Corn Casserole is a sensational, one-bowl must make thanksgiving side dish!
This Corn Casserole Recipe is one of our favorite side dishes not only for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but year-round! Corn Casserole is made with a buttery cornbread base infused with sour cream, buttermilk, cheese, creamed corn, corn kernels and chives to create an uber moist, creamy cornbread-like casserole with a soft golden crust that’s the perfect balance of savory, sweet, rich, creamy, and buttery; the dance of texture and flavor is heavenly! This cream Corn Casserole recipe is also ridiculously easy, MAKE AHEAD, customizable and belongs on your holiday table!
Corn Casserole Recipe
Is baked Corn Casserole a tradition at your home? Because if not, it should be! It’s the perfect side you didn’t know you needed AKA everyone will be begging you for this Corn Casserole recipe!
What is Corn Casserole? If you’re not familiar with easy Corn Casserole, its texture is like a creamier cornbread – but not as creamy as corn pudding – with a subtle sweetness, and buttery cornbread flavor.
Where does Corn Casserole come from? Corn Casserole, also known as cream corn casserole, became extremely popular after it appeared on the back of the Jiffy box. Since then, it’s become a staple at most American dinner tables, especially around the holidays, right along with nostalgic green bean casserole, stuffing and mashed potatoes.
Where do I serve Corn Casserole? Of course, we don’t limit ourselves to enjoying cream Corn Casserole just to Thanksgiving. It’s equally as in demand at every potluck, barbecue, church gathering, and pool party YEAR-ROUND.
How easy is Corn Casserole? Everyone loves sweet Corn Casserole because it’s easy to make – just mix dry ingredients together then mix in wet ingredients – in ONE Bowl – then bake! It doesn’t get any easier than that! And of course, it’s irresistibly delicious with its savory, sweet, buttery melt-in-your-mouth crumb with subtle “pops” of sweet corn texture.
Homemade Corn Casserole without Jiffy! While most easy Corn Casserole recipes call for Jiffy’s cornbread muffin mix, I’ve based this recipe off of my favorite award winning cornbread recipe that uses a ratio of 1 to 1 flour to cornmeal which means more palate pleasing corn flavor and means you can make an entire 9×13 pan – because everyone will be clamoring for more Corn Casserole! (more info on Corn Casserole without Jiffy below.)
Jiffy Corn Casserole vs. Homemade
Corn Casserole and Jiffy Corn Casserole are practically synonymous. Most cream Corn Casserole recipes use a box of Jiffy cornbread muffin mix instead of the flour, cornmeal, sugar and baking soda in this recipe. While Jiffy and other boxed cornbread mixes no doubt make tasty Cornbread Casseroles and offer a quick option (although it really only saves a couple minutes), I believe the BEST Corn Casserole is homemade.
The main difference between Jiffy Corn Casserole and this homemade Corn Casserole recipe is the proportion of ingredients. Jiffy mix contains approximately 2/3 cups flour and 1/2 cup cornmeal whereas this homemade Corn Casserole recipe contains 1 cup flour and 1 cup cornmeal. The greater ratio of cornmeal means more flavor and more texture without the hydrogenated shortening. In addition, by making your own cornbread mix, you can adjust ingredients to meet your dietary needs.
Jiffy Corn Casserole
If you still would like to make Jiffy Corn Casserole, you would replace the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt with one 8.5 oz packet of Jiffy cornbread muffin mix and skip the buttermilk.
You can also use 1 1/4 cups of your favorite cornbread mix instead of Jiffy such as Trader Joe’s Cornbread Mix, Marie Callender’s Cornbread Mix or Famous Dave’s Cornbread Mix.
CORN CASSEROLE recipe INGREDIENTS
This baked Corn Casserole recipe comes together in minutes – even without a Jiffy mix! It is also made with pantry friendly ingredients so you can always be ready to whip it together at a moment’s notice. The ingredient list might seem a little lengthy, but remember, you are just dumping and whisking – that’s it!
For this cream Corn Casserole recipe, you will need:
- Cream style corn: can be found next to the canned corn kernels at your grocery store. Creamed corn adds essential liquid for an extra moist Corn Casserole as well as additional body, texture and flavor. Cream style corn cannot be substituted with corn kernels but you can make your own creamed corn with corn kernels. See my DIY Cream Corn section below.
- Sweet corn: use canned sweet corn or corn fresh off the cob as opposed to frozen corn that doesn’t hold up as well in this recipe.
- Butter: use unsalted butter so we can control the salt. Please don’t substitute butter for margarine or oil or the baked Corn Casserole will not taste the same! Butter is a HUGE component in this recipe and infuses the entire Corn Casserole with rich, buttery flavor as well as moisture you can taste in every bite!
- Sour cream: serves five purposes so please don’t skip or substitute! Sour cream adds moisture without thinning the batter, adds fat for creaminess, enhances the golden browning, activates the baking soda and adds a slight tangy flavor to complement the sugar.
