Skillet Cornbread with Caramelized Onions, Pears & Thyme

Skillet Cornbread with Caramelized Onions, Pears & Thyme (Vegan & GF) // Follow Me on Pinterest

When I was compiling my Valentine’s Day recipe roundup the other week and sorting through my most popular recipes in Google Analytics, I was a little surprised at the number of keyword referrals for “cornbread.” I adore cornbread – it was my very first post after all – but, really? I thought for sure something like “chocolate” or “cupcake”, maybe even “kale salad” would be towards the top of the list. No, the clear winner is cornbread.

Skillet Cornbread with Caramelized Onions, Pears & Thyme (Vegan & GF) // Follow Me on Pinterest

I rarely look at my analytics data in any kind of detail because that’s what I did for my SEO work for years and now I will pass on the spreadsheets, thank you very much. However, I did want to create a little something special for all of those folks visiting here and looking for cornbread. There’s the simple vegan recipe, a gluten-free version, and now this:

Skillet Cornbread with Caramelized Onions, Pears & Thyme (Vegan & GF) // Follow Me on Pinterest

Vegan & Gluten-Free Skillet Cornbread with Caramelized Onions, Bosc Pears & Fresh Thyme

Oh yes.

Skillet Cornbread with Caramelized Onions, Pears & Thyme (Vegan & GF) // Follow Me on Pinterest

I tend to enjoy my cornbread on the sweeter side, but I wanted to go in a savory direction too. The caramelized onions straddle sweet and savory, the pears take it back to sweet, and then the thyme pushes it back to savory. It’s a fancy twist on my original recipes and very, very comforting (thyme will do that). It was also a good excuse to use my neglected cast-iron skillet. Just lifting that thing is a mini workout, which I like to think helps build up even more of an appetite for the cornbread.

Skillet Cornbread with Caramelized Onions, Pears & Thyme (Vegan & GF) // Follow Me on Pinterest

Skillet Cornbread with Caramelized Onions, Pears & Thyme (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A fun, fancier twist on my original cornbread recipes. This gluten-free skillet cornbread is a little sweet, a little savory, and has that beautiful rustic thing going on.
Recipe type: cornbread
Serves: 1 10-inch skillet
For the onion & pear topping:
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium bosc pears, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh thyme, lightly packed
  • pinch of fine sea salt & black pepper
For the cornbread:
  • 2 flax "eggs" (2 tablespoons freshly ground flax, 6 tablespoons warm water)
  • ½ cup chickpea flour
  • ½ cup millet flour
  • 1 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum (optional, see note)
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used cashew milk)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, lightly packed
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the sliced onion to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook the onion, stirring every so often, until it is soft and browning slightly (about 3-4 minutes).
  4. Add the sliced pears and 1½ teaspoons of fresh thyme and cook, stirring often, for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the pears have softened.
  5. Transfer the onion and pear mixture to a bowl and set them aside. Set the skillet aside for now as well.
  6. Begin preparing your cornbread by combining the ground flax seeds and water to make flax "eggs." Stir and set the mixture aside for a couple of minutes to thicken.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the chickpea flour, millet flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sea salt, and xanthan gum (if using).
  8. Add the flax "eggs," coconut sugar, non-dairy milk, and coconut oil to the dry ingredients. Whisk the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined, then fold in half of the onion and pear mixture.
  9. Transfer the batter to your skillet and top it with the remaining onions and pears. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme.
  10. Bake the cornbread for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  11. Allow to cool slightly, cut into pieces, and serve!
The cornbread in the photos does not contain xanthan gum, which I know a lot of people prefer not to use. It held its shape well thanks to the flax "eggs," but having made this recipe with xanthan gum previously, I can say that skipping the xanthan gum will result in a slightly more crumbly texture.


I’ll see you a little later in the week with a fun new series! Oh, I am so excited for this one…


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  1. says

    corn bread is one of my all time favorite things. i’ve been on a constant mission to find the best gf vegan recipe out there. i LOVE what you did with it! thyme makes everything so savory and comforting, and i’m obsessed with carmelized onions, but don’t make them enough. this couldn’t be more perfect.

  2. says

    Oh my! This is exactly my sort of food! I love pears with herbs, in both sweet and savoury dishes and cornbread is the perfect marriage of the two.

    • says

      I thought about using apples in this recipe (maybe next time!) but something about the pears, onions, and thyme sounded so appealing. I think we’re on the same page with the herby pear thing.

  3. says

    What a beautiful blog makeover! I love your skillet – and that cornbread looks delicious with caramelized onions, pears and thyme! Thank you for sharing this awesome GF option! :)

    • says

      I think you could probably use a regular saute pan and then an 8×8 or 9×13 baking dish if you wanted to try that. You would just want to keep an eye on the baking time and maybe start checking it around the 20-25 minute mark. :)

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