Fresh Corn Spoon Bread

By • August 19, 2010 16 Comments

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Author Notes: I first tasted spoon bread as a very young girl growing up in Virginia, at the home of a friend whose mother was from Macon, Georgia. I can taste that spoon bread now, so light and fragrant. Here’s my version, recently updated to give it the tang of buttermilk, plus a bit of onion and just a hint of mace. Raw sweet corn kernels seal the deal. Enjoy! ;o) - AntoniaJamesAntoniaJames

Food52 Review: WHO: AntoniaJames is a longtime Food52er and a lawyer to boot.
WHAT: A spoon bread that tastes like comfort.
HOW: Make a stovetop batter; whip up some egg whites, then fold them in; watch the whole thing rise as it bakes.
WHY WE LOVE IT: If spoon bread wasn’t a part of your childhood, as it was AntoniaJames’, it’s easy to feel left out. Don’t: Just make this version -- fluffy and lightly spiced and tangy from buttermilk -- as soon as possible. Call it making up for lost time.
The Editors

Serves 6 to 8 as a side, or 3 to 4 as a main

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces or 1/2 cup)
  • Salt
  • 2 cups whole milk (you can also use 2% if you prefer)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 3/4 cups finely ground white or yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pink peppercorns
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh marjoram or thyme (or both) (optional)
  • Butter or oil for greasing the dish
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels, preferably raw
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, cook the onion in about two tablespoons of butter and a good pinch of salt until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the milks and heat until scalded. Gradually add the cornmeal, stirring all the while, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat a bit and cook for five minutes, continuing to stir.
  3. Cut the remaining butter into small pieces (reserving a tiny bit for greasing the baking dish) and stir it into the cornmeal and milk batter. Add the sugar and the spices. Stir to blend, and set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Position one rack right in the middle of the oven. Butter a medium-sized soufflé dish (or a round casserole with fairly straight sides).
  5. Beat the egg yolks. (I do this in the measuring cup I used for the milks, to avoid having to wash another bowl.)
  6. Add the corn kernels and the beaten egg yolks to the cornmeal batter. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste -- five or six good turns of your grinder should be enough.
  7. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form round (or "soft," as some say) peaks. The salt helps to stabilize to whites while beaten. Take a big dollop of the beaten egg whites and stir them into the cornmeal batter. Gently fold in the remaining beaten egg whites.
  8. Turn into the prepared dish and cook in the middle of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of your baking dish, until somewhat firm, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Enjoy!! ;o)

Tags: corn, side dish, spoon bread, Vegetarian

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Comments (16) Questions (0)


9 months ago LoCooks

Any idea how one might make this without dairy? Coconut milk?


9 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I'd use Earth Balance organic spread instead of butter and half almond milk and half coconut milk -- which sounds positively divine, by the way. Add 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar, too, as you need the touch of acid the buttermilk brings to this. Your question makes me want to try it with coconut milk!! Do let us know if you try it. Thank you. ;o)


8 months ago LoCooks

Thank you! I figured I'd need an acid too, so thank you for the suggestion. I will make for thanksgiving and report back!


about 1 year ago JanetFL

Congratulations on being a finalist! I will be making your spoon bread this summer.


about 1 year ago Kukla

Big congratulations AJ on being a finalist and good luck!!!


about 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations! I must try this soon - I have never (!!!) made spoon bread, and it is time I did!!


about 1 year ago dymnyno

I will be trying this as soon as I can get my hands on some fresh local corn.


about 1 year ago cookbookchick

And now that I read your headnote, I must add that I, too, first tasted spoon bread as a kid in Virginia. I was a teenager at the time when our camp's excellent cook invited a few of us to her home for dinner one evening. Her spoon bread lingers in my memory as the ideal of that dish. I have long wished that I had asked for her recipe! (btw, it was Camp Mawavi, a Camp Fire Girls camp, in Prince William Forest, near Quantico.)


about 1 year ago cookbookchick

Congratulations on being a finalist, AJ! Spoon Bread is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, so I am eager to try yours -- with fresh summer corn? Oh my!!


about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

AJ this looks fantastic and congratulations on being a finalist. I just love spoon bread and this recipe is a great way to highlight delicious summer corn.


about 1 year ago heather

This look so good - perfect comfort food.


about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you! It is. ;o)


over 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Yes, jalapeno would be a nice addition, if you like jalapenos! (I don't. My son does. I've just made a mental note to make this for him, with the peppers, when he comes home from college at Christmas!!) Have a great T-Day. I'm making a wild rice + oat groat "stuffing" -- it's actually just a casserole, because I'm spatchcocking my bird -- so I like the way you're thinking. ;o)


over 4 years ago KLL5

Thank you, AntoniaJames. I think I am forgoing bread stuffing this year for wild rice stuffing and making this as a bread. It really sounds good! Do you think some diced Jalapeno would be nice to spice it up?


over 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Probably not, because it's too moist . . . it's really a bit more like a pudding. You eat it with a spoon or fork, so that gives you an idea of its consistency. You want a drier cornbread -- and in fact, it really works best to let the corn bread dry out even more, after cutting it up -- to soak up the various flavors from the liquids in the stuffing. ;o)


over 4 years ago KLL5

Would this make a nice base for corn bread stuffing??