Puffy Spoonbread with Corn, Crab, and Roasted Red Peppers


This simple cornmeal bake is perfect for brunch, or dinner, and tastes just as delicious hot from the oven or warmed to room temperature.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 25 mins
6 servings

This fluffy cornmeal-based dish is like a cross between cornbread and soufflé. Fresh corn, scallions, and crabmeat give each bite a delicate sweetness. You don’t need us to explain why no one wants to face a sink full of dirty mixing bowls, pots, and pans at the end of the evening. Cookbook author and New York Times columnist Melissa Clark had minimizing cleanup top of mind as she created a collection of recipes that use as few pans as possible for her latest book, Dinner in One: Exceptional & Easy One-Pan Meals. Her goal is to help home cooks focus on the food, not the mess. Clark notes that her recipes are guides, and cooks should adjust them to their preferences; for instance, this spoonbread is just as lovely a brunch option when you swap in cooked shrimp or hearts of palm for the crab. It’s dinner, and Clark wants it to be delicious, but also easy.


  • 1 1/4 cups fine yellow cornmeal

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup bowling water

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more melted butter for greasing

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 8 ounces fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, drained and picked over

  • 1 1/4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 1 large ear) or thawed frozen corn kernels, divided

  • 3/4 cup chopped jarred roasted red bell peppers (from 1 [12-ounce] jar), divided

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions (from about 5 medium scallions), divided

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish

  • Hot sauce (such as Tabasco)

  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a shallow 2-quart casserole or gratin dish or a 7- x 11-inch baking dish with melted butter.

  2. Stir together cornmeal and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in 1/2 cup boiling water, breaking up any lumps. Let cool 5 minutes. Add melted butter and buttermilk. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well between additions. Whisk until smooth. Add baking powder, and whisk until combined.

  3. Fold crabmeat, 1 cup corn, 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, 1/2 cup scallions, and cilantro into cornmeal mixture. Scrape batter into prepared baking dish; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup corn, remaining 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, and remaining 2 tablespoons scallions.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center of spoonbread comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour, rotating baking dish from front to back halfway through baking time. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Garnish with additional cilantro. Serve hot or warm with hot sauce and lemon wedges.

Suggested Pairing

Full-bodied, rich California white: 2021 Freemark Abbey Chardonnay

Puffy Spoonbread with Corn, Crab, and Roasted Red Peppers

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

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