Green Chile Spoon Bread

This lighter take on cornbread is a festive side dish for holiday feasts of all sorts.

Green chile spoon bread in light pink casserole dish

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins

If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating spoon bread, it’s time to invite this side dish to your holiday table. Spoon bread is a delightful union of cornbread and a much more high-falutin’ dish—soufflé.

Before you get your feathers ruffled, spoon bread isn’t nearly as fussy as a soufflé. Yes, beaten egg whites are folded into the cornmeal batter, but their lofty lift is assisted by baking powder, which reduces the risk of sinking so often associated with the French side dish.

Another plus: There’s no fancy dish required for this recipe—any 9-inch square baking dish will do. Poblano chiles add a pleasant amount of heat; much more mild than jalapeño peppers, they bring a fresh, vibrant flavor that plays well with the smoky bacon in this recipe.


  • 4 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)

  • 2 large poblano chiles, chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)

  • 3 cups whole milk

  • 1 cup fine yellow cornmeal

  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing

  • 3 large eggs, separated

  • Sliced scallions, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with butter; set aside.

  2. Cook chopped bacon in a large skillet over medium-high, stirring often, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving drippings in skillet. Add onion and poblanos to drippings in skillet; cook over medium-high, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Set onion mixture aside for batter; reserve 1/3 cup onion mixture for topping.

  3. Bring 2 cups of the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium. Stir together cornmeal, sugar, salt, pepper, and remaining 1 cup milk in a small bowl. Gradually whisk cornmeal mixture into hot milk. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. Remove saucepan from heat, and sprinkle in baking powder. Add butter to saucepan, and stir until melted and combined. Beat egg yolks in a small bowl; stir in a small amount of hot cornmeal mixture. Add yolk mixture to pan, and stir well.

  5. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Fold egg whites, bacon, and reserved onion mixture for batter into cornmeal mixture. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with reserved 1/3 cup onion mixture.

  6. Bake in preheated oven until puffed and golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Garnish with sliced scallions, and serve warm.

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