Chili and Cornbread in a Jar


If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to share recipes, gift ideas, pretty wrapping ideas, and whatever else is on my mind. I also own an online chocolate shop, The Ticket Kitchen. Stop by if you get a moment!

Remember barbecue in a jar? Last night we tried a variation. We had chili and cornbread in a jar. Yumm.

Cornbread makes me happy.

The whole thing was super simple. I made my homemade chili in advance and scooped it into the jars. Then when dinner time came around I mixed up cornbread batter and spooned it on top.

The only thing left to do was bake the whole shebang until a toothpick came out of the cornbread clean. This would be so simple for entertaining a crowd.

Actually, there was one more, other thing to do. I had to add a little butter and drizzle on some honey. Mmm.

I’m glad it worked because if it hadn’t we would have been having Rasin Bran for dinner.

Would you like to see what the rest of my family was up to while I was taking pictures of our dinner?

My older two were turning all the dials in Brent’s truck.

And my baby was hanging around a little closer. He wanted some of that cornbread sooo bad.

I’ve never seen a 14-month-old with his will power. Instead of digging in, he stood inches away and tried to look hungry until we finally took one of those forks and had at it. By the way, I think it’s time for his first haircut, what do you think?

And in case you wanted to know, my favorite chili recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated. I also love this white chicken chili recipe. And as for cornbread, I always make the version my friend Dawn made for me when I had baby #2. It’s just basic but I love it.

Dawn’s Cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted

Mix until combined and bake at 375 F for 20-25 minutes.

{ 96 comments… read them below or add one }

Hil October 27, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Oh my, how brilliant! I love it and am definitely going to give this a try. Thank you for sharing your awesome ideas!


Sherry Cartwright October 27, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Lovely idea! That would be such a comforting gift on a cold winter day.


urban craft October 27, 2010 at 5:01 pm

oh this is the most awesomess idea!!!
we got snow here so the I’m not sure how to BBQ would go over. Maybe a snowman in a jar? Mmmm, now I want chili.

And every time I cut my boy’s hair, he looks like he’s aged a year.


Sharon October 27, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Sounds so yummy & simple, which is all i know how to cook! How long did it take the cornbread to get done on top of the chili?


admin October 28, 2010 at 6:38 am

Hi Sharon! It looks like I left out cooking time all together for my recipe. Sorry! I’ll go fix it. But I ended up adding an extra 10 minutes or so to the normal cooking time for my recipe. Not too bad. It turned out great too. Good consistency and golden brown.


Charissa - The Gifted Blog October 27, 2010 at 9:54 pm

I’ve eaten lunch but this is calling my name! And I can definitely relate to having a little one waiting around for a blog photo shoot to end. You’ve got to be pretty fast!


Amanda October 27, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Love, love, love this idea! How fantastic for a summer BBQ or farm themed birthday party!


Angie October 27, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Such a cute idea – I love the look of it and I bet it tastes good too!


Heather October 28, 2010 at 2:45 am

Caelin and I both agree. This looks SO good. Perfect for an autumn day.


Michelle Torres October 28, 2010 at 11:46 am

This is an AWESOME idea!!!!! I love it, so perfect for this time of year! Thanks for sharing!!!

Michelle Torres


George Demas October 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm

What a fantabulous idea! These would make great gifts. What would you recommend for re-heating instructions?


Aprille October 28, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Do you have to put the jars in water or something to make sure they don’t shatter when baking?


Jesyka October 28, 2010 at 4:58 pm

This pretty much makes my day.


Leah October 28, 2010 at 8:07 pm

I love it! This would be so fun for a Fall gathering with friends.


June October 28, 2010 at 9:04 pm

I’m thinking stew with a drop biscuit dough. Brilliant ideas!


admin October 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm

June, that is the best idea. Stew and drop biscuits would be amazing.


