Dutch Oven Chili and Cornbread

Cornbread on top, chili on the bottom, this Dutch oven classic is the perfect one-pot campfire meal to keep you warm and toasty all night long.

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Two of the biggest names in comfort food join forces in this Dutch oven chili & cornbread combo. True, chili and cornbread can be made in two separate pans. But by using a Dutch oven it becomes a one-pot meal. Light and fluffy cornbread layered on top of spicy chili with half the mess? Sign us up!

Serving vegetarian chili cooked in a Dutch oven on the campfire

Following in the proud tradition of shepherds pie, chicken & dumplings, and various cobblers, where something delicious is layered over something else delicious, the appeal of this cornbread and chili far exceeds the sum of its parts.

Fluffy, slightly sweet, cornbread pairs perfectly with the rich and hearty flavor of the chili. And when cooked together, you can just scoop out a big heaping spoonful and get the best of both worlds!

Why We Love It:
↠ Fluffy cornbread and hearty chili is the perfect flavor combination
↠ Why dirty two skillets when you could do it one?
↠ Perfect way to use the full potential of your Dutch oven

Man cooking over a campfire with a Dutch oven
Cooking beans and vegetables in a Dutch oven over a campfire for vegetarian chili

How to make Dutch oven chili and cornbread

Start by making your chili in the Dutch oven over the campfire. Saute the onions with a little olive oil before adding the beans, tomatoes, green chiles, tomato paste, and spices.

While that simmers away, you can turn your attention to making our cornbread batter. Our from-scratch recipe uses cornmeal, flour, milk, an egg, baking powder, and honey, but if it’s late in the season and you want to cut some corners, nobody will hold it against you if you use a store-bought mix!

Pouring cornbread batter over chili in a Dutch oven
Dutch oven cornbread and vegetarian chili on a campfire

Move the Dutch oven away from the direct heat to stop the chili from bubbling. Then, add the cornbread batter on top of the chili and cover it with the lid. Shovel some embers from the fire on top. Embers from softwood tend to lose their heat faster than those from hardwood, so if your embers start to cool, replace them with fresh ones. After roughly 20 minutes, uncover, check, and when the cornbread has cooked through and is ready, enjoy!

Pre-trip prep

Mix all the dry ingredients for the cornbread at home and store it in a sealed container.

You can make the chili at home if you really want to save some time. Store it in a container in your cooler until mealtime. Then, simply transfer the chili to your Dutch oven, top with the cornbread batter, and bake as instructed. By the time the cornbread is ready, the chili will have warmed up as well!

Dutch oven chili and cornbread in a bowl


Hands down, the most versatile piece of camp cookware we own is a Dutch oven. This piece of equipment opens up a whole new world of cooking options: you can cook stews, bake lasagna, braise chicken, and of course, make this chili & cornbread meal! It can be used on a camp stove or directly over the fire. The short legs and rimmed lid allow you to place embers/coals on top as well as underneath, cooking your meal from both directions.

You can read all about Dutch oven cooking in this post!

Other Dutch oven recipes you’ll enjoy

Dutch Oven Enchiladas
Dutch Oven Mac and Cheese
Campfire Nachos
Dutch Oven Apple Cobbler

Serving chili and cornbread from a Dutch oven

A bowl of chili and cornbread on a tree stump

Vegetarian Dutch Oven Chili & Cornbread

Cornbread on top, chili on the bottom, this Dutch oven classic is the perfect one pot campfire meal to keep you warm and toasty all night long.
Author: Fresh Off The Grid
4.7 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
6 servings


For the Chili

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

For the Cornbread Topper

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons honey


  • In a 10” / 4 qt Dutch oven over medium heat, saute the onion in oil until soft and just beginning to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and saute for 1 minute. Add the beans, tomatoes, chiles, and tomato paste, stir to combine. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.
  • In the meantime, prepare the cornbread batter. Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add the milk, egg, and honey and mix until a batter forms.
  • Move Dutch oven over indirect heat to reduce bubbling. Pour the batter over the chili as evenly as possible, then cover the Dutch oven with a lid and shovel embers or coals onto the top. You’re going for a temperature of approx. 400-425F.
  • Bake until the cornbread has cooked through and is no longer wet in the center, about 20 minutes.
  • Serve with your favorite chili toppings & enjoy!



The dry cornbread ingredients can be measured out at home and stored in a sealable container or bag. Alternatively, you could use a boxed version like Jiffy.
The chili could be made at home ahead of time and stored in a sealable container in your cooler. In camp, transfer the chili to the Dutch oven and start at step 2. Or, you could just bring along canned chili if you don't want to make it from scratch!


Nutrition (Per Serving)

Calories: 313kcal
*Nutrition is an estimate based on information provided by a third-party nutrition calculator
Main Course
camping food, dutch oven, fall
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