This easy, delicious, moist mealie bread (mealiebrood) is a South African sweetcorn bread made with creamed corn. This recipe requires a few everyday kitchen ingredients. It makes a great side dish for any braai or barbeque and is equally good on its own.
Mealie bread is a common, easy quick bread found in South Africa and Eswatini (Swaziland). The first recipe dates back to 1840. It is a cornbread that came about in South Africa.
Mealie bread is a quick bread that is leavened with baking powder and made from mealies (corn or sweet corn), flour, eggs, sugar, and sometimes additional mealie meal (maize meal) or polenta.
In South Africa, maize or corn is typically called mealies. The word mealie comes from the Portuguese word milho. Corn was originally brought to Southern Africa by the Portuguese and quickly became a staple food across the region.
Mealie meal is a coarse flour made from maize, which is usually white in color, similar to cornmeal or Italian polenta.
This particular recipe has been in my handwritten recipe book with many annotations, variations, and perfection over the years.
Mealie bread is typically served at a braai (or barbeque), but I also enjoy it by itself as a snack or served with butter and honey.
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This recipe has been updated and retested with amounts that more easily convert from grams to cups. I also retested the recipe with flour only, to give an easy substitute for polenta or maizemeal. And tested out the bread with a little bit of paprika. And I decreased the baking powder a touch.
The original recipe consisted of 225 grams of flour, 150 grams of polenta, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 eggs, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 125 mL of milk, 1 teaspoon of salt, 60 grams of melted butter, and 1 tin of creamed corn. The instructions remain the same.
Why You Will Love This Mealie Bread
- This quick and easy mealie bread is a delicious moist cornbread that can be served as a side dish or enjoyed by itself.
- This cornbread made with creamed corn can be served with butter and honey, but I also enjoy it by itself.
- This mealie bread is the perfect accompaniment to any braai or barbeque.
Here are some notes on the ingredients used in this recipe. Please see the recipe card for quantities.
A tin of creamed corn or creamed-style corn. Tins of cream-style corn weigh approximately 410 grams in South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. Cream-style corn is a vegetable dish that is made by combining the whole sweetcorn with a milky residue that comes from pulled corn kernels scraped from the cob. Creamed corn adds a delicious corn flavor and moisture to this bread.
Plain, standard, or all-purpose flour is used to make this bread. This bread can be made entirely with plain flour if polenta or maize meal is not on hand. Simply use a total of 360 grams or 3 cups of flour.
Eggs bind the bread together.
Paprika for additional flavor. This is an optional extra.
Butter adds flavor, softness, and moisture and sometimes aids in the leavening of baked goods. I use New Zealand butter in my recipes, which has approximately 82% butterfat and can be very yellow (similar to European or Irish butter). Butter cannot be substituted with butter or margarine spreads, but it can be substituted with baking margarine.
Salt is a crucial ingredient in all baked goods. I use table salt in all my recipes. One teaspoon of table salt equals 1.5 teaspoons of Morton Kosher Salt equals 2 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal.
Maize meal or polenta adds an additional maize flavor to this bread. I opted for polenta in this particular recipe because it's easier to find that maize meal in New Zealand, and a common grocery item across the world.
Milk adds moisture and can be substituted with lower-fat versions or soy milk.
Test the freshness of your baking powder or baking soda (bicarbonate of soda or bread soda) by placing a small amount in some boiling water. If it bubbles and fizzes, it's good to use!
Room Temperature Ingredients
Use room-temperature ingredients! Using room temperature ingredients ensures that ingredients in the batter or dough will incorporate easier. Take note that room temperature refers to around 20°C/68F.
- To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, place them into warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- To bring butter to room temperature quickly, cut the butter into cubes and zap it in the microwave at 20% power in 10-second intervals. Or place the cubes in a bowl over warm water (such as with a double boiler) over low heat for 1 minute!
- Milk, buttermilk, and cream can be brought to room temperature by zapping in the microwave at 20% power in 10-second intervals. Or on low heat for a minute or two swirling every 10-15 seconds.
