sweet-corn-spoonbread Recipes

sweet corn spoonbread

What an awkward time for me to admit this, as no doubt these will grace some tables this week I’ve been gracefully invited to, but I’m not really into, well, mashed things: potatoes, yams, parsnips, root vegetables and other purees that serve as the piles to sop up everything awesome that runs off our main courses before our forks can catch it. I mean, I won’t pushed mashed potatoes away; it’s not that they actually taste bad. It’s just that I’ve never been convinced that they taste better than the sum of their copious amounts of various combinations of butter, cream, buttermilk, sour cream, crème fraîche, cream and goat cheeses. No, really, I mean copious. Jeffrey Steingarten, a man whose essay collections you should read if you have not already, found that the magic formula that elevated mashed potatoes to, well, the kind you’ll probably gush about on Thursday night fell somewhere between one and four sticks (a pound) of butter for every two pounds (two to three) of potatoes. I know, I know: “Deb, you are such a party pooper.”

some stuff you need

But I delight in cornbread. And this, corn bread meets pudding meets soufflé under the alias of spoonbread, is something that I would happily heap on my plate and eat it without fear that my heart might give out before I can get to the pie. A Thanksgiving without pie would be unacceptable, afterall. I’m not saying this is health food — guys, I hope you know I would never do that to you so close to the eatingest holiday of the year — it is, afterall, whole milk, eggs and butter, but it has a richness that suggests so much more.

splashy but worthwhile

egg whites, stiff

I tried to write something here about the history of spoonbread. I occasionally do things like that, flex my rusty research muscles and whatnot, but it got too long, because corn, as you probably know, is stuff with a history. Suffice it to say, it is the essence of culinary compromise as the Old Worlders had to adapt their cakes and puddings to pesky New World ingredients like corn and the Thanksgivingness of it cannot be denied. Tall and generous, rich and custard-like, cornbread never had it so good. But if your Thanksgiving dance card table is already full, do consider this for breakfast the next day, as I have an itch to drizzle it with maple syrup and serve it with scrambled eggs and bacon, for those of us who will probably fall asleep before the meal is done.

ready to bake, gray day
sweet corn spoonbread
served

Thanksgiving, if you’re still planning: Not a moment too soon, we’ve got the Thanksgiving Index updated with recipe leads. Want more? You can view recipes by fruit or vegetable in the Recipe Index.

One year ago: Creamed Spinach and Gingerbread Apple Upside-Down Cake
Two years ago: Olive Oil Muffins, Chicken Pot Pie, Chocolate Toffee Cookies, Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Meyer Lemon and Fresh Cranberry Scones, Winter Fruit Salad and Mushroom and Barley Pie
Three years ago: Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies, Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts in Brown Butter and Nutmeg-Maple Cream Pie
Four years ago: Chocolate Stout Cake, Couscous and Feta-Stuffed Peppers, Cream of Tomato Soup and Three Cranberry Sauces

Sweet Corn Spoonbread
Adapted, just a little, from Cook’s Country

As originally written, this recipe used a ridiculous amount of dishes and appliances. I run into this a lot in the CI universe; I have great respect for what they do, this attempt at perfect recipes, but they often leave me questioning if it is worth all that. Fortunately, this is. That said, I found a place or two where the recipe could be streamlined, and if you have an immersion blender, this is a great time to use it and save yourself energy. Finally, the recipe suggests you preheat your oven before you begin. For me, this led to an oven running at 400 degrees for an hour — silly. But some ovens take longer than others to preheat; if yours is one of them, turn it on when the recipe suggests. If not, find a time 20 minutes or so before you need to bake it.

Serves 6, generously

1 cup cornmeal
2 3/4 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing dish
2 cups corn kernels (from 3 to 4 ears of corn, or frozen, if defrosted and well drained)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 large eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 400°F (see Note above if this seems too early). Very generously grease a 1 1/2 quart soufflé dish or an 8-inch square baking dish. Whisk cornmeal and 3/4 cup of milk in a small bowl until combined and set aside.

Melt butter in a Dutch oven or large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Cook corn until beginning to brown, which can take as little as 3 minutes with fresh corn but with defrosted frozen corn, took me closer to 10 minutes. Stir in sugar, salt, cayenne and remaining 2 cups milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let mixture steep for 15 minutes.

If you’ve got an immersion blender, please use it to save time. Otherwise, transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Back in the pot (or still, if it had never left) bring it back to a boil, reduce heat to low and add the cornmeal-milk mixture, whisking constantly until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. If you want to do fewer dishes and don’t mind if it takes longer to cool, you can leave it in the pot. Otherwise, transfer to a large bowl and return mixture to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Once cool, whisk in egg yolks. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form and fold it in to the corn mixture, one-third at a time. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and baked until spoonbread is golden brown and has risen above rim of dish, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

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223 comments on sweet corn spoonbread

  1. I heart my immersion blender more then words can say. And I love the morning after idea. Is it weird that I have never made a turkey as I nver host a holiday and that is way too much food for 2 people, but I mourn this fact not for the full bird, but because I have never been able to try to make a turkey hash I read about in Gourmet like 3 years ago. I am all about the next day brunch.

  2. Oh. My. Goodness. I have been looking for a spoonbread recipe for a long time. My family and I often go to Colonial Williamburg, Virginia. At a restaurant there called Christiana Campbell’s, they serve spoonbread that makes me want to never want to eat anything but that for the rest of my life. I will have to try your version!

  3. Oh.. *sigh* this looks lovely, and if you say the texture is rich and custard-like, well then I am sold. I bet it would be AMAZING for breakfast like you suggest, because everything goes better with bacon right? :) Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Patricia

    Yum.

    I went to college in Berea, KY and stayed there years after. Having had our very own annual Cornbread Festival to stifle my cravings up until a few years ago, I must say I now really miss the dish.

    What’s the consistency of this recipe like inside? From the picture, it looks maybe drier than the almost pudding-like spoonbread I’m used to. That could just be the picture, though.

  5. Frances

    My mother made spoonbread when I was little. Before baking, she topped it with cooked sausage crumbles and shredded cheddar. I think she may have also used sauteed mushrooms occasionally.

