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 We 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.
You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.
🥄 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.
🍽 Serving Suggestion
Corn dodgers and greens make one of the most perfect of old-fashioned southern dinners when served with fried chicken or fried pork chops and perfectly seasoned black-eyed peas. Add a glass of sweet iced tea and a slice of chocolate little layer cake for dessert.
❓ 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.
HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?
I’d LOVE to know what you thought!
Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked it!
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- 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 health care 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.
I love that you have this recipe. I’m new to the SC from the West Coast and wanted to try my hand at some older recipes. I have a Southern Cookbook from 1939 that I found in an old abandoned conex box in Portland, Oregon quite a few years ago. Thank goodness I saved it! I opened it up and saw a recipe for Pork Likker and then Corn Meal Dodgers that they said was served with it. The recipes are rather scant and require you to know a thing or two about how to prepare certain things. They also have obscure measurements at times. So I wanted to make sure I got it right.
Thank you for your wonderful recipes! I’m book marking for this new culinary chapter in my life.
So happy that I could provide a modernized recipe for you, Rachel! Welcome to the south and our very rich culinary heritage!
My dodgers came apart in the water. Were they too wet? Was the boiling water too high?
Without being in your kitchen with you, it’s almost impossible for me to say what went wrong. You could have had your batter too thin or your cooking liquid could have been boiling too rapidly. Or both.
My grandmaw Pansy from Salter Path North Carolina cooked these in the collards just about everytime she made a pot. She also cooked them in a pot neckbones , riblets and rutabagas. Stewed flounder and I think maybe even stewed conchs. Miss her cookin everyday. Iv never met anybody outside of my family that has eat any. Grandmaw called them dough dodgers. Hard to beat! Thanks for the help couldnt remember how she made them. Can’t wait to try myself. Maybe I’ll be able come close to hers!
This is almost identical to the way my beloved Aunt Gracie thought me almost 50 years ago! The only difference is we added about a 1/2 tsp. Baking powder per cup of cornmeal. This really brought back many memories for me! However in our family we called them “pot dodgers” 😄It was always my favorite things about turnip greens (and bacon or ham hocks).
Aw, I’m really glad I could help you recall a good memory. I hope you’ll make some “pot dodgers” for yourself soon.
Thank you for sharing this. I grew up in the rural Deep South, and turnip greens with corn dodgers were one of my favorites. Years later, I have not encountered another person who knows what this is – even though I still live in the south. I’ve never been successful in making this myself but I’m going to try again.
You’re welcome, Anne. I’ve only met a few people who’ve ever had corn dodgers like this. Most people think corn dodgers are little rounds of fried cornbread but that’s not the way I know them. Hope you make some soon and enjoy them!
I am eager to try this recipe. Actually, I was looking for a recipe for the corn dodgers my dad made in Texas when I was a child in the 50s. It was more like a cornmeal pancake cooked in a skillet. I knew that they were eaten by cowboys on the range in Texas, and were even mentioned in a cowboy song called “Diamond Joe.” “His bread it was corn dodgers, his meat I couldn’t chaw,” etc. Anyway, I was told they were called corn dodgers because cowboys chunked them at each other. Don’t know about that. But I am guessing they traveled from Southern culture to the chuck wagon on the range, and maybe without the turnip greens juice — but that sounds good and I will try it!!
I really hope you enjoy the recipe!
I can’t thank you enough for having this recipe. As a child in rural S.C. I would come home from school and smell the turnip greens cooking I knew that we would have corn dodgers for dinner. That smell has haunted me for a long time and I just wasn’t able to find a recipe for them. I want my children to learn to make them as well.
You’re welcome, Alice. When I was writing this recipe, I couldn’t find anything at all about corn dodgers on the internet. And the things I found were for fried cornbread rather than the corn dodgers I remember my mother making. I love this recipe, too, and I hope others carry it forward to be enjoyed by new generations.
Great and easy recipe. Just like my mother in law used to make years ago. I cooked mine in with the turnip greens. May want to cut back on salt in them if you are salt conscious.