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Claire’s Spoon Bread from Drums of Autumn

Claire’s Spoon Bread from Drums of Autumn

Drums of Autumn

“That’s a fine wee book, Uncle Jamie,” Ian said, with approval.  “Does it say more about the snakes?”  He looked hungrily over the expanse of table, in search of more food.  Without comment, I reached into the hutch and brought out a plate of spoonbread, which I set before him.  He sighed happily and waded in, as Jamie turned the page.

“Well, here’s a bit about how the rattlesnakes charm squirrels and rabbits.”  Jamie touched his plate, but encountered nothing save bare surface.  I pushed the muffins toward him.

” ‘It is surprizing to observe how these Snakes will allure and charm Squirrel, Hedge-Conneys, Partridges and many other small Beasts and Birds to them, which they quickly devour.  The Sympathy is so strong between these, that you shall see the Squirrel or Partridge (as they have espied this Snake) leap or fly from Bough to Bough, until at last they run or leap directly into its Mouth, not having power to avoid their enemy, who never stirs out of the Posture or Quoil until he obtains his Prey.’ “

His hand, blindly groping after sustenance, encountered the muffins.  He picked one up and glanced up at me.  “Damned if I’ve ever seen that, myself.  D’ye think it likely?”

“No,” I said, pushing the curls back off my forehead.  “Does that book have any helpful suggestions for dealing with vicious pigs?”

He waved absently at me with the remnants of his muffin.

“Dinna fash,” he murmured.  “I’ll manage the pig.”  He took his eyes off the book long enough to glance over the table at the empty dishes.  “Are there no more eggs?”

Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn (Chapter 25)

Dinna fash?!

I wouldn’t be worried so much about the pig as I would be about having enough food to get Jamie and Young Ian through the coming winter.  Those 2 can really put it away.

You may have noticed in your journey through these books that Claire only cooks when she has too — and given the circumstances, I can’t blame her.  Cooking in the comfort of my well-appointed kitchen is one thing.  Cooking over an open hearth in a hastily built, cramped cabin far from civilization is another.  And when you consider that she probably had no more than an iron pot, a knife, a couple of pewter plates and a wooden spoon, our favourite surgeon turned home-steader’s efforts to feed her 2 men become bloody heroic.

Can you find me in the picture below?  I’m waving — can you see me? (Hint:  I’m in red) 🙂


Spoon Bread

Just because Ian had his for breakfast, there’s no need to limit your spoon bread intake to before noon.  Indeed, we had so much (I experimented with a couple of different methods) that I got a bit creative and served it up for 3 meals in 1 day.  A little overboard?  Maybe.  But both my Englishman and I enjoyed all 3 variations:

For breakfast, I topped it with fresh bananas, spiced nuts and some birch syrup (a less-sweet alternative to maple).  The eggs in the bread and the nuts on top make for a protein-packed start to an Outlander day and keep you going until noon.

Spoon Bread

For lunch, I shredded the last of the pulled pork from last night’s dinner, then added some cheese, tomato and green onion.  The light, cornbread-style base makes the perfect blank canvas for leftovers.  Here at home I served it with a small salad, but I guarantee that if you were to pop this, all by itself, in the office kitchen’s toaster oven for 2 minutes, you’ll be fighting off your workmates with a fork.

And finally, dinner was an Italian affair.  I treated the spoon bread much like I would a dish of polenta, topping it with caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, a few chopped fennel fronds and parmesan cheese.  I paired it with some grilled veggies for a simple dinner — chicken breast would be nice too.

What will you serve with your spoon bread?

Spoon Bread

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Claire’s Spoon Bread

A wonderfully light, almost creamy, cornbread/polenta/soufflé cross that is delicious morning, noon & night.

Serves 4

  • Cornmeal – ¾ Cup
  • Sugar – 2 tsp
  • Baking Soda – 1½ tsp
  • Salt – ¼ tsp
  • Boiling Water – ¾ Cup
  • Butter – 1 Tble
  • Milk – ¾ Cup
  • Eggs, beaten – 2
  • Lemon Juice – 1 tsp

Preheat oven to 375° F.

In a bowl combine the cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt. Drop the butter into the boiling water.  When it has almost completely melted, add to the cornmeal mixture and beat well for 2 minutes to combine.

Add the milk, beaten eggs and lemon juice, beat well for another 2 minutes, then set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, butter a 9” pie plate or (4) 8oz ramekins.

Stir the mixture well, then ladle into the prepared pie plate or ramekins, leaving about 1/4″ at the top to prevent spillovers. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the centre has set.

Serve hot, with butter and honey or anything else your  mind can conjure up!

Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)


  • A hand mixer on low makes for easy mixing, and will incorporate a little extra air into your spoon bread, resulting in an even lighter texture.
  • The spoon bread will puff in the oven, but it is normal for it to fall again once it’s out.
  • Will keep covered, on the counter, until the next day.  Reheat before serving.

