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This recipe for fried cornmeal mush has been around for a long time. I used to make it for my twins years ago when we lived on the farm. It is great for breakfast served with bacon or sausage. Just add some butter and syrup.  We love it with real maple syrup poured over the top like you would pancakes.  Fried cornmeal mush is an old-fashioned recipe that has been around for years.  My mother used to make it for me when I was a child and I made it for my children, too.

Fried cornmeal mush is an old-fashioned recipe.

3 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups cornmeal (I have used yellow and white)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup flour

3 or 4 tablespoons butter or margarine

Maple syrup, honey, sorghum or syrup of your choice

Mix cornmeal and salt together in a bowl.  Bring the 3 1/2 cups water to a boil on the stove.  Gradually stir in cornmeal. I use a whisk stirring constantly.  Turn down heat and cook until thickens, about five minutes.  Pour mixture into a greased or sprayed loaf pan.  Cover and chill overnight in refrigerator.  Next morning, slice mush in about 1/2 inch slices,  coat with flour, and fry in butter until golden brown.  Remove from skillet and add lots of syrup of your choice.  Enjoy!

Note:  Some people don’t coat the mush with flour.  You can do it either way.  I think it fries better with the flour.
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4.75 from 4 votes

Fried Cornmeal Mush

This is an old fashioned recipe. My mother made this when I was a kid and then I made it for my children. It's great with real maple syrup.
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Fried Cornmeal Mush
Author: The Southern Lady Cooks


  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal I have used yellow and white
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 or 4 tbsp butter or margarine
  • Maple syrup honey, sorghum or syrup of your choice


  • Mix cornmeal and salt together in a bowl. Bring the 3 1/2 cups water to a boil on the stove. Gradually stir in cornmeal. I use a whisk stirring constantly. Turn down heat and cook until thickens, about five minutes.
  • Pour mixture into a greased or sprayed loaf pan. Cover and chill overnight in refrigerator.
  • Next morning, slice mush in about 1/2 inch slices, coat with flour, and fry in butter until golden brown. Remove from skillet and add lots of syrup of your choice.


Some people don’t coat the mush with flour.  You can do it either way.  I think it fries better with the flour.

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  1. Nancy Dreher says:

    My Dad would fry mush for us on the weekends. He always sliced it thin and the mush did pop grease everywhere. He also would make fried grits as well. I loved both of them. I just like butter on mine. I love both and can eat them any day of the week. Just wish my Dad was here to fry them for me I miss him. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you so much for this great recipe. I have enjoyed mush for many years and I simply can’t wait to try this recipe!5 stars

  3. Barbara Head says:

    Fried cornmeal mush…..ain’t nothing like it in this world. I’m a natural born Yankee and grew up eating this. My husband is from the South and loves this as well!5 stars

  4. My mother made it for me, and her mother before her. I suspect that this recipe has been around as long as cornmeal and grits.

    I like mine with honey on top

  5. Love this! But my mom would cook it a lot longer – makes it less gritty. We would have some at night hot with butter,salt and pepper. Morning she fried it up- yum!4 stars

  6. It’s good with hot sausage broken up in it too. That’s the way my aunt would make it.

  7. LeDena Degagne says:

    OMGoodness ! Finally other people that know what this is ! I’m from New Mexico but now live in Pisano Beach , CA. My mother made this all the time fried in bacon grease and served with an egg to dip it in. I made it for my children all the time, they are 29 and 31 now and they make it for their children. I get the strangest looks when I talk about it. I have tried the roll of polenta as well but it seems to have more of a gritty taste and not the creamy interior. Thank you so much for posting this, I can’t wait to show my kids that others enjoyed this as well. This time I’m going to add sausage into the mix and coat it in flour 😉

  8. Hi Ladies (Yawl)

    On the mush, you say put it in a loaf pan (9×5), but you show a baking dish (9×13)-I’m confused ?

    Lee (Mo)

    • The Southern Lady says:

      That is a loaf pan in the photo. It is 9 x 5. Just looks bigger I guess in the photo. I always use a loaf pan.

