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Corn Dodgers

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5 from 7 votes
Corn dodgers are a very old Southern recipe served as an accompaniment to turnip greens. They are similar to a cornmeal dumpling.
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Corn dodgers are a very old Southern recipe served as an accompaniment to turnip greens. They are similar to a cornmeal dumpling. https://www.lanascooking.com/corn-dodgers

Corn dodgers are a very old Southern recipe served as an accompaniment to turnip greens. They are similar to a cornmeal dumpling.

Corn dodgers are a very old Southern recipe served as an accompaniment to turnip greens. They are similar to a cornmeal dumpling. https://www.lanascooking.com/corn-dodgers

Of all the recipes that I post here on the blog, and there are about 750 now, the ones that I enjoy the most are the very old, very Southern, very traditional ones. And this one today 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 post, I did some research on corn dodgers. At least I tried to. Would you believe there’s next to 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 those are fried or baked, but the corn dodgers I remember from all those years ago were boiled. Kind of like cornmeal dumplings. And they were always served with greens. If I remember correctly, Mama actually cooks hers in the pot with the 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:

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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 what we always knew 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 mustards 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 treasure to add to your recipe box :-)

How to Make Corn Dodgers

Start by cooking turnip greens following your usual recipe. About 45 minutes before serving, make the corn dodgers.

Mixing the cornmeal batter in a mixing bowl.

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.

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. But I digress…back to the corn dodgers.

Mixed dough in a bowl.


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 there is no soupy-ness to it at all.

Shaping dough for corn dodgers.

Using about 2 tablespoons of dough for each dodger, shape the dough into rolls about twice as long as wide.

Corn dodgers cooking in broth from greens.

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 done through, about 30 minutes, turning the dodgers over a few times.

Serve with turnip greens and additional pot likker.

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Corn dodgers and turnip greens in a bowl.

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Corn dodgers are a very old Southern recipe served as an accompaniment to turnip greens. They are similar to a cornmeal dumpling. https://www.lanascooking.com/corn-dodgers

Corn Dodgers

Corn dodgers are a very old Southern recipe served as an accompaniment to turnip greens. They are similar to a cornmeal dumpling.
5 from 7 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 80kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 1 cup 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)

Instructions

  • 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 “pot likker*”, 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 “pot likker*” 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.”

Notes

* “Pot likker” is the liquid, or broth, that the turnip greens were cooked in.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 80kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 292mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

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.

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73 Comments

  1. Here is an interesting excerpt from Hall’s Journal of Health back from around the late 1850s to 1860:

    “A corn-dodger is not now what it used to be. Originally it was a corn-meal dumpling. In very early Kentucky times, the universal dinner, winter and spring, at every farm-house in the State, was a piece of middling bacon, boiled with cabbage, turnips, greens, collards or sprouts — cabbage-sprouts — according to the season. The pot, if the family was a large one, contained about ten gallons, and was nearly filled with clean pure water: the middling and the greens were put in at the proper time, to give them a sufficient cooking. Almost always the cook would make with water and corn-meal and a little salt, dough-balls, throw them into the pot, and boil them thoroughly with the rest. These were called dodgers from the motion giving them by the boiling water in the pot. They eat very well, and give a considerable variety to a dinner of bacon and collards.”

    The author was lamenting that this practice was going away and dodgers became known mostly as a baked good. The baked one is his words “is not a veritable first-rate dodger, unless when on the table it bears the impress of the cook’s fingers on it, in placing it in the oven to bake.”

  2. My Granny use to make these but she called them “po” souls or poor souls. I have thought about them so often and could never find a recipe. She said they were called that because many poor people in the South could afford the ingredients to make them. I am 67 years old and the last time I had these were about 50 years ago. Thanks so much for publishing this recipe.

