Mealie Pap

A quintessential South African breakfast, pap is made from milled white maize and enjoyed across demographics.



  • 1L water
  • 1 cup white maize meal
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup whole or low fat milk, warm, plus extra if needed
  • brown sugar, to taste
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 120 grams cold unsalted butter, cubed



Boil the water in a kettle. Add the water and maize meal to a large cast iron or heavy-bottomed pot, and heat slowly bringing to the boil while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon so no lumps form, for about 10 minutes. It will make little “plop” sounds as it thickens and cooks. The porridge should be smooth.

Lower the heat and cover the pot with a lid and allow the porridge to simmer for 40 minutes. You’ll need to lift the lid and stir frequently to ensure it doesn’t catch or burn at the bottom.

While the porridge is cooking, add maple syrup to a small saucepan and heat on medium. It will immediately start to bubble. Be careful not to let it burn. Once it starts to bubble a little, remove from the heat. Add the butter and stir slowly with a spatula until it melts. Set aside.

The porridge should be very smooth and thick now, but not stiff (expect a “gloopy” consistency). Grits, if using, will retain a characteristic grainy feel, but should also be plump and smooth. Stir in the milk. The consistency will depend on your preference - some prefer a thicker porridge and others a runnier version.

Serve hot with sprinkle of sugar and a drizzle of maple butter syrup.



You can find maize or mealie meal at South African stores, or you can substitute with grits, cornmeal or polenta.

Golden syrup is traditionally used to sweeten this porridge. You can substitute the maple syrup if you wish.