African Steamed Mealie Bread - Corn BreadThis steamed corn bread is eaten in the Southern African countries like South Africa, Zambia and Botswana. With an almost custard like consistency, it makes a great tea time snack!

It’s time for #BreadBakers and this month’s theme by Sneha is Steamed Breads.

Mealie is the word for corn in South African English. It is derived from the word in Africaans for corn which is mielie. Since South Africa was originally colonized by Dutch settlers, it is believed this came from the ancient Dutch word for corn which was milie. Boy did this take some calls to my Dutch speaking Mom and whatsapp convos with my cousins in the Netherlands along with some Wikipedia research to find out the questions my inquisitive mind came up with as to the origin of the mealie word. Probably only I care about the origins of mealie.

Whether or not you give a darn about the linguistic history, I am sure you will love this delicious corn bread. This bread is eaten throughout southern Africa in countries like South Africa, Zambia and Botswana. Can’t you just imagine Precious Ramotswe enjoying a slice of this with her cup of red bush tea (rooibos). Am I the only one who was obsessed with the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency when it was on HBO? If you watched the show, you will get the reference. For the rest of you, you can read the series of books by Alexander McCall Smith or watch it on Amazon Prime. Writing this intro inspired me to search and I was so happy for find it on Amazon and rewatch it!

This isn’t the first time I have made mealie bread. The first time I made a modern version that is baked in the oven with more flour to achieve a modern bread consistency and enhanced with roasted chile. You can check that recipe here. Today I am presenting the more traditional steamed version, which is closer to a steamed pudding than a bread but as it is still named as Mealie Bread it will fulfill the Steamed Bread theme of this month’s Bread Bakers.

It would be traditionally steamed in soaked corn husk, but I made it in a silicone steamer.

If you like corn bread as much as I do, check out some of these other versions I’ve made!

Corn Bread Recipes


corn bread -edit

steaming -edit

This bread has an almost custard like texture due to the high egg content.

Mealie Bread -edit

Now this is cornbread, not like the American version which is more like a cake.

Mealie Bread 1 -edit

African Steamed Mealie Bread – Corn Bread

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Number of servings: 8

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  • 3 cups canned corn, drained well
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. In a food processor, pulse corn about a dozen times so it is broken up, but not pureed.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and mix well with the butter and eggs.
  3. Add sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Transfer to a greased pan able to fit in your steamer or a pot. Place on a metal rack. Cover and steam for about 1 hour, until bread is set and knife inserted comes out clean.


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
African Steamed Mealie Bread - Corn Bread This steamed corn bread is eaten in the Southern African countries like South Africa, Zambia and Botswana. With an almost custard like consistency, it makes a great tea time snack!