When I was planning my September of 2011 Disney trip, it was all pretty last minute. I knew I wanted a character breakfast, but the only thing available a month out was Tusker House. While I was looking forward to a character breakfast, I wasn’t in love with Tusker House.

With a buffet that included sausage gravy and biscuits I knew I wouldn’t starve, but I figured the experience was all about the characters and not so much about the food. Even though I was told over and over that the food was awesome, I was expecting very little. I did, however, want to try the famous mealie pap, something I was told was a signature dish that was to die for.


When it finally came time for the trip and the Tusker reservations, I knew I was in for a blast. And when I got a look at that buffet, my tummy did a big ol’ happy dance. Along with my precious sausage gravy there was Mickey waffles, pancakes, fruit, a cutting station with ham… Honestly, after loading my first plate so full it was almost embarrassing, the characters almost got in the way of the super delicious food.

On my second trip to the buffet, I grabbed a spoonful of the mealie pap, which granted looked a little odd, but it reminded me of a corn casserole I used to eat when I went to Texas. I took one, big mouthful and I have to say… I wasn’t a fan.  I really wasn’t. I wanted to like it, and I almost did like it as it certainly isn’t disgusting, but it was missing what I think every oatmeal-style dish needs… A ton of sugar.

That said, I know that mealie pap is almost universally beloved by all that try it and it’s become a signature dish for this brilliant restaurant. In fact, since visiting in September, I’ve heard that Tusker House serves two versions, one sweet, and one cheesy and savory (the savory version being the one that I tried).

Figuring I was missing out, I decided to give the recipe one more try at home.  I must say, it came out exactly as it did while I was there and tasted exactly the same… Great for the people who love the savory mealie pap (and the 7 recipe requests from fans who asked for me to make it), but not so much for me as I’m still just not a big fan.

I will say though, the sweet version is quite delish and will have to give that one a go when I go down again next September. And my 2 year old son? He’s a big fan of mealie pap apparently. So much so that he ate the entire serving pictured, plus another serving and a half.

The only real issue with this recipe is hitting the desired consistency, which also seems to vary at Tusker House. At times it’s thin, like porridge (as it was when I went the first time), but other times fluffy like scrambled eggs (as it was when I went the second time).

Simply adjust to your tastes by adding a little cornmeal, then more if you’d like it thicker. Add milk if you’d like it nice and thin. This meal is also a breeze to reheat, just make sure you add more milk before reheating.

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Mealie Pap

As is served at The Tusker House, Animal Kingdom

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup (or one stick) butter
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans of sweet creamed corn
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 8 oz Parmesan cheese
  • salt and white pepper, to taste
  • 2 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Add the diced onion and butter to a large, hot pan and cook onion until it is clear. Remove from heat and blend until onion is very finely chopped and the butter mixture is a porridge-like color and consistency.

Return mixture to the pan over medium-high heat, adding the creamed corn and milk. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring constantly to prevent scalding. Add 1 1/2 cups of cornmeal and reduce heat to medium low while stirring constantly with whisk for about 15-20 minutes.

If the mixture is too thin, add up to another cup of cornmeal. If the mixture is too thick, add milk until the desired consistency. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste, and top with remaining cheddar cheese, if desired.

To make savory mealie pap, omit cheeses and pepper, add 1/4-1/2 cup of sugar (according to taste) and stir until thoroughly mixed. Top with additional cheese or drizzle with syrup if desired.


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