Lynne October 28, 2010 at 9:29 pm

in this house… it ain’t chili if there ain’t cornbread! What a great idea!


norma October 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Too much sugar..taste like cake instead of cornbread. I make without sugar the old-fashioned way. I love the idea


admin October 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm

hi Norma,
I know, I feel kinda guilty about the sugar. Esp because I know I’m not authentically southern for dumping all that sugar in. but it’s hard to resist..


LT October 29, 2010 at 12:06 am

Your “in a jar” ideas remind me of nachos-in-a-bag that I had once at a craft fair–not as elegant, but you could class it up. It was just a bag of tortilla chips with all the ingredients, well, in the bag. Salsa, guacamole, olives, sour creams, onions, etc.


admin October 29, 2010 at 1:15 pm

oh yum. LT, you had my attention with the word nachos. i will have to try.


Sarah August 24, 2011 at 7:14 am

We call those walking tacos! My Kids Love them!!! My Father in Law thinks I’m nuts and My hubby will eat anything!
I am definatly going to try both the Chili and cornbread and the stew and bisscuts! But for now I need to go put dinner in the crockpot!


Halle G October 29, 2010 at 1:38 am

This is totally inspired! I am so going to try this! Thanks so much!!


Renae October 29, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I’m like the other lady who asked: do you do anything special to the jar to bake it? I am sure you couldn’t do this with old jars ( ie ) pickles, mayo, etc, right? I also like June’s idea, stew and biscuits, yum!


admin October 29, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Hi Renae,
I love the idea of using upcycled jars. I wonder if it would work? I think it would, since they have to be heatproof for canning purposes. I will dig into my saved jars next time and try. I have a big stash of old pasta sauce jars I’d like to try.


Catherine Markle September 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I am still a bit confused about the heat of the jars after baking, any special handling instructions? I love the idea though, perfect for our hosewarming party!!


AmberLee September 9, 2011 at 10:29 am

Catherine, Congrats on the new house! I’m so happy you like the idea. I’d recommend just allowing the jars to cool for about ten minutes before serving. They should be pretty handle-able by then, and the chili and cornbread still warm and yummy.


Doti R October 29, 2010 at 7:21 pm

What a great idea, I will have to try it. what do you think a layer of cheese between the chili and the bread?
Happy Holloween Doti


admin October 29, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Doti! A layer of gooey melted cheese would be amazing. I was trying to think of a way to incorporate a topping, like green onions or something, but hadn’t even thought about cheese. I will have to try.

Thanks for stopping by!


Joy October 29, 2010 at 7:21 pm

What a super idea, you kiddo is adorable!
Joy at Books and Life


Terry Davis October 29, 2010 at 8:06 pm

EXCELLENT IDEA!!!! I just bought a hundred year old home .. all remodeled and was wondering when we celebrate how and what we should make with a country type theme, Oh this chili idea is knocking my socks off.I JUST LOVE THIS IDEA!!!!! with some sweet tea and a nice desert, how lovely it will look on a gingam or buffalo check table cloth !!! all set out in cute mason jars!!!! :)


Michelle October 29, 2010 at 11:18 pm

What an absolutely fun and extremely clever idea! I love how you’re always thinking outside the box.


mer October 31, 2010 at 4:55 am

so great. totally love this idea!


Tiffany November 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Such a great idea! I didn’t know you could put Mason jars in the oven. It makes perfect sense, but I just never thought of it. Fun recipe!


Chrissy November 3, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Quick question — there are a lot of chili recipes on the cooks illustrated page… is it possible to share the link to the specific recipe you used. It looks DELIGHTFUL!


