Soup of the Day: Haudenosaunee Corn Soup

My grandmother and other elders have made corn soup for me, friends, and family for years.  But, I never learned how to make it myself.  As luck would have it, my grandmother called a week before Christmas to tell me she planned to make a batch of corn soup for the holiday for eating and gifting.  So, I asked her if she would show me how it’s done, and she readily agreed.


White corn soup is a traditional Haudenosaunee (i.e. Iroquois) food that utilizes two of the three sisters, corns and beans, along with a protein to make a delicious, filling, and nutritional soup.

To Make It You’ll Need

  • lyed, dehydrated, white corn
  • An equal amount of dry beans (we use red kidney beans for color, but many use navy beans)
  • 1.5 – 2 lbs. salt pork (you can also substitute turkey or venison which are more traditional to our diet than pork products)
Image of dried corn, beans in a pot, and Hormel salt pork.
Just add water!


  1. In very large pot or roaster, cover corn with water and boil on medium high to high heat.
  2. In another large pot, cover kidney beans with water (2 to 1 water to bean ratio) and boil for two minutes on high heat.  Remove beans from heat and pour everything into the roaster/pot with the corn.
  3. As that comes to a boil, slice salt pork (or whatever protein you chose) into small pieces and add to the soup.
  4. Let soup boil on medium high to high heat, being sure to add water as beans and corn expand.
  5. After one to two hours, turn temperature down and allow to soup to simmer overnight or about 8 hours.
  6. Laddle soup into a bowl and eat up!
Image of corn soup in various stages of cooking.
The cooking process.

We usually eat our soup with frybread around these parts, but you can enjoy it with a lot of sides.

A Darth Vader plushie with Santa hat sits in front of a bowl of corn soup.
Even Darth Vader loves him some corn soup.


By Marena

Marena recently earned her Master of Arts degree in Social Justice & Human Rights & primarily explores social justice issues in the production & consumption of popular mass media. You may find her creating fanworks, testing her hand-eye coordination with beadweaving, flailing over her fictional faves, reading everything from fanfic to theory texts, or watching low budget sci-fi. You can find her writing on Marena ni yukyats.

6 replies on “Soup of the Day: Haudenosaunee Corn Soup”

It tastes delish with venison if you’re thinking of giving it a try. ;)

AH. Lye is an acid that can be obtained from leaching hardwood ashes (as least that’s how we get it). You boil the corn with the ashes and some water for a couple of hours to soften the hull, and then you wash the hull and the lye off. It’s a bit of a tricky process because too little ash will not soften the hull, but too much ash will ruin the corn, so you’ve got to be skilled at it. We always buy ours already lyed from our Tribe’s organic market.

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