Cornbread Pudding

Cornbread Pudding

Cornbread pudding, a harmonious blend of the rustic charm of cornbread and the velvety smoothness of pudding, holds a special place in the culinary world. This dish, which marries the grainy texture of corn with the creaminess of a classic pudding, has been a cherished favorite for countless generations. Its origins, deeply rooted in Southern American traditions, have seen it evolve and adapt, finding its way into kitchens and dining tables across the globe.

Beyond its delightful taste, cornbread pudding tells a story—a story of heritage, of families coming together, and of the simple joys that home-cooked meals bring. It’s a dish that, while seemingly straightforward, offers a depth of flavors and textures that can transport you back in time or inspire you to create new memories.

As we embark on this exploration of cornbread pudding, we’ll delve into its rich history, its variations, and the many ways it has touched the hearts (and palates) of those who’ve had the pleasure of tasting it. Whether you’re a seasoned chef, a home cook, or someone just discovering this dish, this journey promises to be as enriching as it is delicious.

Historical Origins

Although the exact origins of cornbread pudding remain a mystery, most believe it has roots in Southern American cuisine. Given the prominence of corn as a staple in the South, it’s no surprise that this dish has been passed down through generations.

Popularity Across Cultures

Over the years, cornbread pudding has not only remained a favorite in the South but also gained popularity across various cultures. Its versatility allows it to pair seamlessly with a range of dishes, making it a beloved choice in households worldwide.


The cornbread pudding recipe we’re about to share is not only straightforward but also quite adaptable. Whether you’re a beginner in the kitchen or a seasoned chef, this recipe promises to impress your guests.

Ingredients for Perfect Cornbread Pudding

Essential Ingredients:

  • Cornbread mix (like Jiffy)
  • Canned creamed corn
  • Canned corn kernels
  • Eggs
  • Sour cream
  • Buttermilk
  • Cheese (medium cheddar and Monterey Jack)

Optional Add-ins:

  • Fresh corn instead of canned
  • Green chiles
  • Crisp bacon
  • Diced ham

Step-by-Step Recipe

Cornbread Pudding

Gathering Your Ingredients: Before diving into the cooking process, ensure you have all your ingredients at hand. This not only makes the process smoother but also ensures you don’t miss out on any key component that contributes to the dish’s signature taste.

Preparing the Cornbread:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C). This ensures even baking once you’re ready to put the pudding in.
  2. Melt the Butter: In a small saucepan or in the microwave, melt the unsalted butter. Pour half of it into a casserole dish, ensuring it coats the bottom evenly.
  3. Mix the Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the creamed corn, corn kernels, corn muffin mix, beaten eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, and the remaining melted butter. Stir gently until just combined.
  4. Add the Cheese: Gently fold in the shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, ensuring it’s evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

Making the Pudding Mixture:

  1. Avoid Overmixing: While it’s essential to combine the ingredients well, overmixing can lead to a dense pudding. It’s okay if some streaks of sour cream or butter remain.
  2. Pouring the Batter: Transfer the batter into the buttered casserole dish. Use a spatula to smooth the top, ensuring an even distribution.
  3. Swirl the Top: Lightly swirl the top of the batter after pouring it into the dish. This creates a beautiful texture on the surface once baked.

Baking Tips:

  1. Monitor the Baking: Place the casserole dish in the preheated oven and bake until the center is set, puffed up, and golden on top. The edges should turn a lovely shade of brown and become crispy. This usually takes about 50 to 60 minutes.
  2. Check for Doneness: Insert a toothpick or a knife into the center. If it comes out clean or with a few crumbs, the pudding is ready.
  3. Serving Suggestions: Serve the cornbread pudding hot, straight out of the oven. For an added touch of flavor, consider drizzling individual servings with hot honey, maple syrup, or even a dollop of fresh cream. A sprinkle of salt can also enhance its savory notes.

Nutritional Benefits

Cornbread pudding isn’t just a treat for your taste buds; it also offers several health benefits.

Vitamins and Minerals:

  • It’s rich in Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium.

Dietary Fiber Content:

  • The pudding contains dietary fiber, which aids digestion.

