Creamed Corn

Side DishVegetarianCorn

Make the most of sweet corn season by serving up this creamed corn at your next backyard BBQ. This dish also freezes beautiful and can be made with frozen corn (hello, Thanksgiving side dish!).

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

Creamed corn is summer’s comfort food.

The starchy residue that lies beneath the kernels thickens the corn, and in this version, cream seals the deal. Even summer has its cool and rainy days, but a warm bowl of these sweet golden kernels can cheer you while you wait for the sun to come out.

FRESH VS. FROZEN CORN

In corn season, fresh corn is always optimal, and it really is the sweetest, most irresistible choice. You can also extract corn milk, a sweet starchy liquid, from the cobs of fresh corn. Corn that is fresh off the cob has a creamy, succulent quality that announces summer is here!

Having said that, you could substitute frozen corn, especially if you want to make this for a fall holiday (hello, Thanksgiving!) when corn is not in season.

Unfortunately, you can’t extract corn milk from frozen kernels. To mimic the creaminess of corn milk using frozen corn, try pureeing a small amount (about 1/3 cup of the kernels) in a blender to release some of the starch, and stir it into the corn.

Best Creamed Corn Recipe - bowl of creamed corn wtih spoon and herbs

MAKE-AHEAD CREAMED CORN

Once made, creamed corn can be stored in the refrigerator for at least three days. It can also be frozen for up to three months.

HOW TO SERVE THIS SIDE DISH

When corn is abundant, you could serve creamed corn with any warm weather meal as a side dish, but it’s not just for summer.

It would also be a good addition to your Thanksgiving table, especially since it can be made ahead of time with frozen corn.

By itself it is pure heaven, but you could vary it by adding some spicy jalapeños or chopped poblano peppers; other additions that come to mind are chopped basil, sliced cherry tomatoes, and cooked bacon crumbles.

For a creamed corn casserole, add a little extra liquid (cream or water,) sprinkle a little cheddar or Parmesan on top, and bake in a 375ºF oven until brown and bubbly.

NEED MORE CORN RECIPES?

Updated August 17, 2019 : We gave this recipe an overhaul to make it even more amazing. Apologies to those of you who loved the original, but we think you'll like this updated version even better. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Creamed Corn Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 6 ears corn, shucked (4 to 5 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or yellow onions
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup half and half
  • Chopped fresh parsley, chives, or tarragon (for garnish)

Special equipment:

Method

1 Remove the corn kernels: Set an ear of corn on a cutting board, and working from the thick to the narrow end, cut off 2 rows of kernels. Turn and cut off 2 or 3 more rows. Continue in this way until all the kernels are off all the cobs.

Alternatively, use a corn scraper. Set the cobs on a rimmed baking sheet to keep the kernels from flying all over the place when you remove the kernels.

How to Make Creamed Corn - corn cobs with kernels removed on baking sheet

2 Scrape the cob to release the creamy milk: After you have removed the kernels, hold one cob over the pile of corn on the cutting board or baking sheet, and use the back of the knife to rub across it, going back and forth, to release the pulpy corn milk. Repeat with all the ears. The starchy liquid of the corn milk adds creaminess to the kernels.

How to Make Creamed Corn - corn cobs with kernels removed on baking sheet

3 Cook the corn: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots or onions and cook, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the shallots soften but are not brown. Add the corn, corn milk, salt, pepper, and half and half.

Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until the kernels are tender and the corn looks creamy and slightly thickened. If it seems dry, stir in more cream or water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

Homemade Creamed Corn - pot of creamed corn How to Make Creamed Corn - pot of creamed corn

4 Serve the corn: Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot, garnished with chopped herbs.

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Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

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