Fried Cornmeal Mush

Southern fried cornmeal mush

The Spruce

  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings

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.

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal (plus extra for frying)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 bottle oil (or bacon drippings, for frying)
  • Optional: butter and maple syrup (for serving)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

    Bring the water to a boil
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  3. Combine remaining ingredients 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.

Tips

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