Variations of Cornbread Pudding

Cornbread pudding, while delightful in its traditional form, offers a canvas for culinary creativity. Over the years, chefs and home cooks alike have introduced various twists to this classic dish, catering to diverse palates and occasions. Here are some popular variations:

Savory Versions:

  1. Herbed Delight: Incorporate fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or chives into the batter. These herbs not only add a burst of flavor but also elevate the dish’s aromatic profile.
  2. Spicy Kick: For those who enjoy a touch of heat, consider adding diced jalapeños or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. This spicy twist can be a delightful contrast to the pudding’s inherent sweetness.
  3. Cheese Lovers: While the traditional recipe includes cheddar and Monterey Jack, you can experiment with other cheeses like Gouda, feta, or even blue cheese for a more complex flavor profile.

Sweet Twists:

  1. Fruity Indulgence: Fresh or dried fruits can be a delightful addition. Consider folding in blueberries, cranberries, or raisins for a sweet and tangy contrast.
  2. Chocolate Surprise: For a dessert-like version, add chocolate chips or cocoa powder to the batter. The combination of corn and chocolate offers a unique and indulgent taste.
  3. Tropical Flair: Introduce a tropical twist by adding coconut shreds or even small chunks of pineapple. This variation pairs beautifully with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Texture Variations:

  1. Crunchy Toppings: Add a crunchy element by sprinkling the top with crushed pecans, walnuts, or even granola before baking.
  2. Creamy Layers: For a more decadent version, layer the cornbread batter with cream cheese or custard. As it bakes, these layers meld together, offering a creamy contrast to the cornbread’s grainy texture.

Pairing Cornbread Pudding

Cornbread pudding, with its delightful balance of flavors and textures, can be the star of any meal. However, when paired thoughtfully with other dishes or beverages, it can elevate the entire dining experience. Here are some suggestions for pairing cornbread pudding:

Main Course Companions:

  1. Roasted Meats: The sweetness of cornbread pudding complements the savory flavors of roasted meats like turkey, chicken, or pork. The creamy texture of the pudding also balances the meat’s richness.
  2. Barbecue Delights: The smoky flavors of barbecued ribs or brisket pair beautifully with cornbread pudding, especially if it has a hint of spice or jalapeños.
  3. Vegetarian Options: For a vegetarian pairing, consider dishes like grilled vegetables, tofu steaks, or bean casseroles. The pudding adds a comforting touch to these meals.

Best Drinks to Accompany:

  1. Wines: A crisp white wine like Chardonnay or a light red like Pinot Noir can complement the flavors of cornbread pudding. The wine’s acidity balances the pudding’s creaminess.
  2. Beers: A light lager or a slightly hoppy pale ale can be a great match, especially if the pudding has spicy or savory elements.
  3. Non-Alcoholic: Sweet iced tea, lemonade, or even a cold glass of milk can be refreshing accompaniments.

Side Dishes:

  1. Salads: A fresh green salad with a tangy vinaigrette can cut through the richness of the pudding, offering a refreshing contrast.
  2. Soups: Creamy soups or broths, like tomato basil or chicken noodle, can be comforting partners to cornbread pudding.
  3. Vegetables: Roasted or steamed vegetables, especially those with a hint of caramelization, can enhance the meal’s overall flavor profile.


  1. Fruit-based: If you’re serving cornbread pudding as a dessert, consider pairing it with fruit compotes, sorbets, or fresh berries.
  2. Chocolate: A slice of chocolate cake or a scoop of chocolate ice cream can be a decadent follow-up to a savory cornbread pudding.

Storing and Reheating

Refrigeration Tips: After enjoying a hearty meal, you might have some cornbread pudding left over. To keep it fresh, store the leftover pudding in an airtight container. This method ensures that the pudding retains its moisture and flavor.

Freezing and Thawing: If you’ve made a large batch and want to save some for later, freezing is an excellent option. Before freezing, let the pudding cool completely. Once cooled, place it in a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw the pudding in the refrigerator overnight. Then, reheat it in the oven or microwave until it reaches a safe internal temperature of 165 F.

Common Mistakes and Solutions

Overbaking Issues: One common mistake many people make is overbaking the pudding. Overbaking can cause the pudding to become dry and lose its creamy texture. To avoid this, keep a close eye on the pudding during the last few minutes of baking. If the edges turn golden brown and the center sets, it’s time to take it out.

