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How to Make the Best Creamed Corn

Make the best creamed corn ever with no flour thickeners, no added sugar and no funky additives from store-canned corn (that doesn’t even have any cream!). Your next family meal will celebrate this comfort food classic.

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white bowl of creamed corn with skillet in background

Go check a can of creamed corn from the grocery store. Go ahead. Read it.

What’s in there? Corn, yep. And a boat load of thickeners and whatnots that taste like the bottom of your shoe.

I know it’s soooo much easier to just grab that can and go, but if you’re making a dish of creamed corn where the corn needs to actually taste good…that can is a bad idea.

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    And if you’re serving creamed corn as a side dish itself, make it sing with this recipe. You can use it for adding to other recipes or serve it straight up. It’s so good you don’t have to hide it in cornbread to eat it.

    What’s the difference between creamed corn and regular corn?

    So what sets creamed corn apart from standard corn? Corn is simply corn kernels, on or off the cob, often served with butter as a side dish.

    Creamed corn is another popular side dish served off the cob, but with a twist.

    It utilizes the starchy liquid scraped from under the corn kernels, simmering it with the kernels themselves to create a thickened finished product. Curious to see how it’s done? Check out the recipe below!

    Is there cream in creamed corn?

    Contrary to what you may gather from the name, creamed corn does not necessarily have cream in it. The creaminess comes from the cooking of the kernels with the starchy liquid found underneath them.

    That being said, some traditional recipes do include cream to add an extra layer of goodness. This recipe does have some cream–I just couldn’t resist the richness.

    Does canned cream corn have any cream?

    If you are buying creamed corn from the store, it’s probably coming in a can. These products do not contain actual cream.

    Canned creamed corn is thickened instead with food starch and additives. Not the best for you if you are looking to pursue a healthier diet. I suggest skipping the additives found in canned corn and making your own.

    Can frozen corn be used to make creamed corn?

    You can use frozen corn to make creamed corn, but it won’t be quite the same. You will need to substitute the starchy liquid extracted from under the kernels with a thickener, such as flour or you can puree some of the corn from the recipe to get the right texture (which is what we’ll do in this recipe).

    white bowl filled with freshly prepared creamed corn

    Can I substitute other types of corn for creamed corn in a recipe?

    Creamed corn is found in many recipes such as white chicken chili, corn fritters, chicken tortilla soup, cornbread, and numerous casseroles.

    Most recipes that call for creamed corn necessitate the creamy texture inherent in the ingredient. So substituting other kinds of corn is a no go unless you can create that texture in another way.

    You can often get away with whipping up a faux version such as this one using canned corn, the liquid it comes in, and a little bit of flour or cornstarch.

    If you just aren’t in the mood for corn of any kind and are looking for a creamy substitute, try a creamed soup. Pick your favorite–just make sure the flavor profile complements the dish.  


    • Make sure to use sweet corn. If you can get it in season, even better.  Fresh or frozen is just fine. If you are growing your own, remove the kernels from the cob and make it right away or freeze your kernels to use in the future.
    • On fats: I’m a big fan of real butter, but bacon grease could also be used here for an extra layer of flavor. Cook the bacon first and, as always, if you can get your hands on uncured, sugar-free bacon, use that.
    • On seasoning: Corn lends a relatively mild flavor, so make sure to season your creamed corn appropriately. Add a splash of sugar or honey for sweetness and a little salt and pepper for depth of flavor. Use good cream for richness.
    • Avoid overcooking! You want to have a little bite to your corn and cooking for too long will produce an overly mushy product. So aim for al dente!  

    Can creamed corn be made in advance?

    You can absolutely make creamed corn in advance. Just seal it in an airtight container after it has cooled to room temp and store it in the refrigerator. It will be good for up about a week.

    This is an easy dish to make a lot of, so feel free to go heavy and save some for leftovers. When it comes time to rewarm, you have a few options:

    • Slow cooker: Place in a slow cooker, set to medium-high, and cover. Make sure to stir occasionally until heated through. 
    • Skillet: Place in a skillet, heat to medium-high, and stir occasionally until heated through. 
    • Oven: Place in an oven-safe container, cover, and bake in the oven at 350° F until heated through; about 15 minutes.

