Jamaican Food Recipes

Spoon Bread – Immaculate Bites

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!

Spoon Bread fresh from the oven garnished with chopped chives

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.

Serving up freshly baked Spoonbread

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.

Recipe Ingredients

Simple pantry-staple ingredients come together for awesomeness.

  1. Milk – Whole milk is traditional, but use what you have. Even almond milk works if you need to go dairy-free.
  2. Cornmeal – The main ingredient is hearty for a filling side dish.
  3. 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.
  4. Butter – Fat adds moisture, enhances flavor, and creates a tender crumb. And butter only makes it better.
  5. 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

Cook the milk and cornmeal
Add the butter and egg yolks
  • 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.
Beat the egg whites and fold in
Bake your spoonbread
Serving up soul-satisfying spoonbread

Recipe Variations

Just like its cornmeal-based cousins, you can pretty much add anything to this.

  1. Cheese. Mix a cup of shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, provolone, etc., right after adding the egg yolks.
  2. Bacon bits. Fry a couple of slices of bacon, crumble them up, and add them to the batter with the egg yolks.
  3. Ham. Ditto on the bacon bits.
  4. 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.
  5. Spice it up. Green chiles, jalapenos, a dash of cayenne, or hot sauce tastes terrific.
  6. Herbs. Sage, basil, Italian seasonings, Creole seasonings, or anything else that floats your boat adds more delicious flavor.
  7. Caramelized onions. Saute thinly sliced onions in butter until golden and caramelized. Add it to the batter with the egg yolks for pure yum.
  8. Sweet spoonbread. Add raisins or other dried fruit, and sweeten it up for an almost healthy dessert.

Make-Ahead Instructions

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.

Enjoying a serving of freshly  baked Spoon Bread


What’s the difference between spoonbread and cornbread?

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.

Where did spoonbread come from?

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.

Why do people call it spoon bread?

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

This hearty steaming hot spoonbread perfectly matches slow cooker pork chopscollard greens, and mashed potatoes. Or you could go with Southern fried chickenfried okra, and green bean casserole.

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

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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!