Grandad’s Cornmeal Mush

Fried Cornmeal Mush Plate

This is an old-time breakfast staple that has stood the test of time. Below is my basic mush recipe for a very easy and versatile breakfast dish. You can eat it like hot cereal, or chill it and then fry it. Mush goes well with butter and sugar, brown sugar, or syrup as a breakfast dish, or with savory sauces and vegetables for lunch, dinner, or at snack time. This page is for the chilled and fried variety, but you can eat it hot as cereal right off the stove.

INGREDIENTS for 6-8 Servings:

  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a two-quart saucepan
  • Combine 1 cup cornmeal and salt in a mixing bowl with 1 cup cold water, and stir until well mixed.
  • Slowly pour the cold mixture into the saucepan with the 3 cups boiling water.
  • Stir frequently until thickened to a stiff consistency. (5 to 7 minutes)


  • If serving as cereal, spoon mush into bowls and serve hot with milk and sugar or maple syrup.
  • If frying, pour the hot/warm mixture into a loaf pan and chill completely. Remove from pan, cut into slices, and fry desired slices in a small amount of oil over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Serve with the sauce of your choice.
  • If you like your mush a little hardier, after chilling and slicing, dip each slice in egg wash and seasoned flour before frying.

I usually prepare Mush ahead of time and store it in the freezer. I first chill it overnight in a loaf pan to let it set up. Then it can be sliced with the slices separated by wax paper and placed in the freezer. It is easy then to remove one or more pieces to thaw while leaving the loaf in the freezer.

By the way, mush and polenta are basically 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.

For cornmeal mush, here’s a simple ratio to remember: One-One-Three; meaning: 1 cup cornmeal to 1 cup cold water, poured into 3 cups boiling water. The ratio will always stay the same, so increase or decrease amounts proportionally.

Larry ladles sauce into hotel pan