Homemade Creamed Corn ♥ A Simple, Healthy Makeover

Homemade Creamed Corn, a simple, healthy makeover ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. No cream! No can!
Raise your hand if there was a time when you absolutely loved (or hated!) canned creamed corn. (Raise both hands if you still do ... ) For both groups? Making "cream style" corn from scratch just might come as a revelation. The classic summer side dish is made with fresh corn. The taste and texture is 100% corn-y and cream-y even though it's made without heavy cream or milk or any dairy at all. And no can! If ever a vegetable called for a healthy makeover, wow, it's a DIY cream-style corn!

Real Food, Fast & Casual. A Summer Classic with a Simple, Healthy Makeover. Budget Friendly. Little Effort, Big Taste. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Scales from Small Plates to Large Platters. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just easy, Summer Easy. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free.


You mean creamed corn doesn't only come from a can? Really? Really truly?? Could any fresh creamed corn live up to my kid memories of the sweetness of creamed corn stirred into mashed potatoes and mushed with meatloaf, what my mother called a "deluxe"?

This, however, is a grown-up creamed corn, homemade and tasting of summer heat and fields of grasshoppers. It's good, a real keeper, especially served with grown-up mashed potatoes, grown-up green beans and grown-up meatloaf.

So What Is "Creamed" Corn Anyway?
And What the Heck Is Cream "Style" Corn?

Creamed Corn and other creamed vegetables are kind of passé these days, out of date and old-fashioned. A "creamed" version of a vegetable, including creamed corn, cooks or finishes the vegetable with a dairy product that thickens the mixture, usually heavy cream but other times milk or sour cream or cream cheese. The most common and most popular creamed vegetable is probably creamed spinach, which, like other creamed vegetables can be packed with saturated fat and calories. That's why I worked so hard on this recipe, Healthy Creamed Spinach. But I do have a few creamed vegetables, see creamed vegetables in the Recipe Box.

Cream-Style Corn Check the label of a can of creamed corn, you'll see it's labeled cream "style" corn. Adding the word "style" reveals that there's no cream in the corn, it's just tastes like there is.

What Is the "Cream" in Creamless Creamed Corn?

My recipe for creamed corn doesn't contain cream, it doesn't even include lower-fat milk. Instead, half the corn is puréed with water in a blender or food processor to create a "cream" that's then cooked with the remaining half of fresh corn. It's an extra step, an extra dish to clean, but so worth it. I think this is corn you'll make all summer long!

How to Give Creamed Corn Pretty Yellow Color

When you make creamed corn from scratch, you just might say, "Hey, how come it's not bright yellow like the corn?" The fact is, even with yellow corn, creamed corn looks pale and pallid until you add one simple ingredient: turmeric. Yeah, ground turmeric! Use a small amount, just 1/8 teaspoon or 1/4 teaspoon, that's enough to add color without altering the prominent taste of corn.

How to Thicken Creamed Corn Without Flour

This recipe includes no flour, no cornstarch, no added thickener. Instead, the corn is thickened by a mixture of corn and water that first cooks the corn and then, after the water cooks off, thickens the final product.

Ingredients for Homemade Creamed Corn

Like all my recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

Fresh Corn Yellow sweet corn, white sweet corn, bi-color corn, any color corn, the fresher the better.
Water My recipe uses water to purée half the corn, that means no other flavors (from stock, say) overwhelms the delicate corn flavor.
Flavorings This recipe uses garlic, salt and white pepper. Garlic adds a welcome savory nuance to the sugary sweet-flavored corn, salt brightens the corn flavor while white pepper adds a tiny kick. (Garlic powder would be an okay substitute, so would black pepper.)
Turmeric A tiny measure of ground turmeric adds pretty yellow color without affecting flavor. It's optional taste-wise but does make the corn extra pretty.

Here's What's NOT In This Recipe

Sometimes, what's left out of a recipe is just as important as what's put in. That's definitely the case here.

Dairy Free No cream but also no milk, no evaporated milk, no cream cheese, no sour cream, no yogurt, no dairy products at all.
Gluten Free No flour, no other sources of gluten plus no cornstarch or other added thickeners.

You Might Be Wondering ...

Can You Make Creamed with Frozen Corn? Yes! In fact, when I first fell in love with this creamy corn, it was the middle of December so frozen corn was really the only option. Fresh corn is better, no doubt. But in the middle of winter? Or in a rush to get dinner on the table? Frozen corn for the win.

