bottom of the pan; feel free to leave it there, or, better yet, scoop over your cornbread for some additional flavor! (And as the casserole sits, the chili layer will start to thicken thanks to the added cheese.) You can also add your favorite toppings – my personal favorites are sour cream and pickled jalapenos!
If you want to serve the casserole later, let it cool down for 10 – 15 minutes on the counter, then cover and place in the fridge. When you want to serve it, heat up in a 350 degree oven, covered, for 25 – 30 minutes, or until heated through.
I hope this recipe brings some joy to you and your family and friends! If you are in need of another easy and crowd-pleasing casserole recipe, check out this recipe for Creamy Spinach Artichoke Chicken Casserole.
If you’ve tried this Cheesy Cornbread Casserole recipe, please let me know what you thought about it in the comments down below, I would love to hear your thoughts! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious recipes from me!Print
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
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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