  6. Liz

    This looks great and reminds me of one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes! I make a corn pudding that has this base, but adds green onions, red peppers, jalapenos and cheese and is served with a garlic-y roasted red pepper sauce. So good!

  7. Will this act like a souffle and fall after it’s made? I’d love to make it but if it’s served on a day other than thanksgiving, we wouldn’t be able to eat it all in one meal (well we would but hopefully we wouldn’t ;) )

    1. deb

      Rachael and others who have asked about cooking this ahead of time — It falls, but not much. Basically, the longer it sits, the more dense it gets but even now on day two in the fridge (boy is Jacob going to be excited at lunchtime!) it’s still fluffy. Just not as much.

  8. Leslie Freeman

    Where’s your little monkey?? Busy building up an appetite for tomorrow I expect! We do English style crisp roast potatoes, the mashed spuds have taken a back seat.

  9. I find that about CI, too. Not just about the dishes, but sometimes the very order of prep. One of my favorite recipes of theirs, chicken tikka masala, I cut 15 minutes off the entire thing by simply switching when the meat was broiled. But I guess when you’re doing that level of experimentation, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees.

  10. sara

    Hi Deb,

    Would it be possible to make this the day before eating it, or even the morning of? I’m going to someone else’s house for Txgiving and don’t fancy cooking in their kitchen.

  11. Jane

    Love Love Love cornbread casserole as we called it when I was growing up. I requested the dish all the time with BBQ chicken or ribs for my birthday. Our’s was more bread puddingish than souffle-like, which I think I still prefer, but yours certainly looks worth a shot! Believe it or not, with as much as I enjoy cornmeal dishes I only just discovered cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving a few years ago, but I’ve already found a delicious spicy version that I love to make.

    P.S. I just started working at Eataly in NY, (have you been yet?) and last night as I was cleaning up a couple stopped by me on their way out, two of the last customers of the night, Jeffery Steingarten and a woman that I’m guessing may have been his wife. Pretty exciting.

  12. Pallavi

    This is gorgeous. I just wish I had it before I shopped for my Thanksgiving menu! This looks so much better than the mashed potatoes I’m planning.

  13. Mmmm butter, lots of butter. My mind wanders at the thought. Your right, it can be too much. Now this spoonbread, that another story. I think you have the right idea, drizzling it with maple syrup.

    -Brenda

  14. Kate G

    I have a question about the cooking this ahead – any recommendations for reheating it? Say if it was cooked a few hours in advance of a meal, would you want to put it back in the over, heat it in the microwave, or serve it at room temperature?
    Thanks!

  15. Suzanne

    Thanks for reminding me about this, I was looking for something corny to add to tomorrows menu…oh yeah, I’m one of the test cooks for CI & CC. We try to cut the recipes down to manageable levels, but the professionals get the final word. I have a great recipe from my Penna Dutch grandmother combining mashed potatoes & filling that goes on our Thanksgiving table every year. By the way, there’s a summer peach cake coming up that will bring tears to your eyes!

  16. I absolutely love anything with corn in it so this recipes seems to hit the spot. I’ve never had spoonbread though, but goodness knows it’s never too late to start! I can’t wait to try out this recipe! and Jeffrey Steingarten is one of my favorites! esp as a judge on Iron Chef. He really knows what he’s talking about, and his history as a lawyer compels me even more.

  17. Elisheva

    Deb, could I cut out another dish to wash by transferring it from the pot to the buttered baking dish and adding the yolks and whites directly to that? Or would that mess up all the careful buttering of the pan?

  18. Even though I happen to have the world’s best cornbread recipe, this is tempting me to stray. The souffle-ness, the scoopiness, the perfectly-browned top…oh, it calls to me. I might have to cheat on my grandmother’s recipe and make this, but calling it something different, like spoon bread, might make me feel better about it. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

  19. I love cornbread and corn pudding. Make it all the time and have thought seriously about spoonbread. This might be all the encouragement that I need, that and the corn I froze from this summer. This looks like a delicious recipe. Love the touch of cayenne.

  20. amy

    this looks amazing. one pitfall for me though: I try to do everything without a blender/food processor. If this was a food made in “early times”, how was it made before the blender/food processor existed?

    1. deb

      amy — This isn’t a classic recipe. The fresh corn kernels aren’t traditional. That said, there have always been tools to puree things (mortar and pestles, namely) but they were a ton more work. Here’s to the FP!

  21. Coralie

    Deb,

    I know just what you mean about the mashed things! I am on a parsnip kick these days, and trying to get others turned on to them. I love the taste- sort of a cross between a potato and a carrot, and they have so much richness on their own, that a little dollop of butter, some broth and S&P are enough to make the most butter and cream-laden mashed potatoes seem heavy and tasteless in comparison. Good stuff!

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. deb

      cara — If you’re serving a crowd, you might as well scale up anyway. If you’re not, it will still puff but you might not get that pretty dome (which was actually even higher before I grabbed the camera) you see in the photo. But it doesn’t mean it won’t taste as good.

  22. cara

    Deb – Thanks, that’s what I thought. I once tried to make a souffle to impress a date and used a springform pan (I didn’t have a souffle dish at the time) which was way larger that it called for though I didn’t realize that until after I poured the mixture in, and it didn’t rise, since it didn’t have the walls to climb up. It was tasty, but flat. That same date (now my boyfriend) bought me a souffle dish for my birthday. The next one I made was perfect.

  23. Elanor

    I have a similar recipe to this that involves a box of Jiffy, a can of creamed and a can of whole-kernel corn. You add about 1/4 cup of sour cream and an egg, mix well and bake for 45 minutes. Indeed it is yummy!

  24. I love my immersion blender and I love any type of cornbread – this one looks fantastic! We’re going to my mother’s for Thanksgiving, but I want to figure out how to make this at my place and bring it over…if not, I love your breakfast the next day suggestion! Happy Thanksgiving!

  25. Lisa

    Thanks so much for the recipe idea! I just came to check if you had posted any new recipes for Thanksgiving to give me an additional dish idea…and there it is! YUM!!! Quick question for you…I loved (not LOVED) my handheld immersion blender, but it was a cheap one, and it died two weeks ago when I was pureeing a soup. I want to ask for a good quality one for Christmas. Are there certain brands you recommend that you know are good quality and will hold up? I absolutely love blending in the pot and saving myself from more dirty dishes!!!

