Southern Spoon Bread – Zenwise Southern Spoon Bread – Zenwise
Healthy foods

Southern Spoon Bread

If you love cornbread and corn muffins, meet its classic close cousin: spoon bread!


Spoon bread is a creamier version of cornbread but is more soft and tender, so you eat it with a spoon. It has been a staple in Southern US kitchens for generations. The first recipe appeared in Sara Rutledge’s cookbook in 1847; however, it’s thought it actually originated with the Native Americans.

Either way, this classic recipe is a cross between cornbread and Yorkshire Pudding [which isn’t a pudding at all; it’s more like a popover muffin].

Our version takes 10 minutes of prep time. Plus, it’s easy to customize the ingredients for a quick weeknight dinner or as a sweet-and-savory side dish [along with an extra dash of health benefits]. 

We include 2 tablespoons of sugar, which makes the batter slightly sweet. You can add less sugar if you want something more savory. Or, add up to 1/3 cup to make it taste like a dessert or sweet breakfast bread.


Why We Love These Ingredients

Gut friendly Corn contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, and helps keep your microbiome balanced. It is also a low-glycemic carbohydrate, which means it’s absorbed slowly in the blood stream and prevents blood sugar spikes.

Corn is also a source of lutein and zeaxanthin which protects eyes and vision especially as you age. 

Eggs may get a bad rap due to their high amount of cholesterol. But scientists say that the cholesterol in eggs doesn’t adversely affect cholesterol levels; in fact, they can actually help increase HDL, the “good” cholesterol.

What’s more, eggs are a major source of protein. They contain all nine of the essential amino acids you need for muscle repair, immune function, and overall wellness. It also includes choline, a nutrient vital for brain function.


Pro Tips To Get You Started

The perfect spoon bread is crispy and golden outside, soft and creamy on the inside. The secret to making this happen is baking the spoon bread in a preheated baking dish or cast-iron skillet.

Bake until the top is golden brown and the center is set, 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the spoon bread comes out clean. You don’t want to overbake the spoon bread or else it will come out dry, so start with 30 minutes and then bake additionally in 3-minute intervals until it’s set.

Serve your spoon bread warm with generous pats of butter and a hefty drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Spoon bread can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. To reheat, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and warm in a 300°F-oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until warmed through. Freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.


Tailor To Your Own Tastes

This batter is so easy to customize. Simply add extra ingredients to the batter for a more savory [or more decadent] spoon bread. Feel free to experiment; the combinations are endless! Here are a few ideas:

  • Mexican spoon bread: grate 2/3 cup Monterey/Pepper Jack, Mexican blend cheese and to the batter with diced jalapenos [to taste], one diced tomato and a ¼ tsp of cumin.
  • Onion-and-herb spoon bread: stir in ½ cup finely chopped onions with 1 tsp each of chopped thyme, parsley, and rosemary.
  • Crabmeat, corn, and roasted pepper spoon bread: Fold 8 oz of lump crabmeat, 1 cup corn kernels, 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, 1/2 cup scallions, and 1/4 cup fresh cilantro into cornmeal mixture then add to baking dish.
  • Bacon, Corn & Chive spoon bread: add one can of drained whole kernel corn, 5-6 slices of crumbled bacon and 2 TBSP chopped chives for an extra pop of corn flavor and texture.
  • Italian spoon bread: grate a large clove of garlic and add to the batter with ½ cup of grated mozzarella, one diced tomato, and 1 tsp each of oregano and thyme.
  • Cinnamon Sugar spoon bread: Add 2 tsp cinnamon and 1/3 cup sugar to the batter.


Southern Spoon Bread

 Prep Time: 10 minutes 

 Cook Time: 30 minutes 

 Total Time: 40 minutes 




  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup plus 3 TBSP whole milk or half-and-half, divided
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 2 TBSP butter, melted
  • Extra butter, honey/maple syrup for serving



  1. Place an 8” x 8” baking dish or an 8-inch cast iron skillet into a cold oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. The pan will warm up while the oven heats.

  2. Meanwhile, stir cornmeal into boiling water. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

  3. Add salt. Dissolve baking powder in 3 TBSP of milk. Add the baking powder mixture to the remaining 1 cup of milk. Add milk, sugar, and baking powder cornmeal mixture.

  4. Pour melted Butter into the hot baking dish. Be sure the bottom is coated evenly with the butter, then add the batter. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  5. Serve spoon bread warm from the oven. Drizzle with more butter and honey or maple syrup.




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