Posted by: Erica Retrochef | May 20, 2013

Hamburger Upside-Down Bake

Buzz really doesn’t like ketchup, although it’s more of a mental objection than a question of taste. Initially, I’d filed this in the “things to make when I want to slightly torture him” folder.


Don’t question why I have a folder like that in my bookmarks. You’ve seen what this blog is like. Frankly, the reasons I don’t have a “things he’ll really like” folder is that such things are (a) pretty unusual, and (b) generally made immediately instead of stored away for future reference.

And as I suspected, when he first saw “bottle of catsup” in the ingredient list, he was pretty horrified.



1 lb. hamburger
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
1 bottle DEL MONTE Catsup
1 can (12 oz.) DEL MONTE Brand Golden Whole Kernel Corn (Vacuum Packed)
1 package (approx. 8 oz.) corn muffin mix

In a 10-inch skillet with oven-proof or removable handle, combine first 4 ingredients with 1/2 cup of the catsup. (Be sure to use 10-inch skillet, or cornbread layer will be too thick.) Break meat apart with fork; fry till just brown. Push meat back around edge of skillet; spread undrained corn in center. Mix muffin batter as directed on package; pour evenly over meat and corn. Bake in hot oven (425°F.) 20 to 25 min. or till muffin layer is done. Remove from oven, let stand 5 min., and turn out upside down on warm serving plate. Heat rest of catsup and serve as a sauce. Serves 4 to 6.

The relief on his face was evident when he realized most of it was just going to be served “as a sauce” rather than incorporated into the corn somehow.


The cornbread mix is only slightly visible here, but we haven’t forgotten it.


Start off by browning the beef, and make sure there’s plenty of ketchup visible to really creep out the ketchup-hating guy who has to cook with it.


Cornbread from a box is super-easy, although it’s fairly cake-like and I would like to be able to figure out how to make a good version from scratch. For something like this, though? Box. All the way.


Once the beef is browned and the corn is dumped in, it’s pretty.


Once the cornbread batter is slopped all over the top, it’s not pretty at all. (Just look at those smears of ketchup running through everything! Oh, the goopiness!)


Luckily, it inverted out of the skillet without trouble, and we had this lovely — um, cake thing? — on a plate!


You’ll note I’ve neglected to use up the rest of the bottle as a sauce…

This was difficult to serve (cornbread and hamburger and corn are crumbly!) and it was quite silly to make. However, the combination of hamburger and cornbread tasted great, and I’m always a fan of including fresh corn kernels in (or on top of) cornbread. The kids thought it was amazing, and Buzz didn’t mind the ketchup at all.
saltycotton on Flickr



  1. A whole bottle of ketchup?? I suppose you could substitute tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, or Sloppy Joe sauce, too. (….gravy? ….maybe not). I like ketchup, I don’t think I’d make this, but if offered some, I’d eat it!

    • The key thing we realized was that most of the ketchup is just supposed to be warmed on the side as a “sauce,” which was a huge relief!

      • Oh! Doh! read it before my coffee 🙂

  2. Hi Erica!

    This recipe is a classic! I actually remember having it over a friend’s house once many, many moons ago! I’m not a huge ketchup fan either although catsup may be a bit different, lol…

    The way I figure it is, if the kids like it that’s great. Not only is it easy to make, I bet it could be “doctored” up to be “healthier.”

    Love that you have that bookmark folder too!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing…

    P.S. If you get a moment, please stop by my blog, I did a post yesterday:)

  3. I always suspected you had a separate folder of recipes like this. 😉

  4. Mom made this back in the 50’s. She made it once… only once. It was more like a ketchup soup with a slight hint of beef with an occasional cornmeal Matzo Ball floating by.

    In my very early teens, I found this recipe in moms collection. As the family’s budding chef, I decided to have at it and re-make the whole thing… my way. If you’re interested, I’d be more than happy to pass it along.

  5. This needs the corn shaped into rings with pimiento in the center, and then the hamburger spread around the rings.

  6. There’s a family version of this from about the same era (my grandmother’s recipe, and her children were born from about 1953-1960; we’re all Texan) that omits the ketchup in favour of a can of ro-tel (diced chiles and tomatoes) and a can of pinto beans, plus a diced 3-inch wedge of Velveeta. It can be either baked under the cornbread and be called Favourite Casserole, or you can heat it up and mix it with cooked pasta (elbow macaroni or texas-shaped novelty macaroni, because we are self-parodying XD) and then it’s just Stuff.

    I swear we’re not always that bad at naming things. ;p

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