Quinoa Skillet Bread Recipe

A rustic, minimally structured, custard-topped, crusty-edged, herb-scented corn-quinoa skillet bread.

Quinoa Skillet Bread

The farmers' market up the street from my house just started again. It takes place one night a week, now through early fall. Last week a stroll through the twenty-some booths revealed a bounty of fava beans, strawberries, local micro-climate honeys, pea shoots, mandarins, king trumpet and lion's mane mushrooms, artichokes, and English peas. In the midst of all this, I stumbled on a farm I'm particularly excited about, Fifth Crow Farm - new to me. They were selling organic wheat berries, heirloom popcorn, farm fresh eggs and leeks. I picked up a couple bags heirloom Sonora whole wheat pastry flour (grown at neighboring Pie Ranch), and set them on my kitchen counter when I got home. I wasn't entirely sure how I wanted to use it at the time. This flour is a bit coarser than the pastry flour I typically use, flecked with tiny hints of brown and gold.

Quinoa Skillet Bread

If I leave something in my field of vision for long enough, ideas start to percolate. I had a the flour sitting on the counter top, and a good amount of leftover cooked quinoa in my refrigerator at the time. It occurred to me to attempt some sort of rustic quinoa skillet bread. A relatively simple idea that actually took a couple tries to get right. My first attempt was terrible, and by that I mean, not at all what I had in mind. It was flat, too dense, ugly, and on and on. But the second go-around more than made up for my original misstep.

Back at the drawing board (after my initial failure), I kept looking at the flecks of germ and bran in my new flour, which triggered thoughts of cornmeal. One of my favorite recipes in SNC is the quinoa and corn flour crepes. And one of my favorite cornmeal recipes of the past year is Marion Cunningham's Custard-Filled Cornbread. My neighbor brought it to a Halloween potluck (to much fanfare), and it occurred to me it was the same cornbread Molly writes about in A Homemade Life. Everyone in my family now loves this cornbread, and it has shown up at nearly every family gathering since its debut at Thanksgiving. It is one of those recipes, so spot-on, I thought I'd never change it, tweak it, or make it any other way. There was no need. Keep it simple, leave it alone.

But I thought, maybe, if I took the general approach for the Custard Cornbread and introduced a cast-iron skillet and a few of the other ingredients I had on had, it might make for something unique and special in it's own way. And wow, did it ever work out. I hope you'll agree, the results are impressive - a rustic, minimally structured, custard-topped, crusty-edged, herb-scented corn-quinoa skillet bread. Enough for a small crowd, each piece is dense and heavy, rich with ribbons of varying texture. Let me know if you try it out - it's perfect for picnics, potlucks, family meals and the like!

Here's where you can browse more quinoa recipes.

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Quinoa Skillet Bread

For this recipe I use Bob's Red Mill Coarse Grind Cornmeal. If you click on the image it will zoom in and you can see what it's like - look for something comparable. As I mentioned in the main post, I used a local whole wheat pastry flour here. But I suspect any whole wheat pastry flour will work, and spelt flour might be an interesting alternative as well. I used a dried Sardinian mixed herb blend, but I Herbes de Provence would be great too. If you don't have an oven-proof skillet you can use a 9x9 inch glass baking dish, or equivalent.

butter to grease pan, about 1 tablespoon
1 cup / 4 oz / 115g whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup / 4 oz / 115 g yellow cornmeal (coarse)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs (optional)

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups / 7 oz / 200 g cooked quinoa, room temperature*

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, barely melted and cooled a bit

3 tablespoons natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)

3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 cups / 475 ml milk
1 1/2 tablespoons white or white wine vinegar
1 cup / 240 ml heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180 C degrees and place a rack in the top third. Butter a 10-inch oven-proof skillet (or equivalent baking dish). I used a cast-iron pan with 2-inch deep sides. Roughly ten minutes before you are ready to bake the skillet bread, while you are mixing the batter, place the skillet in the hot oven.

