This recipe for corn meal mush with crispy edges and a soft center, was a breakfast favorite of ours while growing up in the old order Amish. This recipe has been in my dad’s family for decades, and even my Amish great grandfather was known to love his mush and eggs for breakfast. This breakfast of fried cornmeal mush is popular among the Lancaster Amish, but was not originally invented by the Amish. Some say corn meal mush originates from Indiana or Ohio, but the exact origins are not completely clear, whatever the case it is easy, budget friendly and family friendly, what could be better?! See below the recipe for photos and notes.
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Amish cornmeal mush
- Large Non-stick skillet with a lid (linked below)
- Glass loaf pans (linked below)
- Cutting board (linked below)
- Non-stick frying pan (linked below)
- 10 cups water divided
- 1 tablespoon salt (scant)
- 3 cups cornmeal *see note below.
- Lard, Vegetable oil, olive oil or butter for frying *see note below
- Honey or pancake syrup for serving (see additional serving suggestions below)
- Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large non-stick skillet with a lid. Combine cornmeal, salt and 2 cups water in a mixing bowl, adding more water as needed until the cornmeal is a cake batter consistency.
- Reduce the heat of the boiling water to a simmer and pour the cornmeal contents into the skillet. Stir the mixture quickly to combine (*see note below) and immediately cover with the lid.
- Allow the corn meal mush to cook on med-low heat for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally (after the mush has thickened and is no longer splattering the lid) to keep the mixture smooth.
- Pour the cooked corn meal mush into two loaf pans and allow to cool for one hour at room temperature. Keep refrigerated (do not freeze or the mush will turn watery) and fry in butter or lard until both sides are crispy. See more notes and photos below.
Equipment needed for this Amish Cornmeal Mush:
- Large non-stick skillet with a lid Using a non-stick skillet with a lid is by far the best option for this cornmeal mush. As the cornmeal heats it will splatter until it thickens and settles down. Cleanup is also so much easier if using non-stick.
- Glass loaf pans You will need 2 bread pans, with lids, for chilling and shaping the cornmeal mush after it is cooked.
- Cutting board I like to use a plastic, dish washer friendly cutting board for slicing the corn meal mush.
- Non-stick frying pan A non-stick frying pan is needed to prevent the mush from sticking while being fried.
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Only three ingredients, plus toppings and sides of your choice are needed for corn meal mush! Ingredients shown: cornmeal, salt and water.
Note on coarse cornmeal*
If using coarse cornmeal you may need to add an extra cup of water while the cornmeal mush is cooking. Coarse cornmeal doesn’t soak up the water and create the cake batter consistency, but I have not noticed too much of a difference in the texture once it cooks down to mush.
Step 1: Combine corn meal, two cups of water and salt.
Step 2: Add the cornmeal mixture to simmering water and stir well, then cover with a lid and allow to cook over med-low heat for 30-45 minutes until thick and smooth.
Corn meal mush will splatter violently until the mush is thickened (after 10-15 minutes). As a precaution you can remove the boiling water from the heat to stir in the cornmeal batter. Cover with a lid and allow the mush to cook until the cornmeal has thickened and is no longer splattering before stirring occasionally.
Step 3: Pour the mush into 4 by 6 inch loaf pans and allow to cool and solidify.
My Mom likes to wrap her cornmeal mush with a cloth to soak up the extra moisture while it chills in the refrigerator. This also helps to prevent the mush from splattering too much while frying.
Step 4 continued: After the corn meal mush has chilled for several hours or overnight, loosen the mush from the bread pan with a spatula and slice to preference. Dry excess moisture with a paper towel before frying, if needed. Fry until both edges are golden and crispy and enjoy with your favorite toppings!
The Cornmeal mush pictured here was made with coarse cornmeal. Some prefer using fine cornmeal for mush, but either one works pretty well. I like to add an extra cup of water to the coarse cornmeal mush while cooking (as mentioned in the above note), and cook it around 10-15 minutes longer than the fine cornmeal mush.
Serving suggestions: Try this cornmeal mush with plain yoghurt, sweetened with honey or maple syrup, and fruit, or try serving the mush topped with sausage gravy and fried eggs! My husband enjoys eating his mush wrapped in ham and swiss cheese, and then dipped into maple syrup for lunch. The sky is the limit with this yummy fried mush!
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