go to basket

Old-Fashioned Cornmeal Mush

Meet your new breakfast favorite, served here hot milk, maple syrup, and dried blueberries.

4 servings


About 10 minutes

Frothy foamed milk adds a nice dimension to the mush. We like the small battery-operated frothers, such as the Aerolatte. But frothed milk isn’t essential. In fact, sometimes a good splash of cold on hot cereal is the perfect juxtaposition.


We know folks up North who put sugar on their grits, but grits are one of the few things Southerners never sweeten. When it comes to mush, however—made just like grits but with their finer counterpart, cornmeal—it’s another story. Mush can be cooked up and fried, but our recipe makes a soft breakfast porridge that has the creamy, beaded texture of cream of wheat and the bright, thrilling taste of heirloom corn. If you like grits with sugar—or even if you don’t—you will love this buttery mush with maple syrup and hot milk.

Now, it’s a fact that maple syrup doesn’t come from the same neck of the woods as our meal corn, and though Southerners might claim that mush cries out for sorghum, maple syrup and corn seem to bring out the best in each other. Chewy dried blueberries make it a party.

equipment mise en place

For this recipe, you will need a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan and a whisk.

    • 5
    • 2
      cups spring or filtered water
    • 1
      teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 1
      ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
    • 1
      cup whole milk or half-and-half, heated and frothed if desired
    • Real maple syrup, brown sugar, or sorghum, for serving
    • Dried blueberries or raisins, for serving
  1. Place the cornmeal and water in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, about 5 minutes. Continue to whisk as the mush simmers and thickens, about 2 minutes more. The mush should have the consistency of a hot porridge—thick enough to drop heavily from a spoon, but still fluid, and by no means sludgy. Whisk in the salt. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter. Serve immediately with the milk or half-and-half (plain or frothy) and maple syrup, brown sugar, or sorghum. Don’t forget the dried blueberries.