Jamaican Cornmeal Pudding, also known as cornmeal pone, is a deliciously spiced (and sometimes spiked) dessert made with finely ground yellow cornmeal, coconut milk, sugar, and warm spices. This classic Caribbean dessert is a perfectly moist and sweet indulgence that everyone will love.
Once you taste a bite of cornmeal pudding with a soft top, you’ll be thinking about your next slice. The flavours are simple but delicious and the soft, creamy texture makes it even more decadent.
The bottom of the pudding is baked solid but it’s still super moist and the top is a sweet, coconut-flavoured custard that makes this snack even more scrumptious. And if you choose to add a little rum to the mix, you’re in for a real treat!
Here’s Why You’ll Love this Cornmeal Pudding Recipe
- Easy Prep – this recipe is made with common ingredients that you either have already or can easily get.
- Versatile Dessert – make it with or without rum or raisins and easily make this dairy-free dessert even more inclusive by swapping out 1-2 ingredients to make it gluten-free and vegan!
- Absolutely Delicious – cornmeal pudding captures the essence of tropical flavour, using warm, inviting spices and fresh coconut.
What is Cornmeal Pudding?
Cornmeal pudding is a popular dessert throughout Jamaica, the Caribbean, and beyond. This firm, baked pudding is made with fine yellow cornmeal, coconut milk, raisins, sugar, and spices.
It’s shaped like a cake but the consistency is closer to pudding. It was originally called Corn Pone and was made with grated corn.
What Coconut Milk to Use: Fresh, Canned, Carton or Powdered Coconut Milk?
If you have the option to use fresh coconut milk, then feel free to do so. It does require more manual labour, however it will definitely be worth it. Alternatively you can use canned coconut milk.
Canned coconut milk is full fat coconut milk and has a very thick layer of coconut fat at the top of the can. It is for this reason, you may often see the coconut milk pour from the can in chunks and not smooth; especially it stored in a cooler area. You can also use the powdered/dehydrated form.
I do not recommend using carton coconut milk as this form of coconut milk is often diluted with water to make it thin and drinkable. It contains significantly less fat and often has many additional ingredients such as guar gum, xanthan gum, and carrageenan.
Should I Use a Springform Pan of Regular Baking Pan?
I recommend you using a springform pan to bake this pudding as it’s the easiest way to remove it once cooled. However, you can also use a regular baking pan and remove with a bit more care.
Before removing pudding, make sure it has cooled completely then unhook the latch, remove the side band, lift the ring and set aside. If the pudding doesn’t release from the bottom, carefully run a knife under it to loosen.
What’s Needed to Make this Recipe (Kitchen Tools and Equipment)
- 9-inch Round Springform Cake Pan – to bake pudding in.
- Large Saucepan – to combine and heat pudding ingredients.
- Whisk – to ensure no lumps.
- Wooden Spoon – to stir pudding ingredients.
- Measuring Spoons and Cups – liquid and dry, to accurately measure ingredients.
- Rubber Spatula/Scraper – for scraping out the pudding mixture from saucepan.
Ingredients and Ingredient Notes
- Fine Yellow Cornmeal – the finer the cornmeal, the faster the cooking time. It’s also easier for the body to digest.
- Flour – this binds together the ingredients. I also use it to dust the raisins and keep them moist while baking. It also prevents the raisins from sinking to the bottom of the pudding as it bakes.
- Spices – warm spices like ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg enhance the flavour of the pudding.
- Salt – adjust to taste/preference.
- Coconut Milk – you can use fresh coconut milk or canned coconut milk. It’s more work to use fresh but the taste is undeniably better.
- Water – you can choose to use all coconut milk, however I like adding a cup or two of water to balance the decadence of the coconut milk.
- Unsalted Butter – adds buttery flavour and extra moisture.
- Vanilla Extract – because vanilla flavour just makes every sweet taste a smidge better!
- Brown Sugar – the colour of the cornmeal pudding depends on the type of sugar you use. Dark brown sugar results in a darker/browner colour. Standard brown sugar has a more yellowish tint. And of course, white sugar would result in the lightest.
- Raisins – this is optional because most people love raisins or really dislike them. If you choose to keep them in this recipe, soak them in rum, or water. (I’ve witnessed people change their minds about the fruit after tasting rum soaked raisins.)
- Rum – this adds a new depth of flavour. It also adds moisture to the pudding.
How to Make Cornmeal Pudding
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9-inch springform or cake pan with butter, and set aside. Then, add rum or water to the raisins and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients; cornmeal, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well combined, then set aside.