AmberLee November 7, 2010 at 3:52 am

Hi Chrissy,

Thanks for stopping by! Here is the one I like. I made it for a crowd a couple halloweens ago along with the white chili recipe I linked to and they were both a huge hit.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or corn oil
2 medium onions , chopped fine (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper , cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds 93 percent lean ground turkey
2 (15.5-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans , drained and rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes , with juice
(28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Table salt
2 limes , cut into wedges

1. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed nonreactive Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add half the turkey; cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add beans, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, and 1 teaspoon salt; bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Pat remaining 1 pound turkey together into ball, then pinch off teaspoon-sized pieces of meat and stir into chili. Continue to simmer about 40 minutes longer, stirring occasionally (if chili begins to stick to bottom of pot, stir in 1/2 cup water and continue to simmer), until turkey is tender and chili is dark and slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning with additional salt. Serve with lime wedges and condiments if desired.


wendy November 3, 2010 at 7:29 pm

i have chrissy thoughts which chili recipe do you use?


Joyce Mosby November 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm

This looks fun. What size jars did you use?


AmberLee November 5, 2010 at 4:51 am

Hi Joyce,

My jars are quart jars. I do think they’re a little big. It makes for a hearty serving. You could definately do with something smaller.


Jenny November 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Can’t wait to try this. My baby is 13.5 months old, and I know that exact look.


Madison November 6, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Delicious recipe but needed a lot of pot holders for the crowd to serve it warm. Any suggestions?


Maura November 9, 2010 at 10:00 pm

How long does it take to cool enough to hold on to the jar? I am picturing burnt fingers!! I am loving this idea and can’t wait to use it!


AmberLee November 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Hi Ladies,
Hmmm. I’d love some creative ideas for hot pads. That’s a great point.

When we had these, we noticed the top of the jar, from the cornbread line up, was cool enough to handle after just a few minutes, but it’s true, the chili is piping hot.


Misty November 11, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Next year for harvest I am going to try this, we are always eating out in the feilds and Im constantly paking a ton of stuff out to the men. I have a prettty good system however theres always room for change thank you for the great ideas :)


ivonne November 13, 2010 at 3:23 pm

oh hell yes. that looks awesome!


Roxanna November 15, 2010 at 4:05 am

Great idea. But how about making a quilted coozie (sp?) for the bottom of the jar to keep from burning fingers? i


Tiffani K April 3, 2011 at 8:45 am

I just stumbled on this from pinterest and I absolutely can’t wait to try this…I saw that you had the barbecue in jar..tried any other recipes this way?


AmberLee April 3, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Hi Tiffani!
Thanks for stopping by to say Hi! I do have a few more recipes of these I’ve tried, but none I’ve gotten to blogging yet! Hopefully this summer. If you find something fun I’d love to hear!


Nike@ChooseToThrive June 16, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Words fail me right now …. so … darn … good. Must make soon!


Reagan Crock June 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Do you think you could make these in advance, then reheat in a camp fire for a camping trip?


AmberLee June 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Thanks for the note! I totally think this would work. In fact, I really want to try! I am always looking for good camping food. If you get a chance I’d love to hear how it goes.


Mary August 3, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Reagan–did you try this? I want to make it for a camping trip next weekend, but I was trying to decide if I should bake it and then reheat it at the site or if I should cook the cornbread on top at the site.


Laura August 4, 2011 at 6:48 pm


a few people before asked this question, but i wanted to confirm that the bell jars were for sure okay in the oven? i tried this last week and it was DELICIOUS but i did it in pyrex and had to leave it in for about 30 min. to get the cornbread perfect…are the bell jars okay in that hot of an oven for that long?

thank you! FAB IDEA and so delicious! thank you!!!


AmberLee August 4, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Hi Laura,
Thanks for your note! And yes, I’ve done this recipe a few times with a few different sizes of jars with no problem. I just put them directly on the rack. When you say you made this in a pyrex, did you put the chili and cornbread directly in the pyrex, or did you put the jars in the pyrex and add water to the pyrex? (which is an option if you’re really nervous, but you should be good)


Laura August 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Hi AmberLee,

Thanks, sounds great! I put them in Pyrex, oven-safe, glass containers…the chili and cornbread directly in them!


Chrissy August 29, 2011 at 3:54 am

Just saw this on Pinterest.. what a COOL idea.. Love it… gonna try it right away… and my mind is figuring out variations…. how about chicken & dumplings this same way :)

Love the photos of your kids activities.. gotta love um.