    1. deb

      Lisa — I’ve got no hand blender expertise because I only have, well, the only one I’ve ever had, this one from Cuisinart which, no joke, Amazon just informed me I purchased on May 9, 2006! [Not creepy at all, Amazon. Nope.] Looks like there’s a newer, cheaper version that gets raving reviews, I’d buy that one today.

      Karen — Typo, fixed now. Add all of the sugar at once.

  26. Lisa

    P.S.-Can you make the recipe up to the point of putting it in the prepared baking dish and then put it in the refrigerator overnight and bake the next day?

  27. That spoonbread looks lovely! And the color….awwww
    Just a note, mashed potatoes don’t HAVE to be over the top rich. Actually the way my Mother made them when I was growing up, I didn’t even realize people added milk or cream to them! Mashed potatoes were exactly what they sound like, mashed…potatoes. And they were delicious, and when heaped on a plate with a dollop of butter, ON them, not in, mmmmmmmm
    I still stick pretty close to that method only I get a little crazy and add a splash of whole milk for creaminess and a tiny bit of coconut oil along with the required salt and pepper. :)

  28. jessica

    I have been searching for the right spoonbread recipe for ages — AGES! Google hardly comes up with anything worthwhile, and I’d sort of given up trying. My family is a mash of Southern/Texan/Irish/EastCoast/Midwestern cooks and I could not for the life of me find a match for my grandpa’s spoonbread. I have a feeling this might be it. Thank you!

  29. This happened. I swear it happened. I got out my mother’s old recipes the other day and thought, I should make her spoonbread, no one does that anymore. I think on it for a day or two then gear up to begin cooking when your lovely spoonbread post showed up in my reader this morning. The very thing, well not exactly the very thing, but close, that I was going to make and post. I even bought the last of our local corn to add to it. I swear I’m not channeling you. At least I think I’m not…

  30. This recipe looks fantastic! Sometimes regular cornbread is a bit dry for my taste and this looks perfect! I can’t wait to try it. I’ve been following your blog for awhile and wanted to let you know that I gave you a Stylish Blogger Award. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  31. Leah Bergman

    Oh thank you, thank you for this recipe! It looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it. I think this would be a great brunch side dish for the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving!

  32. Mashed things aren’t my favorite either. I’d much rather have a whole potato than a mashed one. Then I can smoosh whatever I want into it!
    I have always wanted to make spoon bread, ever since I read of it’s existence. Now I’ve seen it and I’m committed: spoon bread, here I come!

  33. michelle

    Wow! This looks so much better than the one I planned on making tomorrow – will have to try this instead. Just made your mother’s cranberry sauce. Yum! Couldn’t wait so I dumped a bunch of it on top of plain Greek yogurt and it was delicious…

  34. This looks perfectly amazing! And I’ll likely be making it as soon as I’m hungry again after Thanksgiving :)

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!!!!

  35. Great. Now I have to make this tomorrow for Thanksgiving. I was just going to make one dessert for my part and now I can’t resist making this too. Sitting here salivating at my office. Thanks a lot!

  36. Momcat

    Been looking for gluten-free side dishes for Christmas. This will be great, except I will have to substitute soy milk and soy margarine for the real things, since my celiac brother-in-law can’t have dairy either. I still think it will be delicious with the ham!

  37. Susan

    I remember spoonbread from when I was a kid. I was sort of neutral about it. This looks interesting in that it sounds fluffier and with more real corn flavor. Might be a good replacement for the typical corn pudding/casserole that graces many Thanksgiving tables. I make a CI recipe for southern style cornbread (without flour) where they have you lightly oven toast the cornmeal to crank up the flavor. It’s fabulous, but as you pointed out about CI recipes, it’s step-y and pan-y, but I’ve applied that technique to other cornbread recipes calling for cornmeal with good result. I wonder if it would translate well in this one.

  38. I was just saying yesterday that I wanted to make a ‘corn soft something’ side dish yesterday…. and this is perfect. Can’t wait to try it! I intend to do everything up to the eggs ahead of time, and have it sit on the counter, then fold in the eggs and throw it in the oven right before dinner is served.
    P.S. I am also making your creamed onions!
    THANK YOU for being an inspiration to us all, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your sweet family.

  39. Marie M.C.

    Oh Deb, thankyouthankyouthankyou. Years ago I ate something wonderful at a restaurant. I asked the waiter: “What is this wonderful corn thing-y?” Answer: “Mumble, mumble, mumble.” I’m quoting his exact words. I have a good feeling this might be the mystery dish. BYW, I was talking to someone recently who swears that Green Giant “Peaches and Cream” frozen corn is the best. Unless you can get fresh. (I’d never heard of it.) Happy Thanksgiving all!

  40. Katie D.

    Hi Deb!

    I was overly excited when I saw the preview photos on Flickr so this morning when I turned on my computer, seeing this post made my day! As an American living in Singapore, this dish is sure to remind me of my classic childhood memories.

    Thank you!

  41. i’ve never had spoonbread before…it looks so nourishing and delicious. the pictures make me crave cheese souffle.

    do you think sweet potato or pumpkin could be substituted for the corn?

    :)

    1. deb

      cookie — You might enjoy this recipe, from Matt of mattbites.com

      Lisa — I haven’t tried it, so I can’t make any promises but I’d approach it by putting together everything but the eggs, or at least the egg whites. Put the bowl in the fridge, whip the egg whites, fold them in and then bake it in your buttered dish in the morning. The egg whites will otherwise deflate overnight, before it bakes and you won’t get the souffle effect.

  42. I love to look back at your older recipes. It’s a walk down memory lane. :) This looks great, but I wish that I could make Ina’s mashed celery root/ apple/ fennel combo for you. It would change your mind about mashed things; I promise!

