How to Make Creamed Corn from Scratch at Home
Everyone is always looking for new, delicious ways to add some more vegetables into their meals. But with a busy schedule and mouths to feed, your side dishes shouldn't take more prep than the main course itself. For a quick, delicious veggie side dish, enter: creamed corn.
Creamed corn is an excellent addition to any meal, and it works for any season. Whether you want it as a summer side dish for family picnics or a warm and hearty complement to an autumnal spread, creamed corn is perfect.
This traditional side dish is sweet, savory, and creamy—a combination that is tough to beat. Best of all, it's quick and straightforward—and depending on your cooking method, it's almost hands-free! Below is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide for achieving the perfect creamed corn from scratch or using a slow cooker.
Ingredients You Need for the Perfect Creamed Corn
Every great recipe begins with great ingredients. As with any recipe, purchasing fresh and high-quality ingredients is essential for getting the best results. For creamed corn, you need:
- 4 cups of corn kernels (fresh)
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
The prep time for this made-from-scratch recipe is longer than the crockpot option, but the mouthwatering results are worth every minute!
How to Make Homemade Creamed Corn from Scratch: Step-by-Step
Step One: Cook the Onion
First, heat the butter in a large pot. You'll then combine the diced onion, making sure to stir frequently so that it doesn't burn. Medium heat is usually best. Cook the onion until translucent; this should only take a few minutes.
Step Two: Add the Seasonings and Corn
Once the onion is translucent and soft, add the salt, pepper, and flour to the pan. You'll want to stir this right away since the flour could clump up if left too long. A whisk is best to use for this, but you could also use a spoon.
After about 2 or 3 minutes of stirring, the flour should combine with the butter and onions into a semi-smooth mixture. This stage is when you should add in the corn, stirring to combine.
Step Three: Create the Cream Base
Next, add in the heavy cream, milk, thyme, and sugar. While still on medium heat, stir until the mixture comes to a boil. You don't want the heat too high, or it can cause the milk and heavy cream to form a hardened crust.
You should also notice the cream sauce thickening slightly due to the flour. Let the mixture boil for around one minute.
Step Four: Blend
Remove one cup of the corn mixture and blend. You could use a hand mixer for this, but if you don't have one available, you could also opt for a few pulses in a blender.
If you do end up using a blender, remember that the goal isn't to blend the mixture like you would a smoothie thoroughly. Instead, you just want a semi-smooth mixture to add that creamy texture to the creamed corn.
When the blending is complete, add back into the pot.
Last Step: Flavor to Taste and Enjoy!
Lastly, taste and add additional salt, pepper, and if you want, garlic powder to taste. If you like a kick to your corn, you can add cayenne pepper, which adds flavor and is a good source of Vitamin C.
This recipe is a traditional, homemade creamed corn favorite that the whole family will love. However, if you're pressed for time, there are a ton of great alternatives to making creamed corn from scratch.
Ingredients You Need for the Perfect Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
Crockpot meals tend to be more hands-free and ideal for busy parents. The prep time for this recipe is only as long as you need to gather the ingredients and put them in the cooker!
For this creamed corn recipe to create in the crockpot, you'll need:
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese (go for full fat, not reduced-fat cream cheese)
- 1 1/4 (or 16 ounces) of frozen corn kernels
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
How to Slow Cook Creamed Corn: Step-by-Step
Step One: Combine All Ingredients
First, combine all of your creamed corn ingredients—the milk, cream cheese, butter, tablespoon sugar, corn, and seasonings—in the crockpot. Make sure to mix this thoroughly and season to taste.
For the crockpot, cream cheese is preferable because of its thickened texture. The long hours over heat allow the cream cheese to melt over time, creating a thicky, gooey, delicious texture.
Step Two: Let It Cook
Set your cooker to the appropriate setting. For a quicker time, use the high setting for about 2 to 4 hours. If you're making this creamed corn recipe ahead of time, you can also use the low setting for about 4 to 6 hours.
Last Step: Enjoy!
After the set time, your creamed corn should be ready to serve and eat! You can add pinch cayenne pepper to give a Southern twist on this classic dish. The cayenne pepper balances the cream for a rich flavor experience.
Fresh Corn vs. Frozen or Canned: What's the Difference?
You'll notice that each of these creamed corn recipes utilize two different types of corn: fresh and frozen. You also have the option to use canned. This choice depends on the specific recipe and personal preference. Below, we'll dive deeper into what the pitfalls and benefits are for these options.
Fresh kernels are often the best choice for most creamed corn recipes. Not only is the flavor better, but many would also argue that the texture is much better than either frozen or canned corn.
If you're buying fresh, it also gives you the chance to know the source of your corn. For example, getting fresh vegetables from a farmer's market ensures that it's both fresh and local.
The only real downside would be that fresh kernels don't stay fresh forever, so planning to use it up soon after purchasing is best.
Frozen corn is probably the best alternative to fresh, in terms of both flavor and texture. The corn becomes frozen through a process called "flash freezing." This method also allows the corn to keep most of its nutrients.
The corn also gets cooked before being frozen, so if a creamed corn recipe calls for frozen kernels, you can use it while it's still frozen since all it has to do is thaw out. Like in the crockpot creamed corn recipe above, you don't usually have to worry about defrosting before using it in a recipe.
Frozen corn also obviously keeps much longer, and it's easier to prepare, too—simply defrost, either inside the bag or after it's been open.
Canned corn also keeps for a long time. It's an excellent staple to have at home to whip up some fast, delicious meals.
Some people, however, prefer to stay away from canned vegetables altogether. They tend to have a very high sodium content, so that is something to look out for when purchasing.
Canned vegetables get cooked before being packaged. Prep is little to non-existent since all you have to do is open the can and mix it into a recipe. Ideally, canned kernels are best for things like soups, chowders. For creamed corn, we recommend fresh or frozen.
The texture of canned vegetables tends to be a little on the softer side, so integrating it into recipes that naturally have that texture is best. For example, if you plan on having just plain corn as a side dish, fresh or frozen would be a much better choice than canned.
Making a delicious, simple side dish of creamed corn has never been easier. No matter if you prefer the homemade version or the crockpot creamed corn, the recipes above ensure a side dish that is satisfying and tasty, every time.