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Vegan Jalapeño-Cornbread Muffins From Jessica Hylton-Leckie of Jessica in the Kitchen

Nov 30, 2018

by Valerie Rains

In our “Old Recipe, New Dish” series, we ask a few of our favorite food bloggers, cookbook authors, and culinary up-and-comers to share a go-to holiday recipe that’s close to their hearts—and serve it up in a handcrafted piece of tableware made by an Etsy seller.

For self-taught home chef and award-winning food blogger Jessica Hylton-Leckie, creator of the vegetarian and vegan recipe repository Jessica in the Kitchen, at least half the fun of making food is sharing it with others, especially at the holidays. “Christmas is my favorite time of year, and food is such a big part of the holidays for me,” Jessica says. “I like that I get to spread that holiday cheer to everyone—regardless of their dietary restrictions.”

While Jessica feels great pleasure watching her loved ones gobble down the homemade entrees and sides she whips up for family gatherings, she gets nearly as much satisfaction from sharing her whole food-focused tips and techniques with the world at large. “When readers tell me how my recipes helped make their holiday tables memorable and delicious, it’s such an honor,” she says. Ready to try one for yourself? Read on.

Jessica in the Kitchen with her cornbread muffins

About the recipe:

“I made these for the first time a few years ago when I was still experimenting with vegan baking, and I was blown away that they came out so perfectly moist,” Jessica says. “They were one of the first baked goods that showed me that vegan baking could be just as delicious as any other kind. I’ve been making them since my husband and I first got married—in fact, he was the one who suggested I put the jalapeño on top of each—and I’m now making them consistently. It’s the kind of dish that could fit into a holiday table spread or a great barbecue and still end up being one of the stars of the night.”

About the dish:

“When I’m choosing plates and props for my food photography, I love using items that are stunning on their own, but complementary to my dishes at the same time—like this dinner plate from Honeycomb Studio,” Jessica says. “The white ceramic beautifully showcases the muffins, and the gold detail really pops alongside them—I love that. Plus, gold is one of my favorite colors!”

Let’s get cooking:

Spicy Vegan Cornbread Muffins

Serves: 12

You will need:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1¼ cups fine grain cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour mix
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½  teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons cane sugar, coconut sugar, or organic brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup melted vegan butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 jalapeños, de-seeded and finely diced, plus slices for the tops

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, or grease lightly with coconut oil or spray with baking spray. Set aside.

Vegan buttermilk in progress

Step 2: Mix the almond milk and apple cider vinegar together. Let sit for at least 3 minutes to create a vegan buttermilk.

Dry ingredients mixed together

Step 3: In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Set aside.

Wet ingredients combined

Step 4: In a smaller bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together—first slowly, to incorporate, then a bit more quickly to mix fully.

Combining the wet and dry ingredients
Stirring in jalapenos

Step 5: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined. Add in the diced jalapeños and mix gently.

Spooning the mixture into muffin cups
Each one is topped with a slice of jalapeno

Step 6: Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups, distributing equally between all 12. Add a thin slice of jalapeño to the top of each and press down gently.

Bake and serve

Step 7: Bake for 18–22 minutes. The muffins are done when they bounce back slightly to the touch. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Find more holiday entertaining inspo


  • ritishachance

    Ritisha from abeautifulprojection said 2 years ago

    Definitely going to make these! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  • FireHorseTextiles

    Julia K Walton from JuliaKWalton said 2 years ago

    These look delicious and are right up my street ingredient-wise. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! :o)

  • amsecondhand

    Aphrodite Lucky Rat from LuckyRatJewellery said 2 years ago

    Looks delicious!Thank you!

  • YearsAfter

    Sharon from YearsAfter said 2 years ago

    Those look yummy!!

  • adoreneko

    adoreneko from AdoreNeko said 2 years ago

    Yes, this recipe works and it's fast to whip up for a gathering. Just set up all the ingredients and tools beforehand. I have tried this yummy recipe with soy milk instead of almond milk, chopped scallions in place of the peppers and all-purpose flour in place of gluten-free flour. Doesn't have any heat, but is kid friendly (at least for mine lol).

  • SimplyCCreations

    Caroline from SoyCandlesbyCaroline said 2 years ago

    Looks and sounds tasty! I want to try this, but as a deconstructed stuffing version! Thank you for sharing your story and recipe.

  • metroretrovintage

    metroretrovintage from MetroRetroVintage said 2 years ago

    They look delicious! An excellent idea of including the pumpkin puree, which must make them perfectly moist. I'm going to try your recipe.

  • danneto1

    Dan Neto from Festiviteees said 2 years ago

    This looks delicious!

  • npizg7hh

    Joshua Vignona said 1 year ago

    I'm not much of a baker, but I convinced friends to join in and these were delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  • pkzwtvp9

    Hilary Dyos said 1 year ago

    I adapted and used chestnut puree and spring onion, really nice, light and tasty, very easy to make.

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