  43. OMG I had totally forgotten all about spoonbread. Have not eaten it in years, but it is coming back in the food rotation thanks to you! My recipe is slightly different. Spoonbread in the deep South is like chess pie … everybody has their own variation. Just have one question — how coarse was your cornmeal? Down here all the real cooks who use cornmeal will tell you about which grind they prefer with each recipe. I do know that Jim Dandy has served me well, but I just heard about Georgia polenta grind. Do you mind telling me what you used? Thanks and Happy T-Day!

    1. deb

      The Mom — I used, like, coarse yellow cheap stuff. We don’t have the same range of cornmeal options up here, though we do have better than I keep around.

  44. Fi

    As a spoonbread virgin the idea of this seems wonderful. I’m always on the lookout for classic dishes I haven’t tried, so this one is now on my radar as one to try pronto. Thanks for sharing.

  45. This looks yummy. I’ve never made spoonbread. But I HAVE made cornbread, and I am so excited because I get to make some tomorrow. And my version is killer good.

  46. Man, I am so with you on CI. I have every issue of the magazine going back to 1993 and yet every issue makes me wonder what in the world they are thinking. But, spoonbread: I love spoonbread, but the trouble I have with it is working it into a meal. I can do a cheese soufflé and call it dinner, but spoonbread is a side dish, and I’m always making something like roast chicken when I think of it, and either I can’t make them both fit in the oven, or they need two different temperatures, or I can’t time everything right (because you have to serve it immeidately), or I just don’t have time to deal with it. Maybe I need to treat the spoonbread as the centerpiece — this recipe would seem to demand it, and I’ll take your word that it’s worth it — and just serve it with a salad and something cold and leftover, like ham. And give up on the idea that it’s a side dish.

  47. I am the opposite of you when it comes to mashed things- mashed potatoes of any variety are my fave! My dad is from the South and we grew up noshing on cornbread, but I have never heard of spoon bread….it’s one to try!

  48. My Own Awkward Admission: I have always been scared of spoonbread. So much so that I have never tried it. Mostly because I really don’t care for super-soggy bread and I just assumed, from descriptions and the manner in which spoonbread is served, that the finished product would be super soggy.

    But I do believe you have cured me of my misimpression! Your spoonbread looks like and fluffy, with just the right amount of moisture – I am actually drooling instead of cringing!

    Thank you so much for this delicious post.

    P.S. Thank you also for the last minute Thanksgiving ideas – much appreciated!

  49. I’ll be having a super low key thanksgiving this year, just my husband and I. We have a few ideas of what we will make tomorrow, but I might just make this, too. Looks so good.

  50. Paula

    I’m relieved to hear someone else admit this: I, too, am somewhat repulsed by all things mashed! Oh, and I intensely dislike mashed potatoes!!! Do like my root veggies sliced and roasted or baked. (Fried’s good too.) I am enchanted by the spoonbread, not something you see on New England dinner tables, need to try this. Happy Turkey Day, and thanks for all the great food inspiration!

  51. Gracethroughchocolate

    I’ve been craving carbs for days, had all the ingredients for this in the fridge, and made it for dinner! Hooray! It’s a perfect dish to make on a cold day–not only does it warm you when you eat it and heat up the kitchen during baking, but I set the pot under my desk to cool and it was as good as a space heater. ;) I used skim milk, only 1 T of butter, and 1 T of drippings from last night’s steak, and it was WONDERFUL.

  52. I understand your belief about mashed and pureed things, though I personally love mashed potatoes. I learned not so long ago that I could make great mashed potatoes with homemade chicken stock and a little fat free yogurt cheese (super tangy and delicious, basically a replacement for butter and sour cream and the like.) I find that I like it better or just as much as the half and half and butter batches I have made to compare it to, and really, why waste the fat and calories on something that can be made just as deliciously without them? And then I get to eat more cheese heavy, wonderful, and horrible for me appetizers.

  53. Ruthie

    wow…I dreamed about corn muffins last night…and the first thing I see in my email is your corn spoonbread recipe.

    so sorry this wasn’t in last weeks column, as I have already made a cornbread dressing that has corn kernels, jalapenos, red peppers, onions, etc.

    tempted to have this instead of the rich, butter and cream laden mashed spuds…but I am afraid my husband would be disappointed. this will definitely be on our menu for christmas!

  54. Crystal

    I almost licked my screen. No joke. I love corn pudding, and this looks even better than that! I guess you know what we will be eating at my house sometime soon!

  55. Travels4Food

    It’s corn! It’s gluten-free! It’s not mashed potatoes! It’s the first thing I’ve been excited to cook for Thanksgiving in I don’t know how long, maybe forever. Thanks SO much, Deb. And btw, please just know that you really do have one of the most adorable children I have ever seen, and I don’t even particularly LIKE children.

  56. Travels4Food

    oh, and p.s. – Trader Joe’s has uber-delectable super-sweet corn in their frozen vegetable section. Buy the stuff that actually says “sweet corn” rather than the one that doesn’t or the roasted version.

  57. Most people are afraid to make a soufflé – it won’t rise, it will fall, etc. This recipe takes away all the fear. A couple of years ago, in preparation for teaching a soufflé class, I decided to use grits (my son-in-law’s favorite thing) and it turned out great, very similiar to this one. The great thing is you can add other ingredients – jalapenos, roasted red bell peppers – to up the ante.

  58. Sarah

    Wonderful! I just made this! I did not want to pull the blender out, so I didn’t blend the mixture. I used frozen corn that I cut off the cob this summer, so the kernels were small and tender. I think that the texture combination of souffle and whole kernels is wonderful, so don’t let the lack of blender stop you from making this!

  59. suzanne

    I went shopping today (Thanksgiving Day) to the only food store open – Walmart – to get the ingredients I needed to make this as it sounds really delicious..If you dry the frozen sweet corn on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and blot it on top too, before sauteing, it will not take so long to brown.

  60. Terri

    Oh my. Jacob just keeps getting cuter and cuter! Sorry to bother you with a silly question, but does this recipe use table salt or coarse salt? Happy Thanksgiving from your fan in Canada!

    1. deb

      Terri — Table salt. I always use it, unless I specify otherwise. I like coarse salts, but they range so much in saltiness, I have trouble promising the same taste to everyone who makes it.