Spoon Bread


  1. Cathy V
    February 20, 2012 at 12:17 am

    This looks and sounds amazing. I’m looking forward to trying it out. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    • outlanderfan
      February 20, 2012 at 6:12 am

      Breakfast, lunch or dinner? I think this is my favorite recipe yet- I love a dish that can diversify! This would go great with my husband’s green chili as well…

    • Theresa
      February 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      This would fantastic with chili! Yum!

    • Theresa
      February 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      My pleasure, Cathy…enjoy!

  2. Shana Jensen
    February 20, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Theresa, it looks in the pictures as though it has melted cheese on the top. Since I’m a cheese-aholic, wondering what you would recommend as a flavoUr of cheese to pair with this bread? Yummmmmm….Can’t wait to make it. You’ve got to publish this in a book. I need it.

    • Theresa
      February 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      Cheddar Cheese is nice, Monterey Jack is another good choice. If you’re into strong cheeses, blue cheese and a few walnuts would be fabulous with some caramelized onions…I think the better question, Shana, is: What’s your favourite cheese? Go with that…

  3. ruaTimeTraveler2
    February 20, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Wow that looks so GOOD!..I want some now!..I will be trying this almost like a Bread pudding…..LOV

    • Theresa
      February 20, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      I would describe this as a corn-bread pudding,’re right on track!

  4. Shari Nocera
    February 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I LOVE spoon bread!! Can’t wait to try this!

    • Theresa
      February 20, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      I love it now too, Shari…it’s so good!

  5. Kath Angier
    February 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Wonderful, although Clare probably had no lemon!

    • Theresa
      February 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      If you prefer, use vinegar — the acid is required to activate the leavening power of the baking soda.

  6. Susan
    February 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Sounds wonderful !

    • Theresa
      February 29, 2012 at 9:27 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Susan!

  7. Catherine
    February 20, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Wonderful recipe! It made me go to the pantry this morning to see if I could make it! Tonight it we had beef stew and spoonbread for dinner with apple pie for dessert. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Theresa
      February 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks for letting me know, Catherine…I love that kind of feedback!

  8. Charlene
    February 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Sounds yummy! How about adding some chocolate chips?

    • Theresa
      February 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      sounds like dessert to me, Charlene!

  9. Lee Ann
    February 21, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Oh my GOD! This is right up my alley!!! YUM!

    • Theresa
      February 22, 2012 at 10:45 am

      If you’re a comfort food fan, Spoon Bread is definitely for you! Enjoy, Lee Ann!

  10. Jenn @LeftoverQueen
    February 21, 2012 at 10:58 am

    This looks so good, and gluten-free too! I am new to your blog and I think it is just genius!

  11. deniz
    February 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Wait a second. There’s no flour in this! Ooh! I’m giving up bread for Lent (because I eat it non stop, all day), but maybe I could make this…

    • Theresa
      February 21, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      Don’t let the name spoon BREAD stop you, Deniz! 😉

  12. JOLENE
    March 5, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    yummy! heading to the kitchen now!

  13. Yvette Burtschell
    May 3, 2012 at 6:51 am

    FABULOUS!!! I love all your variations – so inspiring, and the photos are beautiful. And, I too, am gluten free and thought I’d just be reading for fun (and lust), and was so excited to see just cornmeal. Can’t wait. . . Thank you!!!

  14. ruaTimeTraveler2
    May 3, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Every time you make it look so so wonderful..I enjoy this page so much!..
    As always your pictures are awesome and they make me want to have some !!
    They always look so yummy..I will have seconds Please 8) spoon it up!

    • Theresa
      May 7, 2012 at 6:41 am

      You’re the best cheerleader, Vickie! Thank you! 🙂

  15. Karin Thomas
    May 3, 2012 at 7:46 am

    I have a 10 year old boy who is a cornbread fanatic – I bet he will devour this! Especially if I add cheese on the top…

    • Theresa
      May 7, 2012 at 6:40 am

      It’s sure to be a hit, Karin!

  16. bullrem
    May 3, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I do think I will try my hand at this one. We will see what hubby thinks.
    Helen in Ark.

    • Theresa
      May 7, 2012 at 6:40 am

      I hope he likes it, Helen! If he likes cornbread, he’ll love this…Theresa

  17. Nancy
    November 15, 2012 at 6:17 am

    I know I’m late to the party, but … Have you tried doubling the recipe in a 9×13 casserole? I am going to try it for Thanksgiving next week.

    • Theresa
      November 15, 2012 at 7:56 am

      Nancy, I haven’t tried doubling it, but it should work just fine — you will probably have to increase the baking time a bit. Theresa

  18. Kris
    November 16, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I will definitely try this, doubled, for Thanksgiving. Sounds yummy!

    • Theresa
      November 22, 2012 at 10:42 am

      Have a wonderful day with your family, Kris!

