Fuel up on a bowl of this Caribbean-style Cornmeal Porridge that is insanely delicious and so cozy. It’s lusciously creamy and full of warm spices and vanilla essence, and sweetened with brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk. Cornmeal porridge is a staple, comforting breakfast recipe in Caribbean culture. But don’t get it twisted, this cornmeal porridge can also be served as an anytime treat!

cornmeal porridge in bowl with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a spoon

When I think of foods that I grew up on and love to this day, cornmeal porridge is most definitely one of them. My grandma Esmie would always make a memorable batch of either cream of wheat or cornmeal porridge. Both of them were quick breakfasts, but her touch on them was top-tier. A helping of brown sugar, warm spices, condensed milk, and/or other aromatic ingredients to add a lil razzle dazzle. That’s exactly what inspired this cornmeal porridge recipe.

Caribbean Cornmeal Porridge ♡

Across the Caribbean diaspora, cornmeal porridge is a breakfast mainstay of a creamy, cornmeal-forward porridge dish infused with spices and sweetened to taste. It’s full of flavor and actually quite filling. Many countries like Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana, and the British Virgin Islands have their spin on this famous staple. While it is commonly enjoyed at the top of the morning, this porridge can be served whenever the craving strikes. It’s super easy to make as well!

ingredients for caribbean cornmeal porridge on white surface

Ingredients You’ll Need For This Recipe:

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Cornmeal: You’ll need fine yellow cornmeal for this recipe.
  • Water: To combine with the cornmeal and a part of the liquid for the porridge.
  • Coconut milk: For flavor and richness, coconut milk is clutch.
  • Bay leaf: This aromatic leaf adds a lovely herbal flavor to a variety of dishes.
  • Salt: To help balance all of the different flavors.
  • Brown sugar: For its signature molasses flavor and sweetness.
  • Cinnamon sticks: They infuse such warmth and a subtle spicy flavor.
  • Condensed milk: Ain’t nothing like this creamy, milky, sweet goodness.
  • Vanilla essence: I love me some vanilla bean paste…those flecks tho!
  • Ground allspice: Aka pimento berries. This ground spice brings a complex warm flavor and aroma to the cornmeal porridge. Ground allspice evokes a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves all in one.
cornmeal mixed with water in white bowl with wooden spoon

How To Make This Cornmeal Porridge:

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the fine yellow cornmeal with 1 cup of water and mix to combine. Then set the mixture aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, add 3 cups of water, coconut milk, the bay leaf, salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon sticks and stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer until heated, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Then pour the reserved cornmeal mixture into the same pot with one hand while whisking constantly with the other hand to avoid any lumping. Cover the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and let the mixture continue cooking while going back to whisk every so often, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. When the mixture begins to bubble, add in the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla essence, and ground allspice and stir to combine. Then remove the porridge from heat- discard the cinnamon sticks and bay leaf. Serve the creamy cornmeal porridge immediately in bowls with an extra garnish of ground allspice or ground cinnamon! Enjoy!
cornmeal being poured into pot with water and milk

Soaking The Cornmeal & Whisking

Combining the cornmeal and water, first, ensures that the cornmeal is a bit more digestible and softens the meal before boiling it. This is also a way to break down any grittiness with cornmeal, too. Next, we slowly incorporate the cornmeal mixture into the simmered liquid while whisking continuously to prevent any lumping. Trust me when I say that a lumpy cornmeal porridge is incredibly sad. All in all, both steps will make sure that you have a tender and smooth pot of cornmeal porridge.

Why You’ll Enjoy This Recipe

  • QUICK & EASY: From start to finish, this entire porridge comes together so quickly. That makes it a perfect breakfast to whip up for busy mornings or when you want a fuss-free meal to whip up in under 30 minutes.
  • PANTRY STAPLE INGREDIENTS: Almost the entire recipe ingredient lineup here is compromised of pantry staple goods that you likely already have on hand. It’s one of my favorite things about this recipe!
  • CREAMY, DREAMY GOODNESS: This cornmeal porridge recipe is exceptionally creamy and full of flavor with a pop of richness!
  • COZY COMFORT FOOD: Whether it’s a chilly morning or you wanna eat something delicious, this porridge is a fantastic way to start your day. Just like a bowl of oatmeal, cornmeal porridge is super comforting.
caribbean cornmeal porridge in saucepan with cinnamon

Tips + Tricks For The Best Cornmeal Porridge:

  • Don’t skip soaking the cornmeal– This step is crucial in preventing lumping.
  • Use fine yellow cornmeal– To ensure the best texture, fine yellow cornmeal is essential. Coarse cornmeal may result in a super gritty, not-so-smooth batch of porridge…I’d hate that for you.
  • Stir often– I’ve written in the recipe to whisk the porridge often while it cooks to ensure that the porridge doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and also to prevent lumps.
  • Dairy-free cornmeal porridge– Use sweetened condensed coconut milk as an easy substitute for regular dairy-based condensed milk.

Storing Leftovers

If you have any leftover cornmeal porridge, store it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat leftovers in a saucepan over low heat until warmed through- if the porridge is thick, you may need to add a splash of water or milk of choice to help loosen.

caribbean cornmeal porridge in bowls with spoons

This Caribbean Cornmeal Porridge is a recipe that’s nostalgic and delicious. If you’ve never had it before, hope you enjoy! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

More Caribbean eats you might enjoy:

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cornmeal porridge in bowl with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a spoon

Creamy Caribbean Cornmeal Porridge

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Caribbean
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Description

Fuel up on a bowl of this Caribbean-style Cornmeal Porridge that is insanely delicious and so cozy. It’s lusciously creamy and full of warm spices and vanilla essence, and sweetened with brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk. Cornmeal porridge is a staple, comforting breakfast recipe in Caribbean culture. But don’t get it twisted, this cornmeal porridge can also be served as an anytime treat!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup fine yellow cornmeal 
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce can) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence (I use vanilla bean paste)
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the fine yellow cornmeal with 1 cup of water and mix to combine. Then set the mixture aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, add 3 cups of water, coconut milk, the bay leaf, salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon sticks and stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer until heated, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Then pour the reserved cornmeal mixture into the same pot with one hand while whisking constantly with the other hand to avoid any lumping. Cover the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and let the mixture continue cooking while going back to whisk every so often, about 10-15 minutes…or until the porridge is tender with no grittiness.
  4. When the mixture begins to bubble, add in the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla essence, and ground allspice and stir to combine. Then remove the porridge from heat- discard the cinnamon sticks and bay leaf. Serve the creamy cornmeal porridge immediately in bowls with an extra garnish of ground allspice or ground cinnamon! Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Serve warm: This cornmeal porridge is best served right away for the best creamy texture, this dish thickens as it cools.
  2. Storage: If you have any leftover cornmeal porridge, store it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat leftovers in a saucepan over low heat until warmed through- if the porridge is thick, you may need to add a splash of water or milk of choice to help loosen.
  3. Please read blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.

Recipe by: Quin Liburd- Butter Be Ready

Photography by: Ashley McLaughlin