The Cheesy Trick To More Flavorful Store-Bought Cornbread Mix

cornbread squares with butter
cornbread squares with butter - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Whether you're barbecuing or making chili, cornbread is the tastiest side to soak up all those sauces and juices. When you are putting in the legwork to whip up ribs, burgers, or burnt ends, a store-bought mix is ideal to lessen your load and get dinner on the table quickly. But even the best box of plain cornbread can be a little, well, plain on its own. Luckily, just one simple ingredient will help you get creative with that cornbread: cheese.

This doesn't have to be too complicated -- all you need is a bag or block of cheddar and your favorite store-bought cornbread mix. There are a couple ways you can pull this off, but they all end with a gooey, cheesy upgrade to that cornbread when you remove your final product from the oven. The easiest way is to just to stir one cup of shredded cheddar or half a cup of quarter-inch cubes into your batter, incorporating it evenly throughout. But you can also create a cheesy layer on top by sprinkling on shredded cheddar as the final step before baking. And of course, you can always divide up your cheese by incorporating half a cup into the mixture, and half a cup on top. It only takes a little extra effort, but it'll pay off massively with a richer, more flavorful cornbread.

Read more: Ina Garten's 12 Best Cleaning Tips For A Mess-Free Kitchen

Additional Mix-Ins That Will Have You Cheesing

grated cheddar and block
grated cheddar and block - Cindy Shebley/Getty Images

While cheddar is typically the go-to here, it's not the only cheese you can use. Feel free to experiment with crumbled goat cheese, which would be delicious with chopped chives mixed in and caramelized onions on top, or a pumpkin puree addition for a fall-inspired batch. Or, stir about half a cup of grated parmesan into your batter. For maximum gooeyness, go with shredded mozzarella, and for a little kick, opt for pepper jack.

Of course, plenty of additional mix-ins pair perfectly with cheesy cornbread, such as minced jalapeños, diced green chiles, chili powder, cayenne, scallions, and even cut up pepperoni slices. If you go with cheddar, try folding in grated apples and honey. It may sound like an odd combination, but we know that these ingredients all work together, and the fruit and sweetener will balance out the sharpness of the cheese. Or, make a breakfast-inspired pan with bacon, sausage, or even hash browns. But if you throw some parmesan into the mix, complement it with minced garlic, red or black pepper, and herbs like basil, parsley, and oregano.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.