In a large bowl stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and dried herbs.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, quinoa, and melted butter until well-blended. Add the sugar, salt, milk and vinegar and stir again. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until the batter comes together. It will seem very thin, don't worry.

Pour the batter into the heated skillet. Pour the heavy cream into the center of the batter. Have faith, and do not stir. Carefully place in the oven and check after 45 minutes, the skillet bread is done when the top becomes lightly browned and the center just set. Somewhere between 45-60 minutes typically. I like to finish things up with a few seconds under the broiler to brown the top nicely. You can serve this I like this warm or at room temperature, sliced in a grid, sprinkled with a touch more salt (if needed).

Makes one 10 1/2 skillet.

*To cook a sizable pot of quinoa: Combine 2 cups / 12 oz / 340 g of
well-rinsed (dried) quinoa with 3 cups / 700 ml water and 1/2 teaspoon
fine grain sea salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover,
reduce heat and simmer for 25 - 30 minutes or until quinoa is tender
and you can see the little quinoa curliques. Fluff with a fork.

Prep time: 10 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I just have to post again so I can tell you how absolutely amazing and delicious this has been! I've made it three times already and been sad every time I took the last bite! If anyone here happens to read this, please please please weigh the ingredients rather than go by volume. I shared the recipe with my mom who made a batch, and both the texture and flavor came out differently because she had measured by volume. My three times, it always came out just right because I went by weight. Anyway, thank you for creating this!


FYI, there is a booth at the Ferry Building Farmers Market on Saturdays called Ridgecut Gristmills. They have stone ground cornmeal and cracked corn (grits/polenta) called Jimmy's Cracked Corn--all of which is non-gmo. They also mill buckwheat and rice. Their grains are milled on a gluten free surface. I hear that they are working on oat flour and stone cut oats as well.


I made this a few days ago, and it was really fantastic, enjoyed by our whole family including the little ones! Now being in NZ I may not fully understand the concept of skillet bread, but to our taste, next time I plan to either reduce the amount of sugar to serve with our meal, or omit the herbs (as it made a really good cake!)


Hi, I just wanted to make a quick editorial comment, if I may. I manage the Castro Farmers' Market, Hi Heidi, where Fifth Crow sells and they actually grow the Sonora wheat themselves, not Pie Ranch. Pie Ranch ALSO grows Sonora wheat flour....but not the stuff 5th Crow sells. Thats all. Oh, and come to the Castro market this Wednesday (5/26) for a book signing by Kim Boyce of Good to the Grain and also to buy Fifth crows whole grains. HS: Thanks for the clarification Elizabeth, i think I had the idea it was Pie Ranch (grown) from a flyer at their booth, or their website. I'll update the post.


Made this last night with dinner and it totally stole the show! I'm thrilled that we had leftovers (there are only two.5 of us) so we enjoyed some with lunch today (and will probably try it with breakfast tomorrow!!) Thanks so much for sharing such a terrific recipe!

Katie B.

We had this tonight with a tepary bean chili. perfect combo! Thank you!


Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

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This was really really amazing. I'm so glad I tried it. Didn't care for the cream though, I'd leave that off next time. Thanks so much for posting it.


found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

cna training

With two little ones (3 & 5) and us being a two-parents-working-full-time household, I rarely cook meals that take more than 30-40 minutes. That being said, the picture looked so good and recipe sounded so wonderful, I went for it, even though I didn't even have the quinoa cooked yet. So, an hour and a half later, we finally sit down to eat. The first words from my husband's mouth "Wow, that was totally worth the wait." All four of us tore into that bread. Absolutely delicious and good with my lunch at work the next day. Thanks! HS: So glad you thought it was worth it :)!


I made this for my mom's 60th birthday and she said it was the best cornbread she had ever had. Bravo!

Willow King

I made this last night - it was AMAZING. Most and crusty and,...perfect :) Thanks so much for this recipe!!!