- Buttermilk: adds a subtle, pleasant tang but more importantly, this acidic ingredient helps the corn casserole rise more quickly and tenderizes the gluten in the flour resulting in a softer texture with more body. I realize most of us don’t keep buttermilk on hand, so I’ve included an easy DIY buttermilk that works like a champ.
- Eggs: two medium eggs will do the trick. Eggs are the glue that binds the sweet Corn Casserole ingredients together and provide the structure.
- Flour: is necessary to use in combination with cornmeal because the gluten in the flour holds it together. I use all-purpose flour and have not experimented with other flours but I imagine any gluten free baking flour such as Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour would work great. I do not recommend cake flour or self-rising flour or you will need to change the baking powder/baking soda, etc.
- Cornmeal: any cornmeal you pick up at your grocery store is fine -just take care it says cornmeal and not corn flour. I use equal parts cornmeal and flour to make the BEST Corn Casserole with more texture, corn flavor, and wonderfully crunchy edges.
- Granulated sugar: is essential to balance the cornmeal and flour and it enhances the natural sweetness of the corn. ½ cup sugar might seem like a lot, but one box of Jiffy Mix has the equivalent of 1/3 cup sugar, and we are doubling that to fit a 9×13 pan – so ½ cup is actually less sugar than if you were to use two boxes of Jiffy mix. Coconut sugar can also be substituted for the granulated sugar. I don’t recommend brown sugar because its molasses flavor detracts from the corn flavor.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: an acidic leavening agent and a base leavening agent that work together to give the baked Corn Casserole rise and create a wonderfully thick, soft cake-like texture. Take care both your baking powder and baking soda are fresh, (throw out after 6-12 months) so they work!
- Salt: adds flavors and cuts threw the sweetness. You want to use good old table salt.
- Chives: infuses the cream Corn Casserole with a subtle onion flavor – and they look pretty!
I have included the below ingredients in the recipe and highly recommend them, but they are optional.
- Seasonings: I like to add just ¼ teaspoon each of chili powder and dried thyme for a kiss of subtle flavor.
- Cheese: 1 cup freshly grated cheese adds flavor and moistness without making the Corn Casserole recipe “cheesy” – just fabulous.
- Green chilies: one 4 oz. can mild chopped green chiles balances the sweetness and adds a hint of tanginess. I was actually surprised how mild the chiles tasted – you won’t notice the Corn Casserole has green chiles per se, just that it is flavorful.
CREAMED CORN SUBSTITUTE
As previously discussed, creamed corn is essential for this easy Corn Casserole recipe – it adds both corn flavor and moistness. If you can’t get your hands-on creamed corn, never fear, it is easy to make yourself! After all, creamed corn is simply made from corn kernels, water, salt and a thickening agent, either flour or cornstarch.
To make your own creamed corn:
- Add corn kernels to food processor and pulse a few times.
- Transfer corn to a saucepan.
- Whisk together 1/2 cup of milk and 1 tsp. of cornstarch; stir into corn.
- Simmer corn until thickened to the consistency of creamed corn.
HOW TO MAKE CORN CASSEROLE
Get ready for the easiest company worthy side to make! To make this baked Corn Casserole recipe:
Step 1: Prep
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
Step 2: Whisk Ingredients Together
- Whisk Dry Ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add Wet Ingredients; gently whisk eggs, then mix all the ingredients just until combined.
Step 3: Transfer to Baking Dish
- Pour mixture into prepared baking dish or slow cooker if making Crockpot Corn Casserole.
Step 4: Bake
- Bake at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs.
- Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. Best if served warm.
Crockpot Corn Casserole
Sweet Corn Casserole can also be made in the crockpot just like slow cooker mashed potatoes to save you valuable oven space on turkey day!
To make Crockpot Corn Casserole:
- Combine ingredients per recipe instructions.
- Transfer corn mixture to a lightly greased 6 qt. crockpot.
- Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or on LOW for 4-5 hours.
- Take care to check the Corn Casserole a little before the 2-hour mark if cooking on high and the 4-hour mark if cooking on low as slow cookers can cook at very different temperatures. Your Corn Casserole may take less time or more time than outlined.
- Once the Crockpot Corn Casserole is cooked, turn the slow cooker to warm.
Tips for best corn casserole RECIPE
- DIY buttermilk: is easy to make! Simply add ½ tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to a ½ cup measuring cup. Fill the rest of the cup up with milk and give it a stir. Let stand 10 minutes to activate and curdle.
- Room temperature eggs: room temperature eggs mix much easier than cold eggs helping you not to over-mix the batter. Cold eggs can also congeal the warm, melted butter, leaving pockets of hardened butter.
- Don’t overmix: Overmixing develops the gluten and can cause dry, crumbly Corn Casserole.
- Don’t overbake: Check sweet Corn Casserole for doneness at the lower end of the cooking window. Over-baked casserole will not be as moist.
- Don’t substitute ingredients: The correct ratio of flour, cornmeal, eggs and fat yield the perfect Corn Casserole. If you swap out ingredients, you are playing with this delicate balance.