- If the butter is too warm/soft for baking - pop it into the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Weighing & Measuring Ingredients
Weighing ingredients with a kitchen scale is more accurate than using measuring cups. All my recipes are developed and tested using grams only.
However, I have activated the metric-to-cup conversions. Simply click on "cups" or "metric" for your preferred measurements. For these conversions, cups are equal to 240 millilitres/8 fluid ounces, tablespoons are 15 milliliters and teaspoons are 5mL.
How to Make Mielie Bread
Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 180°C/355°F. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment or baking paper, making sure to leave an overhang for easy removal of the bread.
Step 2 - In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, polenta, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Whisk together the dry ingredients to evenly distribute the dry ingredients together.
Step 3 - Add the milk, creamed corn, eggs, and melted butter to the dry ingredients. Mix through until just combined.
Step 4 - Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 - 55 mins or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out mostly clean from the center of the loaf.
NOTE - to help the bread split open in the middle during baking (which also allows the bread to rise), place either a thin band of melted butter or cut thin 2mm x 2mm strips of butter and place in the center of the bread.
Step 5 - Allow the bread to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before placing it on a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with butter and honey.
NOTE - the top loaf in the picture below contains mealie bread with polenta and the bottom loaf without polenta.
Pro Tips for this Recipe
Ovens & Air Fryers
The temperatures stated are for conventional ovens. For convection, fan-forced, fan-assisted, or air-fryers, the temperature must be reduced by 20°C/25°F.
For baking, make sure the oven is fully preheated, and that the rack is in the middle of the oven. Open the oven as little as possible. For best baking results use an oven thermometer.
Remember that all ovens work slightly differently and bake times may need to be adjusted for your specific oven.
Metal bakeware (if you can, choose light-colored bakeware for an even better bake) is superior when it comes to baking biscuits, cookies, brownies, muffins and quick bread, scones, cakes. These heat up and cool down faster than glassware. Glassware is heavier, heats up and cools down slower than metal, and is more suited for bread puddings, pies, crisps, crumbles, and cobblers.
Storage and Freezing
Store this mealie bread in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Keep in mind that this is a moist quickbread, and should the weather be rather warm, store the bread in the fridge instead.
Alternatively, you can freeze the mealie bread by wrapping it in cling film and tin or aluminum foil for up to 3 months.
Mielie Bread FAQ
Mealie in English refers to corn or maize. It comes from the Portuguese word milho.
Mealie meal is a relatively coarse flour made from maize or mealies in Southern Africa, similar to cornmeal and polenta. Typically coarser than corn flour.
Yes, you can substitute the sugar with condensed milk in this recipe.
Making mealie bread in tins or muffin tins is really easy. Firstly, if going for a rustic tin, make sure they are not coated with plastic on the inside. These plastics may not be heatproof.
Then divide the batter evenly between the tins or muffin tins, and reduce baking time to 20 minutes for a regular-sized muffin, and 30 minutes for a large or texas-sized muffin tin.
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- Loaf Pan (9x5 Inch - 23x13cm)
- 240 grams plain flour (all-purpose/standard grade)
- 150 grams polenta (maize meal, corn meal)
- 2 tablespoon white granulated sugar (caster/granulated)
- 2 eggs (large)
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- 125 mL milk
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 60 grams butter melted
- 1 tin creamed corn (410 grams/14.5oz)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/355°F. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment or baking paper, making sure to leave an overhang for easy removal of the bread.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, polenta, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Whisk together the dry ingredients to evenly distribute the dry ingredients together.240 grams plain flour, 150 grams polenta, 2 tablespoon white granulated sugar, 3 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon table salt
- Add the milk, creamed corn, eggs, and melted butter to the dry ingredients. Mix through until just combined.125 mL milk, 60 grams butter, 1 tin creamed corn, 2 eggs
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 - 55 mins or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out mostly clean from the centre of the loaf.
- Allow the bread to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before placing it on a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with butter and honey.
Nutrition information is an estimate. If scaling the recipe remember to scale your cook and bakeware accordingly. All temperatures stated are conventional, unless otherwise stated. Recipes tested in grams and at sea level.