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Vegan Gluten-Free Corn Muffins (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)

Updated: Jun 11, 2022

A favorite childhood snack of mine was toasted corn muffins. And I mean store-bought, trans-fat-laden, buttery (but not vegan), sugar-loaded giant corn muffins that were then cut in half and pan-fried in dairy butter until crispy and not-quite-burnt (*all health enthusiasts gasp in horror*). And yes, to child me that tasted great, but adult me is glad I don't eat that unhealthy junk anymore. But if you were like child me, fret not! Your toasted-corn-muffin-eating days are not over! Enter this corn muffin recipe: a nutrient-dense, comforting, wholesome option that is way healthier than the store-bought alternative. Annnd, who's to say you can't cut these corn muffins in half, spread a lil vegan butter or coconut oil on top and briefly pan-sear or bake them until lightly golden brown? So, you can have your toasted corn muffins and eat them too! (That is, you can eat your toasty treats and not have to feel guilty about it). These corn muffins are vegan, gluten-free, and fruit-sweetened, made with real cornmeal.

Sometimes I just crave a good corn muffin. Freshly baked, warm, mildly sweet with a nice creamy pat of vegan butter. These corn muffins would go perfectly with some afternoon tea, a glass of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, or a mug of vegan/sugar-free golden milk. Some suggestions for serving include adding a shmear of vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, fruit-sweetened jam, sugar-free apple butter, or a drizzle of nut/seed butter.

These corn muffins are (vegan) buttery and hearty, and I created the recipe so they have a nice dryness while still staying moist enough. They come out of the oven nice and toasty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. But feel free to toast them extra like mentioned in the intro to this post, above.

These corn muffins are 100% vegan, gluten-free, and sweetened with whole fresh dates! So these corn muffins are a little bit more on the sweet side as opposed to the savory side, but still they could make a great side dish, as you would use cornbread, alongside a bowl of vegan chili or a wholesome bowl of soup (like my Butternut Squash Soup recipe!). By the way, make sure that your cornmeal is gluten-free if it needs to be strictly gluten-free. Corn is naturally gluten-free, but is frequently cross-contaminated with crops that contain gluten. By the way, cornmeal is different from corn flour. Corn flour is finely ground and powdery, whereas cornmeal is coarsely ground and grainy (think the difference between almond meal and almond flour).

I like to show how natural my baked goods are, and the pictures in this post offer a window into just how clean, natural, and simple my treats are. I pick the healthiest, most nutrient-dense, and most un-processed, real-food ingredients I can when creating my recipes, without sacrificing on the texture or flavor. And this corn muffin recipe is no exception. Read on to find out the nutritional and health benefits of each of the ingredients in this recipe.

Nutritional Profile of My Vegan Gluten-Free Corn Muffins

Flaxseed- flaxseed (and therefore flax eggs, which are just flaxseed meal + water) are a great source of healthy fats (including omega-3 fatty acids), fiber, protein, and iron. Healthy fats generally are good for heart health, brain health, and complexion. Omega-3s specifically are excellent for heart health, brain health, immune health, eye health, joint health, metabolism health, skin health, and hair health and are important during pregnancy, may help reduce PMS symptoms, and have anti-inflammatory properties. Fiber helps reduce cholesterol levels, aids digestive health, and feeds the "good" bacteria in your gut. Protein builds muscle and iron builds red blood cells. Flaxseed meal is more digestible than whole flaxseed, so opt to buy flaxseed meal or grind your own flaxseed when you can. Flaxseed meal can be added to smoothies, baked goods (as a flax egg or as just the flaxseed meal), granola (no-bake or baked), and more. Check out Minimalist Baker's "How to Make a Flax Egg" recipe!

Cornmeal- cornmeal is rich in healthy complex carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. Healthy complex carbs provide high-quality, long-lasting energy, without spiking blood sugar. Fiber helps promote healthy bowel movements, and protein plays a role in nearly every bodily process. Believe it or not, there are different varieties of cornmeal including blue cornmeal, white cornmeal, and yellow cornmeal!

Dates- dates are filled with antioxidants, fiber, protein, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Potassium balances electrolytes and regulates blood pressure and magnesium plays a role in bodily processes and has anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants fight free radicals (disease-causing particles), helping prevent various ailments. See above ingredient nutrition breakdowns for the health benefits of fiber, protein, and iron. Dates promote healthy bowel movements, help protect against anemia, may help regulate blood sugar (in moderation), may help with PMS symptoms, may be beneficial for pregnancy (some research suggests it may even help in inducing labor), and are a naturally sweet option to curb your sugar cravings. Choose fresh dates over dried ones to maximize health benefits (I LOVE the Medjool variety of date).

Sea salt- sea salt is better for you than table salt because sea salt is significantly less processed. Sea salt balances electrolytes, nourishes the adrenal glands, and provides the body with micronutrients thanks to its high mineral-content. Choose Himalayan pink sea salt, Hawaiian red sea salt, or another healthy sea salt.

Unsweetened almond milk- almond milk is a good source of vitamin E, vitamin D, and calcium (if fortified). Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is good for your skin and hair. Vitamin D and calcium help build healthy bones, and vitamin D is good for the immune system. Choose unsweetened almond milk with minimal additives or opt to make your own!