Cream CORN Casserole Recipe Variations
This easy Corn Casserole recipe is a fabulous springboard for all sorts of add-ins and flavor profiles. Here’s just a few ideas:
- Cheese: this recipe uses one cup of sharp cheddar but to really make it cheesy, up the cheese to two cups. You can use pepper Jack, Monterrey Jack, mozzarella, Gruyere, Provolone etc. You can also add cheese to the top of the casserole after it’s baked and melt.
- Spice it up: Add some cayenne pepper, chipotle chili powder or 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapenos.
- Berries: try adding dried cranberries or blueberries for a savory & sweet treat like in my cornbread muffins – AMAZING!
- Bacon: cook and crumble thick cut bacon and stir some of the bacon into the casserole and reserve some to sprinkle on top of the baked cream Corn Casserole.
- Fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme, and parsley add a subtle earthiness.
- Onions: chives, green onions, shallots or onions.
- Honey: try serving cream Corn Casserole with a unique honey flavor such as orange or lemon infused honey.
CHEESY CORN CASSEROLE
I include one cup cheddar cheese in this baked Corn Casserole recipe because it adds a sharp saltiness that is rich yet subtle at the time and because cheese makes everything better! Of course, this additional cheese is optional, but highly recommended.
If you want to make Cheesy Corn Casserole, you will want to add more cheese. I recommend:
- stir one cup of freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese into the batter per directions.
- Bake for 30 minutes then top with an additional one cup cheese.
- Bake until cooked through.
I always recommend using freshly grated cheese as opposed to pre-shredded packaged cheeses. Pre-shredded cheeses contain anti-clumping chemicals which helps the cheese stay separate in the bag, but it also prevents it from melting as well.
When adding sharp cheddar cheese, I also like to add green chilies, pickled jalapenos, chili powder and ground cumin for a more Latin flair, but these are optional.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH baked CORN CASSEROLE
Sweet Corn Casserole is an ideal quick and easy side that everyone loves! It works well with virtually any protein as well as all your holiday favorites and company homestyle dishes such as:
- Herb Butter Turkey
- Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
- Honey Baked Ham
- Garlic Herb Butter Pork Tenderloin
- Pot Roast
- Beef Tips and Gravy
- Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Roast Beef
- Beef Brisket
- Chicken Cordon Bleu
- Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs
- Nashville Hot Chicken
- Barbecue Pulled Pork
- Oven Fried Chicken
DOES sweet CORN CASSEROLE NEED TO BE REFRIGERATED?
This cream Corn Casserole recipe is so moist, the leftovers stay perfectly tender for days! To store, let casserole cool to room temperature, cover a couple times in plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
What Should I do with Cream Corn Casserole Leftovers?
- Southwest Corn Casserole: mix up a batch of your favorite taco meat or turkey taco meat and pile it on top of a slab of warm Corn Casserole along with tomatoes, beans, avocados, lettuce, sour cream and any of your favorite fixings – SO good!
- BBQ Corn Casserole: top with BBQ pulled pork, BBQ pulled chicken, BBQ brisket, or simply ground beef or turkey mixed with barbecue sauce, followed by bacon, cheddar cheese, and even coleslaw (think open faced BBQ sandwich).
- Add Eggs: toast the sweet Corn Casserole in the oven or in a skillet and top with a fried egg and hollandaise.
- Cornbread Pudding: you’ll want to search for a recipe, but essentially eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon are poured over cornbread (or in this case corn casserole) and baked until golden.
- Strata: as opposed to cornbread pudding, strata is a savory overnight breakfast dish in which corn bread/corn casserole is covered with an egg mixture and baked.
Make Ahead Easy Corn Casserole
The best way to make this easy Corn Casserole ahead of time is to bake it, cool, then reheat. I don’t suggest completely assembling, refrigerating then baking hours later because the baking powder and baking soda won’t be as effective.
To make ahead:
- Bake Corn Casserole according to directions.
- Let cool completely.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- When ready to reheat, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Cover Corn Casserole with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes, then remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes or until heated through.
How to Reheat baked Corn Casserole
- Microwave: Warm individual pieces in the microwave by wrapping in a damp paper towel and microwaving for 30 seconds, then at 20 second intervals until warmed through.
- Oven: Place smaller portions of Corn Casserole in foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. For the entire pan of Corn Casserole, cover, and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes, then remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes or until heated through.
HOW TO FREEZE easy CORN CASSEROLE
Corn Casserole freezes very well and makes a wonderful thaw and eat side.
To freeze whole pan of corn casserole:
- Cool Corn Casserole completely.
- Once cool, wrap freezer safe pan tightly in plastic wrap two times followed by foil.
- Freeze for up to three months.
- Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
To freeze individual pieces:
- Cool Corn Casserole completely.
- Cut into squares and place pieces in a freezer size bag with parchment paper in between each slice.
- Freeze for up to three months.
- Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for a few hours on the counter.
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