Smooth and creamy baked Cream Corn Casserole is a Southern holiday favorite. This recipe is an adaptation of classic creamed corn turned casserole, and you’ll find no cornbread mix in this recipe.
Instead, sweet corn baked in a perfectly smooth and creamy sauce, topped off with melty Cheddar and buttery Ritz crackers, and baked to absolute perfection.
Today, in addition to a seriously easy recipe for Cream Corn Casserole with cream cheese, we’ll cover the quick and simple hack to making creamed corn without the use of canned cream-style corn, the important role cream cheese plays in this casserole, gluten-free adjustments you can make (if needed), plus, how to make this casserole ahead and reheat it!
WHAT’S IN CREAM CORN CASSEROLE?
- Canned Corn
- Cream Cheese
- Ritz Crackers
- Grated Cheddar
ALL ABOUT THE CORN
Cream Corn Casserole is all about the corn, but with so many options out there — freshly shucked corn, canned corn, canned cream-style corn, frozen — how do you know which one to choose? Well, in the case of Creamed Corn Casserole, we’ll choose the best of both worlds when it comes to both convenience and flavor.
Come the holidays, time is of the essence, and the tedious task of shucking corn and slicing kernels away from the cob won’t make the cut. This Easy Cream Corn Casserole calls for canned whole-kernel corn, keeping things quick and simple, and your prep work at a bare minimum.
You could also use frozen corn in its place (two 16-ounce packages), just be sure to thaw it beforehand. This is a great compromise to fresh corn and a serious time-saver. To thaw frozen corn, place it in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for 2-3 hours prior to using.
CREAM CHEESE AND WHAT IT DOES
Cream cheese is likely the most important component of your sauce. Not only does it add flavor, but it helps the casserole to stay together, which means that when it comes to serving time, your Cream Corn Casserole with cream cheese will stay in place, rather than running all over the plate.
FOR FLAVOR AND TEXTURE…
In addition to the cream cheese, you’ll need cream, egg, and a simple seasoning of sugar, salt, and pepper for the sauce. This combination of ingredients makes for a smooth and creamy casserole filling.
WITH RITZ CRACKERS AND CHEESE ON TOP, PLEASE.
The perfect ending to a Southern Cream Corn Casserole is a layer of melty cheese and a crumble of buttery Ritz crackers. For best results, use freshly grated cheese. This casserole would be divine with either Cheddar or Colby Jack cheese, so feel free to pick your favorite or use a combination of the two.
The Ritz add the perfect amount of crunch to an otherwise creamy casserole, but if you need the casserole to be gluten-free, you can leave them out of the recipe completely.
EASY CREAM CORN CASSEROLE RECIPE OVERVIEW
- Break up half of the corn in a food processor or blender.
- Soften onion on the stovetop.
- Add cream and cream cheese, and stir until melted.
- Remove from heat and add egg, seasoning, and all of the corn to combine.
- Transfer to casserole dish, top with cheese and Ritz Crackers and bake 30 minutes covered with foil, then, 15 minutes uncovered.
HOW TO MAKE CREAM CORN CASSEROLE FROM SCRATCH
This Cream Corn Casserole is made from scratch without the use of cornbread mix or cans of cream-style corn, but don’t let that scare you off. It comes together with less than 20 minutes of prep and you will absolutely taste the difference.
1. BREAK UP THE CORN
The first step that makes this a Cream Corn Casserole rather than just a creamy corn casserole is breaking up half of the corn. Breaking up the corn kernels replicates the texture of creamed corn. The other half is left whole, which adds both volume and body to the casserole.
You can break up the kernels in either a blender or a food processor, pulsing just until they are broken up, and stopping before the corn becomes a puree.
2. SAUTE THE ONION
The sauce for this Easy Cream Corn Casserole is decadent and over-the-top creamy, and it begins with a big bang of flavor in the form of melted butter and sauteed onion. Once the onion has softened, it’s time to start on the sauce.
