Cornbread Sausage Balls and Cheesy Chili-Cornbread Bake

This post is sponsored by Krusteaz®.

Tailgating season is in full swing and I wanted to share a game day spread I put together, along with two tasty recipes I came up with using Krusteaz® cornbread mixes (thanks to Krusteaz® for providing the “game day” spread ingredients and supplies!). The photo above shows the Cornbread Sausage Balls and the photo below shows the Cheesy Chili-Cornbread Bake. The two mixes I used were Krusteaz® Honey Cornbread and a great new flavor, Fire Roasted Cornbread.


You can use these mixes on their own to make either cornbread in a pan or cornbread muffins. I wanted to include some cornbread in my game day spread, so I used the Fire Roasted Cornbread mix to make muffins and they turned out really good—they’re moist and have a great mildly spicy flavor. The package directions are very easy and they’re a snap to mix up. I really can’t tell them apart from made-from-scratch cornbread—they taste so much like homemade! This mix comes with a small packet of seasoned cheese that you can sprinkle on top of the muffins for extra flavor.

I’ll show you some photos of my spread with a few tips and then I’ll share my recipes!

Above, you can see how I put all my paper plates, cups, napkins and plastic utensils in an easy-to-carry basket.

Just place the basket on whatever tailgate surface you’re using and everyone can easily take what they need from the basket. It keeps things organized and is great for when you have limited tailgating space!

I also fit most of my smaller items on a large wooden tray lined with an autumn-color tea towel. The tray is hard to see since it’s filled to the brim with food! But the tray does help make it easy to keep the dips, condiments, and finger foods in your spread organized and easy to pick and choose from. Foods that are made in larger pans or bakeware, like the Cheesy Chili-Cornbread Bake, can be set up next to the large tray. If you’re having a larger spread, you may want to use several trays. In addition to wooden trays, large wicker/woven trays or farmhouse-style metal serving trays work nicely because they’re lightweight, making them easy to carry.

Another tip, if you have limited space, is to use dips and garnishes that can be used interchangeably with all the tailgate food you’re serving. Here, I’m using guacamole, salsa, and sour cream. All three can be used as dips with the tortilla chips. They can also be used as dips for the Cornbread Sausage Balls. And they can be used as garnishes for the Cheesy Chili-Cornbread Bake.

If you’re looking for some beverage ideas for your game day spread, hot cider, hot cocoa and coffee are great for cooler-weather tailgates. It doesn’t hurt to have some sodas on hand and water, too!

The Cornbread Sausage Balls make a great finger food for game day. They’re kind of addicting, too! I modified a simple Sausage Ball recipe I like to make by using Krusteaz® Fire Roasted Cornbread mix instead of biscuit mix and adding a few other savory ingredients. These sausage balls have a medium spicy taste. You can make them even more spicy by using a spicy sausage. You can make them less spicy by using mild sausage and a honey or southern cornbread mix (Krusteaz® makes those types of mixes too). One of my friends said these Cornbread Sausage Balls would also be great for a Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving weekend breakfast or brunch!

Cornbread Sausage Balls

  • Servings: 4 1/2 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

CORNBREAD SAUSAGE BALLS by NancyC                         Cornbread Sausage Balls @ NancyC   

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen

  • 1 pound mild pork sausage
  • 2 1/3 cups cornbread mix (I used an 11.25-ounce box of Krusteaz® Fire Roasted Cornbread mix, which has about 2 1/3 cups of mix)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
  • 2/3 cup corn kernels (you can use drained canned kernels or thawed and drained frozen kernels)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions or fresh chives
  • Optional: salsa, guacamole, or sour cream for dipping (you can also mix equal parts of salsa with sour cream or plain yogurt for an easy dip!)

Preheat oven to 350˚F, two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In large bowl, combine sausage with cornbread mix, then add the cheddar cheese, green chilies, corn kernels, and green onion or fresh chives; mix until all ingredients are combined (I think its’s easiest to mix these ingredients with your hands). Shape into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350˚F for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden (you may need to bake several batches if the balls don’t all fit on 2 baking sheets, or if the 2 baking sheets won’t fit in your oven at the same time). Serve warm by themselves or with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or a blend of salsa and sour cream for dipping.

