Hearty vegetarian chili is topped with cornbread for an easy one-pan meal that comes together quickly! This tasty recipe is easy to make, budget-friendly, and perfect for a filling meatless meal!

Vegetarian chili has been one of my staple meals for years because it’s easy, filling, and delicious! Since cornbread is the perfect side dish to enjoy with a bowl of chili, I thought it would be fun to turn this into a one dish meal!

chili cornbread skillet
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Tips for the perfect chili and cornbread skillet

  • If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, you can use a different oven-safe skillet. Just be sure it can be safely baked in the oven. I used this 12 inch Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.
  • For a more golden crust, dice 2 tablespoons of butter and sprinkle on top of the cornbread. Once the cornbread is baked and set, move it to the top rack of the oven and broil for 2-3 minutes until browned.
  • If you like your chili spicy, feel free to add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.
chili cornbread skillet

How to Make Chili and Cornbread Skillet

Start by cooking the chili in a cast iron skillet or an oven-safe skillet. Once the chili has cooked and thickened, it’s ready to be topped with cornbread batter.

chili cornbread skillet

Spread the batter into an even layer over the chili, leaving just a small gap on the sides. Dot with butter, if desired.

chili cornbread skillet

Bake in the oven until the cornbread is golden brown and set. Serve immediately.

chili cornbread skillet

What to Serve with Chili

If you wanted to pair this with a vegetable side dish, these green bean fries are a kid-friendly favorite! This warm kale salad is also a great way to add a few extra veggies to your dinner and it’s great in the colder months when you’re craving something warm!

Substitution Ideas

  • You can substitute kidney beans for additional black beans, and vice versa.
  • You can use a boxed cornbread mix, if you want to make this recipe a bit simpler. But keep an eye out because many boxed mixes contain lard, which is not vegetarian.
  • To make this recipe spicy, double the chili powder and/or add a pinch of cayanne pepper.
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chili cornbread skillet

Chili and Cornbread Skillet

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop and Baked
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian


Hearty vegetarian chili is topped with cornbread for an easy one-pan meal that comes together quickly! This tasty recipe is easy to make, budget-friendly, and perfect for a filling meatless meal!



For the vegetarian chili

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 15oz can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 15oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup sweet corn (frozen or canned)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

For the cornbread

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil or avocado oil


  1. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, paprika, salt, and tomato paste, stirring until the onion is evenly coated with the spices. Continue to cook over medium heat for 1 minute.
  4. Add the kidney beans, black beansm corn, and vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. While the chili is simmering, begin to prepare the cornbread.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  8. Stir the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together.
  9. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and oil. 
  10. Add the milk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over mix. A few lumps are ok.
  11. Once the chili has cooked and thickened, spoon the cornbread mixture on top of the chili in the skillet.
  12. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the cornbread topping has set.


You can substitute dairy milk for almond milk, if desired.

If you love vegetarian chili, be sure to try my “meaty” vegetarian chili recipe!

vegan chili in a white bowl

Or switch up your flavors with this chili verde recipe! It’s super easy to make.

vegan chili verde soup