Traditional Cracked Corn Moonshine Recipe

Traditional Cracked Corn Moonshine Recipe

Make whiskey the old-fashioned way with our cracked corn moonshine recipe

Are you wanting to find a traditional moonshine recipe to learn how to make a delicious whiskey? Well, look no further. We have a great cracked corn moonshine recipe that is perfect for those who want to capture the classic flavor of a traditional shine. 

Modern moonshine can be made out of almost anything (including bananas!) but many moonshiners are keen to also learn the more traditional recipes of the moonshine that their ancestors would have made. 

The Moonshine Tradition


At How to Moonshine, we believe it is important to keep the tradition of moonshining alive. While making your own spirits at home is not legal in all areas of the world, this was not always the case. In fact, many of the traditional moonshine recipes are made out of grain because that was what early farmers had on hand. 

In fact, fermenting excess grain was one way that early American settlers were able to use up their extra grain and enjoy a well-deserved drink at the end of a busy day. Farmers soon realized that whiskey was worth more than the corn it was made with and it would be used for trade. At one point it was even a form of currency. 


Is Moonshine Illegal?




Of course, big government got involved (before the USA was even a country!) and decided to tax spirits as a way to offset the costs of the Revolutionary War (thanks Hamilton) and so moonshining became illegal. The act of making your own spirits is still considered illegal in many areas of the world and the country. 

However, there are ways to protect yourself and your craft. Check out Is Moonshine Illegal? For more information. 

Many moonshine recipes call for corn, but this is really not enough information if you are not a seasoned shiner. Do they mean field corn? Feed corn? Sweet corn? Many of the recipes out there seem to be written only for seasoned shiners and leave out all the important information. So let’s get back to basics. 

What Type of Corn Should I use in my Moonshine? 


 Try our Cracked Corn Moonshine Recipe Kit



Our favorite type of corn to be used in moonshine is cracked, dry yellow corn. This type of corn is considered field corn and it needs to be clean and food-grade. It is recommended to use air dried corn rather than gas dried. The reason for this is when corn is gas dried the corn can get stripped of its elements that are needed for good fermentation. 



You may want to take your cracked con one step further and have it ground to make a corn meal. This is fine as long as the corn is a coarse grind. Of course, corn meal can be purchased ready-made, again, just make sure it isn’t too fine. 


It is also possible to make moonshine out of animal feed. Check out our sweet feed recipe. You can use chicken feed where the corn is a lot finer or horse feed. Just don’t use hog feed as it contains more than just corn. 

Moonshine: a Three-Step Process




Making moonshine is not a simple process. However, at How to Moonshine, we believe it is an important tradition to keep alive. This is why we like to break down more complex recipes into a simpler three-step process: mash, fermentation and distilling. 

The first step to making moonshine is making a mash. Making a mash is the process of adding your moonshine ingredients and heating them up in order to convert your mash.


Many moonshine recipes are grain-based but they need to be converted from a grain into a fermentable sugar. In order for this process to be accomplished, you need to heat up your mash and cook it. Once you have completed making your mash you can check your mash for conversion using iodine. 


Equipment Needed for Making a Mash



When you are making a large recipe like this, it does require large equipment! We do suggest having specialty equipment for making your mash if you are making large recipes like this one. For example, you are not likely to have a large enough pot for this recipe or a long enough spoon to properly stir your ingredients. Investing in the right equipment can make it easier to make your mash properly. 

For Making this Mash You Will Need: 




Embark on your own moonshine journey with this all-inclusive kit. Includes everything needed to create a flavorful moonshine mash—a 5 gallon pot, thermometer, hydrometer, cheesecloth, mash paddle, and our How to Make Moonshine e-book. Let the adventure begin!



In order to make this mash you will need to start with clean equipment and a clean area. This is the best practice to avoid any possible contamination which will affect your final product. 

Once you have clean equipment, it is time to get started.

Pour six gallons of filtered water into your large pot and heat to 165°F. Once you have reached 165°F, turn off the heat and add your cracked corn. 

The reason that you need to have your corn ground is that it needs to release its starch. Once you have added your corn, stir it for about 20 seconds every 5 minutes. Monitor the temperature. Once it lowers to 150°F you can add the crushed barley. Stir so it is well incorporated. 

Malted barley is an important ingredient because its enzymes are necessary to convert your starches into sugar. After you have added your barley and stirred your mash you can turn off the heat. At this point, we want to cool our mash to room temperature or 70°F. 

How to Cool your Mash


immersion chiller for making moonshine


There are several different ways to cool your mash. Some moonshiners prefer to use an immersion chiller to cool their mash quickly. If you want to invest in an immersion chiller, we suggest this option by Homebrew Stuff.

While it is certainly not easy with a large pot like this recipe requires, you can also place your mash pot in ice water to bring the temperature down. Otherwise, you can simply wait. 

Strain your Mash

At this stage, it is not necessary to strain your mash. However, we find it easier to strain our mash using a cheesecloth and clean hands (to squeeze it out) once our mash is cool. Otherwise, you can strain your mash after fermentation using the same method. 


Pitching the Yeast 




Temperature plays an important role in making moonshine. Before adding your yeast, you need to make sure your mash has cooled to 70°F. As well as the correct temperature, your mash needs oxygen for the fermentation process.


With a large recipe like this one, you will need to pour your mash between your fermentation bucket and your pot about 5-10 times in order to aerate it. This process will provide the oxygen necessary to help the yeast do its work. Once you have aerated your mash (finish with the mash in your fermentation bucket) and add your yeast. Place an airtight lid and airlock in place. 

Let it ferment in an area with a constant temperature between 70°F and 75°F for about 10-14 days. Watch your airlock for a cease in activity for about two days before distilling. 




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