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Fried Cornmeal Mush Recipe

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This fried cornmeal mush recipe is the perfect Midwest breakfast. Delicious firm cornmeal (or you might call it polenta) is lightly fried in butter and drizzled with maple syrup. So incredibly simple and totally delicious. 

sliced fried cornmeal mush with maple syrup.

Have you ever heard of mush?

Or what about polenta?

Basically, it’s the same thing but where it’s different is in the way it’s prepared and the way it’s eaten.

Growing up in Ohio we always gently fried it in butter and served it with maple syrup for dipping or drizzling.

It was the perfect side dish to dinner, breakfast for dinner, or even a fast and easy dinner for one.

I have always loved it because it’s the perfect pairing of sweet and savory and can be ready in just 20 minutes.

fried cornmeal mush drizzled with fresh maple syrup.

What is fried cornmeal mush?

Fried cornmeal mush is cornmeal that has been made into a thick porridge, set up and cooled, sliced, and then lightly pan fried in butter.

If you don’t like butter you can use bacon fat or your oil of choice.

It’s a very southern and midwest dish that takes me right back home with every single bite!

How is mush different than polenta?

Polenta and cornmeal mush are basically the same exact thing but typically served in very different ways.

Oftentimes polenta is made into a thick porridge and then mixed with savory items like herbs, spices, and cheese. Then it’s usually served with roasted tomatoes or topped with cooked meats.

Mush it typically eaten in the fried sliced format and served with a sweet dipping sauce like maple syrup.

It is also common to fry up polenta like mush but instead of serving it with maple syrup it is instead served with warmed marinara sauce.

fried cornmeal mush on a white plate with maple syrup and a fork.

Where can I find prepared polenta or mush?

If you’re looking for the preformed logs of polenta you can typically find them in 2 different areas of the grocery store.

The first area is over by the pasta, rice and gnocchi aisle. It is typically shelf stable so you’ll find it in a plastic roll on the shelf.

If you don’t see it on the shelf it can also sometimes be found over by where you find fresh pasta or egg roll wrappers.

What do I serve with fried cornmeal?

Fried cornmeal mush can be served alone with maple syrup or as a piece to a full breakfast.

Growing up, we would often eat it served along side sausage or bacon and a few fried eggs.

It’s a great substitute to potatoes, pancakes, French toast, or waffles.

I love serving it with sausage because I really love that sweet and savory combination.

fried cornmeal mush on a plate with maple syrup.

What does fried cornmeal taste like?

It tastes very mildly of corn as it’s just dried corn kernels that have been ground into a fine powder.

It’s slightly sweet (naturally from the corn) but overall very mild in flavor.

How do I store fried cornmeal mush?

If you don’t eat all your mush in one sitting it can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

I usually just reheat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to warm it back up.

fried cornmeal mush on a white plate.

Love this fried cornmeal mush recipe?

Why not try a few of my other tasty breakfast recipes!

Fried Cornmeal Mush

Fried Cornmeal Mush

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This fried cornmeal mush recipe is the perfect Midwest breakfast. Delicious firm cornmeal (or you might call it polenta) is lightly fried in butter and drizzled with maple syrup. So incredibly simple and totally delicious. 


  • 1 roll of firm polenta or cornmeal, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Maple syrup, for serving


  1. Set sliced polenta to the side.
  2. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add butter.
  3. Once the butter is melted add in the cornmeal slices.
  4. Cook until brown, flip, and cook on the other side until brown, about 5 minutes per side.
  5. Serve warm with maple syrup for drizzling.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 496Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 243mgCarbohydrates: 88gFiber: 3gSugar: 51gProtein: 4g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Did you make this recipe?

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fried cornmeal mush long pin.

Kenneth barker

Monday 4th of January 2021

Fried mush is excellent WITH eggs over easy. Polenta us not as good. Need recipe how to mix corn meal when you cannot find it in rolls.

Doug Davis

Thursday 22nd of March 2018

I grew up in central Illinois in the 70s, and my dad would often buy "corn meal mush" (a log/brick--can't remember whether it was round or square), and fry it up, and we'd dip bits in syrup.

SO delicious!!!!!


Friday 17th of October 2014

Born and raised in southern such thing as mush or polenta in restaurants (local or corporate). University in central Minnesota...same as Wisconsin. Discovered polenta after college through Italian cookbooks. I first came across fried must in a small town northern Indiana throwback restaurant. It has proven revolutionary for my (mostly) gluten free kitchen! Why is a larger tube of mush drastically cheaper than a smaller tube of polenta???


Saturday 23rd of June 2012

My mom is from the north (Michigan & Indiana area) and we do fried grits and call it Mush.


Friday 12th of August 2011

WOW didnt think people even ate Mush anymore . It was a staple of life growing up in Iowa. I have not had it in years

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