Hiedi - this recipe looks really delicious. My husband and I are both in love with quinoa lately, so I'll definitely have to give this a try. One comment about using a glass baking dish instead of cast-iron: this probably goes without saying, but you may want to warn readers to NOT pre-heat the glass dish, as directed for the cast-iron skillet. Decades ago, as a novice baker, I learned the hard way that adding liquids - hot or cold - to a glass pan that's been in the oven even a short time will cause the pan to shatter. So not fun. :)

Dawn (KitchenTravels)

Thanks for reminding me this market is in the neighborhood! I went last night and picked up asparagus, strawberries and some of those farm pastured eggs. I think it's a standing Weds. night date for me now.


I'm allergic to wheat - what can I SUB for the pastry flour? (and still have the recipe work) Thanks!


Ha! Was trying to think of something new to do with quinoa, and thought, "I bet Heidi Swanson has some ideas..." And you've combined it with the custardy cornbread recipe I've been meaning to track down since I swooned over it at a picnic last year. Will try this VERY soon and let you know. Will probably crumble in some buttery sage since it's going crazy in the garden. Thanks for sharing your wonderful sensibilities.


What an awesome way to use this grain? Can I have a hot slice now? ;-)


i loooove Quinoa but never tried it in bread..My favorite is in a shake. My mother would make the shake for me when I was pregnant especially for all the vitamins in Quinoa. Just a Regular shake with milk (whatever kind) ,ice, vanilla extract (to taste) and honey to sweeten. Sometimes she would sneak in small chuncks of papaya since I don't particularly like the smell.


In an effort to do everything you do, I bought the flour last wednesday and tried it out this week. My mom and I made the best whole wheat biscuits ever from the recipe on Cooks Illustrated. You must try it! You have to have a membership to view the recipe, so if you don't have one, I'll send it to you. HS: Oooh. Thanks for the tip Jill. I'll track it down. I have a favorite biscuit recipe I've been fine-tuning over the past few months (been using spelt flour), I'll have to compare! Were you at that farmers market on Noe?! Now I'll know to look for you! xo-h

Jill Pervere

This bread is absolutely amazing! I usually use quinoa (with cranberries and crushed pecans) for breakfast, but this recipe made a perfect side to rotissere chicken, and my nine year old son loved it. Always a plus!

Nicole Kellar Munoz

I just took this bread out of the oven, gluten and dairy free! I used brown rice and homemade almond milk (soaked almonds overnight, pureed for two minutes with twice as much water, and strained) and then used coconut milk instead of cream. Nom nom nom! p.s. I added poppy seeds and vanilla and it was just scrumptious.


I tried this and replaced the flour with gluten free and thought it worked really well and was lovely and moist. Is definitely a recipe to keep.

Roz Dibley

I tried this with vegan substitutions, and used coconut milk for the heavy cream. It worked pretty well, except didn't set as well as the cream would have, and some of the oil separated out. I think next time I'd mix some cornstarch into the coconut milk- but it did work!


Just made this and am enjoying an oven warm piece right now! It took a little over an hour for the center to set, but everything was nicely browned and toasty on top when done. Very easy to put together. I think this would make the perfect light lunch or dinner paired with a nice green salad and glass of white wine! I have been following your blog for awhile now and have wanted to try just about everything. I am so glad to have tried out this recipe and am so happy with the result. Thanks Heidi!


I made the corn bread again - this time using creme fraiche instead of cream. It puddled in the middle. Still, what about serving the bread like spoon bread, then a vinegar based salad on the side? Or...use the skillet on the grill - stir the creme fraiche with salsa, then pour in the middle? OR use a corn pone pan and stream the creme fraiche down the middle?


I made this last week and it was great, but the cream in the center didn't set properly. It wasn't heavy cream, but cooking cream from vegetable fat... slim pickings in Kyustendil. I will make it again, but omit the cream. One comment mentioned coconut milk... I wonder how that turned out?

Casey Angelova

Recipe sounded great and all was good except that the center did not set up well. Otherwise everyone really enjoyed it.

