Fried Cornmeal Mush

This fried cornmeal mush recipe is an Amish-style Midwest favorite, offering a unique and hearty breakfast option. When fried to a golden crisp and topped with maple syrup and butter, it’s a real breakfast treat.

This fried cornmeal mush recipe is made with just four simple ingredients. The result is a thick, fried cornbread-like dish that’s an ideal alternative to pancakes or waffles. Plus, it’s a great way to switch up your breakfast routine!

If you’re a fan of this recipe, you might also enjoy my corn souffle or cornbread. They share the same corn-based appeal and are just as easy to make!

recipe card for fried cornmeal mush

This recipe came to mind when I found this little square recipe in my grandma’s recipe box. I remember my dad ordering it at restaurants, so I wanted to try making it myself.

Why I Love This Recipe

  • Comfort Food: This fried cornmeal mush is the ultimate comfort food. It’s warm, hearty, and incredibly satisfying, making it perfect for a cozy breakfast or brunch.
  • Family Favorite: This recipe is a hit with the whole family. The crispy exterior and soft, creamy interior of the cornmeal mush are a delicious combination that everyone will love.
  • Budget-Friendly: Cornmeal is an inexpensive ingredient, making this recipe a great option for anyone on a budget. It’s a simple yet hearty dish that’s perfect for stretching your food budget.
  • Unique Twist: While this recipe is a classic, it also offers a unique twist on traditional breakfast foods. It’s a great way to switch things up and add some variety to your meals.
cornmeal, butter and salt in kitchen

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Key Ingredients

  • Water: You’ll need this to cook the cornmeal and make it into a thick, mushy consistency.
  • Fine Ground Cornmeal: This is the main ingredient in our recipe, giving it a hearty, corn flavor and the perfect, slightly gritty texture.
  • Salt: A little salt goes a long way in enhancing the flavors of the other ingredients in the recipe.
  • Butter: This will be stirred into the cooked cornmeal to add a rich, buttery flavor and a smooth, creamy finish.


  • Medium Saucepan – You’ll need this to boil the water and cook the cornmeal mixture.
  • Loaf Pan – This is where you’ll pour the cooked cornmeal to set and cool before slicing and frying.
  • Skillet or Griddle – This is essential for pan-frying the slices of cornmeal mush until golden brown.
plate with fried mush and maple syrup

How to Make Fried Cornmeal Mush Recipe


To start, you’ll need to boil water and mix your cornmeal. This will make sure that your cornmeal mush has the right consistency for frying.

Step 1 – Boil the Water

Heat 3 cups of water in a saucepan until it’s boiling. This will be used to cook your cornmeal and make it thick.

Step 2 – Mix the Cornmeal

In a separate bowl, combine your cornmeal, salt, and 1 cup of water. This will help to give your cornmeal mush a good texture. Now, it’s time to cook your cornmeal and get it ready for frying.

mush batter in skillet

Step 3 – Add Cornmeal to Boiling Water

Pour your cornmeal mixture into the boiling water. It’s important to stir constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Cook the mixture until it’s thick.

cornmeal mush in baking pan lined with parchment paper

Step 4 – Chill the Cornmeal

Next, pour your cooked cornmeal into a greased or lined loaf pan and refrigerate. This will help it to set and make it easier to slice for frying.

sliced cornmeal mush
mush frying in cast iron pan

Step 5 – Slice and Fry the Cornmeal

Once your cornmeal is cooled, slice it into 1/2-inch slices. Then, pan fry the slices slowly on a greased griddle or skillet until they are golden brown.

fried cornmeal mush on plate

Step 6 – Serve

Finally, serve your fried cornmeal mush immediately. You can top it with maple syrup, butter, or both for a delicious, classic breakfast dish.

Expert Tip

To ensure a smooth and creamy cornmeal mush, use fine-milled cornmeal to make this recipe. Coarse grain may result in a grainier texture.

