The first time I ever tried spoon bread it was from this classic Jiffy recipe.  It’s definitely yummy, but it’s also a little dense and can sometimes be mushy.  After I tried real, legit spoon bread from scratch, there’s no going back.  If you’ve never heard of spoon bread, it’s sort of like a cornbread souffle.  Or just really soft, moist cornbread.  So soft, that it’s eaten with a spoon.  It’s a creamy corn mixture that’s combined with eggs and beaten egg whites so it gets puffy and has a tender airiness to it.  After experimenting with a lot of recipes, this one from Cook’s Country is my favorite.  It’s bursting with corn flavor and really does have the perfect texture. The recipe itself dirties a few dishes, but it’s so delicious that I don’t even care.  And the greatest thing is that I’m going to show you how to make this a couple of different ways:  the basic recipe, which is amazing both eaten with things like gravy and bits of turkey on your plate, or drizzled in honey or slathered with a bit of butter.  Or if you’re in the mood for a savory side dish, I make a variation with Parmesan and chives that’s pretty killer.

Start by soaking some corn meal in whole milk.  I’ve made several spoon bread recipes that end up kind of grainy and have found this step really combats that problem and eliminates grit; resulting in a nice smooth mixture in the end.

While that’s soaking, toss some butter in a saute pan and add corn.  In the summer months, when fresh sweet corn is readily available, kernels cut straight off the cob is the absolute best way to go.  But frozen corn kernels works just fine, especially during the fall and winter.  Just please, please don’t use canned corn.  Seriously.  Don’t.  If you’re using corn off the cob, the kernels will start to turn golden brown in the butter, thawed frozen corn generally doesn’t brown, but it will get nice and buttery.

And then you’ll pour in some more whole milk.  Yummy, creamy, whole milk.  (Pssst, I secretly love when recipes call for whole milk so I have an excuse to buy it and then I feel super naughty when I “accidentally” pour it over my cereal.

You’ll also add salt, a pinch of cayenne, and a little sugar.  One thing I changed from the original recipe is that I find I like it much sweeter.  It also has to do with the fact that frozen corn probably isn’t quite as sweet as corn off the cob, so I feel like it needs a little more to compensate.

That mixture will come to a boil and then you’ll take it off the heat, put a lid on it, and let it steep for about 15 minutes.  Then use a blender, or immersion blender to blend it all together into something rich and creamy.

And then add that soaked corn meal.

The mixture will be quite liquidy at first and then after it cooks for just a few minutes, it thickens and pulls away from the bottom of the pan.

After it cools off a little, you’ll whisk in some egg yolks, and then fold in the beaten whites.  Now we’ve been over folding before, and it’s important in this recipe to get the beautiful rise.  Beat your egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Take about 1/3 of the beaten whites and stir them into the corn mixture.

Stirring helps lighten the texture of the corn mixture so that you can easily fold in the rest.

Adding a little of the egg whites at a time, use a rubber spatula and gently cut through the mixture to the bottom of the bowl, scrape the bottom and then fold over onto the top of the mix.  Continue until all of the eggs are incorporated.

You can bake these in a souffle pan, individual ramekins like I did, or in an 8×8 pan.

You can see from this shot in the oven how gorgeous these are.  They’ll fall a little once they’re out, that’s normal.

They’ll stay decently puffed though, for serving.

The plain spoon bread isn’t overly sweet, so it’s great spooned onto plates to marry with gravy and stuffing, but my favorite way to eat it is with a drizzle of honey (or even better, honey butter)

There’s something about that soft, puffy texture with the combination of sweet, sticky honey, that just tastes dreamy.

However, I’m split 50/50 because I also LOVE my savory adaptation with Parmesan and Chives.  If you want to try it savory, I add 2 tablespoons chopped chives and 1/4 cup finely grated cheese like Parmesan, Pecorino, Gruyere, etc.   to the mixture right before you add the egg whites.  I usually sprinkle a few extra chives and cheese on top right before baking

The texture is fantastic and the flavors of the chives and cheese blend perfectly.

Because I know there are planners out there who are wondering about making this ahead, here are my thoughts.  You definitely get a better rise and a prettier “puff” if you bake this immediately after making it.  That’s the best option.  However I’ve experimented and it will still taste great if you make it earlier in the day and keep the unbaked spoonbread (all ready in its baking dish) covered with plastic wrap in the fridge, or even the day before.  You do want to serve it warm though (not re-heated) and since it will fall a bit, plan on baking it right before you want to eat it.

 

 

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ALSO-check in here over the weekend because there is a greeeeeat giveaway going up some time before Monday- you won’t want to miss it!

 

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34comments

  1. 1
    Christine says:

    Is using whole milk essential? Do you think I could possibly use a lower fat milk or evaporated milk instead? Still trying to lose the pregnancy fat . . .

    • 1.1
      sara says:

      You can certainly experiment Christine- evaporated milk might work nicely so it adds a little richness to it. I always use whole milk so I’m not sure!