AmberLee August 31, 2011 at 9:59 pm

I adore the idea of chicken and dumplings in a jar. Yumm. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to give that a try. Like tomorrow.


ashley August 31, 2011 at 11:43 am

I cannot wait to make this tonight! I do a dinner group with 2 other families. Tonight is my 1st nihgth since school started… its going to be sooo adorable! thansk for the idea. Eventhough its still well over 100 degrees here in AZ.. im still excited!


SAlly Summerfield September 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I found this on Pinterest and will be trying it for a tailgate party. Thanks!!


Elshiva October 3, 2011 at 7:49 am

I am so excited to see this!! My husband is deployed, and I discovered cake in a jar, and have been looking around trying to find other things that I can jar and send to him to bring him a taste of home! I cant wait to try this~


Melanie October 22, 2011 at 10:49 am

Oh no! It’s not safe to can breads & chili must be canned using a pressure canner. I would also worry about the jars surviving the trip.


AmberLee October 24, 2011 at 8:42 am

Hi Melanie,
Thanks so much for your note, I’m glad you clarified!


Elshiva October 3, 2011 at 7:59 am

So my question would be… if I were to make the chili and then bake it with the corn bread and seal it hot…. how long do you think it would last and be good not refrigerated? want to get it to Aftghanistan


AmberLee October 4, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Wow Elshiva, that is such a good question. I really am not qualified to answer this, but I adore Marisa from the blog Food in Jars and I’ll bet she could give you a better idea. Good luck! That would be nuts!


Jarrett Doucette October 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm

How do you reccommend reheating this for “on order” service?
Really great idea!


AmberLee October 24, 2011 at 8:43 am

Hi Jarrett!
That is a great question. I’m guessing it would take a little playing around, but you could possibly par bake them in the oven, then reheat there, or the microwave could do?? I’d love to hear if you make it work!


Jarrett Doucette October 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Initial tests show that making a hot water bath from a hotel pan or chaffing dish that rests on the griddle or gas burners (very low heat) keeps it hot after baking. I do not know the duration this tecnique would work but I assume for quite awhile.
Any suggestions on where to buy inexpensive bulk “Ball” jars? I own a food truck that specializes in chili and would really like to use this idea but it seems the cost of the jars would spike the overall cost of the dish too much to make it appealing to the customers.
Thanks AmberLee!


Bea January 22, 2012 at 8:27 am

Try a thrift shop!


Dawn Wilkerson January 21, 2012 at 7:08 am

I LOVE this!!! How convenient but oh my goodness! How CUTE!!!! I absolutely love it! Thank you so much for writing this up!


Freida January 21, 2012 at 9:28 am

If this was done for the food truck, might you have a “deposit” on the jars? If they return them, then you simply deduct the deposit from their current meal :) Assuming you have a way to sterilize them before the next meal went out in it!

It might be a way to get repeat customers :)
I teach at a girls school and we cook for families at the school from time to time. I was looking at quart jars as a delivery system for soups, stews and chili.


nicole January 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Which Chili did you use in the pics above? Because it doesnt look like white chili


Anne January 22, 2012 at 7:52 am

I love this idea. I do Sunday Lunch for my family and I think this would be perfect. I was thinking of using the smaller 1/2 pint jelly jars for the kids and the pints for the adults. I’m wondering if I cook before church, if I could keep them warm in a hot water bath long enough for them to be cook when we get home.


Kay Gellerstedt January 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm

This is the best idea for a family reunion recipe…especially when we get together in Spring and the weather is still chilly! Thanks for sharing this great idea…and recipes!


tonya January 31, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Super Cute! But how do you serve this? Wouldn’t it be too hot for someone to hold? Just wondering???? Seems silly to serve COLD Chili.


