Buttermilk Spoon Bread

Although called a bread, this dish has the consistency and taste of a savory pudding.

Buttermilk Spoon Bread
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
6 serves

Although called a bread, this dish has the consistency and taste of a savory pudding. Buttermilk Spoon Bread is a nice cross between a skillet of hot cornbread, a cornmeal soufflé, and cornbread dressing. This versatile side dish is a welcome addition to the menu any time of the year and is especially delicious when served alongside holiday favorites such as Green Bean Casserole and Sweet Potato Casserole. Be sure and use full fat milk and full fat buttermilk when making this recipe and choose plain cornmeal, not cornmeal mix. This spoon bread recipe instructs you to beat the egg whites and yolks separately, then gently fold the puffy whites into the batter just before baking. This method adds height to the dish. Make this delicious recipe as it is written, then try it again and customize it in any number of ways by adding corn kernels, diced ham or sausage, herbs, or cheese.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for greasing dish

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1 cup whole buttermilk

  • 1 cup finely ground white cornmeal

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 3 large eggs, separated


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 2-quart casserole dish with butter. Heat milk and buttermilk in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium until steaming but not boiling. (Look for small bubbles forming around edges of saucepan.) Gradually pour cornmeal into milk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking or stirring with a large spoon. (Scrape sides of saucepan as you whisk to prevent lumps from forming.) Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, until cornmeal dissolves completely and mixture thickens, 10 to 12 minutes.

  2. Remove cornmeal mixture from heat. Add butter, chopped thyme, salt, and pepper, stirring until butter melts and mixture is combined. Let stand 10 minutes.

  3. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl. Stir in 2 cups of the cornmeal mixture until combined. Transfer cornmeal-egg yolk mixture to remaining cornmeal mixture in saucepan, stirring quickly until combined. (Mixture may still look a little grainy or lumpy.)

  4. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 ½ minutes. Gently fold egg whites into cornmeal mixture using a spatula or large spoon until mixture becomes a smooth batter with no streaks remaining.

  5. Spoon batter into prepared casserole dish. Bake in preheated oven until spoon bread is puffed up, firm, and lightly browned, 35 to 40 minutes. (Note that spoon bread will initially puff up to great heights but then deflate within minutes of leaving the oven.) Serve hot or warm.

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