Lean, flavorful chili baked over a layer of cornbread and topped with lots of melted cheese. This Chili Cornbread Bake is the perfect casserole to serve at your next game day gathering or makes for a delicious meal any night of the week.
Many, many years ago, when my big grown boys were just little itty bitty cutie pies, people started figuring out maybe we should back off the red meat now and then. Recipes calling for ground turkey began to circulate like crazy. This Chili Cornbread Bake is one of the very first recipes I made using ground turkey and it has stood the test of time.
What goes together better than chili and cornbread? Red wine and chocolate, okay, maybe that, but chili and cornbread is mui delicioso. We are going to make it real easy by using a packaged mix for our cornbread layer and we’ll bake it together with the chili in the same pan, casserole style. Yes, there is cheese involved, but we get to feel a little less guilty because we are using lean ground turkey.
Ready? Let’s get cookin’!
For the grocery list – Lean ground turkey, onion, celery, garlic (pretend it’s there), chili powder, cumin, fresh ground black pepper, crushed red pepper, tomato sauce, chili beans in mild sauce, cannellini beans, 2 packages Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese blend, light sour cream (optional). You will also need some milk and eggs to prepare the cornbread. See the package for instructions specific to the brand you have. I highly recommend that you have some tortilla chips on hand.
Spray a large pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the ground turkey, celery, and onion. Cook, breaking up the turkey with the spoon, until meat is thoroughly cooked.
Add chili powder, cumin, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and garlic. Ground turkey is quite bland on it’s own so it really needs a lot of spice to wake it up. Wake up!!!
Add the tomato sauce, chili beans with chili gravy (undrained), and cannellini beans (drained).
Let the mixture simmer while you prepare the cornbread.
Prepare cornbread according to the package directions.
Now grab a deep baking dish. I have this nice, deep 13 x 9 pan. If your 13 x 9 pan is not deep like this one, I recommend using a slightly larger pan. A lasagna pan would work nicely. Coat your pan of choice with some cooking spray and spread the cornbread mixture into the pan.
Now grab that chili you just made and spoon it over the unbaked cornbread layer.
Ready for the oven. Bake it at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or till it appears set in the center and the edges of the cornbread are golden brown.
Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, just till cheese is melted.
Hot from the oven. Top it with a little light sour cream and serve it with tortilla chips for scooping up the chili.
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Chili Cornbread Bake
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- ½ cup onion, diced
- ½ cup celery, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 16 ounce can chili beans in mild sauce, (like Bush's Chili Beans (Pinto Beans) in Mild Sauce) undrained
- 15 ounce can cannellini beans or small white beans, drained
- 2 (8.5) ounce packages Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
- 2 large eggs, (see corn muffin mix for amounts suggested)
- ⅔ cup milk, (see corn muffin mix for amounts suggested)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
- sour cream, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a deep 13 x 9 casserole dish with cooking spray.
For the Chili Mixture
- Coat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place it over MEDIUM heat. Add the turkey, onion, and celery, and cook, breaking up the turkey with a spoon, until it is cooked through. Drain off any excess grease and return the skillet to the heat. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, undrained chili beans with sauce and drained cannellini beans. Turn the heat down to LOW and let it simmer while preparing the cornbread.
Prepare the Cornbread Batter
- Prepare the corn muffin mix in a large bowl with eggs and milk according to the package directions.
Assemble the Casserole
- Pour the cornbread batter into the prepared baking dish and spoon the chili mixture evenly over the top.
- Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes until the edges of the cornbread are nicely browned and the center appears to be set. Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with the cheese. Return to the oven and bake 5 to10 minutes more, until the cheese is melted.
- Serve with tortilla chips and top with sour cream if desired.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.