South African Recipes

South African Mielie Bread Recipe: History, Tips & More

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South African Mielie Bread! If you’re after a simple, delicious bread that feels like a warm hug from the inside, then you’ve come to the right place. Bursting with sweet corn kernels and the comforting taste of home, Mielie Bread is a beloved staple in South Africa and beyond.

mielie bread

Mielie Bread Recipe

Gianpiero Rusconi
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine South African
Servings 4


  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Medium Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Loaf Tin
  • Baking Paper
  • Oven


  • 2 cups Self-Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 cup White Sugar
  • 1 cup Sweetcorn fresh or tinned, drained
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 50 g Unsalted Butter melted


  • Preheat your oven to 180°C and line your loaf tin with baking paper. This will make sure your mielie bread doesn't stick, and it's easier to get out later.
  • Grab your large mixing bowl, and combine the self-raising flour, salt, and sugar together. This mix is going to give our mielie bread that lovely, light texture.
  • Now let's bring in the sweetcorn. Add it to the dry mixture and give it a good stir. It's all about the mixing, folks!
  • In the medium bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and melted butter. We're making a tasty bath for our dry ingredients!
  • Time to merge everything together. Slowly add the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until combined. Don't over mix; we want to keep the air in to make our mielie bread light and fluffy.
  • Pour the batter into your prepared loaf tin and pop it in the oven for about 45-55 minutes. You'll know it's ready when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. That's the smell of success, mates!
  • Let your mielie bread cool in the tin for a few minutes, then gently remove and let it cool further on a wire rack.
  • Once it's cool enough to handle, slice up your mielie bread and serve it up!

cornbread south africa

Mielie Bread History

Mielie Bread, simply put, is cornbread – a delicacy that traces its origins to indigenous populations in Africa and the Americas. The term “mielie” in Afrikaans translates to ‘maize’, and this bread highlights the significance of maize in South African cuisine. This recipe embodies the creative adaptability of South African food, incorporating new world ingredients into age-old baking traditions. Although factual records about its specific origins are scarce, one can’t deny that Mielie Bread is deeply ingrained in South African food culture, with variations of this bread found across various communities. Mielie bread is also sometimes referred to as ‘mealie’ bread, although this is an anglicisation of the Afrikaans word.

Tips & Tricks for Mealie Bread

Mielie Bread is straightforward, but a few tips will make your baking journey smoother. First, don’t overmix the batter. Overmixing can lead to a dense loaf, and we’re after a light, fluffy texture here. Secondly, remember to preheat your oven. A well-preheated oven will help your Mielie Bread rise beautifully. Lastly, ensure the bread is fully cooked before taking it out of the oven. A skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean. This isn’t just bread; it’s a labour of love!

Best Occasions to Serve Mielie Bread

Mielie Bread’s comforting simplicity makes it suitable for any occasion. It shines during braais (South African barbecues), where its sweetness pairs brilliantly with grilled meats. It’s a perfect addition to festive tables during the holidays, providing a warm, homey touch. And, on a cold winter’s night, it’s the best companion to a hot bowl of soup or stew.

Recipes & Sides That Go Well With Mealie Bread

Biltong Soup: The robust flavours of this soup complement the sweetness of the Mielie Bread.
Boerewors Sausages: The spiciness of Boerewors pairs excellently with the Mielie Bread.
Chakalaka: This spicy vegetable relish adds a fiery note to the mild taste of the bread.
Chicken potjie: Corn bread is a lovely way to mop up the delicious sauces found in another South African classic.
Mince curry: Another saucy dish that does well with a starch. Pair your mielie bread with mince curry.

Ingredient Alternatives for Mielie Bread

  • Substitute self-raising flour with all-purpose flour plus 1.5 tsp of baking powder.
  • Replace white sugar with honey or brown sugar for a different flavour profile.
  • Use creamed corn instead of sweet corn for a more moist loaf.

Mealie Bread Nutritional Facts

Serving size: 1/4 loaf

Calories: 352
Carbs: 58g
Sugar: 13g
Fats: 9g
Protein: 8g
Fibre: 2g
This hearty Mielie Bread offers an energy-rich meal with a decent amount of protein. Though it’s a bit high in carbs and sugar, it provides some fibre.

Troubleshooting (Common Problems)

Bread is too dense: Ensure not to overmix the batter. The more you mix, the denser it becomes.
Bread is undercooked: Use the skewer test to confirm it’s fully cooked before removing from the oven.

Mielie Bread Alternatives and Similar Recipes

Cheesy Mielie Bread: Add grated cheddar cheese for a decadent twist.
Chilli Mielie Bread: Add chopped chillies for a bit of heat.
Bacon Mielie Bread: Incorporate crispy bacon bits for a savoury contrast to the sweet corn.
Vetkoek: Although quite different, vetkoek can often be used as a unique South African alternative to corn bread.
Roosterkoek: Another South African classic, roosterkoek can be used instead of corn bread – especially if you are having a braai!
Potbrood: If you’re looking for a South African bread alternative, potbrood is a classic that can be made over a fire – perfect for braais and camping trips.
Dombolo: African steam bread might not be something you’re familiar with, but it’s a great alternative to mielie bread that accompanies many dishes very well.

Each variation promises a unique, delicious spin on the classic Mielie Bread recipe. Enjoy your baking journey!

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