Southern Spoonbread is a part of our culinary history and has been a well known delicacy in the South for hundreds of years. It has a similar texture to grits, although very light like a soufflé, and the flavor slightly leans towards cornbread, a very moist and fluffy cornbread indeed.

Southern Spoonbread.

If you’re from Kentucky, chances are you know what Spoonbread is, and hopefully you’ve been lucky enough to indulge in a hot serving of this southern delicacy. Just in case you haven’t been so lucky, allow me to tell you about it. Even better…I’ll share the recipe so you can make your own.

Spoonbread was originally called batter bread, and can be traced back hundreds of years. Sadly, today it’s hard to find spoonbread in a restaurant, and I fret the thought of future generations not knowing what spoonbread is. Here in Kentucky, the historic Boone Tavern in Berea serves fresh from the oven homemade spoonbread all day long. It’s served hot in place of dinner rolls before the meal, and if you’re lucky you’ll still have some room for the meal. One could actually make a meal out of spoonbread.

Ingredients in Spoonbread

Spoonbread is made with 6 simple ingredients, if you count the pinch of sugar. You probably have these on hand.

  • Eggs
  • cornmeal
  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Sugar (just a pinch)
  • Butter

What type of cornmeal should I use?

Self rising or all-purpose:

Self Rising: Feel free to use self rising if you prefer. However, the leaveners in self rising cornmeal are not needed for this recipe. I did use self-rising because that was the only one available at my local Kroger store, (so many empty shelves these days). The egg whites in this recipe get whipped to stiff peaks and gently folded in at the end. They work as the leavener in this recipe.

This recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of salt. If using self rising cornmeal, I suggest decreasing the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.

All-purpose: All purpose cornmeal is totally fine in this recipe. As stated above, the whipped egg whites serve as the leavener. The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of salt. I suggest using the entire teaspoon.

Should I use white or yellow cornmeal to make spoonbread?

It’s simply a matter of personal preference. I personally prefer the white.

White cornmeal: Is made with white corn and has a more delicate flavor than yellow cornmeal.

Yellow cornmeal: Is made with yellow corn and has a stronger corn taste than white cornmeal. It also contains vitamin A.

A forked serving of southern spoonbread.

How to make southern spoonbread

  1. Add egg whites to a bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornmeal and 1 cup of milk. Set aside. Add 2 cups of milk to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, just until it’s scalding hot, but not boiling. Turn the heat to medium-low. Add the cornmeal-milk mixture to the saucepan and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes thick, about 10 minutes, and immediately remove from the heat.
  3. Add the salt, sugar, and butter, and whisk until combined. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, whisking thoroughly after each addition.
  4. Gently fold in the egg whites with a spatula.
The mixing steps of making southern spoonbread.

Tip

Don’t mix, simply fold the egg whites in very gently, going down under the batter and up the sides of the pan and over each time, until you see faint streaks of the egg white remaining.

Southern spoonbread batter.

Baking southern spoonbread

  1. Generously butter the sides and bottom of a 1 1/2 quart soufflé or other baking dish.
  2. Transfer the batter into the buttered baking dish and level it out with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees until the spoonbread is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

The spoonbread will puff up just like a soufflé while it’s baking but will deflate once it’s removed from the oven.

A serving of Southern spoonbread.

More recipes you might like…

No-Knead Dinner Rolls

Honey Rolls with Cinnamon Honey Butter

Angel Rolls

Soft & Fluffy One Hour Dinner Rolls

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Southern Spoonbread

  • Author: Cindy @mycountrytable
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: French

Description

This southern spoonbread has southern roots and is indeed a delicacy to eat. It’s super easy to make and it’s super light and fluffy with a delicious flavor. Serve this as a side for holidays and you’ll get rave reviews!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup cornmeal, (I used white, but yellow is fine too)
  • 3 cups whole or two percent milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for greasing baking dish
  • Butter for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 3-inch deep, 1 1/2 quart baking or soufflé  dish.
  2. Add the egg whites to a bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornmeal and 1 cup of the milk. Set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 2 cups of milk to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, just until it’s scalding hot, but not boiling.
  5. Turn the heat to medium-low. Add the cornmeal-milk mixture to the saucepan and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes thick, about 10 minutes, and immediately remove from the heat.
  6. Add the salt, sugar, and butter, and whisk until combined. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, whisking thoroughly after each addition.
  7. Gently fold in the egg whites with a spatula. Don’t mix, simply fold them in very gently, going down under the batter and up the sides of the pan and over each time, until you see faint streaks of the egg white remaining.
  8. Transfer the batter to the buttered baking dish and level it out with an offset spatula or back of a spoon. Bake until the spoonbread is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
  9. Serve with butter, optional. This spoonbread is so good, I usually eat it with nothing.

Notes

  • This spoonbread can be wrapped and reheated the following day. It won’t be as fresh as the day it was made, but it will still be quite delicious.
  • I have not tried freezing this spoonbread but I don’t suggest doing so. I believe it would deflate more and not retain its fluffy texture once frozen.
  • If using self-rising cornmeal, I suggest cutting the salt in half.

Keywords: spoonbread