  61. This looks delicious, and I love corn. My roommate (who’s from Kentucky) introduced me to corn pudding at a pre-Thanksgiving dinner we made in our dorm kitchen last Sunday and I’ve fallen in love. I may have to (try) to one up her with this recipe!

  62. LivedinItaly

    Why did I not see this before this morning? :( Maybe for the better on Thanksgiving day. If one wanted to add chili peppers for a little extra kick what would one recommend and just how much?

  63. Ok, I see where you are coming from re the creamy mashed veg, but I just can’t agree with you. Butter, cream and dairy products in general was put on this earth to enjoy – just not all the time, so on the odd occasion they should find a place on the table!
    And i have the hips to prove it!!

  64. Oh, I’m with you when it comes to maple syrup on this stuff tomorrow morning–an inspired idea. Way to make use of your leftovers! I know what you mean about CI recipes and wondering now and again if it’s “worth all that.” I often think the same thing about those. You tell it like it is, Deb, and I really like that!

  65. K

    Can you line the dish to prevent it from sticking? (Does that work for ‘souffles’ I’ve never made one before)

    Also if no square pan or souffle dish, what else could work?

    (Ive just started cooking from your blog and you’re using a square pan quite a bit so I might have to buy one! :))

  66. mary

    i made this tonight. it was more like a corn pudding, but delicious none the less. i wonder what i did wrong. i also made the dark chocolate gingersnap torte, which was outta this world!!
    happy thanksgiving! i’m so glad i found your blog. i can’t wait to make ALL of your recipes!!

  67. I can understand the viewpoint that mashed potatoes are lesser than the rest of the plate though they are at least this vegetarian’s favorite part of the plate. I make the caramelized shallots from here, chop them up and put them in mashed potatoes with the scrapings, milk and whatever partial stick of butter I have in the fridge. Delicious!

  68. I recently ate the most amazing app at this restaurant in pdx called Screen Door that was confit pork belly, seared, and laid on a bed of corn spoon bread. I’m slowly becoming obsessed with spoon bread of all types. . . in my mind. It might be time to break out and start making it at home.

  69. Jiffy

    Wow, this looks good :)

    A little off subject, but I must say THANK YOU!! I have always made the full thanksgiving dinner, but always had someone else bring dessert. Your Sweet Potato, Apple, and Chocolate Puuding pies were an incredible final touch. Pie crust 101, 102 & 103 were exactly what I needed to master pie. Again, thank you!

  70. Joe

    You should give Ina Garten’s garlic mashed potatoes a try- they’re made with olive oil instead of butter and have just a really nice flavor. I think it’s from the Paris book next to the caramelized shallots.

  71. linda

    thank you for your posts, recipes & allowing us to watch jacob grow!

    i enjoy reading the comment section as well for i generally find a tip or a rid-bit…

    we all have a lot to be thankful for…so as the holiday season gears up, i look forward to learning, growing & sharing with SK.

  72. kb

    I made this last night for some post-Thanksgiving guests and it was wonderful. The only problem, which was completely my fault, is that I failed to account for all the time seeping and cooling, so the spoonbread was served along with dessert rather than dinner. If only I had thought through your comment about the oven stayed preheated for so long. I’m glad to see someone commented that it would turn out similarly good keeping the corn kernels whole. I’ve always liked cornbread with whole kernels in it and I think having the whole kernel along with the texture of the cornmeal would be a nice contrast.

  73. what #143 said… so annoying!

    {btw i feel exactly the same way about mashed food. this year i sat so far away from the hostess that i was able to get away with not touching any of it.}

  74. Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe. I would definitely try this at home. I recalled when my mom used to ask me to eat my dinner because she had prepared a cake for me :) I love my childhood dining experience…

  75. spyglassweb

    This was just OK. The texture was fabulous, light and smooth. But the flavor was bland. I think that it needs to be a little sweet. We took the suggestion of having the next day with butter and maple syrup and it was great.

  76. I was late to the party – didn’t know about this until Friday. No matter! I made it immediately and ate it with leftover smoked turkey. It was perfect! I scaled it down to one egg for my small party of one and had the leftover for breakfast. Yummy even reheated!
    Your sweet potato salad was much appreciated at Thanksgiving dinner, too.
    Thanks Deb!

  77. sfm

    This looks delicious. But while I was looking at your lovely shots of corn batter, that disgusting Mucinex animation was shouting “… when mucus makes you cough…” Then it went to a Lysol ad. I’ve lost my appetite for now! I know the advertisements are necessary, I just hope they’re worth it. (Too bad they can’t be targeted to your site’s content like, say, Google does.)

  78. jojo

    This looks yummy, and I will definitely try it! Your recipes totally rock!

    I also wanted to thank you for turning me on to Y. Ottolenghi! I just received both his books…gorgeous!

    Any suggestions on the best way to freeze fresh summer corn?

    And yes, I ‘d rather live without the obnoxious, imposing ads while loving your photographs and getting inspired.

  79. linda

    i just clicked over the URL & the voiceover stopped.

    your followers know that you would be upset over this annoyance & given that your ads are discreet (& that you have resisted ads for such a long time) …i think everyone needs to chill.
    it’s holiday time & we need to be grateful for the “bounty” we have on SK.

  80. Francheska

    Furious emails? Can’t people just ignore the ads? Your site is impeccable I’ve never noticed any annoying ads, I come here for the recipes that have never disappointed me and the cute baby pictures

  81. When I saw there was 151 comments I knew they wouldn’t all be about spoonbread. Adore the site and very cool to see you addressing the sudden, loud interruption to my adoration! I’ve noticed this on quite a few sites recently, must be part of a new campaign.

  82. Anna

    I made this for thanksgiving, soon after seeing the recipe posted online…It was really tasty! My egg whites were an epic fail, but even with only half-frothy egg whites, the spoon bread came out really well (more like corn bread than souffle, though). We ate it on Thanksgiving day with turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes, and then the following morning with maple syrup (and pie). My parents were very pleased with the dish, however I did manage to get a ton of dishes dirty and my immersion blender splattered buttery milk all over everything :).

