Buttermilk Spoonbread (Individual Corn Puddings) – Recipe

Spoonbread
Spoonbread

If a French souffle moved to Georgia and married a pan of cornbread, their offspring would be this classic Southern spoonbread. Tender, creamy and dead-easy to make, you should have this in your repertoire when you want a side dish for a bowl of vegetarian chili or a mess of collard greens.

You can take this basic recipe and up the ante with more savory ingredients like caramelized onions, chilis or smoked paprika, or pass sorghum or maple syrup on the side to go sweet.

The most common way of serving spoonbread is in a single large casserole, but I like it better in individual ramekins. Whichever way you go, be sure to stop baking it the moment it is puffed up and the eggs are set. You want it to remain soft and custardy, not turn into a dense cornbread.

Buttermilk Spoonbread
Vegetarian and gluten-free
Makes 8 individual side-dish portions 
10 minutes active, 30 total

  • 4 tablespoons melted butter + more unmelted for ramekins
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 cup medium-grain stone ground cornmeal
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 and butter eight 6-ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Combine the melted butter, honey, salt and cornmeal in a medium bowl. Stir in 1 1/3 cups boiling water and allow to rest 5 minutes.
  3. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and whisk in the buttermilk. Sprinkle the baking powder over the cornmeal mixture, then pour the egg mixture over it. Add the corn kernels. Mix everything together, which should give you a rather liquid batter. 
  4. Ladle 1/2 cup of batter into each ramekin, being sure to stir a little as you go so it doesn't separate. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned and just barely set in the center. Allow to cool 5 minutes and serve.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, December 27th, 2010 in Baking, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Side Dishes.

14 Responses to “Buttermilk Spoonbread (Individual Corn Puddings) – Recipe”

  1. December 27, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

    Michael these are gorgeous! I’ve been on a major chili kick this season and haven’t quite found the perfect accompaniment. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  2. December 27, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    Yum!
    Looks great, I’ve been craving southern food from home. It’s hard for me to find/make here in Bolivia where I’m living. I think I’ll try and make the spoon bread this week. The only problem is the buttermilk. They have plain yogurt that’s supper runny, almost the consistency of buttermilk. Do you think that would be an ok substitute? Thanks for the great recipe as usual!

  3. Michael Natkin
    December 28, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    Thanks, Renai! Let me know if you make them… I think the key to having them be delicious is to bake them just enough to set but not any extra.

  4. Michael Natkin
    December 28, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    Hmm, I'm not completely sure whether a thin yogurt will substitute well for buttermilk in this recipe. If you try it, let me know!

  5. December 28, 2010 at 11:16 pm #

    It looks interesting, I cannot imagine the taste… a bit like polenta???

  6. December 29, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    I’ve made spoonbread once or twice before, but yes, it’s always been in one big casserole-type dish. I like these individual ones so much more. They are so precious looking and make what’s inside even more special.

  7. December 29, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    Your first line made me smile and your last paragraph made me want to buy individual ramekins! I guess it is time to finally break down and get them!

  8. December 29, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    You’re going to cringe in horror but I’m gonna attempt these… (or a version of these, because ultimately they won’t really be the same at all) and make ‘em vegan. (Yes, yes, i know – I HATE it when someone takes a perfectly good version of one of my recipes and says “I’m going to make this but totally change up the ingredients so it’s nothing like what you intended…)
    So, I guess in reality, you’ve INSPIRED me to try a vegan Corn Pudding because I got these darling little ramekins for Christmas that I’ve been DYING to use…
    Obviously the buttermilk won’t be there and soured/acidulated plant milk works for some things but I’ll have to experiment here… (*thinking*)I’ve done rice-pudding, bread-pudding and corn spoonbread all vegan, so I think I can incorporate some of those ideas, yeah, OK, I’ll shut up until I let you know how it turns out – IF it turns out) and obviously I won’t mess your statistics by filling out the survey – heh!

  9. Michael Natkin
    December 29, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    Hey Tofu Mom – it seems pretty reasonable to me that you could make a good vegan version of this. I'd think in terms of whatever you've used to make your best vegan custards before. Do let me know how it turns out!

  10. Michael Natkin
    December 29, 2010 at 9:57 pm #

    Yep, I reckon that's right… kind of a cross between polenta and custard or souffle.

  11. Tanya
    December 30, 2010 at 7:16 am #

    I just made these. (Yeah, I couldn’t wait and I had extra buttermilk lying around). They are AMAZING. Thanks!

  12. Michael Natkin
    December 30, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    Hey Tanya – I'm so glad you liked them, and thanks for tweeting about them as well!

  13. December 31, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    ooh great recipe. still looking for more buttermilk recipes and this is perfect. i’m going to make it this weekend!

  14. John
    January 4, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Great stuff. We all loved them. I think that next time I’d use a less salt than you did — maybe 1t instead of 2t — but then again I’m more salt-averse than most folks. The spoonbread itself was amazingly light and fluffy, with that corn-pudding sort of center that was just great.

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