Jamaican Turned Cornmeal Recipe

Watch our step-by-step video for this recipe below

Jamaican Turned Cornmeal is something that my mother used to make in a pinch. When there wasn’t much in cupboard this was a go-to dinner recipe. She would fry some salt pork for this recipe but I use bacon. Or leave it out and it makes a tasty vegetarian dish. The tradition is to eat Turned Cornmeal with Steamed Fish as a side dish. However you can eat it alone or along side any meat, even curry chicken! Many places have their version of this dish. Elsewhere in the Caribbean they call it Coo Coo, and a similar dish in Italy is called Polenta. However, the coconut flavour and spicy kick in this traditional Jamaican recipe is one you’re sure to enjoy!

1 tsp Cooking Oil
3 strips Bacon, chopped
1 small Tomato, chopped
2 stalks Scallion (green onion), chopped
1 cooking Onion, chopped
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp dried Thyme or (1 tsp fresh)
2 cups Coconut Milk
1 1/2 cup Cornmeal
1 cup Cold Water
1/4 tsp West Indian Hot Pepper Sauce
1 Tbsp Butter or Margarine

1. Fry bacon in cooking oil until crisp
2. Add tomato, scallion and cooking onion to the pot and sautee until they tender
3. Add salt, black pepper and thyme and stir
4. Pour coconut milk into pot and bring to a boil; in the meantime, mix water and cornmeal together until smooth
5. Add hot pepper sauce and butter or margarine
6 Stir in cornmeal mixture; keep “turning” until cornmeal thickens and cooks through; about 10 minutes after adding the cornmeal.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Not a Legacy Cooking Club member yet? This recipe is just one of many delicious family recipes with video cooking lessons available in the Legacy Cooking Club community. Click here to learn more about other member benefits.

gold plusTurned cornmeal
Comments (12)
Add Comment
  • Fran from Bronx, NY

    In the past, my mother would fix it with okra, turning the cornmeal a nice shade of green and we would have that with a side dish of tomato stew and sausages (or franks cut up into coins and mixed with the tomato stew) and sometimes during Lent, we would eat this with salted codfish (I hated codfish but loved the onion gravy she fixed it in). Anyway. Thanks for bring up memories of childhood good eats!

  • Harmony

    Thank you for sharing you homestyle videos……
    May God continue to keep bless & increase you and your family!


  • LadyP

    The flavour of the cornmeal was good. However,next time I will adjust the cornmeal to liquid ratio. This was a bit to thick for my liking. I had to add more cold water to the cornmeal to get it the texture in the video. Overall good recipe. Made this along with your recipe for steam fish which was excellent.

  • annis Stevenson

    I am so glad to be able to get your cooking it brings back memories. Thanks

  • Clarisse

    Your website is very helpful for those who want to learn how to cook Jamaican food. I just arrived in Jamaica a week ago to join my fiance. I wanted to please him but I dont know how. I am happy I found your website. More power to you. 🙂

  • Rick from Kansas

    Never had this before. This ought to be real good good with a fish fry . I’m going to suprise the gang with this when we have a fry. Thanks

  • Andrew

    Just tried this; it was great!!! First time cooking Jamaican… Thanks so much for the exceptional recipe! 🙂

  • Nora

    I have become a professional cook since I discovered your website. My friends
    Love my Toto(coconut cake) so much. I will be baking for my church social soon.

    Many thanks.

    Need to cook “run down “do you have a receipe for that?

  • Nora

    The turned cornmeal is out of this world. I added some pre cooked gungo peas and ate it with steamed fish..

    Fantastic. Keep up the good work as you now have a place in my kitchen.

  • Daun

    I did the turn cornmeal recipe this morning and it turned out Perfect!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your website it is the answer for someone like me who was born in Jamaica but grew up in the US…when I ask Jamaicans for measurements they often times unable to provide them and here is a place I can get them!!! Thank you and your family so much for providing these professional recipes with the pictures and video. You are very good @ what you do, Keep up the good work and keep the recipes coming!!


    This site helps me to remember things i forget to do great job , thanks in a million i am praying for your strength and wisdom in useing this media to teach.Peace and blessings.

  • Sue

    I tried this recipe today and it was a hit. Thank you.