All Hail the Jiffy Cornbread Mix—It's Not Just for Cornbread

Supermarket real estate tells you a great deal about companies and how much money they have. Indeed, many big box brands—picture the cereal aisle for the best example—spend considerable dollars for prime spots. But if you venture outside that middle row of the boxed cake and brownie mix aisle, you’ll often find humble boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. 

The box is nostalgic; the ingredients, unchanging. You can count on a batch of Jiffy cornbread to be just what you need—a touch on the dry side but warm, comforting, and tasty, with a just-right hint of sweetness to balance the cornmeal’s natural salinity. It’s the ideal pair to chili, soup, and stews of all kind. If you’re hungry, there’s no shame in warming up a piece with a generous slather of butter for a snack either. 

Easy never tasted so awesome.

But if the only dish you’re making with a box of Jiffy is, well, corn muffins, you’re short changing yourself and that bargain box of mix. Here, we’ve pulled together several recipe ideas you can use to transform the humble combination of wheat flour, yellow corn meal, sugar, and a host of other ingredients into a prized meal you’ll be so proud to make—and then brag about your special secret ingredient.

Eggy Corn Muffins: Turn your famous muffin tin breakfasts—a base of shredded potatoes with a soft-cooked egg on top—into a corn muffin breakfast. Make Jiffy mix according to package directions. Stir in 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Spoon cornbread mix into 12 muffin wells. Crack one egg over each muffin base, and bake at 375°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until egg yolks are at desired degree of doneness. For a little extra punch, you can top the muffin mix with crumble bacon, sausage, or ham before adding the egg and sticking the pan in the oven.

Herbed Drop Biscuits: Instead of rolling, cutting, and repatting biscuit dough, you can make drop biscuits, or quick breads that bake up tall and fluffy but don’t require a lot of effort. Jiffy mix can help speed up the process. Combine 2 boxes of Jiffy mix with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1 cup cold buttermilk, 4 tablespoons melted butter, 2 teaspoons chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon chopped oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir until just combined. Scoop 1 tablespoon of biscuit dough onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, and brush with more melted butter. Bake at 400°F for 12 to 14 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.

WATCH: 11 Ways to Make Box Cake Mix Taste Homemade

Cornmeal Pancakes: Switch up your brunch plans with these special pancakes. The cornmeal base gives the pancakes a near-savory flavor, but with maple syrup, it’s a really delicious balance. Combine the box of Jiffy mix with 2 eggs and 3/4 cup buttermilk (or whole milk), stirring to create a spreadable consistency. Melt butter in a cast-iron skillet or on a griddle, and spoon about 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter onto the hot surface. Cook until bubbles form on top (about three minutes), flip, and cook another three minutes or until golden brown. Serve with warm maple syrup or honey.

If you wanted to make these corn cakes more savory, serve them topped with a poached egg, bacon crumbles, and pico de gallo, or avocado and crispy ham. The base of these pancakes is fairly neutral, which means it’s versatile for whatever you think makes the perfect accoutrements. 

Skillet Tamale Pie: Tamales are beloved for their warm, tender coat of fresh masa. On a weeknight, creating authentic masa is a time-draining task. You can use Jiffy mix to make a perfectly acceptable, and actually quite tasty, substitute in a tamale-inspired skillet meal. Combine 1 box Jiffy mix with 1/3 cup buttermilk, 1 egg, 1 (14.75-ounce) can of cream-style corn, and 1 (4.5-ounce) can of diced green chiles. Stir until just combined. Pour into a greased 9-inch cast iron skillet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes in a 400°F oven, or until set. Poke cornbread base with a fork several times, and top with seasoned and cooked pulled chicken or ground beef, 1 (8-ounce) pouch of Frontera Red Chile Enchilada Sauce, and 1 to 2 cups of shredded Monterey-Jack cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese has melted. Serve with crema, cilantro, salsa, and lime wedges.

Easy Spoonbread: Spoonbread is a Southern staple, served as a side dish with chicken, pork, and more. It’s akin to the common English Yorkshire pudding, if you’re more familiar with the dish. It’s comforting and creamy, and using Jiffy mix speeds up the prep (no measuring). Combine 2 boxes of Jiffy mix, 1 stick of butter melted, 1 (14.75-ounce) can of cream-style corn, 1 (15.25-ounce) can corn kernels, and 1 cup of sour cream or Greek yogurt. Spread into a greased (9×9-inch) square baking dish, and cook at 350°F for 55 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and firm in the middle.

Muffin-tin Corn Dogs: This is a great one if you have kids to feed in a hurry. Serve with a side of roasted vegetables, and it’s a fast and simple weeknight meal. Combine 1 box of Jiffy mix with 1 egg, and 1/3 cup milk. Stir until just combined. Slice three hot dogs into four pieces (or use cocktail sausages), and place the hot dog pieces into 12 muffin wells. Top with the cornbread batter, and bake at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cornbread is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Crunchy Cornbread Coating for Chicken Tenders: Instead of your typical seasoned all-purpose flour coating for quick-cooking chicken tenders, use Jiffy mix. It’ll be extra crispy after baking. In a wide bowl, combine 1 box of Jiffy mix with 3 tablespoons Creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere’s). Stir to mix well. Roll each chicken tender in the cornbread coating. Then dip in an egg bath. Roll the tenders in the cornbread mix once more, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat for each chicken tender. Bake at 400°F for 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked and coating is golden brown.

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