    • My dad did not like the mush sliced and fried. He wanted it just dropped into the grease I guess from a spoon. It was real thin and crispy and irregular shape I remember cleaning up the grease spatters was bad. Would it have been cooked any differently? I don’t think it was so thick as you couldn’t slice it. Drizzled more like a funnel cake would be. Any ideas. all my family is gone. Thanks for any help

  9. Cornmeal mush is wonderful! It never made it to the table at my house, we kids ate it right out of the pan once it got brown. Polenta and mush are much the same, only polenta is slow cooked for about an hour or so, while mush (in this recipe) is cooked only about 5 minutes. I don’t know how much difference that makes, but I think the Italians would say a lot.

  10. This was a traditional breakfast my Dad wanted for Christmas morning, he would let us peek in the living room Christmas morning tree lit, packages all around the tree then he would shut the door going from the loving room to the dining room….now we had to eat breakfast first and we had mush with syrup and some kind of sausage. I think he did this to increase the anticipation…great memories.

  11. I’ve never had it fried, my mother always made it like a hot cereal, and I make it that way too. I’m originally from West Virginia (no, not western Virginia,lol) and live in Ohio now.

  12. I remember grandma making fried mush and serving with warm syrup. It would pop a lot in the oil. So maybe the flour will help with that. I’m gonna try it this weekend. You can also buy it in a chub at the grocery and when you slice it, it’s in small rounds. Just as easy to make yourself. 🙂

  13. Cathey Ashley says:

    My parents and 3 brothers got through the depression with mush and beans. The boys saw it as a punishment. I fix mush now, just to fry for beans or chili, and see it as a very special meal.

    • If it hadn’t been for cornmeal mush, we would of gone hungry during the depression, like cereal for breakfast and fried for dinner, I still like it and make it for myself sometimes.

  14. My mom made it with grits would that be the same as fried cornmeal?


  16. I’m from the swamps of south Florida. My mom made it every Sunday morning. I swore when I got out of there I would never eat it again. LOL. I miss it so much. Thank you for the recipe.

  17. I love this my Mom made this all the time for us when we were growing up.

  18. I have made this all my life from Indiana, we had another name for it
    we called it Phonis or some close spelling. I have never made it without fried sausage mixed in at the end of the boiling phase before poured into the buttered dish. in frige overnight slice fry and serve with catsup or syrup and and egg on the side

  19. Lisa Napier says:

    We grew up on mush and it is hard to find someone who actually as ever heard of it! LOL!! I just use 3 cups water and 1 cup of white cornmeal and put butter on top! Your recipe sounds interesting though and I am going to try it!! Thank you so much for your recipes. I have tried many of them and love them!!!

    • Laura Braun says:

      We always sprinkled sugar.on top after buttering it. My mama was from South Carolina and made it quite often. We all loved it!

  20. Rebecca Davidson says:

    Yankees call it fried mush. Italians call it polenta.

  21. Yum. We put a little brown sugar in the mush and fried it. My kids just eat it with out the syrup. Just some butter on top! Great with eggs and ham for bteakfast. Or a dinner option without 5 he brown sugar and serve with a pot of beans or chili!

  22. Linda Cockrill says:

    My grandmother here in Texas used to make Fried Cornmeal Mush – I don’t remember if I ate it back then (probably not) BUT have thought about her fried mush several times recently and have wanted to try it in my later years!! Thanks for reviving a good memory!!

  23. I’m from Canada and my mother used to make fried oatmeal same way you make this. I still make it and enjoy it. Thanks.

  24. Susan March says:

    This was always a treat when my mother made it for us when we were kids. If, by some miracle, there were leftovers she would leave them on the stove for snacking later but they never lasted very long. Instead of using syrup as you’ll find served in some restaurants we always spread jelly on top. One of my favorite foods! Yummy!!!

  25. Lorrie Baldiwn says:

    My husband absolutely loved his mush this morning. Was very surprised! Thank you again for the recipe! Will get a few more servings from our loaf.

  26. I remember growing up my mom made mush for us as a breakfast dish. I just can’t remember how she did it That was about 45 years ago.Now she gone and I’ll never know how she did it Would you know please let me know if you do Thanks

    • This is the only way I know to make it and you can serve it for breakfast.

