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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This is perfect for this evening's meal of fried oysters (purchased at the Farmer's Market.) Hot diggety!


Hello... very interesting idea for this "quinoa" bread. I have never made a skillet, sounds interesting, it looks yummy.


How could this be made heart-smart? I cook spoonbread with oil and rice milk-- could I substitute them for the cream, milk and butter? And for the people who don't like quinoa-- use it in a pilaf like bulgar or under sauces like couscous.


This sounds perfect! I love making a skillet cornbread but love the sound of a custardy one. Thanks also for the reminder about Molly's recipe.


I love skillet breads better than oven breads. Cornmeal with quinoa and whole wheat flour sound delicious and healthy. I just made cornbread this afternoon. I wish I had seen your recipe before making it.

Nisrine@Dinners & Dreams

I love skillet breads better than oven breads. Cornmeal with quinoa and whole wheat flour sound delicious and healthy. I just made cornbread this afternoon. I wish I had seen your recipe before making it.

Nisrine@Dinners & Dreams

Now this sounds fantastic! I can't use the cornmeal because I'm allergic to corn. Going to try substituting brown rice flour and see if it works. HS: Hmm. What about a coarse rye flour?

Annmarie Kostyk

Another vegan here. Anything non-dairy that can be used in place of the cream? I sometimes make "buttermilk" from almond milk and vinegar. Would that work as a sub for cream in this recipe? HS: I'd have to try it myself, but coconut milk?


Oh wow, I cannot wait to make this as I adore quinoa...but will use half & half instead of heavy cream (10% fat vs. 35% in Canada). I am unclear about pouring the cream on... do you make a well and pour it into that or do you just pour it all over on top? Thank you so much! I just love your recipes!! HS: It seems totally wrong, and far too much liquid, but yes - you pour it right on top.


This sounds great, but I am allergic to corn. Does anyone have a good substitute for cornmeal? I'd love to find one that adds some texture, as cornmeal does.


Re: lightening the bread and re: vinegar. Addition of vinegar is presumably to convert milk to a buttermilk analogue. So, use low fat buttermilk which has a much thicker consistency than milk and then use half and half or your favorite milk or milk substitute in place of at least part of the cream.


Looks great except I'm not sure if I could take the one cup of heavy cream...too rich.. perhaps a could substitute.


Love the basic concept... but will try it wheat-free and dairy free???? This is my perennial approach. Anyone have any suggestions to replace the heavy cream? Perhaps another egg added to rice or almond milk? I'll probably try oat flour or corn flour.


I LOVE quinoa and can't wait to try this. You put together such interesting recipes. :)


Sounds great. I love quinoa. Recently had to go gluten free, may try making this with brown rice flour. Any suggestions for gluten free bread baking?


this looks great-- disturbing to read the GMO cornmeal comment-- polenta, grits, etc are some of my favorite foods and i hadn't thought about that-- i would like to lighten this recipe (AND/or make it for my lactose allergic daughter)-- anyone know if it would work with skim milk or soy milk instead of cream?


I love this idea! I do not have quinoa right now, but I am going to try using amaranth.I hope it works! I would like to tell you that I love your recipes.They are very healthy and delicious.


That looks amazing. I want to crawl in that skillet and cuddle up to that bread. tmi, I know:)

The French

Hi... I love quinoa and this is a wonderful way to use it. Does any one have a wheat-free substitute suggestion for the wheat flower? Thank you


I've just started using quinoa and this is a delicious way to incorporate it. This one pan dish is a great way breakfast.

Susan Kessler

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