Cornmeal Mush

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An old-fashioned cornmeal mush recipe that you can serve as a hot porridge cereal for breakfast, or as a side dish to a main dish at dinner time.

Although Matt and I both spent our childhood days in Ohio, he was in the south and I was in the north. We’ve realized over the almost 20 years we’ve been married that these two parts of Ohio tend to be very different. Many things that he remembers from growing up, I never experienced.

And this cornmeal mush recipe is one of them. He’s crazy for it.

A few weeks ago I showcased this on Instagram and so many of you call it grits. I’m not sure where the name “mush” comes from other than it looks like mush 😅 But with a little milk and real maple syrup, it’s delicious! Such a simple comfort food.

how to make cornmeal mush

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️  Reader Carl says, “Made this In remembrance of mom for mother’s day breakfast. Creamy recipe and brought back memories of a warm kitchen and family early morning.”

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️  Reader Elaine says, “So much better than you think would be possible. Wavering? Just make it!”

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️  Reader Charlie says, “I just made this 100% by the directions above. Poured some in a cereal bowl, added almost a tablespoon of butter, two teaspoons of beautiful old fashioned white sugar (I’m not a fan of corn syrup or maple syrup in my cereal) and milk. Delicious! But it takes 15 minutes at the stove. But over all I will do this again!”

About this Cornmeal Mush Recipe:

  • Flavor: Mush itself doesn’t have much flavor except for a hint of cornmeal. The flavor comes with what you add on top. Syrup, brown sugar, honey, or even fresh fruit is delicious.
  • Texture: Except fo the slight cornmeal texture, this hot cereal is smooth and thick.
  • Method: This is made on the stovetop, so you’ll need a big pot (or small pot of you’re just cooking for two like we are now. )

Make this old fashioned dish on Christmas morning. It will quickly become a long time favorite.

Cornmeal Mush vs. Polenta? Or Grits?

Many times today this recipe is called cornmeal polenta. From my research It can be served at breakfast with a touch of cream and honey or maple syrup. Perfectly sweet.

Or it can be served as the side dish to meaty main dish with a bit of fresh salsa, your favorite herbs and even a touch of parmesan cheese. So savory and delicious.

Whether you serve it for breakfast or as a savory side dish, the warm texture of this corn mush will warm your belly on cold winter days.

Our recipe came from an old cookbook and is an Amish cornmeal mush recipe from Amish country.

bowl of cornmeal mush

Corn Mush Ingredients

Cornmeal mush has simple ingredients that you most likely have in your pantry. It starts with boiling water, then you add cornmeal, milk, and a bit of salt.

That’s it! 4 simple ingredients and you’re on your way to a warm cereal.

How to Make Cornmeal Mush

  • To make mush, simply start 3 cups of water boiling.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the cornmeal, milk and salt. It’s important to mix this first in a separate bowl and not just add the individual ingredients to the boiling water. If you do, it will clump up and you don’t want clumps!
  • Slowly pour the milk/cornmeal mixture into the hot water, stirring constantly.
  • Keep stirring the mixture until it comes to a boil again. Then reduce the heat to low and cook/stir the mixture for about 15 minutes until it has thickened to the consistency you like.

Simple as that! It takes about as long to make as if you were making oatmeal on the stovetop.

A close up of cornmeal mush
about tastes of lizzy t

Make it a meal.

Serve this cornmeal mush with:

How to Make Fried Mush

Matt loves mush, but what he likes even more is old fashioned fried cornmeal mush. You can take this thick porridge, pour mixture into a loaf pan and let it set overnight. 

The next morning, cut the loaf of cornmeal mush into ½ to 1-inch slices and fry it in oil in a skillet until golden brown.

Find our complete fried cornmeal mush recipe here.

Recipe Variations

  • Add raisins and nuts for a hearty breakfast.
  • Make it dairy free by using almond milk or oat milk.
  • This is gluten free if you make sure that your cornmeal is gluten free.
  • Try swirling apple butter into the top. It may just be my personal preference, but in the fall, it’s better than my favorite syrup!
bowl of cornmeal mush on a table
bowl of cornmeal mush on a table

Corn Mush Recipe

4.72 from 90 votes
Old-fashioned, comforting cornmeal mush recipe that you can serve as a hot porridge cereal for breakfast, or as a side dish to a main dish at dinner time.
Servings 5
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

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  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste


  • In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the cornmeal, milk and salt.
  • Slowly pour the cornmeal/milk mixture into the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  • Bring it to a boil again, then reduce heat and stir almost constantly (to avoid clumps) for about 15 minutes or until the mixture is thickened to the consistency you like.
  • Serve warm with cream and maple syrup.



Calories are based on a serving of 1 cup.


Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 259mg | Potassium: 176mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 79IU | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Calories 151
Keyword cornmeal recipe, old fashioned breakfast recipe, vintage recipe
About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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10 days ago

5 stars
THIS is the recipe I have been trying to find.
I cannot wait to try this tonight for dinner
Thank you!!!

4 months ago

5 stars
This is exactly what I was craving! Creamy and smooth. I had it southern style with fried eggs, then a second serving with brown sugar. So good!! And easy 😉

4 months ago

My mom made this for me when i was little and i loved it. I havent had it in so long i just wanted to make it and eat it immediately. But i made it it as per the directions and mine never set up so i could slice it. My mom said to just add more cornmeal to it until its thick so i did that and it was so thick i needed 2 hands to stir it so i put in frig over night and nothing still wattery and soupy like grits. What am i doing wrong????

Kathy Zielke
4 months ago

5 stars
This is just what I was looking for – my mom is 91. This is one of her comfort foods she shared with my dad. Easy to make and tastes good!

Tracy Grasso
1 year ago

5 stars
Had cornmeal to use up and made this for breakfast! LOVE it! I love cornbread and only served with a small Pat of butter and maple syrup-cornbread in a bowl 🙂

1 year ago

5 stars
I made them this morning…..nostalgic memories of when Dad would make cmeal mush for me before sending me out in the wintry blast to walk to school…..”This will stick to your ribs, Bondy….all the way to school” We ate it with molasses and butter. I just had it the same but with sorgum instead of molasses. I poured the left over into a pyrex dish to set up for fried mush tomorrow. Happy camper…..this recipe is delicious…..(we never used milk in preparation…..just a cup of water to make the corn meal slurry. Nary a lump.

1 year ago

5 stars
This sounds so good. I can’t eat oatmeal because it affects my sugar levels, but this look like a great replacement for it!

1 year ago

5 stars
I grew up in Ohio. Had mush and fried mush very often. I love it.

2 years ago

5 stars
I had some blue cornmeal so I made it and it was really good. Much better than I remember eating it as a child. I’m hoping the left over will set up and I can fry it.