Spoonbread – A beloved classic side dish from the Southern part of the U.S. combining cornmeal, milk, and eggs with a bit of my own personal twist. Serve it as a side dish during weeknight dinners or for the holidays. It just melts in your mouth!
No matter what time of year it is, with Thanksgiving preparation, New Year’s bashes to plan, or a loved one’s birthday, there’s always something going on. This gal is hustling!
That’s where this super simple recipe, like spoonbread, comes in handy. After investing about 20 minutes of hands-on time, I get everything else ready while it bakes. Talk about a time-saver for those crazy weeknights.
What Is Spoonbread?
If you haven’t noticed, I love delicious side dishes as much as the main course. And this classic Southern spoon bread is one of my go-to recipes. The savory cornmeal-based souffle-like dish resembles a cross between corn pudding and cornbread.
Cornmeal is simmered in milk, combined with beaten egg yolk and seasonings, then beaten egg whites, and baked until soft in the center and delightfully crusty around the edges. It’s one of those fusion recipes from Native American and African ancestry.
Simple pantry-staple ingredients come together for awesomeness.
- Milk – Whole milk is traditional, but use what you have. Even almond milk works if you need to go dairy-free.
- Cornmeal – The main ingredient is hearty for a filling side dish.
- Flavorings – Sugar, salt, pepper, thyme, nutmeg, and chives enhance flavor and provide tasty goodness. Adjust the seasonings to your taste and omit the sugar if desired.
- Butter – Fat adds moisture, enhances flavor, and creates a tender crumb. And butter only makes it better.
- Eggs – The traditional version has whole eggs beaten until light and fluffy, then fold it in the batter. I separate the eggs to make it easier, but you do you. 😉
How to Make Spoonbread
- Heat Milk – In a large saucepan, heat 3 cups of milk over medium heat until bubbles form around the sides of the pan. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cornmeal, sugar, salt, and remaining milk until smooth.
- Add Cornmeal – Slowly whisk the cornmeal mixture into hot milk. Cook, stirring until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly or until the cornmeal mixture pulls off the sides of the pan. Be careful not to let it burn.
- Butter – Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the butter, and set aside.
- Beat Eggs – In a small bowl, beat egg yolks, stirring in a small amount of hot cornmeal mixture to temper the eggs. (It stops the eggs from cooking or curdling.)
- Mix – Mix the eggs tempered with cornmeal into the pan. Add pepper, thyme, and nutmeg (and desired add-ins).
- Beat Egg Whites – In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Start by folding a fourth of the egg whites into the cornmeal mixture, then repeat with the remaining egg whites until blended.
- Bake – Transfer the batter to a greased 2½-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with optional chives. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F (174℃) for 40-45 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately.
Just like its cornmeal-based cousins, you can pretty much add anything to this.
- Cheese. Mix a cup of shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, provolone, etc., right after adding the egg yolks.
- Bacon bits. Fry a couple of slices of bacon, crumble them up, and add them to the batter with the egg yolks.
- Ham. Ditto on the bacon bits.
- Corn kernels. If you want more corn goodness and texture, add a can of whole corn or use leftover corn cut from corn on the cob.
- Spice it up. Green chiles, jalapenos, a dash of cayenne, or hot sauce tastes terrific.
- Herbs. Sage, basil, Italian seasonings, Creole seasonings, or anything else that floats your boat adds more delicious flavor.
- Caramelized onions. Saute thinly sliced onions in butter until golden and caramelized. Add it to the batter with the egg yolks for pure yum.
- Sweet spoonbread. Add raisins or other dried fruit, and sweeten it up for an almost healthy dessert.
While this recipe is best hot from the oven, you can make it ahead. Bake it, let it cool, then cover it with a plastic wrap to store it in the fridge for a day or two. When ready to serve, pop it in the oven until heated or let it sit on a countertop until it’s at room temperature.
You can freeze it in an airtight oven-proof container for a month or two. Thaw the frozen spoonbread in the fridge overnight and heat it in the oven.
Serving and Storage Instructions
Serve it after letting it rest for a few minutes so you don’t burn your mouth.😉 It makes a great side and dessert.
Store leftover spoonbread in an airtight container (I like the ones that you can squeeze out the excess air when you seal the lid). They’ll last about 4 days in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer. You can reheat it in the microwave or oven until hot. It’s also good at room temperature.
Both spoonbread and cornbread are popular corn-based dishes. They’re cozy, comforting, easy to prepare, and pair well with protein (especially in soups and stews).
Spoonbread is more like a pudding or souffle, and the eggs are separated for a lighter texture. Cornbread, on the other hand, has a denser crumble, more like bread or cake.
Furthermore, spoonbread uses beaten egg whites as the leavening. And I couldn’t resist Immafying it with a bit of thyme and nutmeg.
Corn was a staple for the Native American Indians, and they had many ways of cooking it. Spoonbread was often called Indian pudding or Owendaw cornbread. The Sewee tribe from what is now South Carolina is credited for the original recipe. The African Americans put their own twist by separating the egg whites for more lift.
The most common reason is because it’s like a cross between bread and a souffle. The softer texture makes eating it with a spoon easier.
What to Serve With Spoonbread
More Hearty Corn Side Dishes to Try
It’s time to try out this family-pleasing spoonbread recipe. Would you like more comfort food recipes? Then follow me on Facebook.😍
Watch How To Make It[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”iijJh7FJ” upload-date=”2020-10-11T04:51:46.000Z” name=”Spoon Bread” description=”Spoon Bread – a beloved classic side dish that originated from the Southern part of the U.S. using cornmeal, milk, eggs with a little bit of my own personal twist. Serve it as a side dish during weeknight dinners or for the holidays. It just melts in your mouth!” player-type=”collapse” override-embed=”false”]
This blog post was originally published in November 2019 and has been updated with additional tips, new photos, and a video.
A beloved classic side dish from the Southern part of the U.S. combining cornmeal, milk, and eggs with a bit of my own personal twist. Serve it as a side dish during weeknight dinners or for the holidays. It just melts in your mouth!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
In a large saucepan, heat 2½ cups milk over medium heat until bubbles form around the sides of the pan.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cornmeal, sugar, salt, and remaining milk until smooth.
Slowly whisk the cornmeal mixture into the hot milk. Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 3- 5 minutes, stirring constantly or until the cornmeal mixture pulls away from the sides. Be careful not to let it burn.
Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the butter. Set aside.
In a small bowl, beat egg yolks; stir in a small amount of hot cornmeal mixture to temper the eggs to stop them from cooking or curdling. Return all to the pan and mix well. Then add pepper, thyme, and nutmeg (you can add your desired add-ins at this part).
In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Start by folding a fourth of the egg whites into the cornmeal mixture, then repeat with the remaining egg whites until blended.
Transfer to a greased 2½-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with chives if using. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F (175℃) for 40-45 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately.
Tips & Notes:
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.
Serving: 1cup| Calories: 313kcal (16%)| Carbohydrates: 30g (10%)| Protein: 11g (22%)| Fat: 17g (26%)| Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)| Cholesterol: 143mg (48%)| Sodium: 493mg (21%)| Potassium: 314mg (9%)| Fiber: 2g (8%)| Sugar: 12g (13%)| Vitamin A: 622IU (12%)| Calcium: 180mg (18%)| Iron: 1mg (6%)