Spoon Bread from ‘Southern Soups & Stews’

This week, we’re spotlighting recipes from Southern Soups & Stews: More Than 75 Recipes from Burgoo and Gumbo to Etouffée and Fricassee by Nancie McDermott (Chronicle Books), a collection of hearty, crowd-pleasing dishes from around the American South. Try making the recipes at home and let us know what you think!


A custard and soufflé mashup known in South as Spoon Bread. (Photo: Leigh Beisch)

By Nancie McDermott

Spoon Bread
Serves 4 to 6

Located right by the intersection of custard and soufflé, this beloved Southern accompaniment to a special-occasion feast may find a place among your year-round, borderless repertoire of go-to dishes that expand a meal with minimal effort. Essentially cornbread enhanced with an abundance of eggs, milk, and melted butter, spoon bread comes to the table in a casserole dish or baking pan, to be spooned onto the china plates at Sunday dinner. It can accompany an elegant repast of country ham, fried chicken, or, as Edna Lewis recalls in her eloquent book, The Taste of Country Cooking, an early summer menu of sautéed veal kidney with Simpson lettuce and young beet tops. Despite its name, bread would still be called for, either biscuits or yeast rolls. Nineteenth-century spoon bread recipes got their height from eggs alone, often separated so that the stiffly beaten whites provided the lift. Twentieth-century cooks turned to baking powder, which suits me fine. Hot from the oven, spoon bread puffs up beautifully, and then settles down as the minutes pass to a handsome, luscious side dish, delicious hot or warm.

1 cup white or yellow cornmeal, preferably stone ground
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups boiling water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking powder

Heat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 2-quart baking pan or a round 9-inch cake pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal and salt and stir with a fork to mix them together. Pour in the boiling water and stir, scraping the bowl and combining everything into a thick batter.

Add the sugar, milk, eggs, and melted butter and stir to mix everything together evenly. Stir in the baking powder, then pour the batter into the pre­pared pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the batter has puffed up nicely and turned a pleasing golden brown. Serve the spoon bread hot or warm.

Reprinted with permission from Southern Soups & Stews: More Than 75 Recipes from Burgoo and Gumbo to Etouffée and Fricassee by Nancie McDermott (Chronicle Books).


Southern Soups & Stews. (Photo: Leigh Beisch)

For more awesome soups to inspire you this fall, visit our Soups & Stews Pinterest board and get to pinning!

More soups to cozy up to:

Chicken Soup That Really Will Warm the Soul

Butternut Squash Soup from ‘My Kitchen Year’

Black-Eyed Pea Stew from ‘Southern Soups & Stews’