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. It’s so incredibly simple and totally delicious.
Have you ever heard of mush?
Or what about polenta?
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 for 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.
Table of Contents
What is fried cornmeal mush?
Fried cornmeal mush is cornmeal 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!
Looking for a different but similar Southern dish? Try these easy grit cakes!
How is mush different than polenta?
Polenta and cornmeal mush are the same 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 is 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.
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 alongside sausage or bacon and a few fried eggs.
It’s a great substitute for potatoes, pancakes, French toast, or waffles.
I love serving it with sausage because I love that sweet and savory combination.
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.
Love this fried cornmeal mush recipe?
Why not try a few of my other tasty breakfast recipes?
- Chorizo Cotija Guacamole Toast
- Blackberry Lemon Dutch Baby
- 2 Ingredient Cinnamon Roll Wrapped Sausages
- Cranberry Apple Yogurt Parfait
Fried Cornmeal Mush
- 1 roll of firm polenta or cornmeal sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Maple syrup for serving
- Set sliced polenta to the side.
- Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add butter.
- Once the butter is melted add in the cornmeal slices.
- Cook until brown, flip, and cook on the other side until brown, about 5 minutes per side.
- Serve warm with maple syrup for drizzling.