Royce Thorpe

I made this last night and it was absolutely delicious. I added a few cloves of chopped garlic, and used fresh thyme and chives that I had bought for dinner the night before. We ate it for dinner with a side of spinach, sautéed with almonds. I can't wait to have a piece for breakfast! Also- I made your black bean brownies and oh, WOW! Everyone loved them and I've been directing tons of people to your blog for the recipe. You know what you're doing, lady!


This looks great. I just found this cooked quinoa from a company called Village Harvest in the freezer section at Andronicos. Do you think I can use it in the recipe? I figure I just need to heat it to room temp or thaw it, right? HS: That should work just fine Lisa!

Lisa Presta

I made this the other day and loved it! I've been eating the leftovers for breakfast.


This looks delicious! I love quinoa but am sadly not very creative when it comes to cooking with it. I make pilaf and that's it. I will definitely try this and bonus that I already have all of the ingredients on hand in my pantry. YUM.


I just made buttermilk cornbread but reduced the cornmeal by 1/4 cup and added 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa. It was gorgeous and truly satisfying! Thanks so much for the inspiration! I'll save your recipe for when there is company to share that heavy cream with!


Looks wondeful....I looked into the GMO issue with Bob's Red Mill and even though they do not label non-GMO there products are :) From their site FAQ's Are your products genetically modified? No. All of our products come from identity preserved seeds. This means the seed planted in the ground is non-GMO. We simply can't guarantee against cross pollination due to natural occurrences such as wind drift, so we do not label our products GMO-free. HS: Thanks so much for the update Ashley!

Ashley Koubek

I made this two days ago, and it was absolutely delicious alongside soup and roasted vegetables. I was concerned it might be too heavy, but not at all--it was perfect. (Though since I didn't have any cream, I did substitute whole milk...that may have made a difference.) And, in a quest for something sweet last night, I warmed up a slice, put a touch of natural honey and some jam on it, and it made a *wonderful* cake.


I love that you cover all your bases -- I was so worried about not having a cast iron skillet or the right corn meal! Thank you! I cannot wait to make this bread!

Mandie @ Vegan Wagon

I swear this recipe has been in the back of my mind, I just didn't know it til I read your post. In other words, looks right up my alley!

Small Kitch Cara

This is perfect for the leftover red mole I just made. What farmers' market were you referencing? I didn't know there were any weeknight markets here.


I made this yesterday and my husband and I just finished the pan tonight. It's delicious. My 2 year old won't eat quinoa but he ate this "cake", as he called it. I didn't have coarse grind cornmeal so I subbed polenta and it worked great. I'll be making this again.


Quinoa pan bread. You're so creative. I love the way an ingredient catches your imagination and you share your thought process as you figure out what to cook. I'll have to give this a try. Another perfect excuse to cook in my favorite cast iron skillet.

Family Cookbook - Denise

I love Fifth Crow Farm! I live right around the corner from the Inner Sunset farmer's market and discovered them last summer--been loving all of their produce, as well as their heirloom beans!


Long time reader, first time poster! I love your blog, Heidi, especially the ultra simple recipes that are really more like techniques than recipes, and the healthy takes on old favorites! Has anyone tried this with cooked bulgur wheat as a substitute for the quinoa? How did it go? I'm having trouble picturing what it would taste like with the cornmeal. I'm trying to empty out my pantry before traveling all summer, and that substitution would go a long way toward getting rid of some of the flour/grains I've got stashed away!


I've just started using quinoa and this is a delicious way to incorporate it and also I love the addition of vinegar to this recipe


I made a dairy-free version of this last night, using Earth Balance, EdenSoy Original, and Silk Creamer. It worked wondefully, although my oven took about 1.5 hours to set the "cream." It was delicious with our chili over quinoa. Thanks!!!


what would you suggest in place of the wheat flour for us GF-ers? it looks and sounds so heavenly! HS: Hi Stiggly, Skim the comments, there are a few suggestions. Shauna over at Gluten-free Girl mentioned that she had a GF version come out pretty tasty. I'll post a link to her version if/when she posts it.


Thank you for sharing your library of recipes with us. Most recipes that I read, I will never make. This is one I do want to make soon.

Kathleen is Cooking in Mexico

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