  3. Having developed a keen interest in Southern cooking/recipes especially older authentic, I was intrigued with your recipe as well as your mention of not having much luck finding much info about it online. I thought I’d let you know I was able to find quite a few links/references to Corn Dodgers by using the wording ‘pot likker corn dodgers & pot liquor corn dodgers in my search. Interesting to see most all recipes I found were quite identical to yours save for a few calling for the addition of 2 tablespoons melted butter or shortening. I also found a link to a cookbook preview that had a pot likker corn dodger recipe similar to yours. If you’re interested, the book title is THE SOUTHERN COOKBOOK OF FINE OLD RECIPES, by Lillie Lustig, S. Sondheim, & Sarah Rense. There’s quite a few editions of the cookbook available on amazon, different years printed etc., but the year of the book & recipe preview I found online was dated Dec. 15th. 2007 & published by Applewood books. The book is available new and used (paperback) and ranges in price approx. $5 – $9. I’d add the link but not sure if it would work here. If you’d like the link just let me know and I’ll email it to you.

  4. OMG, I have thought of these ( we just called the cornbread dumplings) many times over the years. My “Nanny” used to put these in her collard greens and her cabbage. At first I hated them but as I got older I loved them. I think I will have to give them a try. Thank you so much.

  5. These sound good, I might try them later. We used to have corn dodgers when I was young, but they were always fried. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. My grandparents were born in the late 1800’s and raised my brother and I
    on their Mississippi farm. Mama (our grandmother) would fix boiled corn dodgers either with boiled pig feet smothered in simi-thick broth, or with turnip/muster greens boiled in the pot likker. These 1950’s meals were a favorite.

    Thanks Lana

  7. I read about pot dodgers in a book entitled Beulah Land.
    Thanks for the info. My e-mail is broken. bev

  8. great article. my mom and grandmother made these and they were always cooked in the broth of ham. however, diced turnips with the greens were very often the accompaniment. there were no onions in them but that is definitely something i am going to do next time. if anyone decides to boil their cornmeal dodgers in ham broth, back off on the salt or you’ll be guzzling water all night. many thanks, lana.

  9. Hi,
    This is the first time I have seen this old recipe in writing. I write “hubs” for hubpages, and as my grandmother’s recipe is similar to yours, I would like to write her recipe (she didn’t use onions in hers—but I like the onions) for my blog on hubpages. However, I would like to acknowledge the interesting research you have done on this recipe and link to your website because of the history and the similarity to my grandmother’s recipe. I am quite careful of copyright, so when I get my “hub” finished, I would like to send it to you for your approval of my referencing your work. I really enjoy your site. You can read my “hubs” at http://www.hubpages.com . Then type in a search for simondixie. That’s my user name. I have about 30 articles so far on all subjects. Thanks!
    nancy mclendon

    1. Hi Nancy – feel free to reference the material but please do not reproduce the recipe in full on Hubpages. A link back is great, though.

  10. Interesting… My Nana made the fried corn dodgers or as my Momma calls it ‘hot water cornbread’. It was a staple on our family meals at my grandparents. I usually ONLY make them on Thanksgiving. I might have to try this, however, as an accompaniment to greens– which my Yankee husband simply can not handle!

  11. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! For this recipe. My 92 year old grandmother made these when I was younger. I didn’t think about them for years. When I asked her about the recipe she could not remember it. She didn’t write her down her recipes nor measure anything. I thankfully got some of them from her when I got married but some she never remembered. :(

    1. You’re welcome, Sonya! I had never seen this recipe written down and could not find it on the internet, either. I love making these old recipes and putting them online so that they’re saved for future generations!

  12. I make these like Mama did. She just laid hers ever so gently on top of the turnips while they were cooking. I do the same and they turn out great

      1. I have eaten Mrs India’s cooking many times…as I am sure you ate Frances Lane’s cooking. Both were great cooks

      2. Oooohhhhh….okay! So, that’s you Bill?! Wouldn’t have known just from your email address.

  13. I recall Corn Dodgers my Mom made when she made Greens of ANY sort…she fried hers so of course those are the ones I’ll do when I make Greens, but you do have my curosity up…hafta try them…Thanks for all your postings!

  14. My grandmother made these. She did not put the onion in hers, nor have I. Most do even know what you talking about..corn dodge. My girls love them. My dad only gets them, when I make them. Only made them with turnips or turnips and mustard greens mixed. This almost as southern as you can get…Enjoy