Old-Fashioned Southern Spoon Bread

Old-fashioned Southern spoon bread in a blue baking dish

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
151 Calories
9g Fat
14g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 151
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 81mg 27%
Sodium 610mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 152mg 12%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 126mg 3%
*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.)

Spoon bread is a Southern dish similar to cornbread, but it's more like a soufflé with a texture like the British Yorkshire pudding. To serve, the moist quick bread needs to be scooped with a spoon—hence its name. It's thought to be of Native American origin (where it was called awendaw or owendaw), and the term was first used in "The Carolina Housewife" cookbook by Sarah Rutledge in 1847. It became popular around the turn of the 20th century and has been a mainstay in Virginia and Kentucky kitchens ever since.

Spoon bread is delicious comfort food and can serve as the bread side dish for your next meal. It only takes a few minutes to whip up and a short list of common ingredients. Serve spoon bread with Southern main and side dishes like fried chicken, pork chops, collard greens, green beans, and black-eyed peas.


Click Play to See This Old-Fashioned Southern Spoon Bread Recipe Come Together

"Although the result may not be as soufflé-like, this version is very delicious and custardy. Be sure to use fine or medium cornmeal, not grits, polenta, or coarse cornmeal, which may not absorb the liquid as well. Though there's no sugar, it's naturally sweet, making it perfect for drizzling with honey or maple syrup." —Danielle Centoni

Old fashioned Southern spoon bread in a glass serving dish
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 3/4 cup cornmeal (stone or water ground, if possible)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

  • 1 cup milk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • Butter, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients gathered for Southern spoon bread

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  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch-square baking dish or 1 1/2-quart casserole.

    Greased baking dish for Southern spoon bread

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  3. Combine the cornmeal and salt in a mixing bowl.

    Cornmeal and salt combined in a bowl

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  4. Gradually add the boiling water while whisking out any lumps. Add the melted butter and stir to blend. Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes.

    Boiling water and melted butter whisked into the bowl with cornmeal

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  5. Whisk the milk into the cornmeal mixture.

    Milk whisked into the cornmeal mixture

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  6. In a small bowl, beat the eggs thoroughly. 

    Eggs beaten in a separate bowl

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  7. Whisk the beaten eggs into the cornmeal mixture along with the baking powder. Blend well with a whisk or electric mixer.

    Eggs whisked into the cornmeal mixture

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  8. Turn the batter into the prepared baking dish.

    Spoon bread batter poured into prepared baking dish

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  9. Bake for about 35 minutes or until set and lightly browned.

    Southern spoon bread browned from the oven
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  10. Serve the spoon bread hot with plenty of butter.

    Southern spoon bread in a bowl with butter

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Recipe Variations

This simple spoon bread recipe is delicious as is but can easily be tweaked to suit your tastes:

  • Add some crumbled bacon or corn kernels to the batter.
  • Add chopped green onions or some fresh chopped chile pepper or herbs.
  • Include a little sugar with the cornmeal to make it lightly sweet.

What Is the Difference Between Cornbread and Spoon Bread?

Spoon bread is a lighter, moister version of cornbread. It is somewhere between a simple soufflé or savory, British-style pudding and cornbread, with traditional recipes calling for whipping the egg whites and folding them in, similar to a soufflé. It is served using a spoon—hence the name.

Can You Eat Cornmeal on a Gluten-Free Diet?

Cornmeal is made from ground corn, making it naturally gluten free. Most spoon bread and cornbread recipes are gluten free, but beware of cross-contamination and make sure to use gluten-free leavening like baking powder.

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