NOTE: There’s a small packet of seasoned cheese that comes with the Fire Roasted Cornbread mix—you can mix that in with the other ingredients if you want, before rolling the mixture into balls.

Recipe from NancyC |

The Cheesy Chili-Cornbread Bake is more like the main dish of the spread. There are two layers in this bake: the bottom chili layer is topped with a tasty, cheesy cornbread layer—some cheese is mixed into the cornbread batter and there’s also cheese sprinkled on top!

Cheesy Chili-Cornbread Bake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

CHEESY CHILI-CORNBREAD BAKE by NancyC                 Cheesy Chili Cornbread Bake @ NancyC

Makes a 9×13″ pan, about 12 servings


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small to medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash of salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red beans or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup thawed frozen or canned corn kernels, drained


  • 1 (15-ounce) box Krusteaz® Honey or Southern cornbread mix (about 3 cups)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or non-GMO Canola oil
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • Optional: sour cream and/or guacamole, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Lightly grease or spray a 9×13″ pan or baking dish; set aside.

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with the chopped onion until meat is cooked and onion is soft and translucent (drain any fat from the mixture). Stir in green chiles, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper (optional), beans, and corn kernels, and simmer everything for 5 minutes, then remove from heat; set aside.

In large bowl, mix cornbread mix, eggs, milk, butter or oil, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese, blending everything just until moistened.

Spoon chili mixture into prepared baking pan, spreading mixture evenly. Pour or spoon cornbread mixture evenly over the chili mixture, then bake at 375˚F for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then top with the cheddar cheese. Let cool another 5 minutes, then cut into squares and serve (or, if tailgating, keep warm in a carrier container until ready to serve). Add a dollop of sour cream and/or guacamole on top of each piece when serving if desired.

Recipe from NancyC |

Depending on the size of your tailgate party, you may need to add more finger food and another main dish item or increase the recipe amounts to fit the amount of servings you need. So, are you ready to tailgate? Have you been to any tailgate parties this season? Even if you don’t do much tailgating, these recipes are great for any party or even a casual meal!

Sharing at Pink Saturday, Farmhouse Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Grace at Home, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Wonderful Wednesday, Hearth & Soul, Inspire Me Monday.


17 thoughts on “Cornbread Sausage Balls and Cheesy Chili-Cornbread Bake

  1. applytofaceblog

    I am loving these tasty recipes. I have seen a recipe from Nigella Lawson for cornbread topped chilli and always meant to make it. Yours looks fabulous! I love the idea of your cheesy cornbread bites too. Perfect finger food. Pinned. Thank you for bringing them to #FiestaFriday


  2. Cathy Kennedy


    Thanks for sharing your recipe with INSPIRE ME MONDAY! This looks like a furtastic and fun finger food to have for any gathering. It’s been years since I’ve had sausage balls. This spicy twist sounds like something we would enjoy, so I’m saving your recipe. Your cheesy Chili Cornbread sounds a bit like my Mexican Cornbread. I basically use chili spiced ground beef, onion, sharp cheddar cheese, and jalapenos in my cornbread recipe which I serve with Cathy’s Smokin’ Hot chili. 😀 If you like mewsic, then come hit the dance floor <a href=""My 10 Favorite Albums!


  3. FrugalHausfrau

    What a great post! I could see any of these at a tailgate and I love the way you styled the photos. The pic with the sour cream and guac on top has me drooling. I’m not much of a mix person but we used their pancake mix a lot when I was at the folks and really liked it! I might have to check out these cornbread mixes especially the spicy one!


  4. Miz Helen

    We are featuring your awesome post on Full Plate Thursday, 558 this week! Thanks so much for sharing your talent with us and we hope you will come back soon!
    Miz Helen



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