Preventing a Soggy Bottom: Nobody likes a soggy bottom! To prevent this, ensure that you evenly spread the batter in the casserole dish. Additionally, avoid placing the dish on the oven’s bottom rack, as this can cause the bottom to become too wet.

Cornbread Pudding Around the World

Southern U.S. Style: In the Southern United States, cornbread pudding often features a sweeter profile, sometimes with added sugar or honey. It’s commonly served during festive occasions and pairs beautifully with savory dishes like fried chicken or barbecue.

International Takes: Cornbread pudding has also made its mark internationally. In some cultures, spices like cinnamon or nutmeg are added for an extra layer of flavor. Others might incorporate fruits or even chocolate chips for a unique twist.

Personal Experiences with Cornbread Pudding

Memorable Moments: Cornbread pudding isn’t just a dish; for many, it’s tied to cherished memories. From family gatherings during the holidays to casual Sunday dinners, this dish often takes center stage. Many recall the comforting aroma filling their homes as the pudding bakes, evoking feelings of nostalgia and warmth.

Lessons Learned: Over the years, many have experimented with the classic cornbread pudding recipe, leading to valuable culinary lessons. Some have discovered that using fresh corn instead of canned enhances the dish’s natural sweetness. Others have found that adding a touch of spice, like cayenne pepper, can elevate the pudding’s flavor profile.


  • What’s the difference between cornbread and cornbread pudding? Cornbread has a bread-like consistency and is often crumbly, while cornbread pudding boasts a creamier, custard-like texture due to the additional wet ingredients.
  • What is the difference between New York cornbread and southern cornbread? New York cornbread typically has a sweeter profile, often including sugar or honey. In contrast, southern cornbread is usually savory and might not contain added sugars.
  • What do you eat with cornbread pudding? This versatile dish pairs beautifully with roasted meats, stews, and fresh salads. It can also be enjoyed on its own or with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
  • Why do Southerners eat cornbread? Cornbread has historical significance in the South. With corn being a staple crop, it naturally became a primary ingredient in many Southern dishes, including cornbread.
  • Can I use store-bought cornbread? Yes, while homemade cornbread is often fresher and more flavorful, store-bought versions can be used as a convenient alternative for the pudding.
  • Is cornbread pudding gluten-free? Traditional recipes might contain gluten, especially if using certain cornbread mixes. However, there are gluten-free cornbread mixes available for those with dietary restrictions.
  • How should I adjust the baking time for mini cornbread puddings? If you’re making individual servings or mini versions, reduce the baking time and keep a close eye on them. They’ll likely be done in about half the time of a full-sized pudding.
  • Can I make cornbread pudding dairy-free? Absolutely! Substitute dairy ingredients with almond milk, coconut milk, or other dairy-free alternatives. There are also dairy-free sour cream products available that can be used.
  • How can I make my cornbread pudding more moist? If you prefer a moister pudding, consider adding a bit more sour cream or a splash of milk to the mixture. Additionally, ensure you don’t overbake it, as this can dry out the pudding.
  • Is it possible to make a vegan version of cornbread pudding? Yes, replace eggs with flax eggs or other vegan egg substitutes. Use dairy-free milk and sour cream alternatives, and ensure the cornbread mix is vegan-friendly.


Reflecting on the Charm of Cornbread Pudding:

Cornbread pudding, with its rich history and delightful flavors, encapsulates the essence of comfort food. Its transformation from a simple Southern dish to a global favorite is a testament to its timeless appeal. The beauty of cornbread pudding lies not just in its taste but also in its adaptability. From the traditional recipes passed down through generations to the modern twists introduced by culinary enthusiasts, this dish continues to evolve while preserving its core essence.

Moreover, the versatility of cornbread pudding ensures that it caters to a wide range of palates and dietary preferences. Whether you’re savoring a classic version, experimenting with international variations, or adapting it to vegan or gluten-free diets, cornbread pudding promises a unique and satisfying experience.

In a world where cuisines constantly evolve and merge, cornbread pudding stands as a reminder of the simple joys of cooking and the memories we create around the dining table. It’s not just a dish; it’s a celebration of tradition, innovation, and the shared moments that make meals memorable.

As we conclude our journey through the world of cornbread pudding, we invite you to embrace its rich legacy, experiment with its myriad variations, and most importantly, enjoy every bite!

Leave a Comment