Fried Cornmeal Mush

Southern fried cornmeal mush

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
222 Calories
19g Fat
12g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 222
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 274mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 44mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cornmeal mush is a Southern favorite—a combination of cornmeal and water or milk, cooked on the stove until it is a creamy consistency. It is like grits' distant cousin, but whereas grits are not to be eaten with a sweetener added (according to true Southerners), cornmeal mush seems to be crying out for a swirl of maple syrup, making it a comforting porridge.

Cornmeal mush is also commonly served fried, as in this recipe. The mixture is left to set or placed in the refrigerator to chill and then cut into squares or rectangles. After coating with a dusting of cornmeal, the slices are fried in bacon drippings, butter or oil. The pieces remain creamy inside while developing a crispy exterior.

Fried cornmeal mush is great as an appetizer, side dish or snack, or served with bacon and eggs for breakfast. Your kids will love them as an alternative to French toast and pancakes—cut the set mush into "fingers," fry, and let the kids dip into syrup.


  • 2 3/4 cups water

  • 1 cup cornmeal, more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 cup cold water

  • Corn oil or bacon drippings, for frying

  • Salted butter and maple syrup, optional, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for southern fried cornmeal mush
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  2. Bring the 2 3/4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan.

    Bring the water to a boil
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  3. Combine the cornmeal, salt, sugar, cold water—in a mixing bowl.

    Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl
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  4. Gradually add cornmeal mixture to the boiling water, stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently.

    Gradually add cornmeal
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  5. When thickened, cover, turn heat to lowest setting and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

    Cover pot
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  6. Pour into a small loaf pan. Cool then chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.

    Pour into a small loaf pan
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  7. To un-mold the cornmeal mush, loosen edges with a spatula.

    Spatula in cornmeal
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  8. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch slices.

    Cut into slices
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  9. Place extra cornmeal on a shallow plate and dip each slice into cornmeal, coating both sides.

    Place cornmeal on plate
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  10. Heat a few tablespoons of bacon drippings or oil over medium heat in a skillet and fry cornmeal slices. Turn to brown both sides.

    Flip cornmeal slices
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  11. Serve with butter and hot syrup. Delicious with bacon and eggs, too.


  • Wrap unused cornmeal mush in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.