Fried Mush

You read the title right. I made Fried Mush. Technically, fried polenta, but without getting into the subtle differences of what makes grits and what makes polenta and what’s simply corn meal, I’m calling it Fried Mush.

When I went grocery shopping, I picked up some Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits/Polenta, mainly for the Pioneer Woman’s recipe I alluded to in my previous post. For dinner last night, I made a roast chicken (which didn’t turn out, but don’t ask), and one of the sides I made was polenta. Sadly, that was the only thing that was decent enough to eat, and while the bambino LOVED it, there were still LOTS of leftovers. I mentioned that I could slice the rest of it up, fry it, and serve it with butter and maple syrup. The bambino’s eyes lit up, so that’s what I did.

Fried MushNow, I’m not Southern, so maybe this isn’t authentic or correct, I don’t know. I know that this is how my mom eats fried mush (although I also know she likes hers just shy of burnt to a crisp), and she was born and raised in North Carolina. And while the rest of my family hates grits with a passion (which I find amusing, since my mom’s family is basically from West Virginia/Eastern Kentucky, and my dad’s family ended up in Indiana by way of Maryland and Virginia–All of which screams “south” to this former Buckeye), I don’t mind them. My grandad used to eat them with butter, salt and pepper, which is how I usually eat mine (I’d have tastes of his whenever we’d visit Ft. Lauderdale and go out for breakfast). Apparently, the bambino isn’t going to mind them either.

Fried MushIt’s another relatively easy overnight recipe, although it takes some arm strength to stir the polenta for 20-25 minutes straight! After that, it just takes patience.

Yield: 4-6

Fried Mush

Fried Mush
Prep Time 8 hours 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 9 hours 5 minutes


  • 6 C water
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 2 C Corn Grits/Polenta (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/4 C (4 Tbsp.) unsalted butter
  • Cooking spray or oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp. cooking oil (canola, extra-light olive, etc.)
  • Butter, Maple Syrup or Honey, for serving


In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the water and 1 tsp. of kosher salt to a rolling boil. Gradually stir in the polenta. Drop the heat to low, and stir the polenta constantly for 25-30 minutes, with a wooden spoon*. While stirring, add in the butter, a Tbsp. at a time, and the additional salt.

When the polenta is thickened and ready (It will look similar to a choux pastry ball when it's ready), pour the mixture into a heat-proof bowl coated with cooking spray or oil. Let sit until cooled, then refrigerate overnight.

Heat 2 Tbsp. of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Unmold the polenta, and cut into slices about 1/2-inch thick. Place in the skillet, and fry, about 10 minutes per side, or until crispy and golden brown.

Serve hot with butter and honey or maple syrup.


*The constant stirring is necessary to prevent the polenta from burning. It will bubble and pop, so you'll want to use a long-handled wooden spoon, and possibly wear an oven mitt while stirring.

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I have to say, it’s a pretty filling breakfast on its own–I had 3 smallish pieces and was stuffed. But some sausage or crispy bacon would go well with this too.

Fried MushEnjoy, y’all!

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4 Replies to “Fried Mush”

    • UGH–Roast chickens are the bane of my cooking existence right now! :( I can never seem to get them right, so if you have any hints or tips, I’m all ears!

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