Vegan butter- vegan butter (like Earth Balance or Miyoko's) is mainly comprised of healthy vegetable oils and/or plant milk. Healthy vegetable oils are packed with healthy fats that benefit heart and brain health. Plant milks tend to be more nutrient-dense than dairy milk, without all the saturated fat, cholesterol, calories, and inflammatory compounds that come with dairy. I like Earth Balance for baking that requires firm butter, but I like Miyoko's butter for baking that requires creamy, softer butter and I believe Miyoko's is superior in flavor to Earth Balance. Margarine is an alternative to butter, but it is extremely unhealthy due to its high trans fat content. Choose a healthy vegan butter like Earth Balance or Miyoko's instead.


For the flax eggs, you can substitute 2 chia eggs, 6 Tbsp aquafaba (the water from a can of chickpeas), or an equivalent amount of another vegan egg substitute for a single batch of these corn muffins. The yellow cornmeal may be replaced with any other variety of cornmeal such as blue or white cornmeal with a difference in flavor and color. Or, you could replace the cornmeal with corn flour, for a finer, less-gritty texture to these corn muffins. You can use either certified gluten-free cornmeal or regular cornmeal if gluten isn't a strict issue. And stone-ground or regular cornmeal of any grind size is fine. For the gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour you may replace it with any gluten-free all-purpose flour. You could try using oat flour with tapioca starch OR arrowroot starch in place of the gluten-free 1-to-1 flour with varied results.

The Medjool dates can be substituted with any other variety of date, such as Deglet Noor dates. Or you could try using possibly 1/2 cup of coconut sugar OR 1/2 cup maple sugar OR 1/2 cup date sugar in place of the whole dates. Alternately, you could try using 1/3 to 1/2 cup of maple syrup, coconut nectar, or agave with varied results. And if you can have refined sugar on your diet you can try using 1/4 to 1/2 cup white sugar with varied results. If you try any of these sweetener substitutes, please let me know how it turned out in the comments, I'd love to hear your feedback! The baking soda and baking powder can't be substituted as they are the leaveners in this recipe. The sea salt can be replaced with table salt or may be omitted. The unsweetened almond milk can be replaced with your unsweetened plant milk of choice OR your sweetened plant milk of choice (if you can have sugar on your diet). You can use any kind of vegan butter (I recommend Miyoko's or Earth Balance) or you can try swapping it out with melted coconut oil. And of course, if you'd like any add-ins you can fold those into batter right before baking. Some ideas include fresh/frozen corn kernels, pumpkin seeds/sunflower seeds, or unsweetened dried fruit.

Exciting Things Coming

Stay tuned for the launch of my new-and-improved website, with a new design, new helpful baking features, and loads of great content!

Thanks for checking out this recipe, I hope it satisfies all your childhood toasted corn muffin needs! :)

Enjoy! <3


Vegan Gluten-Free Corn Muffins (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 to 22 minutes

Total Time: 45 to 47 minutes

Servings: 12 muffins


-1 cup Medjool dates

-2 flax eggs

-1/2 cup melted vegan butter (like Earth Balance or Miyoko's)

-1 cup gluten-free cornmeal (can sub gluten-free corn flour)

-1 cup gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour (like Bob's Red Mill)

-1 tsp baking soda

-2 tsp baking powder

-pinch sea salt

-3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk (can sub unsweetened plant milk of choice)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12-cup standard-sized muffin tin with coconut oil OR vegan butter. Make the flax eggs ahead of time, soak the dates in hot water for 5 to 15 minutes, and melt the vegan butter in the microwave in 20 second intervals until fully melted.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, gluten-free 1-to-1 flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

3. Add the soaked and drained dates to a food processor and blend until a uniform paste forms, scraping down the sides and re-blending as necessary.

4. Transfer the date paste to a separate large mixing bowl and add the melted vegan butter. Mix well manually until smooth and creamy.

5. Add the flax eggs and stir until incorporated.

6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just incorporated and a thick batter forms (DO NOT over-mix).

7. Add the almond milk and stir into the batter until just combined and the batter becomes more moist.

8. Scoop or spoon the batter into the greased muffin cups of the muffin tin, filling each about two-thirds of the way up. Smooth the tops if desired.

9. Bake in the preheated oven (at 375 degrees F) for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the muffins have risen slightly, the tops are solid, and they are lightly golden brown on top.

10. Allow to cool, then run a knife along the outer edges of each muffin to remove from the pan.

11. Serve warm with a pat of vegan butter, a schmear of plain vegan cream cheese, a little fruit-sweetened jam, a drizzle of your nut/seed butter of choice, sugar-free apple butter, or a little of my Paleo Nutella for more of a sweet treat. Alternately, you can try cutting the corn muffin in half, spread a lil vegan butter OR coconut oil on top, and either pan-sear or bake butter-side down until lightly golden brown for a healthier take on a toasted corn muffin! And you could even use it as you would cornbread, and serve it alongside a hearty bowl of vegan chili or hot, freshly-made vegan/gluten-free soup. Enjoy!

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

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