  19. Indigo Brude
    August 25, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    I’ve made this twice now for friends (to eat while watching Outlander), and everyone has really liked it. I made it in the little ramekins (I had to look up what a “ramekin” was first, and go buy a few at Target) We tried several toppings, including honey, maple syrup, with the hands-down favorite being fresh fruit and creme (the atholl brose is particularly yummy for this!) Thank you for helping a kitchen-rookie entertain like an expert. 🙂

    • Theresa
      August 26, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Great news, Indigo!

  20. Toni
    September 23, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    I am making this right now. I have made several of your other recipes and have loved them all! I’m so excited to eat this that I hope I can last until it’s done!

  21. Jeannie
    October 10, 2014 at 8:22 am

    I am SO making this recipe this weekend. I love how simple it is, yet how many different ways you can make it nomtastic.

    THANK YOU Theresa. You are awesome.

  22. Sirena
    October 10, 2014 at 10:35 am

    wow, this is not at all as I had pictured it! It looks really wonderful. Can’t wait to try this as the weather cools. Fall is here!

  23. Sharon
    October 10, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I wish I’d found this recipe yesterday before I made my scones to go with a big pot of homemade Chili for supper. But I’m writing it down and putting it in my recipe box for the next time. It looks delicious and gluten free too. Thanks for posting it. Love your site…….Happy Thanksgiving.

  24. Bentje Ott
    October 10, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Gonna have to try this one but I’m not sure yet what to use instead of the cornmeal. My son and I both can’t eat corn without risking a tummyache…

    • Theresa
      October 11, 2014 at 8:02 am

      If you can’t eat cornmeal, I’m not sure you’ll find a substitute. Instead of spoon bread, how about Mrs. Bugs Biscuits?

    • Bentje Ott
      October 13, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      Oh yes, I love those.
      Still I’d verry much like to try the spoon bread… gonna let you know when I find something that works fine as replacement for the cornmeal (if I find something)

  25. Libby
    November 10, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    I have now made this recipe four times and it turns out lovely every time (even when I did a double batch in a huge pan). So delicious! My favorite topper to date is homemade chunky applesauce with some sharp cheddar cheese.

  26. Molly
    November 12, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    I’m so glad to follow OK both here and on FB…especially since the FB posts give us lovely reminders of gems like this post. Going to the kitchen right after I hit ‘reply’ to try this with almond milk and coconut oil subs. That will make it completely safe for my daughter who has to eat gluten free for herself and dairy free for her wee nursling. (AKA my new grandson!) Theresa, you ROCK! Thank you!!!

  27. Julie McDonald
    November 19, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Are we all using a regular grind of cornmeal or has anyone tried this with a course grind cornmeal? Would it need more liquid and more time to sit if using a courser grind (like what you’d use for polenta)?

  28. Jackie J
    January 4, 2015 at 9:10 am

    I JUST read that chapter last night! This sounds delicious…I’ll be making it soon. P.S. I’ve made Fiona’s Cinnamon Scones for Christmas several times and they are a HUGE hit with family and friends! Looking forward to trying many more recipes from the books! Thanks for giving me the tools to “cook my way” through this great series of books.

  29. Pat Alzady
    January 4, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Hi, Theresa –

    Have you tried refrigerating or freezing this yet? I live alone, so 4 servings would last longer than the day on the counter. It would be wonderful if I could freeze some of these for use later (I do a lot of cooking that way so I only have to defrost/heat supper on the nights I’m too tired to do anything more strenuous than punch a button on the microwave). Thanks – Pat

    • Theresa
      January 5, 2015 at 6:40 am

      Pat, it will freeze nicely. You could also make half a recipe and bake in a bread pan…

  30. Jayne Harbour
    January 4, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    I just made the spoon bread today, it was wonderful! So far, I’ve had it with cinnamon and honey. Tomorrow I plan to try it with jam and fruit. It is a glorious cross between egg custard and good old Southern bread pudding I was raised on here in Tennessee. If I cover it well, can I put it in the refrigerator and eat off it for a few days? I truly enjoy your website.

    • Theresa
      January 5, 2015 at 6:39 am

      Cover it well, and it will keep…but anything made with cornmeal is always best fresh from the oven, so reheat your leftovers before serving!

  31. Ann McConnell
    January 11, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Ah..spoon bread, I remember standing on a stool in my grandmother’s kitchen, in foothills of the Blue Ridge, stirring spoon bread. She considered spoon bread to be cornbread’s more elegant sister. I don’t remember Grandmama using lemon juice but I think I will try that. It might brighten a bit. Thanks for triggering those old memories.

  32. Mary
    March 22, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Been wanting to try this one and I’m going to celebrate the end of Droughtlander by giving it a whirl. I’d like to try the savory version by adding some bbq pulled pork.

    One thing I couldn’t tell from your recipe – As a rule, do you add the extras before you put it in the oven, or after? Will it still rise if there’s something on top? Sorry to be so clueless!

    • Theresa
      March 24, 2015 at 6:59 am

      You want to add the extras after its out of the oven. Enjoy!

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