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Bolivian Pepper Jack Cornbread (Humintas al Horno)

12 Servings

1 hour 15 minutes 20 minutes active

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Bolivian humintas al horno has a moist, dense crumb and a savory-sweet flavor. It's not unlike a large, spiced tamale (anise and cinnamon are common) enriched with cheese. Though traditional recipes might wrap the corn mixture in husks before baking, we opted for a standard 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Corn kernels cut from fresh ears work best here. To minimize the mess when cutting, stand the ear in the center of a large bowl. With a long knife, slice downward along the length of the ear, letting the kernels fall into the bowl. If fresh corn isn't in season, thawed frozen kernels are a fine substitute; drain in a colander before using. Refrigerate leftover cornbread for up two days. To rewarm, wrap in foil and heat in a 300°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or melt a little butter in a nonstick skillet, add slices and heat for 1 to 2 minutes per side.




Don’t use coarse cornmeal; its texture is too gritty. And don't overbake this cornbread or it will be crumbly and dry.

1 hour 15 minutes

20 minutes active


  • 363

    grams (2½ cups) finely ground cornmeal, plus more for pan

  • 64

    grams (⅓ cup) white sugar


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Andrea W.
January 19, 2024
Assistance Request
I live in Italy. Can you recommend a substitution or work around using dried polenta? Thank you.
John M.
June 14, 2023
My Favorite Cornbread
I may never make cornbread any other way again. This was so good! I used Sargento Fiesta pepper jack cheese, which has red bell, jalapeno, serrano and habanero peppers in it. I also used frozen corn dried out well on paper towels. Next time I make this, I'll cut the recipe in half and use an 8x8 glass baking pan. Thanks, Ms. Bruce & Milk Street team!
Fred M.
July 25, 2023
Crazy delicious, but...
... how could it not be, with 1.5 sticks of butter and a half-pound of cheese. It's like heart attack cornbread! Yummy as heck -- yet probably best to keep as a very occasional splurge for those of us who aren't ultra-marathoners. I'm no nutritional puritan, but it'd be great if Milk Street would be just a tad more focused on recipes that are practical not only in terms of preparation but also account for 'the way we eat now' (or aspire to!) Leaning on fat is a crutch, and with some creativity there are ways to pare it back and use it strategically, so that the cheese, butter, cream, etc. really counts. My 2 cents...
Michael D.
July 10, 2023
It's a lot!
I agree that making 1/2 this recipe would be good. It's a pretty rich cornbread, and I have a lot of leftovers. I'm not sure if it's my oven or the dish I used but it took more like 45-50 minutes to cook at 375 in a glass dish.
Sandra R.
June 1, 2023
Question re: Anise Seeds
I'd like a clarification on Anise Seeds ingredient. Can the recipe substitute Fennel Seeds or Star Anise for Anise Seeds?
Margie K.

Oh, do I love this. I grew up in Wisconsin, so cheese is a plus. I did not have the star anise the first time I made it , and behold, my husband had Chinese 5 spice in the cupboard. I never tried it before, and now I use it often and ordered the star anise from the spice store in the neighborhood. So good. Who knew that I could make the cornmeal from popcorn in my blender. So fun to use your recipes. I am getting to be quite the confident cook. Thank you!

Jon S.

Might very well be our favorite cornbread ever. It certainly is my wife's!