  83. Lori

    I love spoonbread but have not made it in several years. Thanks for the reminder and the surprisingly robust recipe! I made all kinds of shortcuts and substitutions and it was still wonderful (only had buttermilk on hand, used a mix of medium and fine ground cornmeal, didn’t blend corn very well, etc)

  84. Kassia

    I’m not a big fan of mashed potatoes in general, either…they can be so bland without tons of toppings! But these slightly-mashed-potatoes-and-leeks are amazing. I have not made them with parsnips yet because I couldn’t find them at my grocery store. They have are slightly chunky and the leeks retain their texture and the flavor is so good, I didn’t want to put gravy on them.

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Parsnip-Leek-Potato-Mash-109031

    If you ever have the desire to try something new in the mashed potato category!

  85. I made this tonight, and it was heavenly. My husband and I had eaten a custardy cornbread while we were on a long weekend in Maryland, and I thought I could replicate it if I made a spoonbread. This recipe fit the bill perfectly. The one thing I altered is that I love having whole corn kernels in my cornbread, so I made it without pureeing it. The souffle didn’t rise as high as I had hoped, but it was still light and fluffy and wonderful.

    Thanks so much for the recipe!

  86. Bobanda

    Yes – this is my mother-in-law’s first holiday season since being diagnosed with celiac. Her mother used to make spoon bread and you posted this recipe with perfect timing so I called her and suggested swapping out the stuffing and subbing in this and she was delighted. Thanks!

  87. I just made this tonight! Unfortunately, I didn’t achieve the awesome puff that yours did but I really like this recipe. Mine came out to be a way less dry cornbread. perfect with soup!

  88. So if you read this post and enjoy the adorable Jacob photo right before bed, you dream that you drive into the city, know where Deb lives, she invites you into her home, lets you hold Jacob, and is making a mint cake, flavored with — toothpaste!! Very weird and slightly creepy.
    I woke up and was so glad to realize the toothpaste cake was just a very bad dream.

  89. blueka

    Did you use the frozen corn? I saw this recipe on the CC show and since fresh corn isn’t really available, i wondered about using the frozen stuff. Great recipe!!!

  90. Just wanted to write and say we made the sweet potato discs with the goat cheese topping and they were a HUGE hit. Absolutely delish. Thanks again and hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  91. Connie

    I made this to go along with turkey tortilla soup (obligate Thanksgivingness leftovers) and it was the perfect accompaniment. Very nice change of pace.

  92. Liz

    I am planning to try this recipe as a replacement for cornbread with chili next weekend – so excited to try a new gluten-free recipe!

    I was wondering, do you think it would work to pour the batter into individual ramekins and adjust the baking time? I just bought some adorable ramekins and I am dying for excuses to use them. Thanks so much!

    1. deb

      Liz — Definitely. Can’t tell you the baking time without trying it myself, but it will be significantly less so keep an eye on the first batch.

      Alexandra — It’s more dinner than dessert. It could serve as bread.

  93. Elizabeth

    Does anyone have any thoughts on what the addition of more sweetener would do to this recipe? I am a philistine and love yankee style corn bread type things that are far sweeter than more traditional recipes. Thanks!!!

  94. cb72

    I made it for dinner last night. Big hit- I watched eyebrows rise around the table when they realized this was something extra-delicious. I screwed up the egg whites, I admit- do not use immersion blender for that task!

  95. Paula

    Deb,

    I check out your site EVERY day and love all your recipes. I just wanted to let you know that your awesome site was linked to Not Cot today. Maybe that isn’t big doings for you, but I just got soooooo excited for you and your little Jacob.

    Congrats and I can’t wait for the book.

  96. i’m in love with this recipe. i want to sprint to the store, barefoot in my sweaty gym clothes, just to make these immediately. but, i suppose i can wait. i suppose.

  97. Melissa A

    I made this tonight, learned a few lessons along the way….
    Critical mistake was using a souffle pan that was too large, it didn’t rise above the rim so I think the consistency wasn’t right. It was pretty dry. I also think it could use about double the sugar. Maybe my corn wasn’t sweet enough but it barely tasted sweet.
    I will try again to get it right!

  98. Travels4Food

    I made this last night, and I’m kind of thinking it might be helpful to write at the very top of your recipes roughly how long they will take – all in all, this was over an hour and a half in the making/baking, and for all that time, I’m not entirely sure it was worth it. I added nutmeg to the batter and a little extra salt, which helped with the bland factor others commented on, but it was still underwhelming. I do have to say, though, that for dessert I served it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, some maple syrup, and a very light sprinkle of sea salt, and we all pretty much fell off our chairs. So maybe it’s just one of those versatile dishes, which makes up for the time spent!

  99. Wedje

    why, when i look at these pics, do i keep thinking “pumpkin”. i shall need to play with this and see if i can combine the two into something called pumpkin corn spoonbread. it’ll either be wretched or really awesome. maybe just adding some pumpkin pie spices would do it. i shall try the basic recipe and then start modifying.

  100. Mayor Quimby

    We made this and we just love it. We didn’t have regular milk, so we used buttermilk, and we added a little grated parmesan and some hot sauce. Frozen extra sweet corn from Trader Joe’s, thawed, and drained in the salad spinner, was just right.

    I’ve made a lot of cornbreads and spoon breads, and this method produced a wonderful result, both when it was hot from the oven, and after it had settled and cooled.

  101. never ever had cornbread in my life, but this is so tempting I’d like to give it a try, maybe for Christmas. One thing, though: here in Italy frozen corn is not available, what would happen if I subbed it for canned kernels? I suppose I’d have to skip the cooking step and go straight for the steeping, but what about flavour/texture? I’d hate to give this up just because I can’t find frozen corn :(

    thanks as usual Deb for the amazingly tempting recipes <3

  102. Melissa A – I had the same issue. I made this last night and it just wasn’t sweet enough, or salty enough; it just felt like the flavor was hiding, not quite being coaxed out.

    I followed directions to a T, using immersion blender, dutch oven, large souffle dish, etc…. but the flavor was the issue.

    Next time I’d actually be tempted to grate some cheese into it instead of more salt and would definitely add sugar when browning the corn; I’d also use a wider pan with more surface area to do the corn so that it steamed/fried less and caramelized more.

    Any thoughts Deb?