    • Linda Franks says:

      My mom made mush for us when I was little. She made it like the recipe above. She made a big pot of it. We ate it as a hot cereal with butter and sugar. Then she would put the rest of it in a bowl to cool and put it in the fridge over night. Then she’d fry it the next morning with a plate of bacon. Yummy!

  27. OMG This brings back such fond memories. My grandmother used to add pork to it so we had our meat too. Oh how I long for the days of her making up pans of this for us to enjoy. Sadly, my family (after I married and moved away from home) never liked it. So its been forever since I’ve had this. Thanks for the memories of old you’ve brought back to me!

  28. Donna Hultberg says:

    My Mom has often told me about her mother cooking fried cornmeal mush & that was in Maine & all my ancestors have been there for generations. I have since defected to North Carolina! LOL

  29. I used to make fried mush many years ago for my children and had forgotten about it… my kids are now 44yr & 46yrs old. I do make pancakes out of cornbread mix when I make pinto beans… just easier than regular cornbread for only two people having dinner.

  30. Another great use for using up your bacon grease to fry the slices. Looks like this deserves a “Yankee Yum !”

  31. You’ve done it again!! So many great memories. My mom used to make this for us (we grew up in PA and FL). Fried in butter and served with syrup, I loved the crunchy edges!! I’ll have to make this sooner than later.

  32. I’m from south MS and I’ve never had this but my ex mother in law who was a midwesterner would slice and fry leftover grits in butter. I enjoyed it but without syrup. Another leftover my mom fried was cornbread. She would slice the peices in half to make them thinner then fry them to warm them over. mmm. Then I had a friend in highschool who’s mom would just mix up cornbread batter and drop it in grease and fry into patties for us to dip into ketchup for a evening snack. All good but I need to try this one on my son. We always looking for new breakfast ideas. Thanks

  33. It’s also good with sharp cheese melted on the top!

  34. My mother made this as well (we grew up in Maryland and Virginia). Sometimes she crumbled bacon bits or sausage into the mush before it set. Always, always, dipped in flour before frying. Served with butter and syrup.

  35. My mother made this (we grew up in Maryland and Virginia) as well. Sometimes she crumbled bacon bits and sausage into the mush before it set. And always, always, dipped in flour first before frying! Served with butter and syrup.

  36. I love it too and we used to eat it along with fried eggs and bacon and put bacon gravy on it….whew…makes you want to slap your Momma… LOL

  37. Marsha McKlveen says:

    My husband and I love fried mush. I put 2 tablespoons of flour in the cooked cornmeal before pouring into the loaf pan to make it a little firmer when slicing. We fry it in butter and sprinkle it with sugar instead of syrup. Yum!

  38. First tried cornmeal mush in Midland, MI. was in the menu at Bob Evens restaurant…yummmmm!

  39. Love, love, love fried cornmeal mush! Ate it all my young life and I’m a Yankee … lol
    Haven’t had any in ages .. my Hubby thinks I’m nuts when I mention it.
    Think I’ll make some just for me today and he can sit and drool when he sees how much I enjoy it … lol

  40. I love cornmeal mush. My mom use to fix it for us and haven’t had it in years.

  41. Really does bring back memories for me. My dear mama would often make fried mush for us when we were kids. Hubby’s not fond of it so I haven’t had it in a long time. Just might have to try out your recipe soon. Thanks

  42. My mom used to make it real often …….love it with just butter!

  43. This brings back memories…My father who is from Arkansas gave us “fried mush” frequently!! I think yankees might know it as polenta? haha we also make fried grits the same way. They are all yummy!!

    • MARGARET! my father who was also from Canehill, Arkansas made this for us too. I make it for my kids and they also love it. I guess the yanks do call it polenta. LOL I now live in Washington State and you should see the looks when I talk about this dish…or many other southern favs of mine. My boys come home from school and request this LOL.

  44. I’ve never had fried cornmeal mush, but it sounds wonderful, Judy. Your kids sure were lucky to have such a good cook for their Mama! I know there are a lot of good memories in these recipes for them.

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