Celebrating The Southern Soufflé

This light and airy spoonbread makes an ideal savory side dish.

With holiday season upon us, it’s all about entertaining with delicious, impressive dishes. We’ve partnered with Vivian Howard of A Chef’s Life to bring you recipes, ideas, and tips inspired by the season.

Spoonbread is not bread at all, and this recipe is not a traditional spoonbread. So there you go -- get confused.

Seriously though, spoonbread is a pudding based on cornmeal and eggs. It’s often quite moist, sometimes dense and generally very rich. This one is a pudding based on cornmeal and eggs, but the egg whites are whipped, so the end result is airy and more akin to a savory soufflé than a pudding. Like a soufflé, spoonbread is a great canvas for other flavors. In fact, anything that complements the subdued mineral sweet of cornmeal will shine in this versatile side. I’ve chosen corn kernels to echo spoonbread’s background flavor and lend a pleasing pop of texture to an otherwise smooth pudding. And because I hate sweet corn dishes that straddle the line between side and dessert, I offset corn’s sugary nature with two cheeses: Parmigiano-Reggiano and Fontina, which add umami and a necessary savory depth of flavor.  

Toward the end of baking, this thing puffs up proud, pushing its golden top into a chiseled landscape of peaks and valleys. Its exit out of the oven is an event, but don’t rush to serve it. You’ll never make it happen fast enough, so save yourself the grief. Instead, watch the air-pumped spectacle slump in real time and dig into something very delicious but not as pretty as it was seconds before.



With Perfect Taste™ Convection, enjoy an airy and evenly baked spoonbread.

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Sweet Corn Spoonbread

“Like a soufflé, spoonbread is a great canvas for other flavors.” —Vivian Howard 

Servings: 8



5 tablespoons room-temperature butter, divided

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

3/4 cup cornmeal

4 eggs separated, at room temperature

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 cups sweet corn plus its milk

1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese

1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano


Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Heat milk, salt, sugar, and cayenne in a 2-quart saucepan until bubbles form around the edges. Whisk in the cornmeal, and cook for about 2 minutes or until the starch grabs hold of the milk and thickens up tremendously. Remove from heat and stir in 4 tablespoons butter one piece at a time.

In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and heavy cream until the yolks are fully incorporated and the cream is a pale, pretty yellow. Then, in the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until they reach soft peaks.

Once the cornmeal mixture has cooled for at least 5 minutes, whisk 1/3 of it into the egg yolks and cream. Follow up with the remaining thickened cornmeal, making sure you achieve a homogeneous, pourable batter. Stir in sweet corn and cheeses. Using a spatula, fold 1/3 of the whipped egg whites gently into the batter. Continue with the remaining 2/3. Pour the spoonbread batter into the greased baking pan and slide it onto the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

The spoonbread will puff up and turn a golden brown on top but be slightly moist in the center. This is the way it’s intended to be, but if you prefer it cooked all the way through, increase the baking time by 5 minutes.

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