    Can leftover creamed corn be frozen?

    Yes, but I don’t necessarily recommend it, especially in large batches. The corn can release water, and the recipe’s dairy is prone to separation when frozen and then thawed.

    It should be fine, especially for smaller amounts, but you will likely encounter a slightly different texture upon reheating.

    How to make creamed corn step by step

    Step 1: If you are using fresh corn on the cob, stand the cob on its end and slice down to remove the kernels, working your way around.

    This is a bit of a messy process so use a deep bowl to contain splatters.

    using knife to scrape kernels of corn cob into a bowl

    Step 2: Once all the corn is cut off, use the blade of your knife to scrape down the cobs. This pulls the starchy liquid from the corn and will help your creamed corn thicken properly.

    using back of knife to scrape starchy liquid off corn cob into bowl to make creamed corn

    Step 3: Add two tablespoons of butter or bacon grease to your skillet and melt; add the corn and cook until al dente; about 18 to 20 minutes. Just taste yours to see where you are.

    skillet with butter ready to melt and bowl of corn kernels

    Step 4: When the corn is mostly done, add the cream and be careful not to boil it. Just a gentle cook to let it reduce a bit and thicken. You can add honey or sugar here if your corn isn’t naturally sweet enough.

    Some people add flour to their creamed corn but I don’t find it necessary.

    Once the cream has reduced a bit, take out a cup of corn and add it to a food processor or blender and blend until almost smooth. Add the pureed corn back into the corn in the skillet.

    preparing creamed corn in skillet

    Creamed corn recipes with fresh flavors

    Classic creamed corn is simply seasoned with a little salt, a little pepper, and a dash of something sweet like honey or sugar. There are definitely new and exciting ways you can take your next creamed corn experience, however. Here are some ideas:

    • Parmesan Cheese – Try this recipe by Salty Side Dish
    • Herbs – Just add your favorite herbs during the cooking process. Fresh or dry. I suggest fresh parsley and/or oregano!
    • Cilantro + Garlic – This recipe from Food & Wine Magazine turns creamed corn into a tangy treat with cilantro, sour cream, and bacon
    • Lemon + Mushroom – Here is another hit from Food & Wine Magazine…no cream this time, but their use of fresh lemon juice and zest is to die for.

    Holiday Hack: Make it Ahead

    When you need creamed corn for several recipes over the holidays, make a batch and keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week, adding it in bits to your other recipes as needed.

    white bowl of creamed corn with skillet in background

    How to make the best creamed corn

    Ditch the grocery store creamed corn for the real deal and use it in any recipe that calls for it. You'll never be sorry!
    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 25 minutes
    Total Time 45 minutes
    Servings 5
    Author Rachel Ballard

    Ingredients
      

    • 5 ears sweet corn (5 cups frozen sweet corn can substitute)
    • 2 tablespoon butter bacon grease can also be used
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 1 cup cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (start with ¼ teaspoon and work up)
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 tablespoon honey (optional for added sweetness)

    Instructions
     

    • Shuck and silk corn; Cut kernels from corn cob and use the back of your knife to scrape the cobs, removing the milky starchy liquid necessary to thicken the recipe.
    • In a 9-inch heavy skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add the corn along with any starchy liquid from the cob to the skillet.
    • Cook, stirring frequently, until the corn is crisp-tender. About 18 minutes.
    • Add the salt, pepper, and honey (if you’re using it) and stir to combine.
    • Remove 1 ½ cups of corn from the pan and use a food processor or blender to blend the corn to a puree. Return it to the skillet and add the cream.
    • Stir to combine and cook on low until the corn is slightly thickened–5 minutes more.
    • If your corn isn’t thick enough, blend the flour and milk or cream and add to the simmering corn in the skillet. Stir to combine and the sauce will thicken in just a minute or so.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1cupCalories: 229kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 89mgPotassium: 54mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 843IUVitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 0.1mg
    Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
    Course Side Dish
    Keyword creamed corn

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