Can You Make Creamed Corn with Canned Corn? Yes. But I wouldn't recommend it, it would take about four 15-ounce cans to add up to a pound of drained corn. In addition, canned vegetables use a high level of sodium to preserve freshness, more than is healthy, especially for those who work to reduce sodium in their diets.

Can You Make Creamed Corn That's a Little More Refined? Yes! Less Like the Canned Version? Yes! This recipe is a keeper because it's simple and so-so-so like canned cream-style corn. That has merit. But for something that's just a little more contemporary, a creamed corn that'll knock your socks off, please do try Fresh Creamed Corn, I think of it as a "garden luxury".

Why Homemade Creamed Corn Is Worth Making

When you can heat up a can of creamed corn in five minutes, why would anyone go to the trouble of making it from scratch? So so many reasons! Here are a few. Why do you make it? Let me know in the comments!

It tastes good! Fresh corn makes for such big corn flavor!
It looks and tastes a lot like the canned version, just better.
It's low sodium. Canned vegetables are so-so high in sodium, if you need/want to avoid sodium, homemade is definitely the way to go.
It's easy! And after some initial prep, much of the cooking time is unattended, leaving time for the rest of the meal. Just stay close so you can check it every so often.

Summer Easy, a special collection of Less Cookin' and More Livin' recipes especially for summer ♥ KitchenParade.com all summer long.
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Homemade Creamed Corn, a simple, healthy makeover ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. No cream! No can!


Hands-on time: 15 minutes to start then occasional attention during the next 10 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Makes 2 cups

1/2 pound (225g) corn kernels, from about 2 large ears of fresh sweet corn (How to Cut Corn Off the Cob, Keeping All Ten Fingers, Capturing Every Delicious Kernel and Every Drop of Sweet Corn "Milk")
2/3 cup water

1 tablespoon olive oil (butter is also very good)
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Another 1/2 pound (225g) corn kernels
Puréed Corn & Water
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt to taste

PURÉE the first 1/2 pound of corn and water in a blender or food processor until smooth and very liquid.

STOVETOP Meanwhile, heat a saucepan or skillet with a heavy bottom in medium heat, add the oil (or butter) until it's shimmery (or melted), then the onion and sauté until just soft without turning color. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, again, without turning color. Stir in the second 1/2 pound of corn and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat as needed if the corn starts to stick a little. Stir in the Puréed Corn & Water and cook for about 10 minutes until all the corn is fully cooked, adding the white pepper, turmeric and salt to taste midway through, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching.

TO SERVE Serve hot as a side dish.

MAKE-AHEAD This may be served right away or refrigerated and served within a couple of days.

LEFTOVERS Consider a double or triple batch, it's super easy to keep this on hand for a few days.

VARIATIONS Add a little heat with a finely minced jalapeño. Add a little color with a little finely minced red pepper. Add a little earthiness by sautéeing some cumin seeds with the onion.

ALANNA's TIPS Canned creamed corn has a lot more "cream" than corn. To match that consistency, purée about 3/4ths of the corn instead of 1/2.

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Seasonal Eating: More Recipes from Sweet Corn Season

No-Cook Tabbouleh (< a summer staple in my kitchen) Eggplant Sandwiches with Cilantro Hummus Summer Orzo with Radicchio Chipotle Chickpea Salad (< reader favorite!) Avocado Salad with Hearts of Palm BLTs with Avocado Creamless Creamed Corn King Hill Farms Simple & Sublime Beets (< for beet lovers) Amaranth Greens More Matters: The New Fruits & Veggies Campaign Grilled Eggplant with Balsamic Honey Syrup Romano Beans in Butter-Braised Garlic (< watch for romano beans at the farmers market) Seared Radicchio Weight Watchers Italian Zero Points Soup Tomato & Onion Salad Stacked Ratatouille (< totally versatile!) Sautéed Cucumbers How to Cut Corn Off the Cob: Keeping All Ten Fingers, Capturing Every Delicious Kernel and Every Drop of Sweet Corn "Milk" Corn & Cucumber Salad with Fresh Blueberries Succotash Salad with Green Beans, Lima Beans, Corn & Tomatoes Raw Tomatillo Salad with Blueberries (< lovin' this year's blueberries!) Pretty Ways to Serve Summer's Best Tomatoes Loaded Iceberg Steaks with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing Quick Summer Squash & Tomato Saute Mexican Scrambled Eggs (Huevos Revueltos a la Mexicana) Raw Mexican Street Corn Salad with Cauliflower Rice

Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2005 & 2020 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


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