Recipe Variations

  • Different Seasonings: While the classic recipe calls for salt, feel free to add other seasonings to the cornmeal mixture. Try a dash of garlic powder, onion powder, or even some cayenne for a spicy twist.
  • Sweet Version: This recipe is savory, but you can easily make a sweet version. Just omit the salt from the cornmeal mixture and add a tablespoon of sugar. After frying, sprinkle the slices with cinnamon and sugar.
  • Add Cheese: For a cheesy twist, mix in a cup of shredded cheddar or parmesan into the cornmeal mixture. This will add a deliciously savory flavor to your fried cornmeal mush.
sliced and fried cornmeal mush on plate

What to Serve With

  • For a classic breakfast, serve your fried cornmeal mush with a side of crispy bacon and a couple of sunny-side-up eggs.
  • I love to serve fried mush with butter and maple syrup. The butter and syrup will soak in and give it a delicious sweetness.
  • For a cozy brunch, serve your fried cornmeal mush with a warm cup of coffee and a fluffy buttermilk biscuit.

Recipe FAQs

How long does the cornmeal mush need to be refrigerated?

The cornmeal mush needs to be refrigerated until it is completely cooled and set. This usually takes a few hours, but you can also leave it in the fridge overnight.

Do I have to pan-fry the slices?

Yes, for the best results, it’s recommended to pan-fry the sliced cornmeal mush. This gives it a crispy exterior while keeping the inside soft and creamy.

Storing and Reheating

  • Storing: You can easily store leftover un-fried cornmeal mush in the refrigerator. Once it has cooled, simply transfer it to an airtight container. It can be stored for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Unfortunately, this dish doesn’t freeze well due to its texture. Freezing can cause the cornmeal mush to become mushy once it’s thaw.

Serving Size

  • What to Expect: This fried cornmeal mush recipe yields about 16 slices, depending on how thick you slice them.
  • How to Scale: If you want to make more than 16 slices, you can double the recipe and follow the instructions as directed. Just make sure to use a larger saucepan to cook the mixture and a larger pan to chill and slice the cornmeal mush.
sliced and fried cornmeal mush on plate
Created by: Lynette Rice

Fried Cornmeal Mush

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Cooling Time 4 Hours
Servings 16 slices
16 slices
This fried cornmeal mush recipe is an Amish-style Midwest favorite, offering a unique and hearty breakfast option. When fried to a golden crisp and topped with maple syrup and butter, it's a real breakfast treat.


  • 1 saucepan
  • 1 skillet
  • 1 bread pan


  • 4 cups water divided
  • 1 cup fine ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter


  • Heat 3 cups of water to boiling in a medium saucepan. In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, salt, and the remaining 1 cup of water.
  • Pour the cornmeal mixture into the boiling water. Stir constantly. Cook until thickened. Pour cooked cornmeal into a greased or lined loaf pan. Refrigerate at least four hours.
  • When cooled, slice into 1/2-inch slices. Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Pan fry the sliced mush slowly until golden brown. Serve immediately topped with maple syrup and/or butter.


Expert Tip: To ensure a smooth and creamy cornmeal mush, use fine-milled cornmeal to make this recipe. Coarse grain may result in a grainier texture.
Leftover Storage:  Do not pan-fry until ready to enjoy.  Store cooled cornmeal in a sealed container for up to 3 days.  Slice as you desire to pan-fry the mush.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 51kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 158mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 44IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. Terrell Glen Ford says:

    I made cornmush per the recipie but it didn’t set up so it could be sliced. What did I do wrong ?

  2. 5 stars
    Simple, wonderful, delicious! Takes me back to my childhood! I absolutely adore the little square recipe from your grandmother’s recipe box!❤️❤️❤️ My mom made this frequently as it was one of my dad’s favorites! They both grew up during the dust bowl and depression when food scarcity was very real. This is simple and economical and wonderful! Call it polenta to impress your friends! My mother would stir in fully cooked crumbled breakfast sausage prior to pouring it into the loaf pan. Be patient and let it be in the fridge for 24 hours, then fry it up in a pan! (This part also takes patience. It seems like it takes forever to get brown! It is made from a whole grain , if you fry in EVOO it is real not bad for you on occasion!!

    1. Lynette Rice says:

      Thank you so much for your comment! I love sharing these vintage recipes so that everyone can reconnect with great memories! (And great food!)

      1. Marie Gerhard says:

        Can I add a few drop of honey to the mix before setting up? Mines seems to fall apart even after 24 houe set