  103. Jen

    The spoonbread was a huge hit at my dinner table last night. I made a couple changes to the recipe. First, I added chopped onion to the browning corn. Then, I used the lazy man’s or as I like to think of it, the rustic method :). After seeing a mounting pile of dishes in my sink, I couldn’t bare to dirty my blender so I didn’t blend the corn-milk mixture. I used it as is. Lastly, before adding the yolks, I tasted the batter and it was a little underseasoned for my taste, but I like bold flavors. I added a ton of pepper and a few shakes of salt. The spoonbread still rose beautifully and tasted great. Thanks Deb!!! I love this site.

  104. Toni

    Wow! A friend made this for a dinner party last night and it is incredible! Warm, pleasing to palate and comfort needs. Can’t wait to try it myself (he did add more salt and black pepper as well). Excellent flavors all around.

  105. Carol

    Deb, Thank you for this recipe! My boyfriend and I had our “holiday feast” last night, and this was so impressive! It puffed up and turned golden just like a souffle and had a wonderful texture that had most of my guests asking how I made cornbread better! I use recipes that you post very frequently, thank you for the time you take to do everything, and I look forward to the eventual publication of your cookbook!

  106. Deb, Thank you for this recipe! My boyfriend and I had our “holiday feast” last night, and this was so impressive! It puffed up and turned golden just like a souffle and had a wonderful texture that had most of my guests asking how I made cornbread better! I use recipes that you post very frequently, thank you for the time you take to do everything, and I look forward to the eventual publication of your cookbook!

  107. Eileen

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I’ve lived in the South for 11 years now & decided it was high time to cook some classic Southern recipes. Alongside some Hoppin’ John & Collards, it made the perfect New Year’s meal. Thank you!

  108. daphne

    i must say, this recipe was quite the endeavor. i had to whip out the blender and the mixer, not to mention the pot and dirty dishes created. the end product was beautiful, all souffle-like and golden brown, but taste-wise it was a little bland for me. definitely not meant to be eaten by itself. i made it for breakfast, and we had it with some sausage and bacon, so the salt in the meat helped it out.
    i’ll try it with some grated cheese or jalapenos next time. or it would be perfect with some gravy. it’s nice to have a lighter alternative to cornbread (which is made all the time in this household). thanks deb!

  109. Eileen

    PS. I forgot to mention that I used nonstick cooking spray on the pan, and it kept the bread from sticking. I recommend it. I can also testify that the leftovers make a great breakfast the next morning, drizzled with maple syrup as Deb suggests. It’s different the next day, but delicious!

  110. This bread looks so delicious. I always thought that sweet corn would be good ingredients for a cake I just don’t know how to incorporate it and now you just shared how. I am just wondering about the texture. Is it also soft? I have tried rice cake and I don’t like much the texture.

  111. Jon

    Same as 188 and 183 above, mine came out picture perfect but kind of tasteless. I plan to try again in the near future with more sugar, more browning and maybe a touch more cream next time. Still, fun to make and a great recipe.

  112. AmyR

    I find the idea that Thanksgiving dinner is only for Thanksgiving or that you cannot have a Turkey for two is odd. We make our own dinner a few days later if we are invited out on Thanksgiving – because we love the leftovers. We freeze some of the finished Turkey for Croquettes. We make Thanksgiving dinner a few times a year. Why wait?

  113. Limes

    I’ve made this dish a few times now, and I’ve loved it. I do add both extra salt and sugar. Sometimes I add onion. Sometimes I blend it, sometimes not. Sometimes I add cheese, sometimes not. And one time, I added some bacon. Oh yes I did.

    I recommend people taste the corn meal mush before adding the eggs. It’s basically polenta / grits, and totally edible. Taste it then and see if you like it. If it’s too bland, add something!

    Love the versatility of this dish. It doesn’t take me long to make it because I take all sorts of shortcuts:

    1. I don’t have the milk come to a full boil the first time. Why do that? It’s just all getting blended and then boiled again. (I figured this out after the first couple of times I made it.)
    2. I don’t let the corn steep in the milk. It’s all getting blended together anyway. And then it can go into the blender right away and back to the pot right away.
    3. I beat my egg whites while the mush cools.

    Easy peasy. Totally worth it.

  114. Brianna

    I came across your website yesterday and I love it! I’m still looking through all your recipes, salivating more and more with every recipe. This will be the first one I make! If it tastes even half as good as it looks then it will be a huge success :]

  115. Piperspice

    I’m starting to do test-runs for Thanksgiving 2011 and made this last night. It was yummy, sweet, and tender. I didn’t have any milk but had a can of coconut milk in the cabinet (?!?) There were a lot of pans, but I love the multi-step process of cooking, so thi swasn’t a problem for me. My other screen name on another forum is 16MixingBowls, so oodles of dishes is my norm.

    If I made this again I might add whole kernels at the very end, right before baking. Mine was very flavorful, and a bit crunchy from the Bob’s Red Mill cornmeal, but I think I’d love the sweet bursts of corn in the completed dish.

    I’m going to add this to my fourth Thursday of November menu, and make the corn puree ahead and whip the egg whites the day of. I might poke around the internet and find an individual souffle baking time. I need to use my individual ramekins!! (Oops, though that will mean more dishes, and I have NO dishwasher!)

  116. Toes

    If regular mashed potatoes are not your thing, try adding parsley and yoghurt. I love them this way, my husband not so much. Cuts down on some of the fat and it’s different, kind of tangy.

    I was wondering if I could make this without cream of tartar, maybe adding a pinch of salt to the egg whites to help keep them stiff? Or something else?

  117. mary

    I’ve never had spoonbread, but it caught my eye the first time I saw this recipe. I’ve had it in my box for months and finally made it today. The process is a bit long, but it’s definitely worth the patience. I totally fell in love with this pudding like cornbread….I will make this dish for Thanksgiving this year I’m sure everyone will love it just the same….Thanks for the recipe…:P

  118. Hi Deb –

    How do you think this spoon bread would do as the base of gf stuffing? I modify a recipe that I grew up with – sausage, celery, onion, chicken stock, etc. with stale bread. Problem is, I have yet to find a gf bread that doesn’t completely fall apart. My husband and I were out the other night and I noticed the restaurant served (non-gf) spoon bread with many dishes to soak up the deliciousness – that started my search for a gf version. Do you think it would hold up? Worth a try or not? Thanks!