Prepare Cornmeal Pudding Custard
Add coconut milk, water, and butter to a large saucepan and heat over medium-high until the butter is melted. Then add vanilla and brown sugar and continue to mix well until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is heated (not boiling). Remove the saucepan from heat, and mix in the rum (optional).
Combine Wet Ingredients and Dry Ingredients
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the heated wet ingredients and whisk continuously until there are no lumps and the pudding mixture is smooth. Gently stir in prepared raisins then pour mixture into the prepared springform pan.
Bake Cornmeal Pudding
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven after 15 minutes of baking, add the soft top (custard) topping, and then continue to bake for an additional 45 to 55 minutes.
Remove from oven, allow to cool completely, then remove from pan, slice and enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips for Success
- Don’t worry if the cornmeal pudding looks too soft when you take it out of the oven. As it cools down, it will solidify.
- When combining the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, mix until the batter is lump free. Otherwise, you could end up with clumps of raw cornmeal throughout the pudding.
- If using raisins, be sure to gently fold them evenly throughout the mixture.
- For easier cleanup, place a large baking sheet at the bottom of the oven to catch anything that drips from the springform pan.
- Leave the pudding in the pan until it’s completely cooled, then remove it from the springform pan, slice and enjoy!
Recipe Substitutions and Tips
- No Raisins – if you’re not a fan of raisins use mixed fruit instead. Soak them in rum, just like this fruit soak recipe.
- Vegan Cornmeal Pudding – use vegan butter instead of dairy butter.
- Gluten-Free Cornmeal Pudding – instead of all-purpose flour, use gluten-free flour. Also double check the ingredients in your rum. It is usually gluten-free but certain flavours and additives may contain gluten.
Serving Suggestions and Tips
Enjoy cornmeal pudding warm, room temperature, or cold. Enjoy it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or drizzle it with caramel or a vanilla glaze.
Cornmeal pudding must be refrigerated within 24 hours of baking it because it contains coconut milk. Stored in an airtight container, it lasts for up to 4 days in the fridge. For longer storage, freeze it for up to one month.
If you wish to reheat it, warm it up in the microwave in 30-second intervals.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Jamaican cornmeal pudding contains cornmeal, coconut milk, sugar, and spices. It sometimes contains raisins and rum as well!
Make this a day ahead and store covered on the countertop or in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.
Yes. You can freeze cornmeal pudding, just ensure it is sliced and wrapped individually in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil and stored in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container.
See My Story Below for Step-by-Step Instructions
Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!
- Jerk Sliders
- Jamaican Beef Patty
- Jamaican Pumpkin Soup
- Jamaican Curry Chicken
- Jamaican Steamed Cabbage
- Jamaican Oxtail Recipe
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe
- Honey Jerk Shrimp
- Jerk Marinade
- Jerk Chicken Sandwich
- Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge
- Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge
- How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake
- Brown Sugar Cinnamon French Toast
- Jamaican Festival Recipe
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- 9-inch Round Springform Cake Pan to bake pudding in
- Large Saucepan to combine and heat pudding ingredients
- Whisk optional, needed if no hand mixer
- Wooden Spoon to stir pudding ingredients
- Measuring Spoons and Cups liquid and dry, to accurately measure ingredients
- Rubber Spatula/Scraper for scraping out the pudding mixture from saucepan
- 3 cups Fine Yellow Cornmeal
- 1/2 cup Flour plus 1 tbsp for dusting raisins
- 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt adjust to taste/preference
- 4 cups Coconut Milk
- 2 cups Water
- 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
- 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 cups Brown Sugar packed
- 1/2 cup Raisins soaked in rum, or water, optional
- 2 tbsp Rum optional
Pudding Soft Top (Custard)
- 1 cup Coconut Milk
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9-inch springform or cake pan with butter, and set aside. Then, add rum or water to raisins and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients; cornmeal, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well combined, then set aside.
- Add coconut milk, water, and butter to a large saucepan and heat over medium high until butter melted. Then add vanilla and brown sugar and continue to mix well until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is heated (not boiling). Remove saucepan from heat, and mix in the rum (optional).
- Gradually add the dry ingredients into the heated wet ingredients and whisk continuously until there are no lumps and pudding mixture smooth. Gently stir in prepared raisins then pour mixture into prepared springform pan.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven after 15 minutes of baking, add the soft top (custard) topping, and then continue to bake for an additional 45 to 55 minutes.
- Remove from oven, allow to cool completely, then remove from pan, slice and enjoy!
Pudding Soft Top (Custard)
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the soft top (custard), in a small bowl until well combined.
- If using rum, drain off the rum using a strainer (reserve the rum for later) or if using water, discard the water. Then lightly dust the raisins in 1 tbsp of flour until coated.
Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.