AmberLee January 31, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Hi Tonya!
Great question. A dish towel is definitely worthwhile if it’s ready to go hot out of the oven. When we had it, I waited for it to cool just long enough to be nice and warm but not too hot to handle. If you give it a shot, I’d love to hear how it goes!


Alicia February 6, 2012 at 7:12 am

I just made this yesterday for our Super Bowl party and it was a HUGE HIT!
I used pint size mason jars and filled it about half way with chili and then a muffin size of corn bread mix. It made the jar full (corn bread was poking out of the top) and was a pretty large serving. Of course mine didn’t turn out as pretty as your picture. There were a few guests who were unable to make it to the party so we just put on the tops to the mason jars and sent some over! Great recipe, I’ll be making it for sure again!


AmberLee February 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Alicia! Thank you for taking a moment to come back and let me know (and for sharing details!) And congrats on a successful bash!!


Jacqueline February 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Loved this idea! I posted mine today! The funnest thing was that my husband said this was the funnest dinner! I loved that.


Miss Rose March 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

this looks so fun I’m always looking for ways to keep my jars busy after we empty them and before canning starts again. I can’t wait to try it. And I think you could wait another year before you get the little one’s hair cut. Get some great gold locks to save and maybe make a pendent into victorian style.


Brenda March 29, 2012 at 11:23 am

I want to try this but afraid of jar bursting in the oven!


Granny Enchanted May 25, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Thank you for the darling idea! I highlighted it in one of my directories.


Mary June 4, 2012 at 9:56 am

Brenda, don’t be afraid. Mason jars are designed to be heated in boiling water baths. Just be sure to visually inspect your jars for any chips in the rims or cracks before filling them.


Rita June 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm

This would be good to take camping!


Carrie July 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Two years later a stranger writes you to say “thank you for taking the time to post this fun idea, my husbands two favorite items”


AmberLee July 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Thank you, Carrie! I’m so thrilled to hear your husband likes it!


Cynthia Joy August 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Love the idea but my questions are 1. what temp was the chilli when you added it to the jar? 2. Did the uncooked cornbread run into the chilli? 3. What size jars did you use and how much chilli/ cornbread? Sorry for all the ?’s I will be fixing this for my husband and his uncles when the go hunting


AmberLee August 29, 2012 at 9:45 pm

What a great idea to send hunting! The first time I did this, I added the chili cool to the jar, and the uncooked cornbread sat right on top with no effort, which was great. The batter was a somewhat thick batter. It’s been a while, I’m trying to remember what size jar I used, they were a larger size, and it really was a lot of food, probably a good 2 cups of chili and maybe a cup of cornbread batter. I hope that helps!!


melody Weber September 10, 2012 at 8:07 am

did you use quart jars or pint and what temperature?


Valerie September 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Are the jars the”Big Mouth” size or regular?


AmberLee September 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Hi Valerie,
Thanks for your note! I just bought a tray of standard jars, and it worked just fine for me! Though I’m sure wide mouth would be even easier.


Cindy September 16, 2012 at 10:53 am

I have 3 grown boys and this would make great gifts for them. Do you think this could be made, frozen and reheated for another time?


AmberLee September 17, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Hi Cindy,
What a thoughtful idea! I would imagine this could freeze and reheat well. I hadn’t thought of it, but I do think it could be a great idea, as long as there is room for the chili to expand in the jar when it freezes.


Stephanie October 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Hi! I am thinking of using this idea for a sorority fall party! What size jars did you use? :)


Amanda November 25, 2012 at 7:06 am

How long can you store these?? I’m thinking christmas ideas. And could you layer corn bead chilli corn bread chilli???


AmberLee November 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Hi Amanda,
I love the idea of a easy meal as a christmas gift, but I’m afraid these might not keep long. I did try layering these once, but things go a little soggy, so I’ve gone back to just doing a layer of chili and a layer of cornbread. Best of luck though!!


Teagarden January 7, 2013 at 10:00 am

You could save the sleeves off old sweaters folded over for little pot holders if you are worried about getting burnt.


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