  119. Marianne

    Having just received a bag of organic cornmeal from an Amish farm in my fall CSA share Sunday, I had to try this recipe for dinner tonight. I made mustard crusted pork tenderloin and baked acorn squash and this was a perfect accompaniment (of course, my youngest daughter drizzled some maple syrup on it and has been back for seconds and thirds)! I had never heard of spoonbread, but had to try this recipe – and it did not disappoint! I followed the recipe exact, and used frozen, thawed corn since I am up north and we are far removed from fresh corn season currently! Delicious. For anyone comparing it to Jiffy corn mix/corn/sour cream, etc. – it is not sweet like that corn casserole. It is more savory/cornbread-like, but smooth and yummy! Thank you for a delicious new recipe to add to my repertoire!

  120. Tamara

    This just wasn’t enough of a departure from cornbread for all the steps it takes. In the end it still had the texture and taste of cornbread for a LOT more work. I’m glad that I tried it, but wasn’t worth all the effort for me. Thanks tho!

  121. Amelia

    Was inspired by a mountain of celery greens from my farmshare, a dim childhood memory, and this recipe to create: Boober Fraggle’s Celery Souffle. (Swapped out the corn kernels for celery leaves, halved the sugar, replaced cayenne with a good spoonful of horseradish.) It worked splendidly. I suspect the leftovers will jive with a fried egg for breakfast.

    Thank you for the recipes, as always!

  122. radhaks

    Love this recipe. Made it a second time, but with 1c corn flour instead…I know that is much finer and I think my mix was too thick before I added the yolks, because of that. Is this possible? After adding a bit more milk, the egg yolks and folding in the whites, it seemed light enough but it doesnt seem to be rising nicely like a souffle. Is the cause the corn flour or could it possibly be something else?
    Thanks!

  123. Thanks for this recipe!!! I ate spoonbread in Berea, Kentucky 30-35 years ago and absolutely loved it. Have always wondered where to find a recipe that would compare to that served in Berea. Thanks for simplifying. Will have to make this, not just for an occasion, but just a wonderful meal.

  124. Debbie

    I dunno what happened… Mine didn’t rise at all… I wonder if it’s cuz I used a very fine corn meal instead of a courser meal… It was quite lumpy after I added the very stiff cornmeal/milk mixture to the puréed corn & milk mix. I’m hoping it still tastes good ;)

  125. Doris Keith

    My kids are all grown up now but when they were young teens they LOVED spoonbread. I always added two extra eggs and they ate it with butter and Mrs. Butterworth maple syrup. It was such a favorite. I’ve since taught some of my 4-Hers how to make this and a few other old time goods. They love it. I like to serve it with a good ham and a big plate of scarlet runner green beans cooked with onions and bacon. I cook many ethnicities but now and then it’s time for some good old fashioned poor folk foods. The recipe in the 62 Betty Crocker is a real good one too. Also — try their ‘sweeter muffins’ with diced apples.

  126. Julia

    I just want to say a quick thank you. Unfortunately, have celiac and miss bread so much that I could cry (honestly). So excited to try this recipe and have something that resembles cornbread that doesn’t taste terrible.

  127. Caroline

    Hi Deb, I clicked on this oldie through your new newsletter and was excited to try out something new for Thanksgiving. I just wanted to report in on trying it out in two phases – no way on Thanksgiving day was I was going to do this whole ordeal! And thank g-d I didn’t – the mixing, puree-ing, returning to pot, etc. – took a little bit of forever :). I did everything up until the egg yolks and egg whites on Wednesday. I covered the bowl with cling wrap and put in fridge. On Thursday afternoon it was a snap to take it out of the fridge to come to room temp on counter (I probably should have taken it out a little sooner – I think it might have contributed to taking longer than 45 minutes to finish baking), preheated the oven to 400F (which was a good time to do it ;) ), (happily the turkey was out of the oven by then), whisked in the egg yolks, whipped and folded in the whites, baked, and was ready to go on the table as the guests were coming in. It looked exactly like yours in the picture – completely done – but it turns out it wasn’t – there was still loose batter under the beautiful crust. Again, might that have been because the batter was chilled? In any case, I broke up the crust with a spoon a bit (so the heat could reach inside) and returned to the oven for 20 minutes, and it was perfect. And we were having the soup first anyway so it all worked out well. What a hit! It was so different than anything we’ve had in previous years, so just for a change it was nice. But it was clearly enjoyed because there was barely enough leftover for me to enjoy Friday night.
    Thanks!
    PS: To also report for those who only bake dairy-free or otherwise needed to keep it parve (I was serving a meat — TURKEY — meal, so no dairy), I made it with two cups coconut dream, 3/4 cup Rich’s whip topping (to give it some of the richness of whole milk that I thought would otherwise be lacking), and 2 T sugar since my family likes things sweet.
    Thanks for the great recipes!

  128. Beth

    This is still one of my GO TO recipes for Christmas dinner! I love this spoonbread almost more than the stuffing and Turkey!!!! Lol thanks Deb:)

  129. Erika

    I made this in a souffle dish and it was gorgeous with a brown top after 45 mins, but when I cut into it, it was totally raw in the middle. My fault for not checking. Don’t tell the food safety police, but we just ate around the raw part :). But next time I’ll make it in a gratin dish so that it cooks through. I might also add some shredded sharp cheddar. It is really delicious. Perfect rainy night food.

  130. Johanna

    Hey Deb. Thanks so much for the recipe – can’t wait to make it. I’m no spoonbread expert – so I could use some advice. I’d like to skip the fresh corn step, maybe add other vegetables at the end to make this more of a meal. If I do that, should I add more than just the 3/4c milk when I cook the cornmeal on the stove top??

    Thanks!

  131. Jess

    I’d love your thoughts on adapting this to a slow cooker. I think it’d be a great dish for Thanksgiving, but I don’t want to be the kind of guest who shows up needing counter/oven space to make my dish! I’m worried about the souffle-like attributes being lost in the slow cooker process.