  2. 2

    Hey, I’m not totally familiar with American products (I’m South African), but when you say ‘cornmeal’ do you mean coarse polenta-style yellow crushed corn?

    • 2.1
      sara says:

      Yes, yellow or white crushed corn, but for best results you do want a fine gind and not course (in the states often labeled “medium grind”) Basically ground up corn kernels. Does that make sense?

  3. 3

    One of my favorite foods! Total comfort!

  4. 4
    Mamaholt says:

    Hi ladies,

    I just wanted to let you know I featured your Roasted Corn and Tomato Soup on my blog today. Soooooooo delicious!!

    I hope it’s OK to put my blog URL on here. Don’t wanna be a blog pimp, but did want you to see the post.

    http://www.wabi-sabihomeandgarden.com

    Thanks for the GREAT recipe! Y’all are so cute!

    • 4.1
      sara says:

      Lol, it’s totally fine- only because you used the term “blog pimp” haha! I’m really glad you liked that soup, it’s one of my faves!

  5. 5
    Brenda says:

    I would really, really, really love to make this but I have some crazy, unexplainable texture issue with the corn in it…I know, so strange. Can I make it with out the corn?

  6. 6

    Love, love, love spoon bread! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. 7

    I have a feeling my husband would love love love this. I know what you mean about the multiple dishes thing. I have a recipe for a carrot souffle that is amazing, but a lot of work for a side dish. It’s so yummy though, I don’t seem to mind the mess that much.

  8. 8

    How fun! I bet my family would love this.

  9. 9
    Ashley P. says:

    I’ve never made or even heard of spoon bread but it looks delicious! How full do I need to make the individual ramekins to get the beautiful puff effect like yours?

  10. 10
    Samantha H. says:

    Just curious….but why doesn’t canned corn work?

    • 10.1
      sara says:

      Sweet corn is the star of the show here, you want both the texture and the natural sweetness of fresh corn. Frozen corn is just about as good as fresh, but canned tastes funny and is processed in the canning process. Definitely use fresh or frozen!

  11. 11
    Melissa says:

    I love this recipe! Great for a Holiday meal! =)

  12. 12
    Sara Wutzke says:

    This looks amazing! I’m going to try the savory variety as well as the honey drizzle! (and I JUST did the naughty pour thus morning. Grape nuts are so good with whole milk :)

  13. 13
    Marigene says:

    OMG, this looks so delicious, can’t wait to try it.

  14. 14
    Kejm says:

    interesting recipe :)
    your blog is awesome!

  15. 15
    Pat Harper says:

    is the milk added 3/4 cups then 2 cups? Or is it a total of 1 1/2 cups of milk??

    • 15.1
      sara says:

      It’s correct as written- 2 3/4 cups milk. You soak the cornmeal in 3/4 cup and add the remaining 2 cups to the corn in the pan.

  16. 16
    Emily says:

    Wow those look amazing! Totally want to try it, and of course we, too, are always looking for excuses to buy whole milk. :)

  17. 17
    Brittany says:

    I love you individual soufflé pans!! Where did you get them?

    • 17.1
      sara says:

      Aren’t those cute? They’re from World Market. I got them last year so I’m not sure if they still have them, but I get tons of emails asking where they’re from!

  18. 18
    Maria says:

    Wow Sara, you got me with the title but then the photos pushed me over the edge and I’ve made a shopping list ’cause I gotto try these!

  19. 19
    emma says:

    Still not sure if I can get the egg whites to form into soft peaks. Where is the tutorial for that? I tried to search the site, but couldn’t find it.

    • 19.1
      Heather Wright says:

      Emma, just whip them until, you get slightly curled peaks when you pull the beaters out. FYI–stiff peaks are when the peaks stand straight up. The peak s the point where the center of the beater pulls out of the egg whites, think stalactite/stalagmite kind of a thing. : ) Good luck.

  20. 20
    Staci says:

    I would love one of these!

  21. 21
    [email protected] says:

    Delicious! Made it with sharp cheese, baked in a deep blue ceramic dish. It was not only as corn-yummy as it could be, but was stunningly beautiful; we felt we were eating in a country inn!
    Thank you!
    Nina

  22. 22
    Dawson Alexus says:

    This looks great, gluten free too!

  23. 23
    Nicole says:

    I love the sweetness honey brings to things…but, for whatever reason, I don’t like it on top of bread. Could I mix it in? If so, how much would you recommend?

  24. 24
    Amber Ferry says:

    This was really good!! One little note though-the recipe should read 2 3/4 up whole milk DIVIDED, since I didn’t realize I was supposed to do that at the beginning ;) Otherwise, an EXCELLENT recipe. Thanks!!!

  25. 25
    Monserratt says:

    How do I say this…
    I had been trying cornbread recipes for the last 2 years, but I had never tasted anything like this!! It’s AWESOME!!

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