This classic side dish takes only 20 minutes to prepare, can be made ahead, frozen and tastes SO much better than the stuff in a can. Homemade Creamed Corn might become a new family favorite all year round!
Let’s just add creamed corn to the long list of things I never tried as a kid. I only ever saw the stuff served in the cafeteria line, out of a can or as a lumpy off-yellow side at low end restuarents. And let’s all be honest, bad creamed corn looks like…. fill-in-the-blank.
But good creamed corn is magical. Little pillows of sweet pops churned in a velvety sauce.
And it happens to be super easy to prepare too. With only 9 ingredients, I would bet money that you already have most (if not all) of the ingredients already in your pantry or fridge.
The ingredient list is simple and also easily modified. This recipe is super forgiving in amounts, but each ingredient serves an important purpose.
- Unsalted butter- Feel free to use salted, but then omit additional Kosher salt. Good old southern cooks use rendered bacon fat or pork fat and sometimes lard like Crisco. These can also be used.
- Sweet Onion- You can also use red, white or yellow.
- Flour- All-purpose is the way to go. It is a thickening agent so you don’t end up with soup.
- Heavy Cream- Or heavy whipping cream (there is a slight difference).
- Skim Milk- Adds more dairy and liquid without being too heavy.
- Sugar- Balances the umami and other savory flavors.
- Corn- I prefer to use frozen corn, but canned or fresh can also be used. If using fresh, grill, steam or boil first.
- Kosher Salt- A coarse Kosher salt works best to not be overly salty. If using a fine sea salt, reduce to just a pinch. Do not use iodized salt, as this can make it taste metallic.
- White Pepper- Black works too, but I prefer the mild taste and also that it doesn’t leave unsightly black specks.
How to Make Creamed Corn
The process is simple.
ONE. Melt butter and saute minced onion. The onion will infuse butter with flavor so the whole batch will get an onion essence.
TWO. Add flour. This creates a roux, which is the thickening agent. You’ll want to stir it to make a paste and let it brown just slightly to develop flavor. This is known as a blond roux.
THREE. Add cream, milk and sugar, whisk well. You’ll want to whisk any lumps and fully dissolve the roux before adding corn otherwise you might not ever get those lumps out and the sauce won’t thicken properly.
FOUR. Add corn. If using frozen, cook for 5-6 minutes over low heat just to allow it to the thaw.
FIVE. Season with coarse Kosher salt and white pepper. Add any additional flavors you desire.
Creamed Corn Flavor Add-Ins
This recipe is for basic creamed corn, but you can get creative and add so many other flavors or cater it to specific global profiles. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Fresh herbs– chopped fresh herbs like sage, thyme, oregano or rosemary add depth and sophistication.
- Spice- a shake or two of crushed red pepper flakes or aleppo pepper give it a smoky and zesty edge.
- Garlic- I love me some garlic, but I kept the base recipe simple on purpose. Add 1-2 cloves of minced fresh garlic with the onion if you desire.
- Seasoning Blends– Taco seasoning or even poultry seasoning make this creamed corn extra special. Only add 1/2 teaspoon and omit Kosher salt and pepper. I’ve even added a little leftover turkey seasoning when making this for Thanksgiving.
- Paprika– Either Smoked or traditional will give it a lovely rosy hue and southwest taste.
- Chives or Scallions– Fresh and crunchy raw onions as a garnish makes for an excellent crunch.
- Bacon– Because bacon makes everything better!
Thick vs Thin
Creamed corn seems to have two camps and no one meets in the middle. Some like theirs to be soupy, almost like a chowder, and others prefer a thicker, stick-to-your-bones version. I am the latter.
If you like a thinner creamed corn that requires a spoon instead of a fork, add an additional 1/4 cup milk to the mix.
Make Ahead & Freezing
This is a very forgiving recipe that can be made up to 2 days in advance. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove in a saucepan. You might need to add 2-3 tablespoons of milk to thin out the cream mixture.
Creamed corn can also be frozen. Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge for 24 hours and reheat the same way you would leftovers.
Side Dish Recipes You’ll Love:
Friday Holiday Side Dish Recipes:
- Air Fried Green Beans with Crispy Onions by West Via Midwest
- Apple and Kohlrabi Slaw by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon by Lemon Blossoms
- Buttery Pearl Barley Mushroom Pilaf by Food Lust People Love
- Cheesy Asparagus Bake by The Fresh Cooky
- Couscous with Cumin and Pine Nuts by Shockingly Delicious
- Creamed Corn by Savory Experiments
- Creamy Cheesy Brussel Sprouts with Bacon by Blogghetti
- Farro Salad with Apples, Arugula & Feta by Sweet Beginnings
- Green Bean Bundles by Our Good Life
- Lemon and Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts by Palatable Pastime
- Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes by Family Around the Table
- Rice Pilaf with Dried Cranberries and Almonds by An Affair from the Heart
- Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Salad by Kate’s Recipe Box
- Roasted Carrots with Goat Cheese and Pecans by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples by Devour Dinner
- Sausage Stuffing by House of Nash Eats
- Sauteed Butternut Squash with Pomegranate by The Foodie Affair
- Slow Cooker Cheesy Vegetables by Cheese Curd in Paradise
- Twice Baked Butternut Squash by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Wild Rice and Broccoli Casserole by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Homemade Creamed Corn
- Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, sauteing until translucent and soft, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add flour and mix to form a paste. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until it browns ever so slightly.
- Whisk paste with cream, milk and sugar until paste has dissolved.
- Fold in frozen corn, kosher salt and white pepper. Continue to heat over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until corn is thawed and hot.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!