3. MELT THE CREAM CHEESE
The sauce for the Cream Corn Casserole is (as mentioned above) cream cheese-based and it comes together very quickly on the stovetop. Add a little cream to the pot along with the cream cheese, and stir the mixture until the cream cheese has melted into the cream.
4. ADD REMAINING INGREDIENTS
Then, remove from the heat and add your seasoning, as well as the egg. You’ll stir to combine, add the corn back into the saucepan, and move on to assembling your casserole.
5. ASSEMBLE AND BAKE
For the topping, you’ll first coat your crushed Ritz crackers in butter. The easiest way to do this is to heat the butter in the microwave in a bowl large enough to house the cracker crumbs. Once the butter is melted, add the Ritz crackers and toss to combine.
Add the filling to the casserole dish, and top with cheese and crackers.
SIZE MATTERS WHEN IT COMES TO BAKING DISHES
This casserole is best baked in a 2-quart rectangular baking dish, but if you do not have one, modifications can easily be made, but note, the cook time will vary.
If you are using a standard 9×13″ casserole dish, your casserole filling will not be as deep as it would in a small 2-quart baking dish and it will likely cook faster. Therefore, you should probably decrease the cook time by about 5 minutes or so if using a standard 9×13″ casserole dish.
To ensure your topping doesn’t burn, during the first stint in the oven, the casserole dish will be covered with aluminum foil. Then, after 30 minutes, you’ll remove the foil and bake uncovered for the last 15, allowing the crackers on top to get nice and toasty.
SHORT ON TIME? MAKE IT AHEAD!
Cream Corn Casserole with cream cheese can be made a day in advance and reheated in the oven covered with aluminum foil at 325° for about 30 minutes, or just until warmed through. However, freezing Cream Corn Casserole is not a good idea. There’s too much dairy between the cheese and the cream, and it would likely separate during the reheating process after being frozen.
When it comes to holiday casseroles, we want a dish that not only feeds the crowd but one so tasty, so irresistible, it keeps them coming back for seconds. Creamed Corn Casserole possesses the power to entice just about anyone to make a second go-round with its cream corn base and topping of melty cheese and Ritz crackers. Please, enjoy!
5 MORE SOUTHERN SIDES YOU’LL LOVE
- Stovetop Creamed Corn is a simple and quick recipe for homemade creamed corn, perfect for BBQ’s, potluck parties, and more!
- Southern Yellow Squash Casserole bakes up beautifully, feeds a crowd, and features yellow squash, melty cheese, and Ritz crackers.
- Homemade Green Bean Casserole is absolutely irresistible in this made from scratch rendition with a simple, homemade cream of mushroom sauce, fresh green beans, and freshly grated Cheddar cheese.
- Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole is make-ahead and made for feeding a crowd! Featuring mashed Russet potatoes, cream cheese, crispy thick-cut, bacon, freshly grated Cheddar, and chopped green onions.
- Sweet Potato Casserole gets an upgrade from canned yams with flavorful roasted sweet potatoes, warm fall spices, sticky marshmallows, and candied pecans!
Easy Cream Corn Casserole made from scratch with a smooth, creamy filling, topped with Cheddar and Ritz Crackers.
- 2 (16 ounce) cans whole kernel corn, strained
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, separated
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup crushed Ritz crackers (about 15 crackers)
- 1 1/2 cup freshly grated Cheddar or Colby Jack cheese
Preheat the oven to 325° and have ready a greased, 2-quart casserole dish or baker.
Place half of the strained corn into a blender or food processor. Pulse until the corn kernels are broken up. Set aside until ready to use.
Add 4 tablespoons of the butter to a large saucepan over medium heat. Do not allow the butter to burn. Add the onion and sauté, stirring often, just until softened -- about 5 minutes.
Add the heavy cream and softened cream cheese to the saucepan, and stir until the ingredients have melded and remove from the heat.
Add the egg, sugar, salt, pepper, and all of the corn to the saucepan and stir to combine. Transfer contents of the saucepan to the prepared dish.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the crushed crackers, and stir to combine.
Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the corn mixture and top with the crushed crackers. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, serve, and enjoy.