Southern Spoonbread with Polenta or Grits

Spoonbread with Polenta
Spoonbread with Polenta and Butter. Photo: Diana Rattray
Ratings (9)
  • Total: 75 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
192 Calories
12g Fat
14g Carbs
6g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This spoon bread is made with coarse polenta or grits in the standard cornmeal batter.  It's actually more like a pudding or soufflé in consistency than everyday cornbread, and it makes a delicious side dish with any main dish. It would also make a tasty replacement for breakfast grits.

Serve spoon bread hot from the oven with melted or softened butter. This is a wonderful replacement for potatoes or rice. If serving with ham, top with a little finely shredded Cheddar cheese as soon as it comes out of the oven.


  • 1 cup white or yellow stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup polenta or grits
  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened or melted
  • 1 cup half-and-half, light cream, or whole milk
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated

Steps to Make It

  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the cornmeal, grits, and water. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick and smooth, about 25 minutes.

  2. Heat the oven to 375 F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish or pan.

  3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter, half-and-half, cream, or milk, and salt. 

  4. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl then beat into the cornmeal batter mixture.

  5. With clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form; fold into the cornmeal mixture.

  6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is puffed up and just lightly browned.

  7. Serve immediately with butter. The spoonbread will deflate on standing, but is no less delicious!