If you’ve never heard of Corn Dodgers allow me to introduce you! This a very old, rural southern recipe served as an accompaniment to cooked greens. You could think of them as cornmeal dumplings!
Of all the recipes that I post here, the ones that I enjoy the most are the very old, very southern, very traditional ones. And this is one of the oldest I’ve ever done. This recipe for Corn Dodgers takes me right back to my rural southern roots.
Before I started writing this, I did some research on corn dodgers. At least I tried to. Would you believe there’s almost nothing on the internet about corn dodgers? Not this kind anyway.
If you do an internet search for corn dodgers you’ll come up with all kinds of recipes. The majority of them are fried or baked, but the corn dodgers I remember from all those years ago were boiled. You could really call them cornmeal dumplings. And they were always cooked and served with greens.
🌽 What in the World is a Corn Dodger?
I only found two real references online for boiled corn dodgers. One was from Dictionary.com:
1. South Midland and Southern U.S. a small, usually oval cake made of corn bread and baked or fried hard in a skillet.
2. Chiefly South Atlantic States and Eastern Virginia. a boiled dumpling made of cornmeal.
And the second was from thefreedictionary.com:
a small cornmeal cake either baked or fried or boiled as a dumpling.
I did also find one other reference to boiled corn dodgers in the Amazon preview of a book titled “Appalachian Folkways.”
It appears that the boiled variety is not so common, but it’s definitely what we were served as corn dodgers in our household.
These delicious little corn dumplings are a perfect accompaniment to a pot of greens. My favorite is turnip greens, but they’re just as good with mustard greens or collards.
I really hope you’ll try this recipe if for no other reason than curiosity. You just might find that you’ve discovered a new southern comfort food treasure to add to your recipe box :-)
❤ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- A unique part of our southern foodways.
- Very easy to make with common ingredients.
- So tasty! If you like dumplings, you’ll like corn dodgers.
🛒 Ingredient Notes
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- Cornmeal – I prefer finely ground white cornmeal for most recipes and it’s a must for this one. Coarser textured cornmeals won’t hold together when cooked in this way. My preferred brands include Arnett’s and Palmetto Farms.
- Green Onion – The green onion is totally optional. Indeed, old fashioned southern cooks would not have included it in this recipe but I like the little bit of additional flavoring it gives. Leave it out if you like.
- “Pot Likker“ – That’s simply the broth in the pot when you cook greens.
🥄 How to Make Corn Dodgers
Cook the Greens
Start by cooking turnip greens following your usual recipe. About 45 minutes before serving, make the corn dodgers.
Mix the Dough
Mix the cornmeal, salt, pepper, and onion in a medium bowl. Add pot likker, starting with about 3/4 cup to make a stiff dough.
❓ What is Pot Likker?
Maybe I should explain what “pot likker” is? Well, it’s just the liquid that the turnip greens have been cooking in! And, trust me, it’s some delicious broth. Oh. My. Word. I could make a whole meal off a bowl of pot likker and crumbly cornbread. “Likker” is a corruption of the word liquor.
Form the Corn Dodgers
The dough should be stiff enough that it easily holds together. If you’re familiar with southern cornbreads, it’s a bit thicker than corn pone dough. I hope you can see from the photo how stiff that dough is. It’s moist throughout but not watery at all.
Using about 2 tablespoons of dough for each dodger, shape the dough into rolls about twice as long as wide (see above).
Cook the Dumplings
From the pot of turnip greens, remove 3 cups of pot likker (okay, broth) and place it in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Drop in the dodgers and lower the heat to a simmer.
Cook slowly until the corn dodgers are done through, about 30 minutes, turning them over a few times. Serve with turnip greens and additional pot likker.
🍚 How to Store
Store along with leftover greens, completely cooled, in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in simmering leftover pot likker over low heat.
❓ Questions About Corn Dodgers
It’s really hard to say without being in your kitchen with you, but you could have (1) used the wrong kind of cornmeal, (2) had your batter too thin, or (3) your cooking liquid could have been boiling too rapidly. Or all three.
The type of cornmeal for this recipe is very specific – plain, finely ground white cornmeal. You’ll need that type of cornmeal for the mixture to become firm and hold together during the boiling process. You will not get the same results with coarse (or even medium ground) cornmeal or yellow cornmeal, nor cornmeal “mix” or a boxed mix like Jiffy. They simply won’t work.
More Questions? I’m happy to help!
If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
- 1 cup plain, finely ground white cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
- 4 cups broth from turnip greens (may use more broth)
- Cook turnip greens following your usual recipe or use mine (linked here). About 45 minutes before serving, make the corn dodgers.
- Mix the cornmeal, salt, pepper, and onion in a medium bowl. Add broth starting with about 3/4 cup to make a stiff dough.
- Shape the dough into rolls about twice as long as wide.
- From the turnips, remove 3 cups of broth and place in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Drop in the dodgers and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook slowly until done through, about 30 minutes, turning the dodgers over a few times.
- Serve with turnip greens and additional “pot likker.”
- Store along with leftover greens, completely cooled, in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in simmering leftover pot likker over low heat.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.
— This post was originally published on November 1, 2013. It has been updated with additional information.